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  • Writer's pictureAlison Merzel

School Spotlight: William & Mary

Updated: May 8, 2023

If you are looking to attend a school that is rich with history and tradition, you won't be disappointed by William & Mary, which was founded in 1693 and is the second oldest institution of higher learning in the United States (in case you are curious, Harvard is the oldest, having been founded in 1636). William & Mary was the first institution with a law school and the first institution with an honor system. Check out some other cool facts and firsts here!

Here are five things to know about this medium-sized, premiere public research university in Williamsburg, Virginia:

1) Opening convocation is probably the most exciting tradition on the William & Mary campus. You can get a glimpse of the 2019 opening convocation here. You can watch the 2021 opening convocation on September 8th via livestream here!

2) While 70% of undergraduates live on the Williamsburg campus, W&M has a campus in Washington D.C. called Washington Center that facilitates Study in D.C. Semester Program, Summer Institutes, Summer Session and Winter Seminars.

3) While undergraduate students can pursue majors within the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education or School of Business, all students enter W&M in Arts & Sciences as undeclared majors as William & Mary provides a liberal arts education.

4) Service is valued heavily at W&M and the university has established many partnerships with schools and organizations in the local community, giving students numerous opportunities to engage in community service and the pursuit of social justice. Branch Out Alternative Breaks bring students together during fall, winter or spring break to work collectively on issues of importance to the community. This fall, for example students will focus on Race and Reconciliation: Anti-Racist Education and Action or Food Insecurity & Health: Societal Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

5) William & Mary has been designated as the #1 public university for undergraduate study abroad participation (2020 Open Doors report), with 60% of undergrads choosing to study abroad at some point during their college experience. Students may opt to study through a W&M sponsored program, offering a fixed price, a W&M faculty liaison, and significant support from the university, among other benefits. Sponsored programs are held in La Plata, Argentina; Oxford, England; Montpellier, France; and Sevilla, Spain (that is where I studied abroad!). Students also can choose from 15 other international universities for a Tuition Exchange semester or countless other destinations through Third Party programs. For students looking for an even more immersive international experience, William & Mary has a joint degree program with the University of St. Andrews.

Learn about the many ways to visit and interact with William & Mary here. W&M has a November 1 ED I deadline, January 1 ED II and January 1 RD.

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