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Virginia Tech vs. William and Mary

AhmedkhokarAhmedkhokar Registered User Posts: 137 Junior Member
edited February 2013 in College Search & Selection
I'm trying to decide between Virginia Tech and William and Mary. Can anyone help?
Post edited by Ahmedkhokar on

Replies to: Virginia Tech vs. William and Mary

  • jesusandjazzjesusandjazz Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
    I am trying to make the same decision! What is your anticipated major? What are you interested in regarding campus life?
  • Boneyard1981Boneyard1981 Registered User Posts: 27 New Member
    Engineering = Virginia Tech
    Everything Else = William & Mary

    nuff said
  • blueiguanablueiguana Registered User Posts: 7,496 Senior Member
    I would agree that this is largely decided by what you would like to study. Have you visited either campus. They are vastly different. Williamsburg is much more like Charlottesville than Blacksburg. If you are an techy that is drawn to the W&M campus, UVA may be a better fit than VT.
  • KandKsmomKandKsmom Registered User Posts: 1,177 Senior Member

    Umm, No.

    William and Mary= great LAC. Many, many wonderful programs

    Virginia Tech= Way more to it now

    See Below: (In no particular order)


    *Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Research Institute will welcome its first class in August 2010. Research programs are already being built to address inflammation, infectious disease, neuroscience, and cardiovascular science. Curriculum value domains are basic sciences, clinical sciences, research, and interprofessionalism. Students and clinicians will be partners in the research enterprise.

    *Geosciences- The Department of Geosciences at Virginia Tech awards B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees. We have nationally ranked and internationally recognized programs for undergraduate and graduate students


    *This year the Landscape Architecture undergraduate program is ranked #1 in the U.S. among programs accredited by the Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board (LAAB), and the graduate program is ranked #2.

    *The undergraduate Architecture program is ranked #4 nationally among B.Arch. programs accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) and is tied at #2 in the survey of college deans and academic program chairs, cited for its well-rounded preparation of students, its integrated design approach, and comprehensive balance of design and technology. The graduate program in Architecture is ranked #8 among NAAB-accredited graduate programs.

    *the undergraduate Interior Design program is tied at #4 in the survey of college deans and academic program chairs, admired for the quality of its faculty and for balancing design excellence with professional preparation.

    *The Industrial Design undergraduate program is ranked #11 in the nation.

    Significantly, of the 25 design educators from across the U.S. listed by Design Intelligence as the “most admired,” four are from the School of Architecture + Design. They are:

    Brian Katen, Associate Professor and Chair of the Landscape Architecture program.

    Ronald Kemnitzer, Professor and Chair of the Industrial Design program.

    Patrick Miller, Professor of Landscape Architecture and Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Outreach.


    *The college’s urban forestry program was the first in the nation to receive the Society of American Foresters specialized accreditation in urban forestry. The new interdisciplinary curriculum offers the core fundamentals of urban forestry biology, practice, management, and policy.

    *The National Science Foundation ranked the $91 million research program of the College of Natural Resources and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences sixth in the nation.

    *Programs in the College of Natural Resources have consistently ranked among the top of their type in the nation. The college’s wildlife program has been ranked first by its peers, and the fisheries program has been ranked second. In a study of the research impact of North American forestry programs published in the Journal of Forestry, Virginia Tech ranked second among its peers.


    *The Pamplin College of Business undergraduate program is ranked 43rd overall among the nation’s undergraduate business programs and 24th among public institutions. Pamplin’s overall ranking places it in the top 10 percent of the 500-plus U.S. undergraduate programs accredited by AACSB International (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International

    AGRICULTURE AND LIFE SCIENCES- How can you say it is just an engineering school? It is a land grant university!

    *The college's groundbreaking research, eminent scholarship, and service to community and society make Virginia Tech's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences one of the best colleges of its kind in the nation.

    Academic Departments
    Agricultural and Applied Economics
    Agricultural and Extension Education
    Animal and Poultry Sciences
    Biological Systems Engineering
    Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences
    Dairy Science
    Food Science and Technology
    Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise
    Plant Pathology, Physiology and Weed Science

    There are more but whew, I am tired! Nuff said!
  • Here_to_HelpHere_to_Help Registered User Posts: 734 Member
    May I offer an amendment?

    Engineering, Forestry, Architecture, and other assorted specialized technical and agricultural fields = VT
    Everything else = W&M.

    And if you highly value sports and large parties as part of your College education, then Tech clearly wins that as well.
  • Boneyard1981Boneyard1981 Registered User Posts: 27 New Member
    Ummmmm, yes.

    Just for transparency purposes, I do not have a kid a W&M or one who plans on applying. That said, almost EVERY school in the nation can claim to being #1-10, 20, 30 in some major/discipline/niche that boosters love to latch on to. If you look at the biggies, however--business, premed and pre-law, and education--W&M wins hand down over VA Tech and, more importantly, is stellar in graduating its undergrads and placing them in grad programs (surpassing UVA in areas like placing its Pre-meds into med schools).

    Lets quote some other stats/rankings other than the ones listed above. The Wall Street Journal in 2003 (yeah, dated but still probably relevant) ranked W&M among the Top 10 public universities based on placement at "elite" graduate programs in medicine, law and business (e.g., Johns Hopkins Medical School, Columbia Law, Harvard Business). In the survey, William and Mary ranked #7 among the nation's public universities for elite graduate placement (also referred to as "feeder" colleges by WSJ). Other stats from USNWR (I know some call it flawed, but its the survey that resonates with the masses)

    * W&M ranked sixth among all public universities (2010)
    * W&M ranked 33rd overall among the nation's best universities (2010) while VATECH came in at #71
    * W&M tied for 6th nationally among best colleges for undergraduate teaching (2010)
    * The School of Education ranked as tied for 39th in the nation (2011)
    * The Law School ranked as tied for 28th in the nation (2011)
    * The Mason School of Business ranked as tied for 55th in the nation (2010)
    * The History Department’s Phd program ranked 4th in the nation for Colonial History
    * W&M ranked 18th in graduation rates for national universities (2009)
    * Undergraduate business program ranked 43rd in the nation and 22nd among public universities (2009)

    Forbes (2010)

    * W&M ranked as the 2nd best public and 5th overall among all colleges and universities in the South

    Forbes (2009)

    * W&M ranked as the fourth highest public university in the country in the inaugural guide, "America’s Best Colleges 2009"

    Princeton Review: Best 371 Colleges (2010)

    * W&M scored a "green rating" of 90 (on a scale from 60-99)
    * W&M ranked 7th in the category of "Best College Library"
    * W&M ranked 8th in the category of "Professors Get High Marks"
    * W&M ranked 14th in the category of "Happiest Students"

    And finally, here's one last important statistic that you take into account when choosing another school over W&M. W&M has a graduation rate (4 years) of 91 percent (18th in the country as noted above), and third in the south I believe (Duke #1, UVA#2). VaTech's is 52 percent (although it shoots up to the 70s when you add a 5th year to the equation).

    So, IMHO, unless you're looking for engineering/architecture/Ag-related disciplines in-state, a large school, good food, or a football team, W&M has both the better rep and stats. It truly is an "elite" school deserving of the pubic ivy label so I stand by my initial assessment with a slight modification

    Engineering/Ag-related sciences = Virginia Tech
    Everything else still = William & Mary

    Good luck
  • KandKsmomKandKsmom Registered User Posts: 1,177 Senior Member
    Boneyard, honestly no one, including me, is discounting the fact that WM is a wonderful school! I love WM. I have a brother who is a grad who gladly quotes many of the same stats you took the time to post and a daughter who has The College on her list of schools she would love to attend. (Much to her brother's chagrin, right now she isn't as interested in being a Hokie!)

    The reason for my post wasn't to put VT over WM . It was to disagree with your assessment that Tech only offers great engineering programs. Like it or not, VT USED to be thought of as only an engineering school. Over the last decade Tech has truly broadened its appeal to non-engineering kids by developing numerous academic programs with excellent reputations. Yes, some of them are a bit more obscure than the liberal arts, (i. e. forestry) but in this ever changing world, some of those majors are going to be very important.

    I work with high school kids every day. Up until a few years ago - maybe 5 I would say- kids who were accepted to both WM and VT wouldn't think twice about the choice. WM it was, hands down, because of the academic excellence it offers. Now I am not saying VT is a peer institution with WM academically, it isn't in most areas. But in some areas it is better and some areas have improved enough to be acceptable to that kid when combined with the big picture....Student life, etc. The fact is I do see more seniors wrestling with this choice than I ever did before.

    Personally, I would have a tough choice in the two. After going to UR (which is a pretty good little LAC in its own right and a lot like The College in many ways) and then hearing about and seeing the atmosphere/academics in Blacksburg, it would be a difficult decision. But, wouldn't it be great to have that choice of two superb schools? Good luck to the OP!
  • Boneyard1981Boneyard1981 Registered User Posts: 27 New Member
    Of course we don't know what the original poster was looking for, but I have to assume academics is the number one issue since campuses, Greek life, sports, football, food, are in the eye of the beholder. As for my posting of WMs credentials, since your post laid out some of VaTech's accomplishments I wanted to make sure the poster/readership had the flip side, to put the discussion into proper context.

    That said, I have to disagree when it comes to Virginia Polytechnic's reputation both in state (I'm a resident) and out. VATech is still considered primarily an engineering/ag school, much like MIT, CalTech, Harvey Mudd, and Georgia Tech are considered engineering/hard science schools. VaTech's ranking as a top 20 in engineering school is something that should be embraced, but we shouldn't sell it as being on a par in most other disciplines with W&M, UVA, and possibly even JMU when it comes to business. There's a reason why Tech is top 20 but as an all around, its 71 in the nation. Its non-engineering/ag programs are nowhere near the others in the state (IMHO). Also, if VAtech is an "all around" school, it needs to address its four year graduation rate (52 percent), although that rate may not be out of line for other engineering schools. Can't comment there.

    So once again Akhmedkhotar, if engineering, ag science, a large school, bigtime sports, rural setting, and great food are your cup of tea, then VA Tech is a great choice.

    For everything else--a prestigious reputation, great placement into grad schools, a wonderful Division II football team, beautiful ivy league campus, small classes, close to beach/Richmond, then W&M is the way to go.

    Again, full disclosure here, I don't have any ties to either W&M/Tech and am an alumnus of Rutgers University, (USNWR #66 and dropping).
  • KandKsmomKandKsmom Registered User Posts: 1,177 Senior Member
    Well, I must disclose that I do have ties. Maybe that is why I am so intent on tooting Virginia Tech's, WM's, UVA's, GMU's, JMU's, even VCU's horn whenever they come across on College Confidential. Born and bred in the state of Virginia for...eek! 50 years, I have the utmost respect for all of our Virginia schools. The students of this state are so fortunate to have such amazing options. All are tops in some way in my book.

    But, throughout my 29 years in the educational profession, in talking with counselors, professors, teachers, and/or administrators, both here in Virginia and in the mid-Atlantic, you realize that there are trends. Many of these schools are changing with regard to their reputations. Some change for the better, like Tech, GMU, and JMU and some remain constant, like UVA and WM.

    I'll end with saying I fully believe the quality of the undergrad education that a student can receive at Virginia Tech is right up there with any public school in the Commonwealth, yes, including WM. (BTW, Jimmy Laycock would be upset if he thought he was coaching a DII team...WM is a proud top 10 FCS (formerly DI AA) football program! Go Tribe! :))

    Boneyard, Let's just agree to disagree on this one, OK? I am done. We each have differing opinions, especially with regard to VT, but I feel that to go on debating would be silly. Peace.
  • packer22packer22 Registered User Posts: 363 Member
    is cost a factor? did you get into the honors at Vt? Do you want to go home on weekends?

    keeping in mind that this is my opinion, I would say go to William and mary.

    Overall, it is a better school. It is more centrally located, so you can go to Richmond, or go to the Beach, or to DC or to the Carolinas, rather than being out west near Blacksburg.

    I think W&M's campus was nice than VT's, and certainly the students are smarter.

    William and Mary is smaller and has more prestige.

    That being said, if engeneering is your major, go to VT.

    This virginians 2 cents
  • bsjangbsjang Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
    So Engineers, You Say William & Mary Isn’t For You?

    Admit It! If you’re interested in engineering, you’ve probably already crossed William & Mary off of your list of schools to look at, apply to, enroll in, etc. Makes sense right? W&M doesn’t have an engineering program, but, despite that, maybe you shouldn’t cross it off your list so soon. Here are the reasons why.
    1) While W&M doesn’t have an engineering major, we do offer majors in numerous subjects that support the study of engineering: chemistry, physics, biology, math, environmental science and computer science just to name a few. Want to be a chemical engineer, consider majoring in chemistry and then getting a graduate degree in engineering. Likewise for those of you who are interested in software engineering. Major in Comp Sci at W&M and then get a graduate degree in engineering.
    2) W&M has a 3:2 program in engineering through which a student spends three years at W&M likely majoring in one of the subjects listed above and then spends two years at either Columbia University’s engineering school or Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s engineering school. At the end of five years the student graduates with two bachelors degrees (one in their primary major from W&M and one in engineering from either Columbia or RPI).
    3) W&M is among the top 50 producers of science and engineering PhDs in the nation. Only three public universities made the list and William & Mary is one of them. So even though we don’t have a formal undergraduate program in engineering, our alumni are achieving doctoral degrees in science and engineering at rates higher than most other colleges and universities.
    4) You can get a liberal arts education at W&M and still be an engineer. According to the article linked in point three, liberal arts universities provide students more opportunities for undergraduate research, for small classes and for getting to know faculty (who of course are writing your recommendations for graduate school). These opportunities can be priceless for those interested in gaining admission to the nation’s top graduate programs. Additionally, liberal arts schools allow students to receive a broad education. Future engineers will learn about English, history, economics, sociology, geology, and a host of other subjects in addition to learning about science and engineering at a liberal arts institution whereas at flagship universities it may be more likely that engineering students will enroll almost exclusively in engineering courses. The liberal arts education provides students with the ability to develop writing and speaking skills, critical thinking skills, analytical abilities and research methods; all key attributes possessed by the nation’s top PhD candidates.
    So, don’t cross W&M off your list future engineers. Take a closer look at our physics and chemistry majors, or at our 3:2 program or at our graduate school admission rates. We might just be the school for you after all.
  • doctorbdoctorb Registered User Posts: 662 Member
    W&M >>>>>VPI except for engineering and other specialty subjects.
  • informativeinformative Registered User Posts: 1,900 Senior Member
    Engineering = Virginia Tech
    Everything Else = William & Mary
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 63,426 Senior Member
    Re: #12

    In general, it is better for someone intending engineering to go to a school that offers it natively, rather than trying to do it in a roundabout way through a 3+2 program or planning on going to engineering graduate school after a non-engineering bachelor's degree. There are additional uncertainties (of admission to and financial aid at the "2" school, or admission to and funding for graduate study) which make these roundabout ways generally less desirable.

    Also, schools which offer engineering natively can have extensive selections of various liberal arts courses, including humanities and social studies. Indeed, ABET accreditation requirements include having to take significant amounts of humanities and social studies, so the stereotype of the "engineer who takes no humanities and social studies courses" is inaccurate (although the case of the humanities and social studies majors taking no or very little math or science courses is more often true).
This discussion has been closed.