Any out of state experiences at W&M?

My son is looking at W&M as an out of state applicant from the midwest. I’m concerned that since 70% of students are in-state, he will feel out of place. Obviously not all 70% know each other, but I wouldn’t want him to feel like a fish out of water! If you have any experience being an out-of-stater, I would love to hear your thoughts!


Hi there @Search2022

My daughter has not yet attended W&M but has been accepted and is very excited to go next fall. We are OOS (but not from the Midwest). I believe the OOS percentage is a little higher than 30% (may be closer to 35 or 40). Keep in mind, as well, that many W&M students hail from the northern Virginia area…basically DC suburbs and exurbs… which has a more cosmopolitan flavor than some other parts of Virginia. A good percentage of these students’ families are, themselves, transplants from other parts of the country (and world) who moved to the DC area. My daughter has been meeting many newly-admitted students from different states on social media. We live in a small, not-very-diverse town and that relative diversity is one of the draws for her, in a not-too big or too-small campus (along with W&M’s other charms). Although not as many students come from the Midwest as the mid-Atlantic, NE or west coast, I can’t imagine being a Midwesterner would be a stigma in any way. Might even give your son a little admissions boost!

W&M’s slogan is “all those who come here belong here”. I get the sense that the many activities students can engage in (from outdoor clubs, athletics, music groups, pep band, theater, stand-up comedy, debate, dance, etc) draw like-minded students together, regardless of origins. ( Of course, I’m sure Covid affected these activities, but I expect a significant easing/canceling of restrictions by the time your son would attend.)

W&M seems to be kind of a niche school ( not for everyone) but the majority of students who are drawn to it seem to really embrace and love it. My D couldn’t be more proud or excited! What does your son like about it? What are his interests? What is he looking for/trying to avoid in a school?


Hi @Search2022!

I have a daughter that is a junior at W&M and we are OOS. She will definitely reference a lot of students are from “NOVA,” but she has crossed paths and made friends with kids that are from all over! She hasn’t felt out of place at all and it has been a wonderful experience for her. The distance from home isn’t ideal, but knowing that she found the right fit in a school, has made it bearable!


You bring up an excellent point about NoVa. Many moons ago, I lived in the DC area and pretty much everyone I knew were transplants. My son is very much an introvert, so I would hate to put him at a disadvantage socially. I appreciate the reassurance that being a Midwesterner won’t be a huge issue.

He’s a STEM kid, just starting the search process and deciding between liberal arts (to study computer science) or an engineering program/tech school. I’m not sure LACs are the best for computer science, but size is critical factor.

The tour guides in our last virtual tour came across as sincerely loving W&M. One young man described the school as “magical,” which is exactly what I’m hoping college will be for my kids :slight_smile:

My D19 is at William & Mary, and D21 will start there in the fall. Being from out-of-state (NY) has never been an issue for D19. In fact she often doesn’t know where her friends are from, unless it comes up for a specific reason.

She is also an introvert, and a serious student who wants/needs to be engaged and involved beyond academics. She has become an adventure trip leader, joined a sorority, and started a CCI club for students to raise/train service dogs. She also has her first boyfriend, which has been so good for her. Far from being a fish out of water, she has found a place where she belongs and can be her best self—maybe even more so than in high school.

Speaking of W&M tour guides, we had one who took a computer science course because whatever he really wanted didn’t fit in his schedule. He ended up loving it and double majored in computer science and government.

Best of luck with your son, and just let us know if you have any other questions about W&M! :pineapple:

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Yes! The beauty of a liberal arts education is the flexibility to explore topics, even at random. Self-discovery so good for teens.

It sounds like the OOS element should be put in the back seat while we learn more about W&M.

My son has limited engagement outside academics, so I’m not sure if all the opportunities at W&M will be relevant to him or maybe his head will be in a book for 4 years! W&M has a reputation for attracting academic types and my son really needs a kind, quiet, intellectual community.

Head in a book is one of my favorite ways to spend time! D19’s roommate is definitely living a life of the mind. She’ll walk to the farmer’s market on a Saturday, have dinner with the other girls in the house, but mostly she studies, plays her instrument and studies some more. She and D19 get along great and have also become close with their suite-mates.

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I went to W&M in the 80’s, from California. There were 5 Californians in my class. It was a great experience, though in some ways a culture shock. Being OOS was definitely a plus overall. It immediately gave you something to talk about when meeting new people. Never once did I feel like an outsider, even though I had adjustments to make and things to learn.

I loved my time at W&M. Even the non-air conditioned freshman dorm. That might have been the highlight, actually. The school has only gotten better over time, and I wish I could convince my California boy to consider it!