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The College of William and Mary

How this student rated the school
Educational QualityA+ Faculty AccessibilityA-
Useful SchoolworkA Excess CompetitionB-
Academic SuccessB+ Creativity/ InnovationA
Individual ValueB- University Resource UseC+
Campus Aesthetics/ BeautyA+ FriendlinessB
Campus MaintenanceD+ Social LifeC+
Surrounding CityD- Extra CurricularsA-
Describes the student body as:
Friendly, Approachable, Broken Spirit

Describes the faculty as:

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Quite Bright
Lowest Rating
Surrounding City
Highest Rating
Educational Quality
He cares more about Campus Maintenance than the average student.
Date: Sep 02 2003
Major: Political Science (This Major's Salary over time)
William and Mary is quite simply, a jewel. You will never be challenged more, or have your life changed so thoroughly as W&M compels its students to do. Its reputation as an "academic boot camp" is, if anything, an understatement. For those who survive the rigor, there is no doubt that the education they received here is second to none, and is comparable not only with the other "Public Ivies", but with any school in the Ivy League. The reasons that W&M does not rank higher than around #30 on the U.S. News and World Report scale is because of its size, location, and funding. W&M is small, and is not a true research university. Thus it does not receive the enormous grants that UVA, Duke, or Carnegie Mellon are blessed with. While it has a superb marine biology school, it does not field an engineering program and its other science programs are limited to undergraduate education, rather than major research. Also, it is not located close enough to a major city or other major universities to share information with a wider academic community the way that Duke and UNC-Chapel Hill can. Not that this means total detachment. As a government major, I can attest to the opportunities available for study and interaction with all that Washington, D.C. has to offer, for it is only 3 hours away. And we always seemed to get enough international reknown. At my own commencement, we were treated not only to Queen Noor of Jordan as our main speaker, but were delighted when our former chancellor, Margaret Thatcher, stopped by for a surprise visit. Earlier in the year, Kofi Annan was our charter day speaker, and before present chancellor Henry Kissinger gave him an honorary doctorate, the Choir (of which I was a member) sang a special song based on his famous "Girl in Afghanistan" Nobel-Prize acceptance speech. Most days though, the reality is that Williamsburg may be of enormous historical and tourist value, but it is still a sleepy Southern town in many aspects. Furthermore, since W&M is public, it must compete with UVA and Virginia Tech, as well as a myriad of other institutions, for its money. And since UVA and Tech end up making more money for the state, they receive substantially more funding. Add to this the fact that Virginia's financial status is only slightly more sound than California's, and you have a serious financial problem. Furthermore, W&M tends to produce a cadre of alumni that go into artistic, environmental, and social service careers, rather then produce a wealth of CEO's, though its business school is increasingly noted. Considering that W&M was practically unknown outside of Virginia 40 years ago, it is amazing that it has made its mark on the world in such a short period of time. Remember, though it ranks 30 on the list for overall quality, it only ranks about 170 in terms of financial support. In comparative terms then, William and Mary produces high class education on a lower middle class income. Nevertheless, it just launched a 500 million dollar fundraising drive over a period of 5 years, and in the next ten years, 5 new academic buildings, 3 new dorms, and a completely new business school complex will be built. William and Mary alumns are coming out of the woodwork and supporting the schools 21st century vision.

Keep in mind that, when speaking to alumni who graduated 30 years ago, the common statement is

I would not be able to get in here today
Every year W&M gets more competitive, and its stature grows. The message I would like to send to anyone considering this school is that in 30 years, expect W&M to be in the same league as at least Georgetown, and perhaps even Duke and the University of Chicago or several of the Ivies. In terms of undergraduate teaching, we already are on par with at least Berkeley, and most likely Cornell and Chicago. In other words, it is an Ivy-League education at state-school prices.

Another note: William and Mary is the nation's second oldest college and its first university. The system of study in place here is largely similar to that when Thomas Jefferson, John Marshall, James Monroe, and John Tyler were students. For anyone who loves the pulse of history and tradition, it is hard to beat W&M. The arrogance, detachment, and cutthroatness of the Ivies is absent at W&M. William and Mary students are enormously bright, competitive with themselves, and very hard workers. At the same time they seem to enjoy the small community atmosphere, and look at their professors as friends and counselors. When W&M students do anything, they will exhaust themselves, and usually, do more then is required of them. They are, as a group, humble and bonded to each other. We often make jokes such as "Williamsburg: Where Fun Goes to Die"; "William and Mary: Where You're Best Just Isn't Good Enough"; and "William and Mary: 311 Years of Tradition Unmarred by Progress" - however, that is just typical of the W&M spirit of making fun of ones self and understanding that while our school is difficult at times, we wouldn't want it any other way. W&M is the place for those students who love learning above all else, who are challenged by hard work, who prize honesty and integrity, and who aren't afraid to admit they are huge dorks and have usually been leagues above their peers in high school. If you come here, expect to dance with the President at some point, share a drink with your professors, be humbled beyond your wildest dreams, and have tears stream down your face when the end finally comes. As the information packets proudly state, quoting former chancellor Chief Justice Warren Burger, "Harvard is a good school too, but you have to look really hard to find a place like William and Mary."

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