| Sort By:
| Even though I graduated twenty years ago, I feel it's important to address the notion expressed by some on this site that a W&L diploma can't open doors in terms of admittance to graduate school or to one's desired level in the workforce. When I graduated, W&L wasn't even ranked as highly as it is now, and yet I was accepted into a graduate program at William and Mary -- my first choice and, I believe, a school everyone will agree is considered excellent. Nor do I remember my peers from my class or those classes above and below me having trouble with acceptance to the graduate programs of their choice. Depending upon the region of the country and -- as with any situation -- how much a prospective employer keeps up with schools other than the obviously well-known ones, W&L graduates might be frustrated by a lack of knowledge about their alma mater. I personally didn't encounter that, however, even though my first job was above the Mason-Dixon line. And even here in New England, I run into people all the time who are aware of W&L and its good reputation; people who take an interest in academics will know about all of the small, good schools. |
I'll also add that I attended a boarding school that routinely sends its students to the country's top colleges, so I have many friends who went to Harvard, Princeton, Yale and the like. They make no bones about the fact that it sounds as if I needed to work harder at W&L. The theory goes that it's extremely hard to get into a place like Harvard, but not so hard (and sometimes embarrassingly easy) to gain a diploma. A dear friend of mine who went to Princeton said even the requirement that every senior write an honors thesis was no guarantee that Princeton students have to work hard; she said her thesis experience was "a joke". So as long as W&L's professors are as accessible as they were in my time (and is roll still taken in some classes?), W&L students can expect the kind of experience they should have, in which they are taught by qualified scholars (not TA's) who are more interested in helping to expand young minds rather than merely growing their list of published materials. There were no non-participatory lectures when I attended W&L, nor was there grade inflation that I was aware of, and students were expected -- or even required --to attend class regularly. We were even given pop quizzes at times. Given my math and science grades at boarding school, I would not have been admitted to Ivy League schools, but the good news is that I didn't want to attend them anyway. I'd visited older friends at those schools and didn't find the environment to be my idea of traditionally collegiate. I applied early to W&L when I probably (especially in that day and age, before the tremendous surge in college applicants) would have been accepted to colleges that are nationally and even internationally well-known. And yet I received what I deem to be an excellent education.
A word about W&L's social structure, even though I'm "old". It appears to be quite similar to when I attended, and prospective students are definitely advised to stay overnight or at least spend a full day on campus when considering applying to the school. Of course, that really goes for any school, but perhaps is even more important when the school in question is small and close-to-homogenous. I knew what I was getting into and I had a great experience, arriving at the school already "preppy" and not having an interest in places where demonstrations occur(though I am hardly apathetic politically) or where I felt that I would be a "number". I also wanted a small-town environment. I made life-long friends and enjoyed cordial aquaintanceships with most of the student body. Were there aspects about the social scene at W&L that didn't thrill me? Yes, but overall I was very happy.So there's my story. Again, investigate thoroughly all colleges you intend to apply to!
|Aug 29 2011|| Alumna Female --
Class 2000 |
|Not so bright|
| I am female, and I did NOT pledge a sorority. Granted, I'm a bit older than most of the posters here but when I was at W&L, the campus had only been co-ed for 9-12 years. Sororities didn't even have housing yet. Anyway, my point is that I was one of the individualistic, artsy ones and I STILL had a blast. I didn't let the Greek system choose my female friends -- I found them through the extracurricular music and dance programs, and I even helped found a dance group. Do be prepared to consider what the best social options for you are. Drinking and partying are certainly part of the college scene. The work hard, play hard adage is especially true at W&L. And oh yes, if you are a minority student, if you're proud and comfortable in your identity, you won't be daunted by the white bread composition of the student body. If you make it a point to rub it in people's faces, that's when things get awkward, but that also applies to life in general. And what you hear about the Honor System is true. It's an absolute -- *one* infraction of lying, cheating or stealing, and you're gone if found guilty by a jury of your PEERS. That's the only option of punishment -- getting kicked out. Ouch. In my 4 years, I knew of two students getting kicked out and it was a HUGE deal. The flip side is, I've never had anything stolen. Case in point: I accidentally left a light jacket in a dryer my freshman year. I came back the next day, and the following day I found it was dried and neatly folded on the communal table. What made me realize the honor code really worked was the crumpled $10 I accidentally left in the jacket was still zipped in a pocket and a note safety-pinned to it saying "FOUND [date 2 days ago]. SORRY FOR ACCIDENTALLY TAKING IT." I think in any other university the $10 (a nice amount of change for any college student) would've been gone, at least. So yeah, make sure your integrity is intact before freshman orientation. :) |
|Sep 20 2010|| 4th Year Female --
Class 1998 |
| W&L is not for everyone, for sure. Come with an open mind about the Greek system. On the male side (roughly 85% Greek) there is a fraternity for everyone; each one has a pretty distinct personality. On the female side (75%) there is also a sorority for everyone but they are a bit harder to stereotype because they are larger. It is probably easier to be a female independent than a male independent because of this. Fraternities also tend to run the scene significantly more than sororities which may be another reason for the higher percentage Greek life for males.|
Academics are challenging. Washington and Lee has an excellent reputation among bankers and the journalism school improves every year. Know about the honor system, it is taken just as seriously as the school proclaims it is.
Make sure you visit the campus (and preferably stay a Wednesday/Friday/Saturday night). It is hit or miss on whether you will like what you see, so beware if you get the feeling that this is not where you want to be.Conservatism dominates over liberalism but students are generally apathetic about politics anyway so liberals can survive here unless they like to get in other people's faces about it.
|Mar 15 2010|| 1st Year Female --
Class 2013 |