Hi @wwphsnmom ! Thank you for thinking of me. As I mentioned in another recent post, it has been ages since I have logged onto College Confidential, so it has changed quite a bit since I last logged on. I am happy to help answer questions about William & Mary here.
I think your daughter will fit in great at William & Mary. I think it is the place that has a great mix of introverted and extroverted students, and I think students will find a place regardless of what social scene they like to explore. William & Mary is known for its down to earth, intelligent, community minded students that really want to make an impact on the world.
In general, I think William & Mary is just the right size. When I started off looking at schools, I started off looking at many smaller schools more similar to smaller liberal arts colleges. In hindsight, I am very happy that I chose a school with the size of W&M, which has incredible small class sizes (most econ classes will likely be 35 and under), has a really strong sense of community, but you are constantly meeting new people.
For a student like your daughter, I think you will find that the public policy and economic programs quite strong, and students are heavily involved in civic engagement. The international relations club is the biggest club on campus, and several students are involved in the Global Research Institute (that does research on things like diplomacy, international development, and more). I highly recommend checking it out: Global Research Institute | William & Mary William & Mary has one of the highest study abroad rates as well – so very worldly.
William & Mary is also well known for its quality of teaching. I’ve only taken one economics class while I was at William & Mary, but even though it was an introductory course – the professor took the time to have office hours at a local coffee shop before every midterm to answer questions for several hours at a time, and was one of the kindest I have met. I looked this up a couple of years ago, but William & Mary had tied with Mount Holyoke with the the most professors in a Princeton Review book of “Top 300 professors in the Country.”
I think also broadly speaking, because students are engaged about these topics outside of just academics it is not uncommon to see students discussing these topics outside of the classroom. You’ll find numerous students that love reading and having discussions about books that they have read. Even after graduating, I am constantly learning new things from my peers that I met at William & Mary and many do stay in touch.
If your daughter is interested in working in DC after graduation, it has a wonderful semester, summer, or winter programs in DC – and it has a very strong network in that area, which can certainly help her find a job after graduation. A couple of years ago, because of students civic engagement, they elected the first Asian American city councilman and William & Mary alumnus shortly after graduating.
I think you will find that William & Mary does have a strong South Asian community. The South Asian Student Association is one of the largest on campus, and they constantly host shows and invite other student organizations from other schools to perform on campus. There are numerous dance groups that are affiliated with the South Asian community, at least three that comes to the top of mind. Also as someone that was very involved in APIA and multicultural spaces when i was on campus, I think it was very helpful for navigating my own sense of identity.
William & Mary, as of a couple of years ago, was one of the first campuses to establish an APIA studies department, largely thanks to student activism. By taking classes in Asian American history and even an Asian American theater course, I was able to delve deeper in that specific aspect of identity and learn things I think I would not have anywhere else. Years later, I am deeply appreciative of that fact. One of my friends (who I think is still there) just self designed and co-teaches a course on South Asian Diaspora History at W&M with a professor from the department, and it sends students all over the world for internships.
William & Mary also has a good number of students from New Jersey, and is the second most popular state behind Virginia, and a number of my good friends are from there. Although I have not attended URichmond, I would say what I have heard over the years is in line with what @IzzoOne has described so far.
A number of my friends have also pursued higher education after graduation, and have been incredibly successful. Granted it might just be the people that I have surrounded myself with, but names like Yale, Emory, JHU, Penn, Colombia, and more all pop up and a. number of friends have earned Fulbright awards. I think University of Richmond and W&M have incredibly beautiful campuses, but I think when it comes down to it – which one would fit your daughter in terms of personality and her long term goals would be something to consider.