A group of nine incoming students gathered in the Sadler Center. They weren’t fresh out of high school. Five of them were parents. They each discussed their unique path to their acceptance at the College of William and Mary. They were members of the 2013-14 Prime Tribe.
Dean of Admissions Henry Broaddus says Prime Tribers are transfer students above the age of 24. Broaddus confirmed that 24 transfer students who enrolled this academic year are members of the Prime Tribe.
Ben Boone ’07 M.Ed ’09 is the assistant to the dean of students and transfer student support services. He welcomed the group to their orientation program on Aug. 25. He commended each of the new students for their unique stories and paths to higher education.
“I hope that you don’t shy away from sharing your experiences in the classroom,” Boone said to the group.
A fair amount joined the armed forces out of high school. Others lacked the money to afford college when under 24. A few just did not have the desire to pursue higher education. Now, based on various experiences, they all decided that getting a college degree, or another college degree, would benefit their careers.
The 2013-14 Prime Tribe has a diverse array of interests. There are math, English, psychology, government and biology majors. Michael August ’15 said the orientation program was like a “support group of the most beneficial, positive kind” because of the opportunity to share their stories.
Greg Skipworth ’14 joined the College last year through the Prime Tribe program. Skipworth entered the Navy after high school and remained in the service for 20 years. Following his career in the Navy, he went into retail management, a business that he says is deeply affected by economic fluctuations. After growing tired of layoffs, he decided to become a history professor at the junior college level. To do so, he went to Thomas Nelson Community College and got into the College through the two year guaranteed admissions program. He is currently a history major.
Skipworth served as the first Prime Tribe member of the Orientation Aid staff last week. As an OA for transfer students, he says that he has a close relationship with the rest of the staff.
“It’s been a wonderful experience, everyone has accepted me as part of the group,” Skipworth said.
Since he has a year at the College under his belt, he was able to offer advice to the new Prime Tribers.
“One of the things I told some of the Prime Tribers this time coming is that, don’t expect people to come to you. Be proactive and go to them,” Skipworth said. “Whether it was in class, or getting a meal, or on the terrace, I just made myself present to people and I’ve had friends ever since.”
Skipworth also suggested that Prime Tribers get involved with campus activities. Last year, Skipworth was a member of the College Republicans. This year, he is joining the Salsa Club, Creative Writing club and is rushing a fraternity.
“Prime Tribers have a challenge. They’re coming in halfway through their school career. The best thing they can do is put themselves out there. There’s two ways you can go through your education. One is to just come to class when you need to be there and then go home and live your life and get a degree. Or you can fully embrace the community here at William and Mary which is what I’ve chosen to do,” Skipworth said. “You’re creating, friendships, memories and networks that are going to last you a lifetime and they’re going to benefit you in the long run.”