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Is there an advantage in applying ED to Williams?

johnstittjohnstitt 3 replies2 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 5 New Member
Williams is probably my number one choice. I know there's a significantly higher ED admission rate for Williams than RD, but I read online that most of the admitted ED students are recruited athletes, leaving actually a very limited number of openings for non-athletes. Is this true?

While I was on varsity cross country and track throughout high school, I'm not fast enough to be recruited. As xc/track was one of my main extracurriculars, would it be seen as less "valuable" than other extracurriculars (like music, debate, student gov) because I wasn't recruited?
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Replies to: Is there an advantage in applying ED to Williams?

  • TheGreyKingTheGreyKing 2045 replies98 discussionsForum Champion Williams College Posts: 2,143 Forum Champion
    Welcome to College Confidential, @johnstitt!

    Although many athletes are admitted to Williams early decision, so the ED advantage for all applicants is not as strong as it may initially appear, it also is true that many students are admitted early decision to Williams who are not athletes. Experience with the ED admitted students’ chat group makes that very clear: students were from all interests, places, walks of life.

    Think of it this way. With about 47% of the class admitted through early decision, if it is a top choice for you and you are confident that you would not have regrets about closing other options were you to be admitted, ED is a smart choice to increase your odds. By being admitted to the first half of the class, if you are from North Dakota, or play the oboe, or are a member of an underrepresented minority group, or a first generation student, or a legacy, you will receive full consideration before those slots are filled by other talented students who could fill those same slots.

    But if you want to keep your options open, do not despair. Lots of students are admitted RD every year. In fact, more are admitted RD than ED, because many of the people admitted RD end up picking another college, so they have to admit plenty of RD applicants to account for that.

    And choose your extracurricular activities by what you actually want to do! Have fun in high school doing what you love. There are tons of students at Williams who were high school athletes who put tons of time into their sport in high school but were nowhere good enough to even think about playing on a varsity team at Williams. Your activities do not just match to needs at Williams. They show what matters to you as an individual and what you made of the opportunities available to you.

    Best of luck in your college search and application process!
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  • am9799am9799 914 replies27 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 941 Member
    Until visiting Williams I never been to a college info session that they did not say at lest one good thing about ED. At a minimum they said "if our college is your first choice you "should" consider applying ED. " Well the Williams admission officer said that even if Williams is your first choice you could still take your time and apply RD. She clearly said that the ED higher acceptance rate is for people that they would be admitted anyway. She was very, very clear about it. Almost discouraging people for applying ED. It was weird. People kept asking questions and she kept insisting that really you do not get any advantage.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 28256 replies56 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 28,312 Senior Member
    edited June 29
    There is a distinct advantage. More than half the seats are filled by ED. Not all athletes apply ED either. Nor do necessarily the best candidates as many of them are saving their early card for HPY et al.
    edited June 29
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  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 1881 replies25 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,906 Senior Member
    edited June 29
    If not recruited, OP's XC experience will be considered an EC, similar to band, etc.

    ED odds are probably higher than RD, even after stripping out recruited athletes, URMs/Questbridge and legacy/donor connected applicants, but it is difficult to guesstimate the degree of advantage.

    @HPTD12 wrote:
    Some base assumptions: 30% of Williams students are athletes and 3/4 of the athletes are admitted ED. That means of 550 entering freshmen, about 123 are athletes admitted ED.
    So the ED admit rate of non-athletes would be 132/565 = 23%

    This estimate of 123 recruited athletes is too high. NESCAC schools get 14 football slots, 2 for every other sport. Williams has 30 sports, so that's a max of 72 slots. Various reports over the years from the Williams Record and Ephblog suggest that Williams limits the slots beyond the maximum allowed by the conference...one article cites only 66 slots are typically allowed per year. Many student-athletes walk-on to Williams teams (were not recruited athletes)...that's how the teams get filled out and total estimate of athletes at Williams ranges from 30%-40%.

    These estimates also do not take into account URMs/Questbridge/WOW attendees and legacy/connected donor applicants....and these students are a significant proportion of those accepted. We don't have the ED/RD breakdowns, but 254 Class of 2023 acceptances across both ED and RD were from Questbridge (254/1,205 or 21% of total acceptances). Another 139 acceptances were from WOW attendees (11.5% of total acceptances). https://communications.williams.edu/news-releases/3_19_2019_class2023/

    These numbers (32.5% of total acceptances were just QB and WOW, about another 5-6% athletes and some % of legacy/donor kids) illustrate how difficult it is for an unhooked applicant to be accepted to Williams, whether ED or RD.

    edited June 29
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  • HPTD12HPTD12 82 replies3 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 85 Junior Member
    @Mwfan1921 so to answer the OP's original question...using only 72 athletes (more on that in a minute) and again assuming 3/4 go ED, then the idea of a non-athlete's changes ED at William get even better! The non-athlete ED admit rate would be 201/634=32%. Even if all 72 athletes went ED, the non-athlete ED acceptance rate would be 30%.
    The reality is that the number of athletic slots quoted above is for "tips," not for the actual number of recruits ( and recruits are not told - "you are a tip" or "you are not a tip"). For example, Williams will have at least 20 new football recruits this fall (and all NESCACs will have more than 14): http://www.d3boards.com/index.php?topic=4146.15720
    All recruits, regardless of tip status, are strongly encouraged to apply ED or risk their roster spot.
    So to be on the safe side, the ED admit rate for non-athletes is in the 23-32% range, far greater than the RD rate, i.e. there is indeed an advantage to applying ED to Williams. Best of luck!
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  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 1881 replies25 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,906 Senior Member
    edited June 29
    @hptd12 ED acceptance rate for an unhooked applicant is unlikely to be >20%. Again, you are not including all the other hooked candidates (beyond athletes, who absolutely do know if they have a tip, or only soft support or no support 'you can be on the team if you get in on your own') that also go thru ED (QB, WOW, URMs, legacy, donors).

    We don't have percentages for all of those groups by round of admission, but URMs are easily 25%+ of the acceptances in both rounds (again, just QB and WOW acceptances were 32.5% of the total for class of 2023 and most of those are URM). Another 10% of class of 2023 was international students, further decreasing available spots for unhooked candidates.
    edited June 29
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 32625 replies349 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 32,974 Senior Member
    edited June 29
    NO one gets admitted in any ED round simply for being interested, applying early, and promising to attend if accepted.

    You need to be a fully compelling applicant. To be that, you need to understand what they look for. If you aren't 100%, NO advantage. Some colleges will deny and some defer a "maybe."

    So really, this is more about match and less about non-athlete hooks.

    Kids like the idea they can lock in. Adcoms want the kids they won't regret locking in. And they know they still have RD applicants, some of whom will be great matches.
    edited June 29
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 28256 replies56 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 28,312 Senior Member
    Bear in mind that not all, not even half of all recruited athletes go ED at most schools. I know many many athletes over the years and most do not go ED
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  • writingpumpkin03writingpumpkin03 138 replies6 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 144 Junior Member
    @cptofthehouse Does that apply to Williams and other NESCACs, though, where I've read that athletes are encouraged to apply ED?

    This is only anecdotal and probably unhelpful, but as a student accepted ED, a huge number of other early admits appeared to be athletes, whether they were recruited, got soft support, or were walk-ons.
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  • TheGreyKingTheGreyKing 2045 replies98 discussionsForum Champion Williams College Posts: 2,143 Forum Champion
    Your “bucket” matters, too. A bunch of friends at Williams all requested their admissions files and compared notes. Some of them had been admitted ED, some RD. They saw their academic ratings, their overall recommendation ratings, their checked-off special “attributes” (like being African American, etc.), and- fascinatingly- the committee that had evaluated them. For example, one student’s file noted, “Decision rendered by the First Generation Committee,” another student’s file noted, “Decision rendered by the Division Two Committee,” and yet another’s noted, “Decision rendered by the Institutional Ties Committee.”

    ED probably increases your chance of being one of the people admitted from your bucket of similar applicants, before many of those spots already have been filled. But make no mistake- you are competing against applicants of similar backgrounds to your own.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 28256 replies56 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 28,312 Senior Member
    Only about 250 spots are open for Williams ED. About the same number left for RD. But a lot more applicants for RD.

    My son , and a number of athletes we well knew applied to Williams and like schools. Only one applied ED. Many athletes are still looking at other options and won’t cinch an ED deal. Also a lot of schools deal with athlete apps completely off the grid. Some of those athletes already signed junior year, some are ED, some are signed and go through a whole different process other students. Some even accepted after the app season. I do not believe majority of the athletes at Williams and like schools applied ED.

    What IS missing from the ED pool are the kids with very top stats going SCEA at HPYSM and ED at Ivies other select schools who will be looking Williams if they are rejected or deferred early.
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  • writingpumpkin03writingpumpkin03 138 replies6 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 144 Junior Member
    @cptofthehouse Unless we have an inside look at admissions (which we don't), neither of us have a basis for our statements that's not anecdotal. I suppose we'll just have to leave it at that :)
    I don't doubt the second part of your comment, but it applies to essentially all non-HYPSM schools. OP is asking specifically about Williams--to answer them, I'd say that yes, applying ED does confer an advantage regardless of how athletics work.
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 32625 replies349 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 32,974 Senior Member
    Again, no advantage if you aren't a top candidate.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 28256 replies56 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 28,312 Senior Member
    Williams is one of the most selective schools in the country. Absolutely, the student would have to be a contender to get accepted. ED improves the odds but even 20% isn’t a slam dunk, especially knowing that there flagged applicants in the group. But there are even more applicants flagged, as well in RD. It is no big stretch to say that odds are slightly better for anyone applying to Willians and most schools early.
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