It’s move-in time at the nation’s second-oldest institution of higher education and the William & Mary community is preparing to welcome one of its most accomplished classes to date. Graduate students have already started arriving and members of the undergraduate Class of 2015 will arrive Aug. 19 for freshmen move-in day and new student orientation. Classes begin Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2011.
“It’s always invigorating when students return to campus, and we welcome the new members of our community with special anticipation,” said President Taylor Reveley. “By all accounts, our new students – undergraduates, graduate and professional – are superb.”
The undergraduate Class of 2015 comes from an applicant pool of more than 12,800, a record number for the seventh year in a row. They bring with them a number of academic accolades and diverse backgrounds. The number of international students nearly doubled and now makes up 6 percent of this year’s entering undergraduate class. Twenty-eight percent are students of color (an increase from 26 percent), 10 percent of the class consists of first-generation college students, and 8 percent are legacies. The SAT middle 50th percentile of this new group is 1240-1450, and 79 percent of freshmen who provided high school rank finished among the top-10 percent of their class.
“This is an exceptional group of students,” said Henry Broaddus, associate provost for enrollment and dean of admission. “They are as smart as they are diverse, and they bring with them the kind of credentials and experiences that will only enhance William & Mary’s reputation as one of the world’s great liberal arts universities. We are delighted to welcome them into the Tribe.”
Enthusiasm is also strong at the graduate and professional schools. At William & Mary Law School, where classes began Monday, slightly more than 200 first-year students (chosen from an applicant pool of almost 6,000 from all 50 states, DC, and 60 other countries) arrived to begin at the nation’s oldest law school. The students enrolled in the entering class this year represent 35 states, DC, China and South Korea. In Arts & Sciences, 94 percent of entering graduate students conducted research as undergraduates. Thirty percent are students of color and international students come from 11 countries across the globe. At the School of Education, where a new Executive Ed.D. program in K-12 administration began this summer, graduate applications increased 18 percent. The Mason School of Business is welcoming 107 candidates to its MBA Class of 2013, a group of students that bring to campus an average of 57 months of work experience and who represent 17 states across the U.S. and 13 countries. At W&M’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science, entering graduate students have been all over the world to conduct research – from Antarctica to China – and all have formal research experience. VIMS also welcomes one of the first students to graduate from W&M with the College’s new marine science minor.
Other highlights of William & Mary’s new students include:
- The undergraduate Class of 2015 includes a student who built a robot that was featured by NASA; another student who is 668 cranes into his 1000-crane Senbazuru; a student who organized a benefit concert in Cambodia; and someone who was in Egypt at the time of the Arab Spring. A member of the popular Blue Man Group is also part of this year's new group of entering students.
- This year’s new group of entering students includes 240 undergraduate transfers. Of those, 110 students came from the Virginia Community College System, including 41 who came to W&M through the College’s guaranteed admission program with VCCS. Eighty-two percent of the new transfers are Virginia residents.
- This year’s entering undergraduate class includes 165 students who scored a perfect 800 on one or more sections of the SAT, six who scored a perfect 1600 on the critical reading and math portions, and one who scored a perfect 2400 on all three.
- A&S graduate students include a USA gymnastics national vaulting champion, a College Green Team president and a primary school math and English teacher in Uganda. Business School MBA candidates include three Peace Corps alumni.
- The Law School’s newest class has the highest credentials of any in terms of median undergraduate grade point average (3.72) and LSAT (165, 92nd percentile). They also rank high in terms of service and include nine Eagle Scouts, six missionaries and five with military service. Others include someone who served as the deputy chief of staff to a U.S. Senator, six Teach for America corps members and another who taught English in Moscow. One member has a Ph.D. in computer engineering; and another has been a musician in the National Repertory Orchestra.
- The School of Education new graduate class includes a student who spent her last four spring breaks working with orphans in Nicaragua and another who arrives in Williamsburg to study K-12 policy after serving as a senior officer in the U.S. Army and working for the Nar East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies at the National Defense University.
By the time orientation begins, Broaddus said, they expect the new undergraduate class will total approximately 1,490, which includes a freshman class of 1,460 students and an additional 30 first-year students who will be arriving on campus as part of the first cohort of the College’s new joint degree program with the University of St Andrews. The program is one of the few of its kind in the world and allows students to spend two years at each historic institution to complete a joint degree in one of four fields – economics, English, history and international relations. This fall's new students will also enable the College to maintain an overall undergraduate student body that includes 65 percent from Virginia, he added.
“There is a tremendous amount of excitement about this group of students,” Broaddus said. “They’ll make their mark at William & Mary.”