Last week, I received a phone call from one of my long-time friends from high school. Before I had even uttered hello, she blurted out, “What in the world were you thinking?!” Her question was in reference to a YouTube video that our office had created under the direction of Henry Broaddus, Dean of Admission at W&M. She laughed out loud and claimed that we looked like total fools. I explained that that was exactly the point. Well, not exactly—we didn’t want to look like idiots—but we did want to let our applicants know that we are human, too. During my travels to college fairs and high school visits across the state, I undoubtedly hear the same question at least five times at each event: “What should I write about in my application essay?” Students are afraid to relax and comfortably write these personal statements because they don’t know who will be reading them and what those people will think of their thoughts. Our YouTube video shows who those actual readers are. It also depicts our different personalities, interests, and senses of humor. We are human, we are unique, and yes, we are silly at times. Just like our readers—you. We want to know about our applicants. We want to know about your experiences, where you’ve come from, what you can bring to W&M, what W&M can gain from you as a student. Ultimately, there’s no “right” topic for your essay. The only guideline is to write about you. Oh yeah…and proofread!
– Kia Butts