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Time Out for Transfers: Why Do We Request Mid-Semester Grades?

April 2, 2012 by

Admit It!  Transfers, you’re over hearing about freshman admission (admittedly the hard core focus of all of our recent blog posts).  Well with their decisions out, it’s time to focus some attention on our transfer applicants.  Last week, mid-semester grades were due to our office for those applying for fall admission, and we know they’re a bit of a hassle to compile and submit.  So why do we ask you to jump through those hoops?

The answer is simple; mid-semester grades are helpful as we make decisions, especially on tough cases.  In our transfer applicant process, college transcripts are paramount.  Courses taken, credit loads, grades, grade trends and academic hiccups all weigh heavily on our decision-making process.  When reviewing freshman applications, we have three years of high school academic history to review (3.5 years once mid-year grades become available).  With transfer applicants, sometimes we have only one completed semester of college-level course work to consider.  Mid-semester grades at least provide additional academic history.

Additionally, just like in high school, classes tend to get more rigorous with the passing of time.  Generally, your current courses are more challenging than the courses that preceded them.  Being able to review your performance in these courses helps us better assess how well prepared you are for William & Mary academics.  There’s a learning curve in any new environment, W&M is no exception.  New freshmen and transfer students alike experience it.  We just want to ensure that you’re prepared to be a successful student here.

Mid-semester grades aren’t the be all and end all of your application but they’re definitely something that can work for or against you.  We promise we wouldn’t ask you to submit something if we didn’t find it useful in evaluating your application.  If you haven’t yet submitted your mid-semester grades we will still accept them by fax (757-221-1242), and no that’s not a delayed April Fool’s joke.  Note we do not confirm receipt of mid-semester grades.  We simply receive them and add them to your application materials.

Tune back in later this month for the ever-so-popular Overheard in Transfer Committee blogs.

Wendy Livingston ’03, M.Ed. ‘09
Senior Assistant Dean of Admission


  • Curious says:

    Since freshmen decisions were released a few days early, do you anticipate releasing transfer decisions early too?

  • Lauren says:

    Hi W&M Admissions,

    On my midterm report one of my professors decided to be, erm, quirky and gave me an A+, which is a grade that doesn’t exist at my school. His reasoning was that the grade was so good he didn’t need to write a comment. Anyways is that going to be an issue/ should I email Kim Van Deusen? I just don’t want my other grades, all just plain A’s, to be viewed as less-than-stellar, or for that one grade to be questioned.

    Thanks! :)

  • Admit It! says:

    @Lauren, no need to do anything additional. We don’t really differentiate between an A and A+. Both are equally stellar. No A looks worse because of an A+.

  • Kaye says:

    When did the transfers here about their decision last year? I know you can’t give a definite answer as to when we’re going to hear this year, so I’ll draw my own deductions with last years date.

  • Admit It! says:

    @Kaye, last year transfer decisions were released on April 28 give or take. The timing will be similar this year although likely not identical.

  • Admit It! says:

    @Curios, we don’t anticipate releasing transfer decisions early. If we can, we will but looking ahead at our schedule we anticipate the timing will be very late April/May 1.

  • Jay says:

    Do you around how many applications were received for transfer fall 2012.

  • Admit It! says:

    @Jay, approximately 900 give or take

  • Slightly neurotic says:

    Hello Admissions,

    I was wondering how much you take into account the fact that second semester classes are generally more challenging than first semester classes. For example, if a transfer student had 3 As and an A- first semester and 2 As, an A- and a B+ second semester, would this be attributed to second semester course rigor, or would it be viewed as a downward trend? Obviously mid-semester grades aren’t the only grades being looked at, but I thought I’d ask all the same for the other applicants who are overanalyzing their reports as much as I am.

    Thank you!

  • Admit It! says:

    @Slightly neurotic, not sure we’d consider that a downward trend, maybe a very slightly one but not one that would alarm us at all. And evaluating course rigor connected to the grades is an important component of how we view the transcript. Like we told @Lauren, an A is an A is an A. Whether it’s an A+, A or A-, those are still strong grades and we’re not that nit-picky in our review process.

  • Ben says:

    Is there anything I can currently do to show the admissions committee how much I want to go to W&M? Like an additional supplement?

  • Admit It! says:

    @Ben, we are not an office that tracks demonstrated interest. We assume anyone who applies to W&M is genuinely interested in attending. If you already completed the W&M Supplement essay question about why you wish to transfer to W&M specifically then you’re all set.

  • Lauren says:

    Going along with the last comment, is attending a Prospective Transfer Day noted?

    And I apologize if my earlier comment seemed overly nit-picky… Just really anxious, and very aware that this whole process is out of my hands at this point.

  • Admit It! says:

    @Lauren, we do note that you attended a Prospective Transfer Day in your application but we also know that given distance, many people cannot attend one of those days and don’t hold that against them.

    We understand the worry so we’re happy to answer any and all questions.

  • Wondering says:

    If a student was deferred last year, would that enhance a transfer application in any way?

  • Admit It! says:

    @Wondering, not quite sure what you mean as we don’t defer transfer applicants. A blog we wrote last year might answer your question though: it’s about students who apply again (http://blogs.wm.edu/2011/04/27/overheard-in-committee-transfer-edition/)

  • Wondering says:

    Sorry! I mean if a student was deferred as a freshman applicant and applied the following year as a transfer applicant.

  • Admit It! says:

    @Wondering, do you mean waitlisted? Defer is not a final decision for freshman applicants. You can be deferred during Early Decision but then you get a final decision in the spring.

  • Wondering says:

    Deferred and then eventually rejected.

  • Admit It! says:

    @Wondering, that certainly won’t be held against you and your continued interest in W&M will be taken into account. The blog we cited a few responses back is worth a look. It addresses this very topic.

  • Lauren says:

    Can you reflect a bit on how Ms. Van Deusen reads the applications? Such as, how many she typically reads in a day? What her specific process is like? Etc.

    As someone who applied and is interested in admissions I appreciate the insight!

  • Admit It! says:

    @Lauren, Dean Van Deusen reads each application from cover to cover just as freshman applications are read. Other deans are also engaged in reading transfer applications. There is no specific number she reads in a day; that depends on her schedule on any given day but she does take reading days (just like we do for freshman applicants) where she works from home to read transfer files exclusively. For every application, freshman or transfer, we read the file from cover to cover and then compose a written summary of the applicant’s attributes noting their academic and personal histories. Hope this answers your question.

  • Haley says:

    How are the transfer applications progressing? Any idea when the decisions will be emailed?

  • Admit It! says:

    @Haley, the transfer review process is coming along on schedule. We won’t know when decisions will be released until just before the emails go out but we’re on track for late April/early May.

  • Jay says:

    Is the admission decision from Dean Van Deusen or are the applications reviewed by the whole committee.
    Cant wait to read the “Overheard in Committee” blog

  • Admit It! says:

    @Jay, there is a transfer committee that makes decisions although Dean Van Deusen signs all of the letters.

  • Haley says:

    Who is in this transfer committee? When’s the next “Overheard” blog coming up?

  • Admit It! says:

    @Haley, all of the deans take part in the transfer committee. The next blog should be coming up in the coming days.

  • D says:

    Hi there, I just an email (I’m a prospective transfer student): the subject line is “Good News” and the sender is . Is this, indeed, a good email? Just checking before I start celebrating and shouting!

  • Lauren says:

    Hey W&M,

    So I saw on College Confidential that there was some early admits for transfers. Do you have the numbers on how many were admitted early?

  • Admit It! says:

    @D, did you read the email? If you open it and read it the answer is pretty clear that the subject line means what it says!

    @Lauren, it’s maybe 30% or so of our admitted transfer population that received the early email.

  • D. J. says:

    Hi W&M!

    Are out-of-state transfers able to receive early admission, or are they not?


  • Admit It! says:

    @D.J., yes, out-of-staters and in-staters could have received a decision a little earlier.

  • Saif says:

    Why did some applicants get their decisions early?

  • Admit It! says:

    @Saif, some students are simply reviewed earlier than others and some of those students present such strong credentials that they don’t need to go before the Committee so a small percentage of applicants got their decision on Monday but the bulk are still to come.