The College of Mary & Mary

For some reason I have always been interested in college admissions statistics – I have always tried to discern biases or trends or discrepancies between groups of people.

As I was doing some light reading on this subject, I came across some news regarding one of my favorite schools, The College of William & Mary. I can’t tell how much I like William and Mary and its persona and mission, but my propagating isn’t the topic of my discussion.

The news article, “The gender factor in college admissions: Do men or women have an edge” from March 26, 2014, a time period in which I was considering to which colleges to apply. The author, Nick Anderson of the Washington Post, discusses the topic of gender as element in the consideration of an college applicant.

The first quote is pretty attention-catching – “For 35 years, women have outnumbered men in American colleges.” That statement doesn’t waste any time transitioning into the conversation, and I actually appreciate that. Anderson continues to note: “At the College of William and Mary, [the admittance rate for men was] 14 points [higher],” which is actually an underestimation in 2018. Here’s the block quote expounding upon this:

“When asked about the gender variation in admission rates, a William and Mary spokesman cited a 2009 statement from the college’s dean of admission Henry Broaddus. In that statement, Broaddus acknowledged that he had been widely quoted as saying: ‘We are, after all, the College of William and Mary, not the College of Mary and Mary.’ Broaddus continued: ‘I stand by the assertion that institutions that market themselves as co-ed, and believe that the pedagogical experiences they provide rely in part on a co-ed student body, have a legitimate interest in enrolling a class that is not disproportionately male or female. On a residential campus intended to foster community among a diverse group of students that includes both men and women, this interest strikes me as entirely appropriate. ”

Included in this article was a link to the full 2009 statement which had some more nuggets of insight. “Interestingly, in response to the U.S. News article and its journalistic spawn, which cited that our admit rate was higher for male applicants than for female applicants, we ran additional numbers on admitted students for the year in question. We discovered that among males admitted to William and Mary, their mid-fiftieth percentile range on the SAT was slightly higher than the range for admitted females. The women, on the other hand, had a higher average rank in class…..And for the record, speaking as one who is proud of the fact that William and Mary admitted its first female students in 1918, well ahead of the national trend, it’s not the College of William and William either.”

Here is the link to that statement:

Currently speaking, the gender distribution at William & Mary is 42% men and 58% women, which is higher than the national average….maybe it might be time to call it the College of Wil-Mary and Mary.

I am sending a message to the admission board at William and Mary asking what they might be doing to level-out the gap, just for the hell of it. I’ll follow up this article with the response if I receive one.


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