William & Mary is welcoming its newest undergraduate students to campus this week as the university begins a semester that will be convened primarily in person.
Freshmen and transfer students move into residence halls Thursday and Friday, and undergraduate classes begin Sept. 1.
The new students have already demonstrated determination for pursuing their collegiate goals in the midst of a global pandemic. They are also noteworthy for their achievements, academic prowess and diversity.
“All of us on the admission committee are incredibly impressed by this entering class of students,” said Tim Wolfe, associate vice president for enrollment & dean of admission. “They demonstrated exceptional academic talent and personal qualities, but also resilience and commitment, having conducted their entire college search during the pandemic.
“Given that context, their accomplishments — individually and taken as a whole — are that much more impressive. William & Mary is fortunate to be welcoming a record-breaking class built from our largest applicant pool in history, and an entering class that includes more students from underserved populations than ever before. We can’t wait to see what the Class of 2025 accomplishes at William & Mary and beyond.”
Selected from a record applicant pool of 17,475 applicants — a 23% increase from the previous year — the Class of 2025 will include approximately 1,690 students. The university is also expecting around 200 undergraduate transfer students to join the William & Mary community this fall.
The university incorporated a standardized test-optional admission process for undergraduate applicants this year, and 39% of the enrolling class selected that option. Among students who chose to apply with standardized test scores, the SAT middle 50th percentile was 1350-1520, and the ACT composite score middle 50th percentile was 31-34.
The average GPA of the freshman class, on a weighted 4.0 scale, is 4.3. Additionally, 82% of the freshmen with class rank graduated in the top 10% of their class.
Along with being academically accomplished, the freshman class is also diverse, with its members hailing from locations around the Commonwealth, the country and the world. Students of color make up 33% of the class, and international students make up 4%. Additionally, 11% of the freshman class is made up of first-generation students.
This year’s new students also include the university’s first cohort of Posse Scholars. Announced last year, W&M’s partnership with the Posse Foundation will allow the university to provide full scholarships to diverse cohorts of students, many of whom will be the first in their families to attend college and many of whom may not have otherwise seen the university as an affordable option.
The Posse Scholar program is one example of W&M’s work to increase access to the university for prospective students from diverse socio-economic backgrounds, and the university is seeing some progress being made as a result. This year, the university experienced a 25% increase in the number of enrolling freshmen and transfer students who are eligible for a Federal Pell Grant this year as compared to last.
As always, this year’s group of new students includes people with a wide range of unique experiences, interests and accomplishments. Members of the Class of 2025 are expected to include a children’s book illustrator, a member of the Rhythmic Gymnastics U.S. Junior National Team, a nationally-ranked squash player, a chess player who earned the FIDE Master title at age 10, a student who has had multiple short films screened at the Virginia Film Festival, a top-10 ranked fencer in Virginia, and a reporter with Sports Illustrated Kids.
Editor's note: The numbers included in this piece are as of Aug. 24, 2021, and may change slightly by the time the academic year begins.