Thursday, November 30, 2023

W&M did not require ACT or SAT scores for college admission this year. How are they sorting through applicants?

Prospective students applying to William & Mary this year do not have to submit their SAT or ACT scores as part of their application.(WYDaily/Courtesy of Stephen Salpukas, W&M News)
Prospective students applying to William & Mary this year do not have to submit their SAT or ACT scores as part of their application.(WYDaily/Courtesy of Stephen Salpukas, W&M News)

Countless universities across the county have adjusted their expectations for students because of the coronavirus pandemic, from requiring masks and social distancing measures on campus to limiting indoor gatherings and updating their housing policies.

In May, William & Mary announced undergraduate students applying for the 2020-2021 school year were not required to submit their SAT and ACT exam scores.

The purpose was to give students more flexibility because the coronavirus caused many testing sites to close.

While the scores are not required, applicants can still submit their scores if they so choose.

The university also launched a three-year study to see the effects of the policy and determine whether or not it will be a temporary fix to an unprecedented pandemic or permanent fixture to the applicant process.

“The university opted to roll-out a three-year pilot to allow university officials to weigh fully the effects of the policy as a full cohort of undergraduates moves through William & Mary,” according to the news release announcing the policy change for the school year. “Studies have suggested that flexibility on the test requirements does not adversely affect class composition and in fact, encourages applications from qualified students, especially under-represented student populations.”

So how is the college evaluating applicants with this new policy in place?

“William & Mary’s admission process is holistic and takes into account many aspects of an applicant’s experience,” said Tim Wolfe, associate vice president for enrollment and dean of admission, in a prepared statement. “There are many items in our applications – William & Mary accepts both the Common Application and the Coalition Application – that provide information on an individual applicant’s strengths and perspective.”

Freshmen are required to fill out The Common Application or The Coalition Application, send their high school transcripts, a letter or recommendation for a counselor, a Secondary School Report with their midterm grades and an application fee, which can be waived.

Transfers are required to also fill out either the Common App or the Coalition Application and send an application fee, too. In addition, transfer students must submit their college transcripts, high school transcript or GED, midterm grades and College Report from their previous school.

Currently, students applying to W&M also have the option for an interview, submit an additional essay or “supplementary recommendations.” 

“In addition to a student’s transcript, extracurricular activities and recommendations from teachers and school counselors, both of these applications provide the opportunity for students to answer supplemental questions in addition to the standard essay which provide perhaps the most important information – the student’s voice,” Wolfe added. “We are always seeking to find the students for whom William & Mary will be the place where they can personally and academically grow and thrive.”


Julia Marsigliano
Julia Marsigliano
Julia Marsigliano is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She covers everything on the Peninsula from local government and law enforcement agencies to family-run businesses and weather updates. Before WYDaily, she covered Hampton and Newport News for WYDaily’s sister publication, HNNDaily before both publications merged in December 2018. Julia was born in Tokyo, Japan and moved to Long Island, New York in 2001. A true New Yorker, she loves pizza, bagels and good Chinese food. Send comments, tips and other tidbits to You can follow her on Twitter at @jmarsigliano

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