School Profile: Find Adventure in Your Academic Journey at the College of William and Mary

The College of William and Mary is located in Williamsburg, Virginia. For a small research university, they give new meaning to the phrase, don’t let the small size fool you. The second oldest college in the country, this school has a long history of packing a big punch. Graduates include sixteen signers of the Declaration of Independence, three U.S. Presidents, and a U.S. Supreme Court Justice; it has been dubbed “the alma mater of a nation.” Students at the College of William and Mary thrive in every area, from academics to athletics to the future prosperity of their students. If you are a person who finds mediocrity distasteful, then this public research university was created for you.

The College of William and Mary combines a dedication to the study of liberal arts with a growing emphasis on science and research to create a university that regards themselves as a powerhouse in education. With over 30 undergraduate programs and 10 graduate and professional degree programs, the school is committed to a philosophy of personalized education. The student-faculty ratio is 12:1 and there is a strong focus on faculty-student collaboration; nearly half the classes have fewer than 20 students. By student enrollment, the most popular majors at the College of William and Mary are social sciences, business management, and biological and biomedical sciences. The College also offers a joint undergraduate degree program in liberal arts with the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, and a joint degree program in engineering with Columbia University.

William and Mary believes education doesn’t stop inside the classroom; students are involved in lab projects, theater, a strong international exchange program, and various community projects to enhance the pursuit of academic excellence. The College of William and Mary encourages students to reach beyond the confines of a single major and immerse themselves in all facets of their academic journeys. If you want the chance to be academically independent, but also guided by excellent faculty, then this is the University for you.

The campus life at William and Mary is as exceptional as its students. This is a University that is filled with athletes, artists, adventurers, researchers, activists, and more, so it makes sense that they have nearly four hundred clubs to accommodate such diversity of thought and talent. Whether you want to write on the campus newspaper or take an outreach trip to Africa, there is a club that allows you to delve into your passions. Cultural, political, religious, environmental, and ethnic clubs are just a few of the opportunities at your disposal. At this highly residential college, students stay on campus all four years with upscale residence and apartment housing, top-notch facilities, and the infamous eatery known as, “The Caf.”

The birthplace of Greek life, it is no wonder that roughly one-third of the student body is associated with a fraternity or sorority. Phi Beta Kappa, founded in 1776 as a literary fraternity and later becoming an honor society, was the first Greek letter in the United States. Now, besides academic fraternities and sororities, the College of William and Mary hosts an astounding 16 social fraternities and 12 sororities, five of which are historically all black. If you are a philanthropist at heart, look no further; countless service clubs are at your fingertips who provide support to underdeveloped countries offering medical aid, building houses, and supporting schools. William and Mary students, staff, and faculty are devoted to positively impacting the world around them.

The college of William and Mary fields 10 men’s and 11 women’s NCAA Division I varsity teams competing in the Colonial Athletic Association. Known as the Tribe, which represents unity, their mascot is the griffin, half eagle and half lion, which is a symbol of power and majesty. They’ve upheld that reputation with over 159 titles since the athletic program began. They lead their conference in titles and were also the first school in the CAA to reach one hundred conference titles, and that was back in 2010. Aside from their excellent varsity teams, this campus boasts 46 club sports teams, and a plethora of intramural opportunities. More than eighty percent of the student body engages in varsity sports, club sports, intramural programs, and recreational programs. Athletic excellence is a large part of this campus.

Attending the College of William and Mary offers students a vast amount of opportunities and gives them a safe space to not only call home, but also the chance to become their best selves. Among the many ways this college supports student growth is through the power of tradition. This University is steeped in tradition and it starts when freshmen enter the campus passing through the entrance of the Wren building; this act is known as Opening Convocation. They are welcomed and informed that they can solidify their places within the school community by serenading the President of the college with the Alma Mater their first week in school. Graduating seniors walk through the same building entrance as they did when they were freshmen, ringing the bell in the cupola of the Wren building before departure. If you’re looking for a place to come into your personal greatness, the College of William and Mary should be on your short list.

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By Colleen Hill