College of William & Mary
BackgroundInterview Date:November 2018
Gender Identity: Female
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2021
High School Experience: Public school in New Jersey with a graduating class of 300 students
First Generation Student: No
Major: Undeclared but applying to the business school
Extracurricular Activities: Greek Life, interns with the Auxiliary Services Department, and is an Admissions Ambassador
Have any of your extracurricular activities had a big impact on your experience?
I’ve gotten to know a lot of the staff through my internship. My co-workers are all older full-time staff, and I’ve worked with staff in the dining services, the Rec Center and other on campus services.
Have you taken many courses towards your Psychology minor yet?
I haven’t declared yet, and one of the really great things about this school is that you can’t declare your major until after your first year, or until you reach a certain number of credits. That was really good for me because I had no idea what I wanted to do coming in, so I was able to take different classes and figure out what I enjoyed. One of the only reasons I was exposed to Psychology is because the large class size made it easy to get into, but I ended up really loving it and so I just kept taking more Psych classes.
What are your major graded assignments for your Psychology classes?
Exams and occasionally a paper or two.
Is there anything that you feel the Psychology department does especially well or especially poorly?
I really love all the faculty in the Psychology Department. All of the professors have been very helpful and are accessible and happy to chat about anything.
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.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: I lived in Yates Hall, which is the biggest freshman dorm on campus. I had one roommate who I met on Facebook before moving in.
Sophomore: I live in my sorority house on campus. It has 17 people living in it, which is the same as all the other Greek housing. In the house I share a triple room with my roommate from last year and another girl.
How was it transitioning from your hometown in New Jersey to Williamsburg, VA?
For one thing, it’s a state school, so most people are from Virginia. [William and Mary maintains a 65% in-state population.] I had to get used to all the Virginia slang, but other than that it’s not too different. It is about an 8-hour drive home for me which has been a bit annoying this year.
What is your favorite place to get away from campus?
Colonial Williamsburg is one of the biggest reasons why I chose William & Mary, and it’s a great place to go explore and walk around. There’s shops, restaurants, and historical attractions, and no cars on the street. They have farmers’ market on the weekends, and I always go and pet the horses and dogs. It’s really nice to have something like that right next to campus.
Pros and cons of being in Williamsburg, VA?
Pros: 1) Colonial Williamsburg is right there.
2) It has pretty much everything you could ever want shopping and restaurant-wise. It’s nice to be able to just go get anything I need.
Cons: Williamsburg isn’t a very big city, and there isn’t always a lot going on. Sometimes it feels like the middle of nowhere.
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.
How did you meet your closest friends?
My best friend was my roommate freshman year, so I got lucky in that regard. I do know a lot of people who stay close with their freshman roommate and the people they meet in freshman orientation.
How would you describe the social scene?
You’re not just friends with the people in your sorority or whatever organization you’re involved in. You meet people in a lot of different circles. I have friends that I met in classes and everyone seems to have a few different groups that they mix with. The school’s not that big, and I’m always saying hi to people I know everywhere.
How would you describe the student body?
Very passionate about a lot of different things. One of the biggest majors here is Political Science, and with us being located in the Virginia and D.C. area, a lot of people are very involved in that political field, working on campaigns or interning in D.C. Everyone is just passionate about getting involved in that way here. [Social Sciences is the most popular major category at W&M.]
To what extent do people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
They mix frequently. I came from an area in New Jersey that was not very diverse in that regard. Coming here I’ve personally been exposed to people with a lot of different backgrounds and identities.
Have you used the career office?
We have a new career center that was just built a couple years ago, and at the beginning of the year I went to some of the weekly workshops and had them help me with my resume and application for my current job. They’re always hosting workshops and presentations for people that want guidance.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew about William & Mary before entering as a freshman?
Probably my least favorite aspect of the school is how difficult the administration makes things that should be really simple. Registration for classes is one example of that, it’s a very stressful process here because many of the classes fill up so quickly. There really needs to be a more efficient system in place to handle that.
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.
Reasons to attend William & Mary:
1. The location is really cool, especially if you’re into history because you get a free pass to all of the colonial exhibits.
2. The campus is beautiful, with lots of old brick buildings and history.
Reasons to not attend William & Mary:
1. Those same old bricks are a serious tripping hazard, especially during a snowstorm. The school doesn’t salt the pathways because it’s bad for the brick.
2. The food isn’t bad, but it’s not great. I have friends who are vegetarian or vegan who sometimes have a hard time finding new options.