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Admit It!

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Overheard in Committee — The Selecting Continues

November 20, 2012 by

Admit It!  You read last week’s Overheard in Committee blog, and you want more.  Well we aim to please.  Early Decision Committee has been in full swing for the past several days and there’s plenty to discuss.  We’ve very much enjoyed reviewing the applications of those who applied Early Decision and crafting the first part of the Class of 2017.  But every now and again we feel an application has left us with more questions than answers.  To that end, here’s what was overheard in Committee yesterday.

“What the heck happened in 10th grade?”

As we were reviewing the file of an applicant, we noticed that this otherwise straight-A student, performed poorly in the 10th grade earning a smattering of Bs and Cs.  Yet nothing in the file addressed why.  The student didn’t make mention of it. No recommenders made mention of it.  It’s as if everyone just hoped we wouldn’t notice.  That is unfortunately wishful thinking.  And it’s better for us to know what happened than to be left to make assumptions.  Maybe the student had a serious illness.  Maybe there was a death in the family.  Maybe there was an undiagnosed learning disability.  Maybe, maybe, maybe….

We’ve mentioned this in previous blogs but it bears repeating: you can never tell us too much, only too little.  If there’s something that’s a bit out of sorts in your application, tell us about it.  Maybe it’s something small like a scheduling conflict.  Maybe it’s something much more dramatic like needing to change high schools.  Maybe it’s thoughtfully explaining a disciplinary infraction.  Maybe it’s why your grades dropped your sophomore year.  Maybe it’s why you had to quit a particular extracurricular activity.  We understand the trials and tribulations of high schoolers; all of us were high schoolers once.  We also know that sometimes circumstances are beyond your control.  We can consider those circumstances when reviewing your application—but only if you share them with us.  There’s an entire portion of the Common Application called “Additional Information”.  Use it if you need to do.  Please.  Do yourself that service.  Because if you don’t, we’re left only with our assumptions, and you know what they say about those who assume.

So back into Committee we go, continuing to craft W&M’s 320th class.  As we do so, and as we reflect on the upcoming holiday, we are grateful to be in the position we are – to select from among the nation’s best, brightest and most accomplished students—and to work for an institution in which we all believe so deeply.

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


  • Admit It! says:

    @Worried, it is. We just posted our Decisions, Decisions blog with all of the details everyone needs to know about decision releases and the decisions that were made.

    We’re going to be stepping away from social media for a few hours to finish up the release and to let everyone digest the news they receive. We’ll be back online later tonight to answer any pressing questions.

  • Thomas Loftus says:

    It was definitely worth the wait!!! My son is in and jumping for joy (as are his mother and father)!!!
    Thanks again to everyone in Admissions. Very well done!!

  • Admit It! says:

    @Thomas Loftus, congrats to your son and to you. We like jumping for joy. We’re doing the same thing. Hoorah for the Class of 2017!

  • Donna says:

    My daughter was deferred and I honestly don’t know who’s more disappointed~myself or her. Althought I congratulate all who did get in, I’m curious as to how many didn’t (or were deferred).
    Once again, congrats to those admitted! To those that weren’t, we feel your disappointment.

  • Admit It! says:

    @Donna, we apologize. We responded with the post below Friday night but the comment got trapped in our spam filter. Here is what we said:

    @Donna, we certainly understand your disappointment and your daughter’s. It’s definitely a very tough moment and we feel for you also. We know that nothing will lessen the sting of not being admitted but please reassure your daughter that she is in fact an amazing student. The unfortuante thing about applying to highly selective schools is that so many other amazing students also apply. Generally, about 30-35% of our ED students are deferred and about 15-20% are denied.

  • Bethany says:

    Thank you for this post, it was very helpful! I have a question, though. I already submitted my application to W & M and recently realized that I left out some information. Is there anyway to correct this, or am I stuck?

  • Admit It! says:

    @Bethany, what type of information did you leave out? That will help us figure out how you can best update your application.

  • Bethany says:

    Just a few of my activities. I didn’t put my individual volunteer organizations like A Soft Place to Fall and the Humane Society on the activies list. I didn’t realize I could add them, so I only added my school-based activities. I have under my NHS activity that I participated in community service, but I am concerned now that it wasn’t specific enough.

  • Admit It! says:

    @Bethany, there is no need to to list every service endeavor in which you’ve participated. If you listed service on your list of extracurricular activities then you’re good to go.

  • Bethany says:

    Okay, thank you for the feedback! I feel much better now… talking with my friends had me convinced I’d forgotten something huge! This blog helps a lot though, thank you!

  • Admit It! says:

    @Bethany, no problem. That’s what we’re here for.

  • Mollie says:

    If my grades sophomore year were a bit worse than those I received the rest of highschool, but it is clear that I moved from Virginia to New York the summer previous to sophomore year (which I did say in the education disruption section), would that have been sufficient information for the admissions committee? I did note the extreme differences between the level of my previous school to the one I currently attend, including the differences in grading scales and graduation requirements. Sorry this was a little bit rambly!

  • Admit It! says:

    @Mollie, yes, that should be sufficient information fo us.