The incoming freshman class is shaping up to be one of the most talented and diverse ones ever, given new information from the Admissions Office on the record number of applications received not only for general admission, but also from minority students.
As of 11 February, there were 10,478 applications for admission received by the College. Even though applications are still being accepted, the number of applications already received beats the previous record by about 268 applications.
“We’re delighted that we’ve seen growth in the pool in the way that we have. We’re obviously very excited that it’s a bigger pool. I’m personally more pleased that it’s a more diverse pool than we’ve ever had,” Director of Admissions Henry Broaddus said.
Another record has been broken as well already – the number of minority students who have submitted an application to be part of the incoming freshman class. With the 11 February numbers, there were 1,891 minority student applications that the Admissions Office had received. This number is up 12% from last year and 10% higher than the previous record, held by the Class of 2007.
“I know the Admissions Office has been doing a tremendous job, and we’ve been working hand in hand with them, particularly in recruiting more students of color. It’s been a team effort in recruiting the best and brightest here at the College,” said Assistant Director of Multicultural Affairs Vernon Hurte.
The number of applicants may go up even further. Cottrell placed the final number of applications for the Class of 2009 somewhere between 10,500 and 10,600.
Early-decision applications were up as well. About a third of the new freshman class was admitted through this process, much like it has been in previous years.
Many different reasons have been cited for the increase in numbers. Both the Admissions Office and the Office of Multicultural Affairs claimed that new recruitment strategies can explain the increase in the number of applicants. Associate Provost for Admissions Karen Cottrell also gave much of the credit to President Sullivan.
“In our office we’ve been working a lot on increased outreach effort both in terms of our programming and our online initiatives, so I expect that had something to do with it. I also think WM has a reputation as a popular institution,” said Broaddus.
Each freshman class has a target size of about 1,330 students. In order to achieve this number, the College grants admission to 3,000 students. The yield is about 1 out of every 2 students that are in state and 1 out of 3 for the out-of-state students.
“I think W&M is a desirable enough institution. I expect our yield will continue to be as strong as it has been in the past,” Broaddus said. The College’s current yield is between 40 and 45%.
The hope of many is that this large pool of applicants will help make the upcoming class one of the most diverse and dynamic in the history of the College, enriching the overall “college experience.”
“I think that anytime you can make your campus more diverse it makes a positive impact on the learning environment itself. College is a time to explore and go beyond yourself and when you’re able to be in an environment where you’re able to interact with different backgrounds…. We all bring different perspectives that allow us to grow both scholarly and as human beings,” said Hurte.