Let’s spend the next few days asking questions about the future of Williams in the era of CV-19. (And, yes, I was sorely tempted to call this series “Wuhan Flu Questions,” but I resisted the trolling urge.) For each question, I want your thoughts on what will happen, what Williams will do, and what Williams should do.
Question 8: How will Williams handle gap-year requests from admitted students?
If it looks like the disruption might go on into the fall (and I would put the odds of that at 50/50 right now), there will be a lot of first years who would want to take a gap year. And who could blame them! But Williams won’t want that. Its costs, at least in terms of faculty and staff, are fixed. It has 540 seats to fill in September 2020, and it wants to fill them, even virtually.
Solution? Williams should/will probably require students to make the gap year decision much earlier, perhaps by May 31. And it should/will put some teeth on it, will insist that anyone deciding later to take a gap year will, except in exigent circumstances, have their acceptance withdrawn. With good information by May 31, it could use its wait-list more extensively than it has in the past. And you can be sure that this year’s wait-list will be the longest we have had in a generation.