A peek into the lives of those who learn, teach, research and work at the College.
March 26, 2014 by Admit It!
We Admit It! The time has come. Decision emails are being sent at this very moment. The long wait is finally over. Below is all of the information you need to know regarding how we release decisions. Additionally, we put out three additional blogs; one for each type of decision (accept, waitlist and deny). We ask that you read your decision email and the blogs carefully as they should answer most questions you might have.
How Decisions Are Released
- All students who applied Regular Decision who had a completed application and all Early Decision deferred students will receive their decision via email, regardless of decision.
- Emails are sent to the email address you provided in your Common Application.
- Decisions are emailed to the student only. Parents will not receive a copy.
- We are in the process of queuing up and sending over 13,000 individual emails. This takes several hours. We cannot predict exactly when your email will land in your inbox. Please be patient as this process plays out.
- The sender of the email will be “College of William & Mary.”
- The subject will be “Good Things” Or “William & Mary Admission Decision.”
- Those admitted will also receive an admission package in the mail. Those who are waitlisted and denied will only receive an email.
What to Do if You Do Not Receive a Decision
- DO NOT PANIC. Not receiving an email does not imply anything about your decision.
- Please first check your spam and junk folders as some email clients may send our emails there.
- Contact our office during business hours via phone (757-221-4223) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). We will investigate further. We will follow up with you if there’s a reason we did not release a decision (maybe your application remains incomplete) or we will try to resend the email using a different email tool. All emails we resend get sent after 5:00pm each weekday evening. We will also send a hard copy of your decision via mail in case for whatever reason you cannot receive our email.
Students Who Applied to the Joint Degree Programme
- For the most part, decisions for both applications will come in the same email.
- If the email you get tonight does not mention your decision regarding the Joint Degree Programme, you will receive another email with that decision later this week (those who applied ED and to the Joint Degree Programme will receive a decision via email later this week for the Joint Degree Programme).
Regardless of the decision you receive, we appreciate the time and effort each of you put into your applications. All of you have accomplished so much and should be so proud of yourselves. Whether your college search ends in Williamsburg or elsewhere, we wish all of you the best as this process comes to a close.
Wendy Livingston ’03, M.Ed. ‘09
Associate Dean of Admission
March 26, 2014 by Admit It!
We Admit It! You all blow us away. You are smart, talented, accomplished, interesting individuals. Out of the over 14,500 applications, you stood out. We couldn’t be more excited for what awaits the Class of 2018. Yes, “Good Things” means what you think it means. Congratulations! You’re in.
We encourage you to visit the welcome website linked in your “Good Things” email. There you’ll find tons of info about how to visit campus as an admitted student (Day for Admitted Students, April 12, is the bomb if we do say so ourselves), a timeline of what’s to come, all of our Class of 2018 social media outlets and so much more about what we hope is your future alma mater. There’s even a welcome video we made in your honor (and we Admit It!, it brought some of us to tears – in a happy way of course).
In the coming days you’ll receive more information in the mail. Your admission package includes much of the information on the welcome website, but also additional information about tuition and financial aid notifications (those who applied for aid will receive an email notification in the next week or so and will be able to view their package online), enrollment deposit information, an admission letter signed by Dean Broaddus and a little W&M swag just for you.
In the meantime, scream, shout, pat yourself on the back, do a happy dance. You’ve earned it. Oh, and post your reactions on social media using #wm2018. Tribe Pride is a powerful thing. The #wm2018 hashtag is just one example.
Congratulations again from all of us in the Admission Office. We hope to see you on campus in the fall.
Wendy Livingston ’03, M.Ed. ‘09
Associate Dean of Admission
March 26, 2014 by Admit It!
Admit It! This is not the decision you hoped for. We totally get that. We know that you had hoped for an answer, something final…and a waitlist isn’t that. Please understand that the small size of W&M is what attracts so many great students to apply. That leaves us with so many outstanding students worthy of admission and some tough decisions to make. Those students who we waitlist are very, very qualified. You are students who we’d love to have here on our campus if we just had a little more room in the entering class. You didn’t do anything wrong, or to put it another way, there’s nothing you could have done differently or better. You are competitive for admission, and if we are able to admit students from the waitlist, we will consider your application again.
So what do you do now? Well, first consider the options that you do have, and make sure you submit an enrollment deposit to one of them so you ensure yourself a space in the entering class next fall. Then consider whether or not you wish to attend W&M if given the chance. You don’t have to make that decision right away. Give yourself a few days or even a few weeks. If you do still seriously wish to be considered, then submit your waitlist response via the link in your decision email.
Waitlisted students do not need to submit any additional materials to us. However, if you wish to submit final grades when they become available, please do. Furthermore, you can submit a statement of continued interest to us (either via your regional dean or via our office in general).
After that, it’s truly a waiting game, for both you and for us. We will closely monitor our enrollment in the freshman class between now and early to mid-May. This blog will provide updates in May if there are updates to share (sometimes, as we wait, the update is that there is no update). There is no way to predict whether or not we will go to the waitlist. Linked in your decision email is a waitlist FAQ. Review it when you can; it answers most questions about this process. If we are able to admit additional students we have to then review those students on the waitlist, convene the Committee and decide who among those students is the most competitive for admission. This process takes some time. We do promise to send an update via email to all students remaining on the waitlist by mid-June.
Until then, we wish you all the best as your college search concludes.
Wendy Livingston ’03, M.Ed. ‘09
Associate Dean of Admission
March 26, 2014 by Admit It!
You can Admit It! You’re likely sad. Maybe angry. Maybe deflated. Likely confused. You may be none too pleased with us at the moment. All of those feelings and more are absolutely valid. We honestly don’t equate a deny with a rejection, but we know that comparison is made; and regardless of semantics this decision is not an easy one to make or to receive. Understand that we never vote to reject or deny applicants; we simply vote to admit others.
This year our applicant pool was the largest ever – over 14,500 applications. From that group we’re admitting only 1/3 of those who apply (the admission rate is even lower for out-of-state students). Statistically, the odds are simply against any student who applies. That’s the truly unfortunate part of selective admission – we have to send out more bad news than good. Being denied does not mean you’re unqualified or unaccomplished. The students we deny are smart, talented, social, interesting and successful. In an applicant pool such as ours, the majority of applicants are smart, talented, social, interesting and successful individuals. Most of the students we deny are more than capable of being successful students at W&M. This decision is not a reflection of you; it’s a reflection of how competitive our applicant pool is.
Here’s the best way we know how to provide some perspective on how competitive our pool is. Say you’re in the top 10% of your class. In your high school, you’re performing at a level that’s better than 90% of your peers. What you’re doing is exceptional in your environment. In selective applicant pools like W&M, being in the top 10% of your class is commonplace. That doesn’t diminish how impressive that achievement is, it just provides some perspective on the students we’re evaluating. It’s not the spectrum from 0-100 that’s applying; it’s just those in the 90-100 bracket from high schools across the nation and the world. And that’s true across the board. It’s that 90-100 bracket for grades, for standardized test scores, for extracurricular involvement, for leadership, and so on. So you’re competing with the best of the best for a limited number of spaces.
We recognize that no matter what perspective we provide, no matter what we say, it likely doesn’t lessen the sting of this decision. You are an amazing person and not admitting you is our loss. As we’ve said in previous deny edition blogs, it’s not you, it’s us. We are truly sorry the outcome couldn’t be more positive. We know however that our loss is another college’s gain. We wish you nothing but happiness and success at whatever school you choose.
Wendy Livingston ’03, M.Ed. ‘09
Associate Dean of Admission
March 24, 2014 by David Aday
We have worried about the value of our annual clinic since we first opened the doors in 2007. We intended NOT to be a duffle-bag medicine project—arriving with U.S.-based notions about what our patients might need and dropping off short-dated medicines in small quantities. Eight years later, we’re still trying to find ways to make our clinical efforts smarter, better founded, more integrated with local medical and health efforts, truer to the needs of our partners. We are encouraged by this year’s meeting with Dr. Blanco. We hope that our evolving relationship with the Totogalpa clinic will allow us to be more strategic and more attuned to needs defined by those who have responsibility for providing health care on a continuing basis.
Our community-based approach inclines us to learn as much as possible from those who live in the communities we intend to serve with health care efforts. Our work in Chaguite has provided us with systematic information and increasing understanding of the health and health care needs of residents of that community. We know better than to generalize these understandings to residents of the remaining communities that comprise Cuje—the micro-region served by our annual clinic. We envisioned a Cuje-level Comite de Salud (CdS; Health Committee) that would comprise representatives of residents of each of the communities. We imagined collecting information from brigadistas in each of the communities and we hoped that we might, through snowball sampling and sociometric techniques, identify such a group as a start for consulting with residents about ways to make our clinic more responsive.
In pursuit of that goal, we reprised our satellite-sites approach to the annual clinic this year. The objective was to take each day’s clinic as close as possible to the geographic center of the remote communities of Cuje. Working from those locations, we would dispatch team researchers to conduct interviews with the communities’ brigadistas and with members of randomly selected households to identify community residents who might be (1) interested in participating in discussions about improving the clinic services; (2) trusted to represent residents’ beliefs and needs. After the first day’s efforts, student researchers reported that there is something wrong with the questions we’re asking or with the respondent-selection process. Respondents usually were able to identify their community’s brigadistas or other leaders, but they routinely reported that these people did not represent their interests, did not understand their needs, and did not work with them or on their behalf. We tweaked the questions and the general strategy and tried again the next day. The results were unchanged.
None of the students on the current MANOS team participated in the first round of interviews in Chaguite. We were asking very similar questions then—and we got answers very similar to what we are hearing this year in other communities. That seems nearly impossible to believe now and, seen from our now customary view of collaboration in Chaguite, these other communities seem desperately (1) unfamiliar (because they are) and (2) lacking in social infrastructure (which they may be). I have the benefit of historical perspective. I recall residents of Chaguite who were able to identify two or three key leaders (some of whom were brigadistas) — and I remember the same residents saying that they do not work with these leaders and that these leaders do not represent their interests. I remember the leaders saying that they try to hold community meetings but that residents will not attend and will not collaborate in projects with potential value for the whole community.
This year’s effort to “sample” our way into some rough understanding of the other communities and their social infrastructures was a well-intended effort to find a short-cut for gaining information from residents throughout Cuje. We want to hear their voices as we think about how our clinic can be more than duffle-bag medicine. At this moment, it does not appear that there is a short-cut, no substitute for the years of work in the community, on the ground, in the homes, working with good social science methods to learn, using the resulting information and knowledge to build relationships.
Dr. John Showalter (M.D., Knoxville, TN) played a significant role in our follow-up conversation with Dr. Blanco (Totogalpa Clinic Director). His understanding of our approach and shared frustration with the apparent limited value of our annual clinical efforts were crucial to the discussion. Speaking medical professional to medical professional, Dr. Showalter was able to convince Dr. Blanco of our determination to be more than another itinerant bunch with good intentions. We will do all we can to build on this step forward.
Dr. Showalter joined us at the end of the week in two additional meetings, one at a medical school in Managua and the second at the American Nicaraguan Foundation (more on that in a later post). Through inquiries by Kristina Ripley, we have been in contact with a professor of medicine at this university. We toured the medical school, talked briefly about our projects in Cuje, and learned about our host’s interests in extending health services to the under-served in Managua. Dr. Showalter inquired about good strategies for short-term, annual clinical projects and about sources of medicines that would be appropriate for the Cuje population. His participation in the discussions clearly elevated the seriousness with which are efforts are regarded by this local medical professional.
Baby steps—but they seem to be in a good direction. We don’t know yet how to make our clinic more responsive and more responsible. We’ll add more research on brigade and short-term, international clinical approaches to our work for the remainder of the semester and it will top the list of topics for next fall’s seminar.
March 24, 2014 by David Aday
In November 0f 2009, I wrote that SHC was becoming MANOS and that the timing seemed more than incidental. (And, it happened even before Chrissy Sherman joined the team.) It seemed clear to me then that the project was evolving from the “service learning” group of 2006 and was finding its way. The new name, Medical Aid Nicaragua: Outreach Scholarship, was in part a proclamation of vision: to learn, to research, to engage with, to be mindful of presumptions about what we’re doing and how it may be received by those with whom we intend to partner.
In a post dated March 11, 2010, I noted that we would begin this year to focus our community efforts in Chaguite. We estimated that there are about 40 houses in this community and by the end of the 2010 March trip, we were close to completing interviews in all of the homes. From the same trip, I described meeting with a local “brigidista.” His name is Ysidro and it’s clear that he works very hard to care for his family and still finds time to serve in a volunteer capacity that involves “looking after” the health and health care needs of the community.
And so it is 2014, and we keep coming back—now routinely three times each year, in some fashion: Small teams in January (like the one this year that facilitated community meetings with representatives of our newest partners from the Engineers Without Borders chapter at Cal Poly – Pomona); the full team each March; and a team of three to eight students in the summers. The work proceeds—slowly, deliberately, sometimes seemingly as much sideways as forward, but always as fully as possible in step with community partners. Chrissy Sherman ’14 has traveled to do research in the community eight times, as has Lester Chavez ’14. Other experienced team members have traveled from three to seven times each and, through that dedication, have developed understandings, appreciations, and real friendships within the community.
We now know the residents of the households in Chaguite, which number about 50. We have mapped the region, the households, the health problems and assets. We seem to be realizing the vision in our name—and we continue to worry about our presence, our role, our relationships, and our partnership. Through repeated interviews in all households in the community, we have come to know residents and we have learned about their health and healthcare concerns, needs, and priorities. We learned about the leaders and about interpersonal networks – those groups of people who communicate with one another and collaborate on occasion. In our earliest interviews, we were struck by the paucity of communications and collaboration even as residents were able to identify “leaders.” Residents told us that they did not work with leaders and that leaders did not work with them or understand their concerns and needs. Through Social Networks Analysis (SNA), we identified “organic” networks of communication, groups of residents who do talk together and we encouraged them to meet together and with us to help us to understand the health and healthcare priorities. They were modest in number, scope, and inclusiveness.
The social networks analysis (SNA) techniques enabled us to calculate measures of “network density” (the proportion of interpersonal connections reported as a proportion of the total possible connections for the respondents). It is an imperfect method and an imperfect indicator, but SNA measures of network density provide an empirical and quantitative way to gauge communications and collaboration within communities. In general, there is inadequate research to allow us to estimate what levels of density are “normal” or “typical,” but at a minimum, we can take measures at different points in time and compare these to observe change. Our first round of research provided a network density estimate of less than two percent – that is, of all the dyadic (two-person) relationships that might exist in the community, less than two percent were reported as existing.
We have been working with these organic groups (which we began calling “regional groups”) for several years now and through communications within and across these groups, have worked with residents to create and authorize a five-year plan to improve health and healthcare. Through these groups, we have partnered with the community to advance a project with Engineers Without Borders (EWB). We strongly suspect that our next round of SNA research will reveal significant changes in the level of estimated network density. We believe, further, that network density is crucial to the development of effective social infrastructure – the organizing of resources, activities, and tasks needed for communities to collaborate to build sustainable solutions to shared problems. We won’t know until we do a second round of systematic research, but it appears that levels of communication and collaboration have increased markedly over the last four years as we have encouraged engagement through the organic networks and participation through these in regular community meetings. (We’ll be sure to report our findings to Chrissy Sherman no matter where her FOMO efforts may take her next.)
This year, we undertook interviews in households that have not been represented regularly (or at all) in regional group meetings or community meetings. We are trying to understand how we might make engagement in community-level efforts to improve health more inviting, more accessible. We were accompanied by community members from the respective regional groups in our hope to engage residents more fully in our research efforts. The residents were more inclined to chastise those we visited than we preferred and we encouraged a point of view that emphasizes the value for all in increasing participation—particularly in the developing project to provide access to water for everyone in the community.
In a final note: Chrissy Sherman once drove for approximately 3 seconds in Nicaragua.
March 21, 2014 by David Aday
The MANOS advance team (Johnathan Maza ’15; 5th project trip); Stephanie Wraith ’15, fourth project trip; Sarah Martin ’17, 1st project trip; and me, 8th project trip) met with Dr. Benito Blanco, Medical Director of the MINSA clinic in Totogalpa, Nicaragua. We summarized our medical and community efforts over the past seven years in Cuje (micro-region) and the community of Chaguite. Dr. Blanco expressed appreciation for these efforts—and some mild aggravation about the lack of coordination of our efforts with his office. He noted that our clinic has been helpful but could be more effective through such coordination. We agree—and we are encouraged by his perspective. We’ve been urging that point of view since 2007. There are several plausible explanations for and possibly contributing factors to the lack of effective partnering to date. It is likely, for example, that for the first several years the local medical professionals saw no reason to believe that we would keep coming. There was a different clinic director when we began. He’s now the mayor of the municipality of Totogalpa. And, when we began, the region was in a deep drought and even the most meager of resources had dried up. At that time, we found the clinic woefully under-staffed and with the most minimal medicines and equipment. There was a “siege” kind of feeling about the operation and the clinic staff seemed more than satisfied for us to do anything—without much consideration of strategic advantages.
The entire region has seen remarkable improvements over the last several years: more rain, resurgence of flora and fauna following the transformation of the ecology through clear-cutting of the evergreen forests, a relatively stable government, and increased presence and investment of national and international NGOs. Like the clinic, the mayor’s office, where we met with the Sub-mayor and the General Secretary of Community Cabinets, the facilities were in good repair and had an air of organizational efficiency that clearly was absent when we visited earlier.
It seems likely that these things have contributed most to the current moment for engagements: (1) Success by Dr. Blanco and his colleagues and staff in gaining and using resources to achieve organizational and professional goals; (2) the increase in NGO presence in the area, leading to a sense of need and possibility for strategic arrangements; and (3) our persistence in returning to the area.
We do not quibble with Dr. Blanco’s view that more can be done through better collaboration. That, essentially, is our mantra.
We met also with officials in the mayor’s office. We heard a similar message and we embraced that with equal enthusiasm. We deserve and take no credit for their (seemingly) increased enthusiasm to partner—other than our persistent effort to learn from them how we can best work with them to partner with communities to improve health and health care. Readiness to partner involves more than one potential participant. And, in the current era of volunteering, service, service learning, engaged scholarship, action research, and participatory development, it seems necessary to establish proper creds in order to expect authentic discussions about the role that might be played by outsiders.
March 21, 2014 by Skyler Paltell
Mark Edmundson’s essay, Who Are You and What Are You Doing Here, was one of the first things I read for my creative writing class this semester. It was interesting, mainly for its syntax—it was relatable, directed toward undergraduates, but still combined an interesting vocabulary with a personally relevant subject. And secondly, it was perhaps the first, if not the only, piece I have read in my college career that was entirely about college. In the essay, Edmundson described his own undergraduate experience, his experiences teaching, and what higher education meant to him; he combines humor with solemnity, memories from the past with hopes for the future. He raised existential questions, forced me to think seriously about who I am, and what exactly I’m doing in college. As a student with an interest in pursuing a career in higher education, this was the first time I could actually connect with a written work we studied in class—it was a beautifully written, personally relevant piece.
And so when Edmundson came to speak to the English Department yesterday, I was more than thrilled. Here was a man, a brilliant man, who advocated studying a subject purely out of interest, for pursuing a career based on long term personal and career goals rather than salary, and for exploring the meaning of the self—what it is to be a young adult on the precipice of a career. In his lecture, Edmundson divided career paths into three ideals: Compassion, Courage, and Contemplation, and stated that essentially every career path correlates with an ideal (save for the arts, which constitute a separate ideal.) And here he was, this man who inspired me and gave me hope through his words, standing ten feet away and telling me I could choose a job I loved, simply because I loved it.
This is one of those moments when I felt so incredibly fortunate to be an undergraduate at William & Mary—this speaker, whose fame could not perhaps compete with the likes of Maya Angelou and the Dalai Lama, could journey here and talk to students like me, students whose lives he has changed without knowing. I had thought I had chosen the wrong major—the classic works of Dickinson and Dickens and James simply don’t hold the allure they used to. I know now that I have not chosen the wrong subject to study—I simply just needed to be re-inspired, to see English as something relatable and pertinent, rather than dusty novels from centuries past. Seeing an author—one who was very much alive, and acquainted with modernity, put English in perspective. Words will always be relevant, ideas will always inspire, and I do have the power to choose a career simply on the basis of personal ideals. I just needed someone to reaffirm it.
March 20, 2014 by Admission Ambassador
I remember the first time I learned the word “misnomer.” I was reading The Reptile Room by Lemony Snicket, which found the unfortunate Baudelaire orphans living with their uncle, a herpetologist who had recently discovered a snake called “The Incredibly Deadly Viper.” The snake’s name, the book went on to explain, was a misnomer, as the snake was completely harmless!
I’ve since discovered other misnomers. Like the funny bone. (It’s a nerve, not a bone.) Or the strawberry. (It’s an aggregate accessory fruit, not an actual berry. Just in case you were wondering.) My most recent discovery? “Spring Break.”
This might not make sense to those of you still in high school, for whom Spring Break arrives as a warm, sunshine-y, homework-free week in the middle of April. But for us, the term is a little more confusing. I’d argue that in college, it’s not so much a “spring break” as it as a “mid-winter pause!” This year, the first official day of break was March 1, which meant that it was still technically February as most students packed their bags and headed home. Although I escaped the cold weather for a few days when visiting my sister in California, I came back to find my Northern Virginia hometown coated with several more inches of snow.
While it might feel strange to celebrate “spring” with hot chocolate and snow boots, there’s something to be said for this early break. We may joke about its early arrival, but by the time break rolls around, everyone agrees that it’s a welcome respite from the stress of the first six weeks of the semester. The timing of a typical college semester may mean that “spring” comes a little earlier for us, but it also means that when high school students are buckling in for AP Exams in the beginning of May, we’re already getting ready to head home for the summer! And a summer vacation that starts in May? That’s a misnomer that I’m okay with.
- Elisabeth Bloxam
March 20, 2014 by Sarah Nicholas
I was linked to this article through Facebook, through mutual friends of mutual friends – there’s always less than seven degrees of separation between W&M and the other schools in Virginia.
After reading it – which I hope you have just done – I had two feelings: sympathy and inspiration. William & Mary does not struggle from a lack of community like George Mason might. I could argue the W&M community is so strong that it’s always there, even when you don’t need it, or don’t want it. I struggle to list examples of times when I felt entirely alone at W&M, when I was not supported by at least one friend or one professor or one random stranger. From long nights in Swem to sunny afternoons in the Sunken Garden, dismissing the feeling of community on campus is ill-advised. It’s an atmosphere – if you can’t feel it, then I suggest you walk around during finals and feel the tension in the air so thick you could slice it like chocolate cake.
Let’s start with our mission statement: “To attract outstanding students from diverse backgrounds…develop a diverse faculty…provide a challenging undergraduate program that encourages creativity, independent thought and intellectual depth, breadth, and curiosity… instill in its students an appreciation for the human condition” – amongst the better excerpts. Until I was writing this, I hadn’t stopped to read our mission statement. My thoughts? We hit the nail on the head, dead on.
But who are we, and where are we going? It’s important to recognize that much of our future is rooted in our history, but we do not limit ourselves to our traditions from the past. Sure, the vision for W&M includes the final construction of the Integrated Science Center and a new “Arts Quarter”. The College is working hard to improve student services, like dining and residence life. Students have made great strides in impacting the community of Williamsburg – Scott Foster recently announced his campaign for re-election to the Williamsburg City Council once his term is up on June 30. As early as 1699, a W&M student expressed, “That the College will help to make the Town, and the Town to make the College…”. Is this how we define our future? Is this what makes us unique? Many other universities have aspirations and plans and strategies, so no – these factors are not what set us apart.
It’s an issue for every member of the W&M community – unlike GMU, most W&M students are not commuters, but is residence really the qualifying factor? What about a “rallying point” – we did get pretty rowdy a few weeks ago with the CAA Championship. Everyone has their own favorite “historical” tradition: Commencement, Yule Log, Charter Day, and Convocation to name a few. What is the deciding factor for community? Mr. Muraca is spot on: people.
Our admission process seeks out the best people. People that, since Thomas Jefferson, have had high emotional intelligence, valued academia, and exercised moral judgment and ethical standards. We identify with each other, we celebrate each other, we impact each other. Each and every one of us is a brick in W&M’s foundation, regardless of whether or not we choose to be. This is who we are – One Tribe, One Family.