Class of 2015: global and diverse

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August 19, 2011

1:32 AM

1,490 new freshmen are welcomed into the College of William and Mary community today.

This freshmen class comes from a 12,800-student applicant pool, a record-breaking number for the seventh year in a row. Out of the incoming freshmen class, 28 percent are students of color, six percent are international students, 10 percent are first-generation college students and eight percent are legacies.

“It is a class that is incredibly diverse,” Director of Admissions Henry Broaddus said. “It is more racially diverse than we have had in the past few years. It is a broadly talented and accomplished group of people that will do wonderful things in their time here and will go on to be wonderful alumni that will serve the institution well.”

While the racial diversity and number of international students of the incoming class increased from years past, there were no other major changes from past classes’ profiles.

“Last year’s class was incredibly strong. The year before was incredibly strong,” Broaddus said. “All of those groups are special in their own ways. It is a class that was built on previous successes. It continues to be the best and brightest Virginians and the best and brightest students from around the world.”

Along with an increase in the number of international students, this freshmen class includes 30 students participating in the dual enrollment program with the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. This program will allow students to study for two years at the College and two years at St. Andrews.

“They will be the first cohort of these joint degrees,” Broaddus said. “There will be another group that will begin this program at St. Andrews that were admitted in Scotland.”

The program was designed to combine the strengths of the two education systems in order to create a joint international degree.

“The program will combine one of the best aspects of the liberal arts undergrad experience with the kind of focus and depth that is the hallmark of the British program,” Broaddus said. “It is a very exciting venture to be able to provide another international education and experience of this kind.”

The arrival of freshmen represents the hard work of the admissions office.

“I firmly believe the ultimate measure in the College’s enrollment efforts walks through the Wren Building in the fall,” Broaddus said. “That is more than breaking down the academic details and profiles. That group of people and all of the wonderful stories that they bring and the talent they bring, that is the ultimate benchmark.”

While the admissions office watches the new students arrive on campus, the orientation aides and directors prepare to welcome a new class and ease their transition.

“I am incredibly excited to welcome this class because it’s our biggest class ever and they are well rounded and diverse,” Parent and Family Orientation Aide Director Ryan Barnes ’13 said. “They will represent our school well.”

Orientation Aides arrive at school a week in advance to begin training and preparing for the freshmen.

“We had to change around how many groups we had for the incoming size, but beside that it is just your normal good old orientation,” Barnes said.

Orientation Aide Steve Dachert ’13 thinks the opportunity to meet new classmates in college is one of the most rewarding experiences.

“Learn as much as you can about your fellow classmates because, in my opinion, that is what makes William and Mary students so great,” Dachert said. “You really don’t know how much they have to offer, but you have four years to get to know them.”

The benefits of welcoming freshmen to the College apply to College administrators as well.

“I think that it is such an exciting time when all of us who are part of this community can kind of renew our affection for it when we get to see people who are becoming members of this community,” Broaddus said. “It reminds us all how fortunate we are to be members of the College.”

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