College welcomes 1,545 students Friday

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August 23, 2017

7:23 PM

The College of William and Mary will swell by 1,545 when the freshman class of 2021 arrives this weekend for new student orientation. Of these incoming students, 33 are enrolled in the St. Andrews William and Mary Joint Degree Programme. The class of 2021 was selected from a pool of 14,921 applicants, a four percent increase in applications from last year. Admission was offered to 35 percent of applicants.

Associate Provost for Enrollment and Dean of Admission Tim Wolfe said that the incoming class impressed the admission committee and that the committee was, as always, excited to see the new class on campus.

“[This is] absolutely a class that’s going to build on legacy and make us proud,” Wolfe said.

Students of color make up 30 percent of the incoming class, with 10 percent being Hispanic, eight percent being black, seven percent being Asian or Pacific Islander, 5 percent being multiracial. The class of 2021 is 58 percent female and 42 percent male.

Addressing the racial imbalance of not only the incoming class — the incoming class is 58 percent white — but also of the student body as a whole, Wolfe said the College is working to communicate more effectively with school counselors. He said the College is also working within the larger body of Virginia public universities to create better outreach to underrepresented communities. The College is also focusing on communication, campaigns and outreach that focus more specifically on underrepresented student groups. However, Wolfe said that the College has some limits based on financial aid resources, and that it can do more for in-state than out-of-state students.

I think [the College] is seeking to do initiatives on our own, but also recognizing there are some times where we, as part of the greater Virginia university system, can work together to try and achieve some goals,” Wolfe said.

“I think [the College] is seeking to do initiatives on our own, but also recognizing there are some times where we, as part of the greater Virginia university system, can work together to try and achieve some goals,” Wolfe said.

According to Wolfe, the freshman class is made up of 65 percent in-state students and 35 percent out-of-state, including seven percent international students. The most highly represented states outside of Virginia are New Jersey, Maryland, New York and Pennsylvania. The most highly represented countries outside of the United States are China, South Korea, the United Kingdom and India.

Senior Associate Vice President for Communications and Chief Communications Officer Brian Whitson said he is excited about the geographical diversity of the incoming class.

“They are smart, diverse and bring a wide range of backgrounds and experiences,” Whitson said.

Among the class of 2021, there are 74 high school valedictorians. Of the incoming class, 10 students were admitted in the previous year and chose to take a gap year, 10 percent of the class were recruited as athletes, 11 percent of the class are first generation college students, 140 are Monroe Scholars and eight are 1693 Scholars.

The new class really is one of the best and brightest we’ve ever had,” Whitson said.

“The new class really is one of the best and brightest we’ve ever had,” Whitson said.

The SAT middle 50th percentile of incoming freshmen is 1300-1480 and the ACT composite score middle 50th percentile is 29-33. 81 percent of students whose high schools provide class rankings graduated in the top 10 percent of their classes.

Assistant Vice President for Student Engagement Drew Stelljes said he encourages new students to strive to take on leadership roles and become involved early on campus.

“With 465 recognized student organizations, there is something for every student at William & Mary,” Stelljes said in an email. “The Office of Student Leadership Development is a resource for all students. Discover your calling. Discover your path. Develop confidence in your ability to make an impact.”

The class of 2021 includes several students who have accomplished unusual achievements outside the classroom. One student lived on a sailboat and circumnavigated the world, one is a professional ultimate frisbee player, one student memorized pi to 600 digits and another student competed in the world championship for a farm trebuchet pumpkin-throwing competition.

“Each and every student in this class has something to offer,” Wolfe said.

Whitson also expressed his eagerness to welcome these new students to campus and for them to become a part of the Tribe.

“We’re thrilled about the new class and looking forward to welcoming students and their families to campus at move-in day this Friday,” Whitson said. “The start of the academic year is always a special time and this fall is no different.”

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Nia Kitchin
  • Nia Kitchin

News Editor Nia Kitchin '20 is a Government and Studio Art double major. She is from Charlottesville, Virginia and enjoys traveling, hiking, and keeping up with political drama.