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Frequently Asked Questions

Application and Admission
How do I select my Session and Course?
  • Students take one of NIAHD’s four Pre-College courses: History 216, History 217, History 218, or History 219. You will rank your preferred course selection in the Applicant Portal, and if admitted to the Program, we will enroll you in your top choice, providing it still has space.  For information about our 2024 class offerings, visit the Pre-College Courses page.
Do I need to have straight As in high school to apply to the Pre-College Program?
  • No, you do not need to have straight A’s in your high school classes.
  • We look for students who like history, who want to think critically about the places where historic events took place, and who are ready for the challenge of a college-level class. Students in NIAHD classes like to question the meaning of the information that they read and that they hear at site visits.
  • Both the essay that you submit,and your letter of recommendation will help us learn about you as a student and as a person who wants to learn more than the basic information you find in a history textbook.
What kind of essay should I submit? 
  • We would like you to submit an essay that you enjoyed writing for one of your high school classes, an essay that shows your writing ability, or an essay that one of your teachers really liked. 
Is the application process different if I am homeschooled?
  • In addition to the online application, a letter of recommendation, and an official high school transcript, we want you to include results of standardized tests that you may have taken (PSAT, SAT, or AP exams) and official transcripts from any college courses you may have taken.  More information can be found on our application page
When will I know if I am admitted? 
  • NIAHD will begin to send admissions decisions for completed program applications in mid-February 2024.
  • Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis in the order in which they are completed.  We will wait to read through your application packet until we have all of your supporting documents:
  • Acceptance letters will be sent via email from William &Mary’s application portal to the email address that a student used to create their online application profile.  NIAHD does not send acceptance letters through regular mail.
Program Cost
What is included in the Program cost?

For all Pre-College Students, the $5,600 Program cost covers:

  • 4 hours of transferable college credit from William & Mary 
  • Room and board including
    • dorm space for all students and chaperone staff for the full session
    • dining fees for meals eaten in campus cafeterias and all meals eaten while traveling for class visits
  • Daily travel to museums and historic sites including
    • admission fees
    • fuel, drivers, and other transportation fees
    • students' participation in archaeological digs
    • costs of evening speakers and programs
  • All required readings and course materials
    • we build and print course packets for easy portability, for use in the field

For International Students, the additional $300 administrative fee covers:

  • Immigration paperwork
  • Transportation between a local airport (Newport News or Richmond) or the Williamsburg train station and campus on Move-In/Move-Out days
What expenses are not included in the Program cost? 

The program cost does not include:

  • Transportation to or from William & Mary for domestic students
  • Use of the laundry facilities in the dorm
  • Snacks and drinks; lunch on arrival day
  • Money for souvenirs
How do I apply for Financial Assistance? 
  • You do not need to use FAFSA, because financial assistance for the Pre-College Program comes from NIAHD, not from W&M.  Instead, please fill out the Financial Assistance Application found on NIAHD’s Pre-College Program website and submit it directly to NIAHD at with copies of your family’s 2023 federal tax returns and your personal statement.
Academics and Curriculum 
What historic sites and museums will I visit during the Program?

We are working with colleagues at museums and historic sites to schedule this summer's site visits. Here is a list of some of the places each course will visit during the Summer 2024 Program.  

History 216

Artifacts of American History 

History 217

The Road to the American Revolution

History 218

The Road to the     U. S. Civil War 

History 219

American Independence

Historic Jamestowne

Historic Jamestowne

John Marshall House

The St. George Tucker House

Colonial Williamsburg

Bacon’s Castle

American Civil War Museum


Wilton House

Colonial Williamsburg

James Monroe’s Highland

First Baptist Church, Williamsburg

Maggie Walker National Historic Site  

Historic Christ Church

Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Battlefield Park

Site of Gabriel’s Rebellion, Richmond

Virginia Museum of History and Culture

Pamunkey Indian Museum & Cultural Center

Fort Monroe National Monument

Stratford Hall

What assignments will I have during the Program? 
  • NIAHD’s Pre-College students do not take quizzes or exams.
  • There will be a reading assignment (30 to 60 pages) to complete before each site visit. The readings will include information about the places you will visit, primary documents, maps, images of material objects, portraits of people, and articles written by historians, architectural historians, curators, and archaeologists. You might also listen to podcasts before several site visits.
  • You will have 3 written assignments that give you a chance to share your ideas and opinions about historic events and people. Your instructor will talk about each week’s assignment during your seminar, provide feedback on your writing, and meet with you during office hours to answer questions as you work on the assignments.
Will I receive a letter grade at the end of the Program? 
  • You will receive a letter grade at the end of the Pre-College Program and earn 4 transferable college credits for your work.
  • When you apply to college, you will be able to send a transcript from William & Mary which will include the title of your class and the grade that you received. This is a great way to let schools know that you are ready to do college work!
Are NIAHD's Pre-College classes like my AP U. S. History class? 
  • NIAHD's Pre-College classes are not a repeat of AP US History; we challenge you to think deeply about the places where historic events took place, and to analyze primary source material.
  • Site visits are what make a NIAHD class different than other summer history programs! Going to places where history happened makes people and problems from the past real, human, and complex.
I want to apply to William & Mary.  Can I schedule an admissions interview while on campus?
  • Yes! Students will have some time – typically in the late afternoons – to schedule an interview. Students should plan to set up interviews online using the William & Mary Admissions website several weeks in advance. Interviews are only available for rising seniors.
  • Please keep in mind that students will not be excused from class to attend an interview. Additionally, some site visits will last all day and students will not return to campus until after the Admissions Office has closed. The NIAHD office staff is happy to work with students prior to their arrival and help you set up the best date/time for an interview. We strongly recommend that you contact the NIAHD office via phone or email before making any arrangements with Admissions.
  • Additionally, NIAHD invites an admissions representative to come and speak with all of our students at the end of the program. This would not take the place of an admissions interview, but it is still a great opportunity for students to ask questions about applying to W&M specifically and applying to college in general.

Admission to NIAHD’s Pre-College Program in American History does not imply or guarantee acceptance into the undergraduate program at the College of William & Mary.

Student Life 
How many students attend the Pre-College Program each year?
  • NIAHD does not have a predetermined number of students to admit, but in the Summer of 2024, we expect to have over 100 students in residence with the Pre-College Program.
  • Seminar groups will be capped at 12 students per Instructor.
What are the demographics of NIAHD's Pre-College Program?
  • Students from diverse racial, ethnic, religious, cultural, and geographic backgrounds thrive in our program each summer, and our program design reflects an evidence-based pluralist history. We welcome applications from Black, Hispanic/Latino, Asian-American, Middle Eastern, LGBTQ+, ESL, neurodivergent, dis- and differently abled, and International Students, as well as Americans living abroad. Students with questions about the capacity of the NIAHD program to accommodate particular social, cultural, or medical needs should reach out to
Where will I stay during the Program? 
  • NIAHD’s Pre-College students will live in one of the air-conditioned rooms in Bryan Hall on William & Mary’s campus during the 3-week Pre-College Program. Bryan Hall is centrally located on the campus and near the Sadler Center where students will eat.
  • Residential Program Assistants (RPAs) will live in the dorms with the students. Many of our RPAs were once Pre-College students themselves and are excited to have the opportunity to help this summer's students get the most out of their time, both in terms of academics and in terms of spending time at W&M. RPAs help students adjust to living on campus, assist Instructors as needed during site visits, plan weekend get-togethers, and answer questions about life as an undergraduate.
What sorts of events does NIAHD plan outside of class time? 
  • There will be opportunities in the evening to hear invited speakers and participate in English Country Dance.  
  • Jeopardy is a favorite NIAHD event that occurs during the final week. 
  • On July 4th, students in Session 1 enjoy walking to Colonial Williamsburg to view the fireworks. Session 1 students also traditionally watch 1776 on Independence Day; Session 2 students will watch the movie on another day scheduled during the Program.   
  • RPAs will plan a range of optional activities, including movies, casual sporting events, and games. 
What are some of the things that I can do on weekends? 
  • Pre-College students can spend Saturday mornings working at an archaeological excavation in Gloucester County. Dr. David Brown, the co-director of the Fairfield Foundation and a NIAHD Instructor during the academic year, will introduce you to historical archaeology and help you learn how to excavate at the site of Fairfield, a late 17th-century plantation house. For information about Fairfield, please see
  • Weekends are also a time when you can explore Colonial Williamsburg with friends, visit the Farmers’ Market, or get a meal at a local restaurant. RPAs will organize optional outings to Target to get items (lost or forgotten), to the movie theater, and to the local ice cream shop.
Will I be able to keep up my fitness schedule or practice my instrument?
  • Students may exercise and train during their free time. In the evenings and on weekends, there will be time to run or participate in pick-up games of soccer, volleyball, and ultimate Frisbee.  During the week, it may be possible to run before some site visits, depending on the morning’s departure time.
  • Students are allowed to run on the main campus or in Colonial Williamsburg using the buddy system – groups of 3 or more. While Williamsburg is a relatively safe community, the safety and well-being of our students is our chief concern, and NIAHD will not grant any exceptions to this policy.
  • If your musical instrument is portable, you may bring it with you and use your free time in the evenings and on weekends to practice.  There are sound-proof rooms in the dorm and on campus dedicated to this purpose. 
Can I visit with family members if they are in Williamsburg?
  • Yes, on the weekends you can spend time with members of your family if they travel to or live near Williamsburg. Please make sure that your parent or guardian contacts the NIAHD office (, 757-221-7652) at least 24 hours ahead of their visit to confirm the day and time and how long you will be with them.
  • Please note, family and friends of NIAHD students may not spend time in the dorms during the program, except to assist their student during Move-In and Move-Out Days. 
Health Concerns
Will I be able to find food to eat in the dining hall if I have allergies or adhere to a special diet?
  • Yes, the dining hall will have a range of food choices that can meet your dietary restrictions and choices.  We will work with you before the program starts to convey any necessary information to members of the dining staff.  If you have severe food allergies, please include this information on the Roommate Questionnaire.  Your dorm also has a communal kitchen if you wish to prepare some food of your own.  
What accommodations does William & Mary's Neurodiversity Initiative offer to Pre-College Students? 
  • The primary goals of William & Mary's Neurodiversity Initiative are 1) ensuring that students with neurological differences including autism (and the earlier descriptors of Asperger's and PDD-NOS), OCD, ADHD, Tourette's, dyslexia, etc. are comfortable and successful at William & Mary and 2) working with faculty and staff to make classes neurodiverse and friendly.
  • Additionally, William & Mary’s Student Accessibility Services (SAS) helps students acquire necessary accommodations for their classes and residence life. SAS will begin working with incoming students in late May to determine if accommodations might be appropriate, and students can email the SAS office directly at for assistance with that process.
How can I get to campus if I travel to Williamsburg by myself?
  • NIAHD offers transportation from the Richmond International Airport (RIC) and the Newport News International Airport (PHF) to William & Mary for a fee.  In 2024, NIAHD's fee for a one-way trip to or from RIC is $20 and to or from PHF is $12. 
  • NIAHD offers transportation to and from the Williamsburg Train and Bus Station (WBG) at no charge.  
Can I bring a car to William & Mary during the Pre-College Program?
  • No, Pre-College students are not permitted to have a vehicle during their 3 weeks on campus
How do I receive mail and packages? 
  • Let your family and friends know to send letters and packages to the NIAHD office.  One of the RPAs will deliver mail to the dorm each weekday.   
    For Letters:
    WIlliam & Mary 
    P. O. Box 8795
    Williamsburg, VA 23187 
    For Packages (UPS, FedEx, etc):
    William & Mary 
    James Blair Hall, Room 327
    250 James Blair Drive
    Williamsburg, VA 21185

English Country Dance RPAs on Move-In Day