Early Decision Question Answered: What Decisions are Made During ED

We Admit It!  College admission is confusing.  There’s Early Action, Early Decision, Regular Decision, rolling admission.  And then, once you’ve figured out which deadline you’re applying under (W&M offers Early and Regular Decision only), there are numerous decisions you can receive.  So to clear up some of that confusion, this blog is dedicated to the three types of decisions you can receive should you apply to W&M under the Early Decision deadline.

Admit: Admit It!  No one applies to college under any deadline hoping for a decision other than this one.  The percentage of students admitted during Early Decision varies from year to year based on numerous factors.  Generally speaking, we admit approximately 45% of those who apply Early Decision.  Those students are then committed to attending W&M the following fall (in this year’s case they become the first members of William & Mary’s class of 2018).  At the time of admission, they must withdraw all other outstanding applications to other colleges and submit an enrollment deposit to W&M.

Defer: Most of the students who apply Early Decision who are not admitted are deferred.  This means that your application will be reviewed again during Regular Decision and another decision will be sent to you in early April.  Those who are deferred are encouraged to update their applications with any new academic information (new standardized test scores, first-semester grades, etc.).  Your original application plus any updates you send will be reviewed again in the context of our larger Regular Decision pool.

Deny: A small cohort (usually 10-15%) of those students who apply Early Decision will get a final decision of deny in December.  While obviously the least desirable outcome, if a student applies who is not competitive for admission, and who no matter what won’t become competitive for admission, we will make that final decision during Early Decision rather than having the student cling to false hope until April.  This decision is used sparingly and only for those students who across the board, fall short when compared to the other students who are and who will be applying for admission.

So there you have it.  One application deadline, three possible outcomes.  For those who apply Early Decision, our Decisions, Decisions blog, posted when decisions are released, will provide additional information on how students receive admission decisions and additional context on what each decision means.

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