Impressions Of
College of William & Mary

Academic Experience

Female Kinesiology & Health Sciences Major C/O 2018

Can you describe your weekly coursework for your major?
Most of it was recommended reading, so it wasn’t necessarily required. But, we had required online problem sets and then written coursework to turn in. The biggest grades were around 20%-30% were tests. Everything was mostly test-oriented.

Is there anything you feel your major’s department does especially well or especially poorly?
What they did really well was providing outside help. Each class I took each professor stayed after class and they’d book the classroom for extra review sessions. I didn’t find anything I was dissatisfied with my major or major department.

Can you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s competitive or collaborative?
I think it’s a little bit of both. At William & Mary, you find kids that are very intelligent, but I think it’s a good kind of competitiveness. People were also there to help you. We had student TA’s and people always worked in groups for science studying. So, they were very welcoming and open to studying with you or helping you with things that you didn’t understand.

Female Undeclared on Major C/O 2021

Can you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
I think most people here are used to being over-achievers in high school and hold themselves to a high standard, so in that regard it is pretty competitive. But we’re all stressed together, which creates a collaborative environment. I’ve done a lot of partner work and group work in classes, and attended study groups for finals and exams.

Do you feel that people are open to multiple schools of thought in the classroom?
A lot of the time professors will promote discussion and they are okay with us challenging the things that they’re teaching us. I think a lot of people are very actively involved in social issues on campus, and there is always an open discussion about politics and other subjects. People are pretty open to hearing other points of view.

How accessible have your professors been?
Very. One of my favorite things about this school is how much the professors really want you to succeed and how willing they are to help you. In my experience, they always respond to emails quickly and will make time to meet with you if you need it.

Female Int'l Relations and Chinese Double Major C/O 2018

Is there anything you feel your majors’ departments do especially well or especially poorly?
For International Relations, I wish they gave students a better idea of what they could do with their degree. I felt like everybody thought you could either go into consulting or academia, so I wish we had more career advising opportunities for the major. For Chinese, I really liked the department.

How would you describe the learning environment? Is it particularly competitive or collaborative?
I think International Relations was generally pretty collaborative. I always enjoyed those classes and the students are genuinely really curious and eager to learn. Because International Relations is an interdisciplinary major you take classes in different departments, so it’s hard to generalize, but I would say it was collaborative and a positive experience. Chinese was very similar, most people who were there wanted to be there and so I didn’t feel competitive at all.

Social Opportunities

Female Kinesiology & Health Sciences Major C/O 2018

Can you describe a typical night going out freshman year?
Freshman year there were usually either house parties or fraternity parties. We would start at an older teammate’s house with the whole team. It’s a small campus so you can walk everywhere. Then we would walk to the frat or to an off-campus that’s close by. Frats are usually only on campus. Then usually the freshmen go home, but as you get older you can go to the bars after the parties.

How happy were you with the nightlife at William & Mary? Is there anything you would change if you could?
I guess it depends on the person, but I wasn’t a huge proponent of going to a huge school with huge parties. I think downscaling it to something smaller and more intimate was more up my alley. I’m not one who wants to go out like five nights a week. So just one night or two nights a week was plenty for me. And we had fun when we were able to go out. I was satisfied for sure.

Female Undeclared on Major C/O 2021

What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you participate in at William & Mary?
There’s not a ton going on in town since it’s really a destination for tourists and retirees, but there’s always something happening on-campus, especially on the weekends. Sporting events aren’t really popular, even though we’re a Division I school. Being involved in Greek life helps because we host events, like mixers and parties, at our housing on campus. There’s also a lot of student housing in close proximity to campus. The sorority will have a couple of date parties every semester. I haven’t been going out as much this year because of work.

How happy are you with the weekend options? Is there anything you would change?
Pretty happy. Considering that it’s a small town and not really a big school, it’s pretty impressive how much there is happening on the weekends.

Female Int'l Relations and Chinese Double Major C/O 2018

What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
For most of college people went out Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. If you’re actively involved in Greek life, which I was freshman and sophomore year, you mostly go to fraternity parties. There were three or four bars in Williamsburg and most people go once they turn 21. Junior and senior year I didn’t go to as many frat parties and, because most upperclassmen live off campus, I’d go to parties my friends were throwing and generally go to the bars afterwards.

What alternatives to a party or a bar do you like for a night out?
I felt like there was always somebody else I could find who didn’t want to go out and we would just watch Netflix and stuff like that. My friends and I like board games, so we’d play board games sometimes. That was never really an issue.

Campus Culture

Female Kinesiology & Health Sciences Major C/O 2018

What is the impact of Greek life on social life?
I think it’s a pretty good chunk of social life. A few of my teammates were part of it, but I didn’t participate. I think it has a bigger impact on underclassmen just because they’re already on campus and it’s easy to walk right over to a frat house on Friday night for freshmen and sophomores. Then once you get older it’s not necessarily the place to go if you want to go out or something. I think a large amount of the student body is involved in Greek life, but I wasn’t. [About 32% of students are involved in Greek life.]

How would you describe the student body?
I would say diverse. Everyone I came in contact with was very happy and very nice. I know our school has the reputation of being very hard and [has a history of suicide]. I think that has something to say about the school, but every school is going to be hard. Because people at William and Mary are so hardworking, I think our school has a reputation of being very difficult and not a very happy environment. But, when I was there I didn’t see much of that. [About 58% of students are White, 9% are Hispanic, 7% are Black, and 7.5% are Asian.]

Female Sociology Major C/O 2018

How would you describe the overall social scene?
I think it really depends on the types of things you like to do and the type of activities you’re involved in. I think you can really make it kind of whatever you want, like there’s nothing you have to do to have a good time. As far as Greek life, that is definitely one way that you can make friends and have places to go out and things like that, but there’s also lots of other ways to do that. You can make friends through anything that you’re a part of and find people with similar interests as you. The majority of organizations are very social ones.

Do you think people are happy with their choice of William & Mary by the time they graduate?
I think for the most part, of the people who I was graduating with, I think people thought the same way that I did that basically the school was the best thing that ever happened to them and that we all grew in ways that we never expected and that we met the most amazing people and had the most amazing time.

But, I also do think that we have kind of a high stress culture. There are a lot of people who want to achieve highly and care a lot about their schoolwork so sometimes, so sometimes there can be a lot of stress going on on-campus. I think it’s up to your own individual personal attitude to realize what types of things are most important and you can be above that.

Female Int'l Relations and Chinese Double Major C/O 2018

How would you describe the overall social scene?
It’s what you make of it. If you’re really involved in Greek life it will feel like everyone on campus is involved in Greek life, but then once you step out of that bubble you realize there’s so much other stuff, like there are so many other organizations. I think it’s very organization-based. People are kind of defined by what club or organization they are in. It’s not that people don’t make friends outside of that, they definitely do, but that’s how you identify people. I thought the social scene was a really good fit for me. Especially in terms of nightlife, I think it was a good level of going out for me personally.

How would you describe the student body?
It’s predominantly White and a lot of people are from Northern Virginia.  Most people were at the very, very top of their public schools, so it competitive in that sense.  People are very into what they’re studying. It’s also very liberal. Coming from D.C., there were more conservative people than I’ve ever met, but it’s still a predominantly left-leaning campus. [In the Class of 2022, 57% of students are White, and W&M maintains an overall balance of 65% in-state and 35% out-of-state. 77% of the Class of 2022 were in the top 10% of their high school class.]

Williamsburg, VA

Pros of

  • “Because Williamsburg is so small, the community on campus is absolutely incredible.”
  • “You can live in a city for the rest of your life, but I’ve really felt like being in such a nice place for the four years of college when we had this really strong community on campus was a perfect situation for me.”
  • “It’s safe.”
  • “We’re surrounded by all these pretty lakes, parks, and beaches, like College Creek and Lake Matoaka.”

Cons of

  • “Williamsburg is very touristy. I really did not like that.”
  • “Williamsburg isn’t a very big city, and there isn’t always a lot going on. Sometimes it feels like the middle of nowhere.”
  • “It’s kind of the same thing happening every night in town. I thought the nightlife was good but you go to the same bars and there’s not a whole lot of diversity when it comes to nightlife.”
  • “You don’t really meet that many people. You’re just meeting people at William & Mary. Rarely did people visit from other colleges or schools. It just kind of felt like we were isolated.”

Advice for Prospective Freshmen

Female Sociology Major C/O 2018

What is something a prospective student may have missed on a visit that is worth checking out?
I would say the natural beauty of the surrounding area. Go check out Lake Matoaka and College Creek and the areas close to campus that are not exactly on campus but are a big part of what made Williamsburg really special to me.

What is something you wish you knew about William & Mary before entering as a freshman?
I mean I had an incredible experience at William & Mary. I applied early decision and I knew I wanted to go there. What I was thinking about a lot in the midst of graduation was just how much things have happened that I never expected. Like, the place that I’m at now is not what I ever expected coming in in lots of different ways. So I guess what I wish I knew, is kind of like what I would say to prospective students, is just to be patient and hang in there and do your best to put yourself out there however you can. Things will just change and work themselves out in ways you never expect because there’s just so much growth that happens in college.

Female Undeclared on Major C/O 2021

What is something a prospective student interested in Greek life should know that we haven’t touched on?
They’re very involved in campus life. All of the housing is on-campus, and they host philanthropy events that everyone goes to. Most importantly, it’s not really an exclusive group at all and the school is so small that everyone mixes together.

What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
The place that I spend more time than anywhere else is the library, called Swem. They don’t show you much of it on tours, but it’s really big and it has a lot of different resources in it that I didn’t even know about. I spend all my time there now, so it’s definitely worth checking out.

Female Int'l Relations and Chinese Double Major C/O 2018

What is something you wish you knew about William & Mary before entering as a freshman?
I just wish I had known to be more open minded and to know that Greek life is not the only way to be social.

What is something a prospective student may have missed on a visit that is worth checking out?
They should go to the Daily Grind, it’s the coffee shop on campus. It’s my favorite place on campus.

 

Reasons to attend and not to attend College of William & Mary

To Attend

  • “The location is really cool, especially if you’re into history because you get a free pass to all of the colonial exhibits.”
  • “The campus is beautiful with lots of old brick buildings and history.”
  • “If you want a place that’s focused on academics and a place where people are very into school, I would say William & Mary is a great choice.”
  • “Incredibly strong community on campus.”

To Not Attend

  • “William & Mary takes academics very seriously. So, if you’re someone who one of the most important things to you in college is to have fun. We do have fun, but academics are very important.”
  • “It’s definitely not as diverse as other schools of the same caliber, and I think that’s a big negative.” [In the Class of 2022, 57% of students are White, and W&M maintains an overall balance of 65% in-state and 35% out-of-state.]
  • “There’s a big stress culture, but I think that exists at a lot of schools.
  • “If you’re someone who needs a bigger school or a bigger nightlife then the school is definitely not for you.”
Notice: College of William & Mary is a trademark. Induck uses it for descriptive purposes, not to imply affiliation with, endorsement from, or sponsorship by College of William & Mary.

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