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College of William and Mary


The College of William and Mary is the second oldest college in the United States and plans for the college date back as far as 1618, decades before Harvard became the first college in the country. However, plans for the school had to be scrapped due to “Indian uprisings” in the area where the college was to be located.

In 1693, King William III and Queen Mary II of England established a charter that would create a college in the Virginia colony designed to educate students in divinity, philosophy, languages and other arts. Construction began on the new college in 1695 before the town of Williamsburg existed. The first building, now known as the Sir Christopher Wren Building, was simply called the “College Building” when it was constructed. This building became the victim of fire on three separate occasions and, each time, was rebuilt inside the original walls.

At 17, George Washington received his surveyor’s license through the College of William and Mary, eventually returning to serve as chancellor of the school. Thomas Jefferson along with Presidents John Tyler and James Monroe, completed their undergraduate education at the college. It was the first institution of higher learning with a Royal Charter and the first with a Greek-letter society, Phi Beta Kappa, which was founded there in 1776. It was the first school in the country to require a student honor code, the first to receive university status and the first law school.

In 1906, the College of William and Mary became a state-supported school and the college became co-educational in 1918. In 1928, the Wren Building was the first to be returned to its colonial appearance as part of the iconic Colonial Williamsburg restoration project.

Today, there are almost 6,300 undergraduate and more than 2,100 graduate students attending the College of William and Mary. The college has campuses in Williamsburg, Washington, DC and Gloucester Point.

College of William and Mary Accreditation Details

The College of William and Mary is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Accreditation indicates that the college meets or exceeds standards as set forth by the accrediting organization demonstrating excellence in education. The following industry-specific organizations accredit programs throughout the college as well:

  • American Bar Association
  • Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
  • Association of American Law Schools
  • Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Programs
  • Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation
  • National Association of School Psychologists

College of William and Mary Application Requirements

Freshman applicants must complete the Common Application and provide a Secondary School Report that includes an official transcript. In addition, students must provide official SAT or ACT scores and pay the applicable application fee. Students may choose to submit a teacher evaluation, a creative and performing arts portfolio and an on-campus interview, but those are not required for admission.

Students who have attended or are attending a different college or university may apply to the College of William and Mary as a transfer student. Applicants must complete the Common Application and pay the necessary application fee. The fee is waived for anyone who has served honorably in the military. Applicants should provide official transcripts from all colleges and university attended as well as official high school transcripts. Students who have completed less than one full year of college coursework must also submit SAT or ACT scores unless they have been out of high school for more than five years. Students must also submit the Transfer College Report from the Common Application.

Each graduate program at the College of William and Mary has specific admissions requirements. Students are encouraged to review the requirements with an admissions counselor before applying. Most applications require two or more letters of recommendation, official standardized test scores and official transcripts.

College of William and Mary Tuition and Financial Aid

Full-time undergraduate tuition for residents of Virginia is $15,674 per year and $35,122 for non-residents. Graduate tuition is as follows:

  • Arts & Sciences, Education and Marine Science Programs – $13,100 in-state/$29,400 out-of-state
  • Law Programs – $30,800 in-state/$39,800 out-of-state
  • MBA Programs – $31,226 in-state/$41,682 out-of-state
  • MAcc Programs – $32,126 in-state/$42,382 out-of-state

Financial aid is available through grants, loans and work-study which students can qualify for by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). In addition, students are encouraged to complete the CSS Profile in order to qualify for other funding sources at the College of William and Mary.

College of William and Mary Student Experience

Campus life at the College of William and Mary offers a unique and engaging experience for each student. There are over 400 clubs and organizations available for students where they are able to gain experience through volunteer projects, network with industry professionals in their career path and enjoy social events with other students. The college mission is to make the world a better place, not just in the Williamsburg area, but throughout Virginia, the country and the world.

The college supports sustainability through research, student internships and community partnerships. Graduates of the school have become leaders in their industry who understand challenges and the need to support local communities. In addition, the College of William and Mary has a strong athletic program with top-notch facilities and many options for students to engage in athletic activity, from ultimate Frisbee to surfing to ballroom dancing.

The main campus is located in Williamsburg, a town rich in colonial history. But the area around the campus is much more than that. There are hundreds of world-renowned restaurants, live music clubs, art galleries, movie theaters and other entertainment venues that keep students busy when they are outside the classroom. The campus is also located close to Virginia Beach, where many students travel on weekends to enjoy fun in the sun as well as Washington, DC, with its rich culture.

Students at the College of William and Mary ride for free on Williamsburg Area Transit, a system of buses and trolley cars that connect the campus with area attractions. Some of the attractions students have found enjoyable include the Kimball Theatre in downtown Williamsburg, offering live plays, concerts and film festivals. There are dozens of movie theaters and two of them are just a short trolley ride away from the campus. One of those offers in-theater dining options as well. The campus is not far from Colonial Williamsburg, a living, historic museum, as well as the Jamestown Settlement and Yorktown Victory Center. Students, their parents and alumni are eligible for a Collegiate Pass to area attractions as well. Busch Gardens is also located nearby, an amusement park that has been named the “Most Beautiful Theme Park.”

The College of William and Mary offers students a high quality education on a campus that is steeped in history. With rigorous educational programs combined with a surrounding area loaded with entertainment options, students thrive at the College of William and Mary.