Think you’ve heard it all before about the nation’s second oldest college? You know we are old. You know we are small. You know we are smart. However, do you know what makes us unique? Do you know how you fit into the equation of William + Mary = 4 years of finding the ultimate you?
In our office, between reading over 12,000 applications and preparing for spring programs, the dean staff members have been working diligently to produce an enjoyable and easily-maneuverable Day for Admitted Students. The ultimate question in our heads during this process: How do we cram four years of soul searching passages and classic college fun into 6.5 hours? The answer: create an adventure for students where the experience is as unique as each of our newly admitted members of the Tribe.
Upon arrival to the Burg on April 17th, an eager member of our staff will excitedly welcome you to “the College” and hand you a green folder (Don’t worry if we smile a lot. We are simply thrilled to be a part of your first visit to W&M as an official member of our community.) In this seemingly nondescript package, you will find your atlas, or the all encompassing navigational tool which will direct your daylong course in the direction you see fit. The point of the day, we hope, is for you to take the list of options we provide and build a satisfying and informational experience built to your specific interests and around the College’s boundless opportunities.
I don’t remember the preconceived notions I had before my Day for Admitted Students or the exact events enjoyed throughout the day. What I do remember is the feeling of possibility. Sitting in the shiny and stately parlor of the Reves Center for International Studies, I distinctly remember thinking: I am going to make it out of this small town and finally watch the sun set on the French Rivera. Looking around at the other nodding heads and entranced eyes during the Government Department’s formal presentation, it dawned on me that my AP Government teacher would no longer be the only other person in my daily life who loved to talk about Locke, systems of government, or why juntas fail. After meeting the girl behind the student government table during the activities fair and chatting about her weekly obligations, I realized that it was socially acceptable to not only be the student body vice president, but to also be involved in community service, sorority life, an Appalachian dance group, or any of the other over 500 organizations available on campus. It seemed to not only be cool to have a passion, but each person was encouraged to be his or her best possible self. If being smart was cool, consider these kids Miles Davis (Billy Madison, anyone?)
6.5 hours is clearly not enough time to see all this school has to offer you. I’ve been here six years now and I am still trying to figure out where the possibilities end. Take this day to immerse yourself in the freedom we have crafted and the information ready to be gleaned. Sit in as many sessions that interest you, ask as many questions as you can think of, and wander as far as your feet will take you. Explore this historic place and all that it offers. Just make sure to imagine yourself taking full advantage of an environment where judging is frowned upon and learning to be yourself is considered as important as choosing a major. You will likely find that your Day for Admitted Student’s experience will mirror your future W&M career: exactly what you want it to be.
– Amanda Norris