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Grant Yoon

Watkins Family 1693 ScholarGrant Yoon


Cherry Hill, NJ (Cherry Hill HS East)

Academic Interests

English, Psychology, Math

Why W&M

Unlike many of my friends, I started my college applications with uncertainty about where I wanted to go. I often worried that I would be molded into someone else by the environment I was in without noticing. That’s why I remember William & Mary’s supplemental prompt out of all the essays I wrote during this time; it gave me a more open-ended opportunity to reflect on who I was, to choose whatever topic struck me as the most relevant in order to write out a “show and tell by proxy”.

I also remember the essay I wrote in response as being one of very few college essays I enjoyed writing. I touched on my favorite show at the time, BoJack Horseman, as well as my favorite authors, and related them to an honest account of my development throughout high school. I submitted my application to W&M, along with many others near the end of December, and forgot about it for a few weeks.

Then, an email notifying me about my semifinalist status for the 1693 scholarship appeared in my inbox, and my interest in W&M was reignited. Though I’d been focusing more on schools closer to home, I was struck to see how much the prospect of being a student at W&M excited me. Reading students’ blog posts online, talking to alumni, and learning about campus life only heightened my enthusiasm, and made my future feel liberating rather than intimidating for the first time.

And as my parents can attest to, after visiting for the Finalist weekend in mid-April, I was in a state of nervous excitement unlike anything before in my life. I was so moved by the obvious passion that the scholars had for both their diverse academic interests and their school that the possibility of being one of them made focusing on anything else impossible for two days. The way every scholar could talk intelligently and at-length about what they were studying or doing on campus impressed me beyond words, and I was also amazed by how kind and honest they were. The college itself impressed me just as much; with an academic environment that encourages intellectual curiosity, the incredible opportunities William & Mary provides for its students in undergraduate research, and the sense of community I sensed throughout my visit, I was suddenly unable to picture myself anywhere else.

When I received the call offering me the scholarship, I accepted it immediately, and felt, instead of apprehension, an intense gratitude for the chance to be in a place where I know I’ll be supported in my learning and development. The future feels so opposite of how I’d imagined it would back at the beginning of my senior year: I feel free to become whoever I want as long as I’m diligent and focused at W&M, and I know that the skills I need to make a meaningful change in the world are well within my reach.

W&M Activities 
High School Activities 
  • SGA Vice-President & Representative
  • Co-founder of Student Voice Committee
  • Captain of Varsity Cross-Country
  • Varsity Track & Field
  • Core Member of CHPS Students for Later Start Times
  • Campaign Volunteer for Ben Rood for Board of Education
  • Teen Volunteer at Cherry Hill Public Library
  • Board Member of Peer Leaders
  • Demogorgon Literary Magazine
  • Model United Nations
  • Coding Instructor at Code Ninjas
Awards / Distinctions
  • Class Valedictorian
  • AP Scholar with Distinction
  • National Merit Commended Scholar
  • Cum Laude Society
  • National English Honor Society
  • National Spanish Honor Society
  • Science National Honor Society
  • Cherry Hill East High School Hall of Fame Member