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@mom9955 Your post made me laugh for quite a bit. I think it should be perfectly fine, especially if you have been through something similar before. Most of the parent orientation is just talking about all the resources that they have on campus to support the students and reassuring you that “Your kid is going to be okay!” Your student will probably go through a similar thing, so it’s more important that they are there for the orientation. I’m currently at an orientation for my younger brother who goes one of those weird schools that have it in the middle of the summer, and my parents are definitely playing hooky halfway through :wink:

W&M seems to be very generous with AP credits. Do many students make use of them to graduate in three years, or are they more likely to double-major or study abroad more than once?

@prodesse Students tend to do all three, so all of the above! I would say double majoring is the most common, followed by graduating early, and then studying abroad more than once. This is also based off personal experiences with friends and I don’t have the official statistics in front of me, but the last two could easily be switched.

I do have some truly adventurous friends that have spent more than three semesters abroad, so it is definitely possible. One of my friends spent three semesters abroad AND graduated a semester early (to this day I wonder how…) William & Mary really encourages students to study abroad and many opportunities are built into the new college curriculum. It has the highest study abroad rate out of all the public universities in the country, which means just over half of all students study abroad during their four years.

It also depends how you define study abroad. A student may go abroad for one of their courses, like I have friends who went on a geology research trip to the Bahamas and others who went to Cuba for one of their courses. The William & Mary Semester in DC and the Summer Institute is becoming more popular, so a student may study abroad a semester then later decide to take classes and do internships in DC in a different one. They recently offered an interesting new leadership course co-taught by William & Mary alum and former FBI director James Comey and William & Mary has many alumni willing to help students get internships in the DC area.

Many students do end up using the AP credits because there is no really good reason not to. Some science students like to take introductory course over again as a refresher before moving to upper-level courses. Most students just apply the credits to exempt them from the introductory courses. The good thing is that some courses like AP Psych and AP U.S. History grant you double the amount of credits because they can cover the same amount of content as two semester courses.

From my personal experience, coming in with AP credits was helpful because it allowed me to really explore interesting courses outside of my major or get really involved in the community without spending as much time in introductory courses. There are still a number of students that don’t come in with credits though that are still able to do things, but coming in with the credits definitely come in handy.

So to answer your original question: YES. William & Mary students do take advantage of the credits they earned in high school. I am endlessly surprised in all the creative ways that students spend their time here.

@TTG I can’t fathom missing a Cheese Shop sandwich, especially since my husband has never even been to Williamsburg!

Would you define W&M students as competitive or collaborative in the classroom? We live in Virginia and hear many things about W&M in general, and my son (rising HS senior) hears from friends about their older siblings’ experiences. We have heard BOTH. Obviously, W&M is competitive to get into, but once there, do students tend to compete with one another (e.g., trying to get ahead of each other, not helping, etc.) or tend to work more collaboratively? OR - as I suspect - does it really vary by major and by student. My son thrives in a collaborative environment but really dislikes competition among students and has been a little worried about things he has heard…

I know the school well, and over a long period, and very currently. I think the school’s reputation as having a competitive academic is largely a myth. To my mind, it really is pretty wholly a matter of how a student approaches it. If they are inclined to view it as competitive, then, well, it could seem competitive. If they go into it with a desire to be collaborative, they’ll find A LOT of students, professors, and staff with whom they can have terrific collaborative experiences. Honestly, I was always pretty flummoxed by the idea that a school has a competitive academic environment. I always felt like, if I work hard, do my best, and then see how the cards fall, what does it really matter to me if other people are stressed. I could choose to be, or not. But what really mattered was how I learned and how hard I worked. But, anyway, I can say for sure that today students can have an excellent academic experience with little or no competitive pressures. I know someone very well who is experiencing that.

The same with fun. There are plenty of chill W&M students who know how to have a good time. If a student wants to have a fun W&M student they will also find plenty of collaborators. Is that the best word?

Good luck!

What can a transfer student do besides grades to maximize his chances of getting into Willhem und Mariah? (William and Mary)

Hey everyone! It’s been a long time since I have been on College Confidential. Wow a lot has changed. I have since graduated from William & Mary, but since I heard decisions came out recently I wanted to come back and answer some questions.

Congratulations for all the students that were recently admitted to William & Mary! Like they say in those admissions packages, “One Tribe, And Now It’s Yours.” I also imagine that it can be an incredibly confusing time, trying to make college decisions with everything going on while not being able to visit campuses.

Well never fear! That’s what we are here for. Feel free to ask anything! There have already been some amazing questions and answers in this thread already, so feel free to look through them. And as always, anyone feel free to pitch in.

Once again, I just wanted to say Congratulations! And welcome home.

What are your thoughts/experiences regarding the pre-orientation programs such as pathways and 7 generations? Are they worthwhile? Are they hard to get into? Would you recommend one above the others?

@polkajen Great question! I highly recommend it. I happen to have to done the Pathways experience, which is the Outdoors Adventures program. It was an incredibly fun experience and was a great bonding activity. For someone who came from out of state, I didn’t really know anyone going into the school, it made me really value the people I was around and getting to know other types of people outside of your typical college setting. After that, I would take almost any opportunity to go hiking in the mountains, it’s a treat. I did the backpacking trip, which was probably one of the most physically exerting ones out there, but was very rewarding. From what I know about it, I don’t think they necessarily fill up super fast but certain ones may be more popular than others, so those might run out of spaces more quickly.

I think you bond pretty quickly with the people there and at the end of the experience, you gather together with all the other Pathways trips for a giant kumbaya. I enjoyed the people that I met, and although we didn’t stay best friends after the experience (we all ended up in kind of different social circles and had our own meaningful relationships), we would gather together sometimes for a giant potluck reunions – and several of them ended up as trip leaders. You also get to know all the things the Tribe Adventure Program offers quickly: everything from Canoe Battleship, to things like Skydiving and Surfing, which is awesome. I always wish I had time to go on some more trips, but whenever I meet someone that has gone on one, its an immediate bonding experience.

I am less familiar with Seven Generations, but have done many service trips with the College and like the Pathways trips, they are very well planned. As a former trip leader myself, I think the people that you find on these trips (whether it is Outdoors or people are drawn to community service) I think you are find that people that are drawn to these experiences, are some high quality people. Many people continue to be active in these activities even after starting college, and you will get to experience it in a way that many other people have not. Some other programs I might recommend if you are interested in service include: Sharpe Community Scholars and the Aim-4 Program, focused on Community Based Research and service respectively.

If you get invited into some of the other programs like PLUS or PLUS-S, I would highly recommend those as well – they are fantastic academic and social experiences and the usefulness of those will extend beyond that time period, but those tend to be mostly invite-only. One thing I will say, is that if you don’t end up going on one of these experiences, don’t fret. There will be plenty of time for bonding and getting to know people during Orientation itself (which I think I talk about earlier, but I think it done exceptionally well), but if you do get to go on one of these trips, it is a wonderful experience.

I say a lot that William & Mary had some of the most down-to-earth and community oriented people I have met, and I admit many of those first impressions were definitely helped shaped by that perspective.

Hi Shawn, I wanted to thank you for being so thoughtful and generous with your comments on W&M. My kid is still mulling things over, but I personally, would like her to choose W&M.

@Utenochek You’re absolutely welcome! I am more than happy to help. I wish that the campus was still active so she could see everything in person, but alas. If there are any questions that I can help answer in the meantime, I am happy to answer them.

@shawnspencer - The odds of getting a dorm room with A.C. are against incoming freshmen. Did you live without AC in a W&M dorm? If so, how did that affect sleep, social life, academics, etc., if at all?

Strongly considering W&M but have heard there is not much of a social life outside of greek like and there is not much to do on and off campus for a Freshman. Could you provide any input?

@Anisqoyo Yes! I lived in a freshman dorm room without AC. Full disclaimer: All the lounges and common areas have AC, and all upperclassmen dorms have AC.

Honestly I would say it wasn’t bad at all, and I would say that it didn’t significantly impacted my experience at W&M. I barely spent time in my room except to sleep, and there is the whole rest of campus to explore. If anything, I would say that it led to everyone in my dorm spending more time in the lounges and common areas – which led to lots of community bonding. I remember constantly meeting new people and the dorm was incredibly social. I remember fellow dorm mates building forts in the lounge, playing games, and having giant movie nights where everyone was invited.

I would say that it only gets really warm like the first month and part of the last month of college, most other times it was perfectly manageable. If it is something that you are concerned about, all you need to do is get a doctor’s note to get it installed in your dorm. My roommate and I actually got approval to get an AC in our dorm room, but by the time that we got that, it was already cool enough that we didn’t need it. If you are dead-set about living in a dorm with air conditioning, you have a better chance if you request living in a larger dorm on your housing survey: Jefferson, Yates, and Lemon are all air conditioned.

But for me, I wouldn’t trade my experience living in my smaller dorm for anything. It had such a sense of community and it was a bonding experience that I have remained close friends with several of them even after graduation. Yes, that means even living in a dorm room with an air conditioner.

Were there many forced triples in those rooms without AC? Also - bugs, not that there are bugs (after all, it is VA and the water table) but that the school doesn’t really deal with infestations of bugs well? Do the dorms get better as you move up or do most just move off campus after sophomore year because they don’t?

@TestRun The dorms definitely get better after sophomore year. Some of the best dorms like Lemon, Chandler, Landrum, One Tribe Place, Tribe Square, and Hardy are incredibly nice. Many of them have their own bathrooms attached to the dorm and have options for singles, doubles, suite style dorms, apartment style, and more. You can find pictures and videos online. They’ve been renovating lots of the dorms recently, so I wouldn’t be surprised that more of the dorms get the same treatment.

For housing after freshman year, William & Mary has a lottery system where seniors get first pick of dorms, then juniors, then sophomores. Students with disabilities and those in special programs also get first pick. For instance, there are several spaces on campus that are dedicated to language houses (students who want to speak a particular language), Mosaic House (dedicated to diversity), and even a house in Colonial Williamsburg that students can apply to live in.

Personally I haven’t heard of any forced triples for freshmen before. There are some dorm rooms on campus that are built for triples, so that their collective space is actually much larger than your typical dorm. These may not always even be filled and the ones I’ve seen are actually made of two rooms. The closest thing that I have heard of even close to that, is that sometimes if they over-enroll students they convert some of the larger rooms that typically used as lounges into dorm rooms. That generally means that the student has a larger room and even sometimes a TV in their room, and would function the same as a regular dorm room. There are a couple of rooms for upperclassmen, that upon request can be turned into triples for students who want to live with their friends, but triples are rare for students in general.

The majority of students live on campus: I believe the overall statistics is about 70 percent of students live on campus. Most students enjoy living on campus because it provides a sense of community. Also if you room with the same roommate for four years, you get invited to a lunch with the President. The typical reasons for moving off-campus include: it’s cheaper (especially if you cook for yourself), you don’t have to be on the meal plan, a place to host more social events, greater independence and the opportunity to live with friends. Housing is relatively inexpensive in Williamsburg in comparison to other cities. Also I believe starting this year or last year, a new requirement was created that sophomores have to live on campus, with expanded sophomore community programming coming along with it. They are greatly expanding dorm living options, and new housing is coming as we speak.

What about transportation/access to parts of Williamsburg from W&M? I know there is bus transportation through W&M, which at 1200 acres is pretty spread out for a smaller school. But as freshman and sophomores can’t have cars, how do they get to all that Williamsburg offers besides adjacent activities/venues? Biking is a good option, but with the wet weather, it would be good to have backup options besides a Zipcar as well.

For any transfers, does anyone know how they are evaluating P/F credits?

Unless you are taking classes at one of the graduate schools, you will have no difficulty walking. The campus size includes a lake and woodlands!

The students can also take regional buses for shopping. Perhaps this feature article from The Flat Hat will be helpful.