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Foresight is 2020: Meet W&M's Class of 2020 and new transfer, grad students

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    Welcome to W&M:  New students are greeted by the W&M community after last year's Opening Convocation ceremony.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
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The following story was updated on Aug. 25, 2016, to reflect the latest numbers. - Ed.

They say that hindsight is 20/20, but the Class of 2020 will soon bring the future into focus at William & Mary as the freshmen — along with new transfer and graduate students — take their place at the university.

Graduate students will begin their studies at the university as early as the week of Aug. 15. Freshmen will move into residence halls on Aug. 19, and undergraduate classes will begin Aug. 24.

“This group of entering students makes it easy to be excited about the future of William & Mary,” said Tim Wolfe, associate provost for enrollment and dean of admission. “They have accomplished much already, but I am confident it is only just the beginning. This is a group of scholars eager to be a part of the William & Mary community, and I know they will make a positive impact on our campus and across the globe.”

Undergraduate Students
Class of 2020

William & Mary anticipates enrolling 1,509 undergraduates in the Class of 2020, including 22 in the St Andrews William & Mary Joint Degree Programme. The freshmen were selected from a pool of 14,381 applicants.

The group is diverse and academically accomplished. Students of color make up 30 percent of the class, and 11 percent are first-generation students. Additionally, 7 percent of the class is made up of international students. The SAT middle 50th percentile is 1250-1470. The ACT composite score middle 50th percentile is 28-33, and 78 percent of students with class rank graduated in the top 10 percent of their classes.

The new students also boast a large array of interests and experiences. The Class of 2020 includes a swimmer who competed in the 2014 Asian Games, a student who flies airplanes, a world-class competitive archer and a student who competed in the teen division of the 2015 World CrossFit Open.

Transfer students

In addition to the entering freshmen, William & Mary expects to welcome 181 new transfer students to campus this semester.

Graduate Students
Arts & Sciences

This fall, 110 new students will be entering graduate programs in Arts & Sciences, including programs in American studies, anthropology, applied science, biology, chemistry, computer science, computational operations research, history, physics, psychology and public policy.

Eighty-five percent of those students conducted research as undergraduates, with most receiving awards or honors for their scholarship. Approximately 92 percent have contributed to their communities through volunteer service, and more than 63 percent have been teachers or mentors to preschoolers through senior citizens.

Twenty-three percent of the entering Arts & Sciences graduate students self-identified as students of color, including international students from nine countries. Among the new students are several active duty U.S. military officers, a Korean army officer, a student interested in archaeological chemistry/archaeomtery, an art historian, an Ultimate Frisbee competitor and a Nigerian student pursing his interest in African archaeology.


The Mason School of Business is poised to welcome 105 full-time candidates to its MBA Class of 2018 and Major General James Wright MBA Class of 2017.

The cohort is highly professional with an average work experience of five years at notable companies such as: Aluminium Bahrain, Atlantis Resorts, Booz Allen Hamilton, Canon, China General Nuclear Power Corporation, Cisco Systems, Cushman & Wakefield, Department of Defense, Economic Development Board, GEICO, Government Employees Pension Services, IBM, JPMorgan Chase, Kastle Systems International, Kyushu Railway Company, Larsen & Toubro, Obayashi Corporation, Omar Zawawi Establishment, Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency, Sentara Healthcare and the U.S. military.

With the school’s commitment to providing a global learning community, international students make up 40 percent of the incoming class, representing countries such as the Bahamas, Bahrain, China, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, United States, Venezuela and Vietnam.

The Mason School is also welcoming its sixth cohort of Major General James Wright MBA Fellows from the U.S. Army and one candidate from the U.S. Navy Corps of Civil Engineers as well as its fourth cohort of Online MBA students. The Online MBA cohort is expected to include 50 new students hailing from 14 U.S. states. They have 13 years of professional work experience, representing 37 companies. Now, in its second year, the online MBA has grown to 170 students. 

The Flex MBA program anticipates welcoming 56 students — 41 percent of whom are women — this fall. Those students represent 36 companies from 15 industries in the Hampton Roads and Richmond area. With an average age of 34, the new Flex MBA students bring with them an average of 12 years of work experience and five years of managerial experience. The group’s average undergraduate GPA is 3.11 and average GMAT score is 655.

The Master of Accounting (MAcc) Class of 2017 will include 120 students, including 35 W&M undergraduate alumni, with an average GPA of 3.30. Nineteen percent of the class is made up of international students, representing such countries as China, South Korea, Nigeria, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Yemen, Bulgaria and India.

The Executive MBA program is accepting applications until Sept. 15, 2016, for a January 2017 start. However, the program expects to enroll a full class of 35 students.


The W&M School of Education expects to enroll 170 students in its graduate teacher education, counseling, school psychology and administration programs. The students, who were selected from 430 applicants, have a mean undergraduate GPA of 3.4 and mean graduate GPA of 3.8.

Students of color make up 20 percent of the new class, whose members hail from locations around the country and globe, including California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Washington D.C., China and the Virgin Islands.

Some of the new students include: two sets of twins, someone who was awarded a Fulbright fellowship to the island nation of Trinidad and Tobago, someone with background and training from rural southeast Victoria, Australia, an Olympic trial finalist who was an Olympic coach in swimming, someone who started a project to serve the protein deficiency need in a school in Kenya, a first-generation college student who wants to become a college president, someone who developed a behavioral algorithm that was implemented in a hospital emergency room and a person who attended and taught at the Air Force Academy.


William & Mary Law School expects to enroll a new class of 236 J.D. students. These students, set to arrive Aug. 15, were selected from more than 4,200 applicants.

Members of the new class have degrees from 156 undergraduate colleges and universities, including 15 in Virginia and 141 in other locations. Twenty-three have been honored with membership in Phi Beta Kappa. Eighteen students have graduate degrees in a wide range of studies, including art history, construction engineering, education (secondary and special), history, hospitality, public administration and religion.

They hail from 38 states, plus Washington, D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and they represent citizenship in four other countries — China, Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom. Additionally, six students hold dual citizenship with the United States and Canada, Ecuador, Ireland, Panama and the United Kingdom, and one is a dual citizen of Canada and France. Twenty-four percent of the class self-identifies as students of color. Fifty-two percent of the entering class has work experience, including 12 in the military. Three are attending law school under the auspices of the highly selective Funded Legal Education Program (FLEP). Additionally, three were Teach for America Corps members, one was a Peace Corps member and seven were AmeriCorps members.

The J.D. Class of 2019 comes with a strong academic track record. The median LSAT of the class is 162 (the 85th percentile), and the median undergraduate grade point average is 3.75. Activities and experiences in their applications represent an involved, diverse, well-rounded group of high achievers and aspiring lawyers. Nineteen were active in student governments, and two served as student body presidents of their undergraduate institutions. Two were Fulbright scholars in Russia and Taiwan respectively, one was an All-American debater, one played professional baseball, one played professional basketball in Europe, one was a semi-finalist for track in the Olympic trials and holds seven school records and one was a four-time academic all-American. Six speak three languages, and one speaks four languages fluently.

W&M Law School is also expected to welcome 51 new students into its LL.M. program, which serves students who have received their legal training outside of the United States. These international students represent Cameroon, China, India, Italy, Iran, Japan, Jordan, Russia and Saudi Arabia.


William & Mary’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science is expected to enroll 21 new graduate students — 14 master’s degree candidates and seven doctoral candidates — in the fall.

The students bring with them an array of experiences, including studying marine particle dynamics in the Gulf of Alaska, working for the U.S. Air Force and serving as a planning commissioner for Williamsburg.