For the third consecutive year, William & Mary received a record number of Early Decision applications for its next first-year class.

Reflecting a 27% increase over the past two years, the university received a total of 1,586 applications for both rounds of the Early Decision process, up 9% from last year.

The Early Decision process allows students who have identified William & Mary as their top choice the opportunity to apply early in exchange for their commitment to enroll if offered admission. William & Mary offers two Early Decision opportunities. Round one Early Decision applicants for the Class of 2028 were notified of their status in December 2023, and round two applicants were notified in late January.

“While we celebrate breaking yet another record, what we are really excited about is the caliber of applicants we are seeing for the Class of 2028,” said Tim Wolfe, associate vice president for enrollment and dean of admission. “We look forward to continuing to build this extraordinary class over the next few months as we finish our review of Regular Decision applications and then welcome our admitted students to campus in April.”

Since fall 2020, the university has seen an increase in total applications of about 25%. While the university is still reviewing Regular Decision applications, Wolfe anticipates growth in total applications over last year. Regular Decision applicants will be notified of their status in late March.

Wolfe said that the Early Decision record and increase in total applications can be attributed in large part to work being done by his team and partners around campus to reach prospective students and promote the university’s unique offerings, including the most personal education of any public university in the nation.

Those efforts include increased recruitment travel, robust campus events for prospective students and enhanced communication and marketing campaigns. In recent years, the university has especially focused on outreach to limited-income and first-generation students through such initiatives as the recently launched Commonwealth Impact Partnership Program

While numbers are still being finalized, this year’s total pool of applications is expected to include an approximate 20% increase in applications from those who applied with fee waivers. It is also expected to include an approximate 22% increase in applications from first-generation, in-state students. The university’s goal is to increase the number of in-state, Pell grant-eligible students on campus to 20% by 2026.

Although the Early Decision portion of the admission cycle is complete, Wolfe and his team still have tough work ahead as they review Regular Decision applications and continue building the Class of 2028.

“We are impressed with the academic accomplishments of the applicants, but also by their stories, experiences and talents,” said Wolfe. “Having such a large pool makes our decision making all the more difficult, but we know it will ultimately lead to an outstanding first-year class.”

, Senior Associate Director of University News