I participated in the PLUS program in July of 2012. Were it not for the program I’m not sure if I would have graduated from William & Mary - let alone go on to get a M.Ed in Higher Education Administion at the School of Education. The connections that I made during PLUS allowed me to not only flourish at William & Mary, but they allowed me to wholeheartedly appreciate the community around me, the diversity of the college experience, and the academics for which I chose the institution. PLUS is more than a transition program. It is an opportunity to intentionally make an impact on student lives at William & Mary. Some of my best memories of college and most valuable life lessons can be traced back to my PLUS experience and it’s the reason why I give back to the university today.
- Tiera Lanford ‘16, M.Ed ‘18
I never saw myself attending William & Mary. I applied last minute because my mom made me. When I actually got in I was surprised to say the least but I was also very nervous. My high school was very diverse and I wasn't sure if I would be prepared for the culture shock of attending a PWI. I learned about PLUS through a pamphlet sent to me through the mail and after researching a bit more about it my mom and I decided to apply. I wasn't sure what to expect but I knew I had no idea what to expect in college so this would be a valuable learning experience. It was one week that ended up changing the course of my college experience and I am forever grateful. I made valuable friendships I can see lasting for a long time, I became familiar with the campus and learned about many opportunities I wouldn't ordinarily have known about. I came into my freshman year with friends and upperclassmen who were willing to mentor and guide me. None of which would have been possible without the foundation built at PLUS and I hope this program continues to help more incoming freshman gain a sense of community and belonging.
- Ekua Biney ‘22
Coming into PLUS, I did not know what I was getting into. I thought there would be more students (than the 40) and I remember looking around and being shocked to see that everyone was diverse. I did not realize that we were handpicked to join nor did I know that the people would all be minorities like me in some way or another. This made the experience more special though. I think PLUS was most helpful in that at least half of the students who participated with me are still my friend today and are people I see/hang out with. They are people that I am not afraid to say hi to or reach out to when I need help. I think it is most successful for helping students who would not normally know where to find a group find one. I am grateful for the PLUS program and hope I can be a counselor ;) Thank you Shené for allowing me the opportunity to participate.
- AnnaGrace Jensen ‘22
Plus was a great experience. It helped me get comfortable with the campus and campus life. I met friends that help me get through the stress of college daily.
- Asante Mitchell ‘21
Growing up as a first generation immigrant I never really had anyone guiding me through my academics and that amplified once the college process came along. Although I handled the application process well and knew where I would be going I still had no idea what college would entail. Plus provided me with not only resources but support. It gave me the tools I needed to navigate this campus once I came in the fall and showed me what I needed to get done before getting there. The counselors gave us personal insight on their experience on campus, as well as what opportunities the school holds. Most importantly, plus gave a support system. During orientation there was always a moment when I’d run into the friends I had made over the summer or the counselors, and even now my closets friends are those I met in plus. The week I spent in the program truly changed my life and I know that no matter what the people I met will always be there for me.
- Yannira Lopez Perez ‘22
Plus was an amazing experience and honestly I would not have been prepared for college without it. I had the pleasure of participating as a camper and a counselor. Both experiences were fun and opened me up to new experiences. Without it I would have entered college without friends are resources on campus. I faced my fears and grew as a person. I became acclimated with the campus and made life long friends. If I could I would do it again.
- Alexandra Harris ‘21
PLUS was a very positive experience for me and it allowed me to further explore what I bring to the table as a leader, mentor, and friend. I enjoyed watching the PLUS students grow to trust each other and eventually the PLUS Counselors. The PLUS program served as a safe space for people of diverse backgrounds to feel welcome to the William & Mary community and illuminated the resources they have around campus an in us as PLUS Counselors. My experience as a counselor was invaluable and the program is very much needed on this campus.
- Amma Owusu '20
When I was first accepted to william & Mary and offered enough financial aid to be able to actually attend, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to go to such a great school. Once my senior year of high school was finally coming to an end, nervousness began to set in. I was worried about feeling isolated going from a diverse high school to a predominantly white institution, and also worried that I wasn’t prepared enough for college life. However, once I came back home from the PLUS program, I had a new sense of confidence about starting college. On move in day, I already had 40 friends on campus from PLUS, which a lot of other people couldn’t say. I was able to help other people navigate their way around campus and was already aware of the resourses available on campus to help me transition into college life. PLUS is the best thing I could have done to prepare for college and I will surely recommend it to incoming freshmen in the future.
- Keiya Small ‘22
Coming to William & Mary, I was already expecting to be alone. This was mainly because one, I don't know how to make friends, and two, I was leaving everything I knew behind. I had much anxiety with this because though I was independent and knew how to be alone, I had heard many stories of how you need a support system in college. The first day of PLUS, I still felt alone because I didn't talk to anyone. As the days progressed, however, I was talking more and doing things out of my comfort zone. I remember the ropes course, specifically, because I am terrified of heights but I felt such a relief afterward. That's how I feel about PLUS, it pushes you out of your comfort zone and there's a sense of relief after you do something you wouldn't do on a regular basis. Starting in the fall and already knowing 40+ people and much more about the numerous resources on campus was exceptional. Anyways I feel like my PLUS friends are probably gonna be my friends for life, I don't see them all the time but it's always a good time when we meet up. I got more out of PLUS than I was expecting.
- Georgina Yeboah ‘22
I had the pleasure of serving as the PLUS Resident Director for the summer of 2018. In my position, I was specifically responsible for coordinating activities for the PLUS participants as well as planning with the PLUS counselors and Assistant Director of the Center for Student Diversity (CSD). I feel that PLUS was an enriching and unforgettable experience for all of the students who participated. The students were able to get acclimated to the campus landscape, gain knowledge on academic and extracurricular opportunities, and establish a network with peers prior to the official beginning of the fall semester. PLUS offers an experience that is not attainable through any other office on campus. PLUS scholars are equipped with vital information that they may not encounter until well into their fall semester as freshmen; therefor PLUS scholars have a level of preparation that puts them at an advantage. The PLUS program is necessary and should continue to be supported because it is one of the most positive impacts that the CSD offers for students with marginalized backgrounds and identities.
- DeLauren Davis ‘18
PLUS introduced me to William & Mary and college life before college even started. It allowed me to be introduced to college life while still having fun and meeting new people. PLUS was the perfect mixture of a peek at college life and a summer camp. Our counselors were so helpful with any questions that we had. I had the amazing opportunity of attending real lectures taught by real professors at William & Mary which allowed me to get a glimpse of how college academics would be. In addition, I had the opportunity to be introduced to countless campus resources which made me feel welcome. But most of all, I was able to meet so many new people and make many new friends. I greatly appreciate how both the counselors and Ms. Owens, made it a priority to create an environment to foster lasting friendships. When I walked into campus for orientation, I was comforted and reassured by all the familiar faces I saw. I still talk to and hang out with the friends I met during PLUS. The PLUS program is an amazing opportunity that helped me immensely with the high school to college transition.
- Sanjana Challa ‘22
PLUS created the most meaningful and productive summer of my college career so far. For a week, I got to experience the campus for the very first time. From go-cart racing and amusement parks to picnics on sunken gardens and evening walks to Motoaka, I was able to form deep bonds I cherish to this day. The opportunity to form bonds with people from similar backgrounds created a strong foundation of support for the upcoming semester. In addition to creating familial bonds, the academic taste of college was definitely a beneficial asset. Each day, the select group was able to meet faculty, learn about student resources and diversity programs/outlets on campus. An abundance of knowledge was crammed into one short week. I later expanded upon when I started my freshman year in late August. Tribe tutor zone, center for Student Diversity and my current academic adviser are the resources and aid I was first introduced to during my summer months before my fall semester. In conclusion, I really can't say enough about how much PLUS has helped me. These programs catapulted me to where I am today- a Biology major on the premed track with a GPA of 3.43! I am so grateful and so thankful to everyone who made it possible for a group of minorities to have a once in a lifetime opportunity.
- Tanner Nelson ‘20
Getting my acceptance letter into W&M was one of the most exciting days of my life. But after my acceptance, I didn’t know where I would go from there. Sometime in the spring my mother saw the application for PLUS and thought it would be an excellent opportunity for me. So I filled out a form and sent it in. I didn’t think much of it, but attending PLUS was one of the best decision I could have made. Attending PLUS better prepared me for life on campus. Introducing me to resources on campus such as the tutoring center, CSD, Cohen Career Center, etc. It helped me better navigate the campus and what to expect coming in as a freshman. Not only did plus prepare me with the knowledge for academic success on campus, but also with amazing and long lasting relationships. The people I met through plus are the people I still am connected with and hang out with today. Attending PLUS allowed me to make some amazing friendships, friendships that I wouldn't have discovered otherwise, with students and faculty members. Through these relationships, I was able to make I found a whole new meaning of diversity that I had not considered before. If you want a head start on navigating life at William & Mary, better understanding one's diversity while also having a fantastic experience, I HIGHLY recommend you sign up for PLUS.
- Justin Kelly ‘22
PLUS really shaped my experience at W&M. It was the head start we needed to help us start our college careers in the best way possible. From campus tours to learning about WMSURE, tutoring and the other resources available to us, PLUS gave us the boost we otherwise would not have gotten as students of color. I also met my best friends as PLUS. We really do feel like a family
- Bim Anibaba ‘20
While I don’t consider PLUS essential for everyone’s college experience, yet I consider it foundational for my own. It was an time where: I got accumulated with the major resources on campus, befriended bright students, understand the locations of things, and received a foretaste of the generosity at W&M! And this was all before day one of my freshman year.
- Joshua Owusu-Koramoah ‘20
PLUS was the greatest experience I could've potentially even had to get me started here at W&M. This program has enabled me to find a community that makes me feel more accepted and more at home. I will always be grateful for all the connections and relationships I developed from this program. Counselors and directors have served as mentors and guidance considering my first year was very difficult. PLUS gave me a safe space that I knew I would always be able to come back to in times of stress. Without CSD and my peers, I don't know how I would've made it through my freshman year. I will be forever grateful for the opportunities that PLUS has afforded me along with all the resources I was able to take advantage of the most students will never even know about.
- Jada Copeland ‘21
I really enjoyed PLUS. This program has helped me start my college career with more confidence showing the many resources available for help, making many friends, and showing every one of us that we are all in this together. As a first-generation college student, it helped me show that I was not the only one going through this transition alone and there would always be someone willing to talk to me if I had any problems. It was a week full of fun, exploration, learning, and connecting. I'm so glad I attended PLUS.
- Jessica Ramirez ‘21
PLUS has been an unbelievably amazing experience for me. Not only was I able to learn about all the resources W&M has to offer me, but I got to meet professors and, perhaps most importantly, make bonds with an incredibly diverse group of other freshman - all before Orientation. The friends I've made here will stay with me throughout my entire time at the university, and the experiences we've shared during PLUS will forever be remembered as my true first steps to becoming a member of the Tribe. I'm so thankful I was able to participate in PLUS, and I recommend it to everyone who wants to start life at W&M on the right foot.
- Jonathan Newby ‘22