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College welcomes a diverse freshman class

The College welcomed one of its brightest and most diverse classes when freshmen arrived on Aug. 25.flyer

According to preliminary information on the Class of 2010, the number of students in each minority category increased significantly from last year’s entering class. For example, this year’s freshman class includes 322 minority students, which represents 23.7 percent of the estimated enrollment of 1,359. Last year’s class included 274 minority students, or 20.3 percent of freshmen.

“We take some pride that the Class of 2010 better reflects our university’s commitment to a campus that’s truly open to all,” said Gene R. Nichol, president of the College. “We’ve worked to make diversity an encompassing priority at William and Mary, and students are getting the message. I’m heartened by that.”

Among the Class of 2010, this year’s entering class saw an increase of 10 percent in African American students and a 48 percent increase in Hispanic students. The number of Native American students nearly doubled from eight students in last year’s class to 15 students in the Class of 2010.

Earl Granger, associate provost for enrollment, attributed this year’s increase in minority students to targeted outreach efforts across the state. Admission officers visited more than 150 high schools during the spring and fall, and the College was represented at more than 200 college fairs, including many with significant multicultural student populations, Granger said. In recent years, the College has also pursued partnerships with organizations such as the Venture Scholars Program, the Ron Brown Scholar Program, Partnership for the Future and College Summit. Granger also attributed the increase in minority students to public comments by President Nichol on the College’s commitment to diversity.

“Over the past several years, we have increased our targeted outreach efforts specifically for minority students,” Granger said. “We’ve also focused on reaching out to some of these students earlier in the process. We are now seeing the results of those efforts, and applicants see William and Mary as an accessible institution that welcomes diversity among its student body.”

Granger added that this year’s entering class brings strong academic credentials. For example, 80 percent of enrolled students who provided high school rank (52 percent of enrollees provided rank) were in the top 10 percent of their graduating class. The Class of 2010 includes 77 valedictorians and 33 salutatorians; the middle 50th percentile on the SAT for the freshman class is 1260–1420, nearly identical to the middle 50th percentile of last year’s class.

William and Mary considered a record 10,727 applicants this year. Like last year’s class, 66 percent of the incoming class comes from the Commonwealth of Virginia. Female students make up 52 percent of the class. Thirty-two percent of the class chose early decision. Students in this year’s freshman class represent 18 different countries from around the world and 46 U.S. states and territories.

"Even beyond their outstanding academic credentials, members of the incoming class represent an incredible range of interests and accomplishments,” said Henry Broaddus, dean of admission. “In William and Mary's classrooms this fall, competitive cloggers and martial artists will sit alongside this year's Miss Teen Virginia. My colleagues and I look forward to the imminent arrival of these writers, artists, scientists and athletes who will challenge each other and learn from each other over the course of their next four years in Williamsburg."