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Record number of applicants to Williams

EphmanEphman 458 replies4 threads Member
http://williamsrecord.com/2017/02/22/applications-to-college-jump-up-22-percent/

Massive increase in applications to Williams. This follows a record number of ED applications and admissions, so it looks like a huge number of people fighting for fewer RD slots than ever.
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Replies to: Record number of applicants to Williams

  • nostalgicwisdomnostalgicwisdom 1298 replies49 threads Senior Member
    I was just about to see if there was a thread on this after a friend at Williams posted this on Facebook. I'm happy that more students are finding out about such a wonderful college and taking the step to apply there. I'm especially happy about the increased diversity in the pool, which means a broader group of applicants is learning of the college and its superb offerings. I think one thing not addressed in the article is the new Coalition application Williams is offering along with many of its peers, which may have contributed to greater outreach. But ED applicants went up a similar percent as well (https://communications.williams.edu/news-releases/12_12_2016_earlydecision/) so it can't just be that.

    I did a quick calculation, and assuming Williams takes the same number of applicants this year, the acceptance rate will be ~1200/8577 or a 13.9% admit rate, which would be, I believe, the lowest in William's history. As you pointed out, they took 11 more ED admits this year, so the RD/overall rate will be more competitive. Not the best news for applicants, but good news for the institution.
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  • doschicosdoschicos 27007 replies273 threads Senior Member
    From the link, sounds like it is due to a combo of increased efforts by admissions personnel, especially for international students, and dropping the requirement for SAT subject tests.

    I'd say it was overdue. The acceptance rate at Williams had stagnated over the past several years and the school had not been seeing the uptick in applications, and subsequent drop in acceptance rate, that many of its peers had been experiencing. Seems like some renewed efforts and a reformulated strategy did the trick.
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  • CodyChesnuttCodyChesnutt 98 replies7 threads Junior Member
    Not sure why dropping a requirement for SAT subject tests is a good thing. Williams could drop other requirements (application fee, supplemental essays) and lower their acceptance rate even further. Is this USNWR rankings gamesmanship? I'm sure Williams would say no, but I have my doubts.
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  • CodyChesnuttCodyChesnutt 98 replies7 threads Junior Member
    ^Nonsense. Fee waivers are available for qualified low income kids and preparation materials can be had through schools and libraries. The playing field will never be level, which is why Williams lowers its admission standards to fulfill its goals of recruiting more first gen, low income, and non white kids. Williams reaches those target groups primarily through outreach (WOW, admmissions counselor outreach, etc), not by changing admissions requirements to increase the number of applicants.
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  • nostalgicwisdomnostalgicwisdom 1298 replies49 threads Senior Member
    edited February 2017
    I think it's more a consequence of what its peers do than of Williams itself trying to lower their admissions rate. Many of Williams's direct peers, like Amherst, Pomona, Swarthmore, as well as several Ivies, like Columbia, Dartmouth, and U'Penn also got rid of the SAT subject test requirement after asking for them for many years. I'm not sure who led the charge (apparently Columbia according to the article below?), but Williams just followed the common trend. And their admissions office does mention that from their experience the tests provide little of note for the consideration process. I think these colleges know what they're doing.

    https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2016/08/21/sat-subject-tests-lose-favor-for-colleges/ZfYQEL2zokxVE92v7UF3SL/story.html
    edited February 2017
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  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 13238 replies247 threads Senior Member
    edited February 2017
    It's not the expense of SAT subject tests as much as the fact that many low income kids at schools with lots of other low income kids don't know about them so don't get them in time, or after the relevant class.
    edited February 2017
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  • CodyChesnuttCodyChesnutt 98 replies7 threads Junior Member
    Look, I have no issue per se with dropping the subject test requirement, but I doubt that fewer admissions requirements will substantively alter target population (low income, first gen, etc) recruiting success. Dropping requirements *will* increase the number of applications Williams receives, perhaps including many from students with no reasonable chance of admission; and *will* decrease the acceptance rate.
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  • greenteen17greenteen17 510 replies90 threads Member
    @CodyChesnutt I was just trying to point out that it can make a difference to low/lower income students when they drop the subject test requirement. I'm not first gen (my dad went to a state school and my mom to community college) but compared to many Williams applicants, my family income is somewhat low. I truly think that some people who aren't coming from college preparatory backgrounds/schools/families will eliminate schools because of requirements that they didn't have the time, resources, or money to fulfill.

    I'm curious about your opinion. Why do you think it won't alter the target population? Do you think it will just lower the caliber of the applicant pool? Personally, my ACT is in the 25th percentile for Williams. It's a high reach, but I am within their range, and I doubt I would've applied if they had still required the subject tests because by the time I got my surprisingly good scores, it was late December and I wouldn't have had time to write a decent supplement essay.
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  • nostalgicwisdomnostalgicwisdom 1298 replies49 threads Senior Member
    I think the point ultimately is that dropped subject tests are not because Williams wants to get a lower acceptance rate. They have had the same admit rate (15-18%) for the last several years. They could have jumped to opportunities to make their admit rate even lower (like Colby making the app free and removing the essay), but they don't need to, because they draw an incredibly distinguished applicant and admitted student pool even with that acceptance rate (while also ranking #1 among LACs in US News).

    Williams is a Coalition partner school, a QuestBridge partner school, a member of COFHE, and a founding member of the American Talent Initiative. The colleges within them- Ivies, Stanford, Duke, William's LAC peers- collaborate and discuss higher education in the context of drawing students from underrepresented backgrounds. It's not surprising that so many of these colleges dropped the SAT 2 requirement in 2015- they must have discussed the purpose of standardized testing and what it was doing to the applicant pool. Even schools that haven't taken a direct optional stance policy, like Harvard, have undermined the SAT 2's; Harvard states "While we normally require two SAT Subject Tests, you may apply without them if the cost of the tests represents a financial hardship or if you prefer to have your application considered without them."

    The rise in applicants isn't something that happened just at Williams this year. Every single Ivy, top university, or LAC I've seen reporting data mentions an increased number of applications this year. Williams is just noticeably higher- 22%- while most others have increased at rates of 3-8%. I think, considering Williams got rid of subject tests at the same time as the others, that this huge increase is not solely due to dropped requirements, but as the article mentions, increased outreach in many areas like international regions.
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  • SwimDad99SwimDad99 194 replies7 threads Junior Member
    I think it was mainly the dropped subject tests.
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