434 apply for Early Decision admission

In the weeks leading up to the Nov. 10 deadline, the Admissions Office has received a host of early decision (ED) applications for the Class of 2015. As of Nov. 11, the admission office counted 434 ED applications, but they expect approximately another 100 applications with the next two weeks.

“We are still very much in flux,” said Dick Nesbitt, director of admission. “We can estimate how many applications we have, but a lot of them will still come in.”

Nesbitt said admissions received 392 applications by its ED deadline last year, but in total received 538 ED applications. “My guess is that once the dust settles, we should be in last year’s range,” Nesbitt said. “That is pretty consistent compared to the last 10 to 15 years.”

According to Nesbitt, the admission rate for ED can range from 35 percent to 40 percent, while the regular decision rate is usually 18 percent. The higher admission rate during the ED process could be misleading for a few reasons, Nesbitt added.

First, a large number of ED applicants are athletes who have been recruited by specific coaches and teams. Second, a disproportionate number of legacy students apply ED because Williams is their first choice.

“The same criteria is applied in ED and regular decision,” Nesbitt said. Even though the Admissions Office does not cap the number of students they can accept during the ED process, the target number for the Class of 2015 is 550 students. “How [many] we admit will be a byproduct of the diversity of the pool,” Nesbitt said.

Nesbitt also said that admissions expects to receive about eight to 10 matches from QuestBridge, a program that connects low-income students with 29 top schools for full four-year scholarship. However, these students are not counted in the ED applicant pool.

Also, some students are encouraged to convert to ED applications if they do not meet the required zero parental contribution after they are reviewed by the Financial Aid office, Nesbitt said.

Members of the admission office will begin to sort and alphabetize the ED application data and calculate geographic breakdowns of the pool within the next weeks.

The assistant admission directors will begin conferencing after the first week of December to select students from the ED pool.
Admissions will notify students of their admission status by mail and electronically on Dec. 15.