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Bright, engaged and diverse: New students join the W&M family

  • Bright, engaged and diverseGraduate and professional students will be arriving to campus in the coming days and freshmen and new transfers arrive August 20 for move-in day. Buoyed by record applicant pools, the entering classes are among the most academically accomplished, diverse and engaged in the College's history.

    Photo by Stephen Salpukas

    Bright, engaged and diverse
It has been a banner year for the incoming classes at the College of William & Mary. Graduate and professional students will be arriving to campus in the coming days and freshmen and new transfers arrive August 20 for move-in day. Buoyed by record applicant pools, the entering classes are among the most academically accomplished, diverse and engaged in the College's history.

"Excitement and reinvigoration always characterize the arrival of new cohorts of undergraduate, professional and graduate students," said President Taylor Reveley. "This is especially true when our new students are strikingly accomplished.  Those arriving this August are just that - smart, committed, and talented in countless respects.  It will be great to have them with us."

William & Mary received more than 12,500 undergraduate applications, a record number for the fifth year in a row. That record pool produced a new class with stellar academic credentials and the most diverse in the College's history.

Enrolling students bring a middle 50th percentile of 1280-1430 on the SAT math and critical reading sections. Of the students who attended high-schools that provided a class rank, 79 percent finished in the top 10 percent. This year's admit rate was 32 percent, compared to last year's rate of 34 percent. Twenty-six of percent of this year's freshmen are students of color.

"The academic profile of this class is stellar," said Henry Broaddus, dean of admission.  "They arrive in Williamsburg with an impressive record of achievements both in and out of the classroom.  Admitting this class from so large a pool with so many talented applicants presented us with an exciting and difficult challenge."

The excitement continues across the university where William & Mary's graduate and professional schools also saw record applicant pools.  Arts & Sciences, for example, saw an eight-percent increase in applications to graduate programs - a 23 percent increase over the past two years. Eighty-five percent of entering A&S graduate students conducted research as undergraduates.

The William & Mary Law School saw a 26-percent increase in applications to the J.D. program, receiving nearly 6,300 applications for slightly more than 200 seats. Since 2007, the total number of applications to the nation's oldest law school has increased by 48 percent. At the School of Education, where faculty, students and staff just moved into a new state-of-the-art facility, graduate applications increased more than 20 percent. Applications topped 520, the highest mark in more than 20 years. The Mason School of Business moved into their new facility in 2009 and the good news continues. The business school saw a 12-percent increase in full-time MBA students and applications to its Master's of Accounting program were up more than 100 percent.

The academic semester for undergraduates begins Aug. 25. This year's entering freshman class of roughly 1,400 students brings together a wide range of backgrounds and experiences. Included in this year's class are a nationally competitive martial artist, junior Olympic fencer, the only high school intern at the "Hotline," a national blog for political insiders, a dancer in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, a nationally recognized student journalist, contributor to the Library of Congress Veteran's Project and the co-author and researcher for a translation dictionary to help African (Bantu) refugees. The entering class includes 44 international students and 140 first-generation students. Sixty-five percent of all new students, including freshman and transfers, come from Virginia.

"This is a diverse class with a wide range of backgrounds," Broaddus said. "They are an intelligent and engaged group that cares about the world around them, and we are confident they will make their mark at William & Mary."