Waitlist Update — Some New News, Some Good News

We Admit It!  The waitlist process is far from a standardized one.  It takes a lot of back and forth, a lot of incremental steps, a lot of analyzing and reanalyzing.  But here’s what we know for certain: we are able to go to the freshman waitlist for a select number of additional students (whether or not we go to the transfer waitlist won’t be determined until mid-to-late May).  The exact number of students who will be admitted is always a moving target (more on that below).  What we do know is that our enrollment numbers are just a bit shy of where they need to be.  Therefore we are going to the waitlist for more than a handful of students but still for a relatively select group.  All students who completed the online waitlist response form (linked in your decision email) are being considered for those spaces we do have available in the entering class.  Below is more about how we make decisions from this point forward and how those who are admitted from the waitlist hear from us.

Why is the number of remaining admission offers a moving target?
There are numerous reasons actually.  The first is that we continue to receive enrollment deposits from those admitted initially.  The second is that we have to be careful not to under-enroll our class (we are working to avoid that now but admitting students from the waitlist), but we also have to be careful not to over-enroll.  So if we make an offer to student A, we may have to wait his/her response before making an offer to student B.  Now of course we’re going to the waitlist for more than one student but hopefully that illustrates our point.  Third, as other colleges and universities activate their waitlists, some students who initially committed to W&M may decide to go elsewhere.  This may mean we get to make even more offers than initially expected.  Finally, there are often students who have admission buyers’ remorse (meaning though admitted to W&M, they turned us down for another school and then decide W&M is a better fit).  As those requests come in we need to carefully consider them and how allowing those students to deposit late would impact our class size.

How we make decisions about the waitlist?
Well, essentially our process begins anew.  Each of our regional deans is asked to assess all of the students within their region who remain on the waitlist.  We then, as a staff or Committee, try to determine who the most competitive students are that remain on the waitlist.  We will continue to do this throughout the process until our class is full.

How are students admitted from the waitlist notified?
Step 1:
Initially we reach out to any student by phone (we will first call the cell phone if provided in the application and then the home phone if listed).  If we are not able to reach a student at any phone number we will leave messages and follow up via email.  These messages will ask you to get in touch with us (specifically the regional dean who reached out) within a day or two.  The initial contact will be done to assess whether or not you remain interested in attending W&M.  SO CHECK YOUR VOICEMAIL AND EMAIL (and yes that’s bolded and in shouty capitals for emphasis).

Step 2: If you remain interested, we will send your Good Things email that evening and put an admit pack in the mail to you the next day.  If you do not remain interested, we will withdraw your application.  If you do not respond to our messages, we will do one more follow-up email and then withdraw your application.

Step 3: If you are admitted, we ask you to make the enrollment deposit as soon as humanly possible.  We do allow two weeks to make that final commitment if necessary, but we ask that students be as expedient as possible with this process.  First, it’s in your best interest (the sooner you make your decision the sooner you can move forward with new student transition materials for W&M).  Second, if you are not serious about the offer, please decline it so that we can make the offer to another interested student.

Step 4: Once you submit an enrollment deposit you will have access to the online site designed specifically for entering students.  Those admitted from the waitlist have not missed any deadlines or programs.  They are on the same footing as those admitted in April.

Step 5: We will continue to assess where our class stands and if additional offers of admission can be made.  This process can certainly take several weeks to run its course.  As previously noted, we will be in contact with all students who remain on the waitlist by June 15 (via email) to provide an additional update.

Our process will likely be in this state of flux for the next few weeks as we reach out to those initial students we wish to admit from the waitlist.  We will do our best to keep everyone informed should there be any additional helpful information.

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