To Be or Not To Be in the Tribe: Weighing the Pros & Cons of Attending William & Mary

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

View of William and Mary campus.

To Be or Not To Be in the Tribe: Weighing the Pros & Cons of Attending William & Mary

The college selection process can be a daunting task for high school seniors, as they weigh their options and consider the potential impact on their future. Among the numerous institutions of higher learning, William & Mary stands out as a unique and historic option. This article, “To Be or Not To Be in the Tribe: Weighing the Pros And Cons of Attending William & Mary,” aims to provide an in-depth look at the advantages and challenges of choosing this esteemed university.

By exploring its history, prestige, and reputation, we hope to offer valuable insights to help you make an informed decision about whether to join the Tribe.

Brief history of the William & Mary

Founded in 1693, William & Mary is the second-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States, preceded only by Harvard University. Established under a royal charter issued by King William III and Queen Mary II of England, it was designed to promote the intellectual, cultural, and religious growth of the Virginia colony.

Sign of William and Mary during day time.

Over its long and storied history, William & Mary has been at the forefront of American education, producing influential leaders, groundbreaking discoveries, and a lasting legacy of academic excellence.

Notable alumni include Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, and John Tyler, who were instrumental in shaping the course of American history.

Prestige and reputation of the university

William & Mary has long been recognized for its academic rigor and commitment to producing well-rounded, engaged citizens.

Ranked among the top public universities in the United States, the university is a member of the prestigious Public Ivy League, a group of public institutions offering an Ivy League-caliber education at a more affordable price.

William & Mary has earned accolades for its strong liberal arts curriculum, commitment to undergraduate teaching, and dedication to community service.

Smart arab guy student with backpack and bunch of books smiling at camera

Furthermore, its accomplished faculty, which includes numerous Fulbright Scholars, Pulitzer Prize winners, and National Science Foundation awardees, has helped to establish its reputation as an intellectual powerhouse.

Purpose of the article

This article presents a comprehensive view of William & Mary, delving into the appealing aspects and potential drawbacks of attending this esteemed institution.

As high school seniors embark on the next chapter of their academic journey, it is essential to understand what the university has to offer clearly.

By exploring the history, reputation, and unique features of William & Mary, we aim to provide an invaluable resource that will aid in the decision-making process.

As you read through the article, we encourage you to consider your personal goals, interests, and preferences, and to weigh the pros and cons of attending William & Mary.

What is campus life like at William & Mary?

How would one describe the atmosphere on William & Mary’s campus? The experience of attending William & Mary extends beyond the classroom, offering students a vibrant and enriching campus life that fosters personal growth, lasting friendships, and unforgettable memories.

Group of students walking in the campus.

With an emphasis on intellectual curiosity and social responsibility, the college encourages students to participate in extracurricular activities, contribute to the local community, and make the most of their college years.

Beautiful and historic campus

Nestled in the heart of Williamsburg, Virginia, William & Mary’s picturesque campus is steeped in history and charm.

The 1,200-acre campus features stunning Georgian architecture, with iconic buildings such as the Sir Christopher Wren Building, which is the oldest college building in the United States.

Lush green spaces, tranquil gardens, and ancient oak trees provide a serene setting for students to study, relax, and enjoy the natural beauty of their surroundings.

The college’s commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship is evident through its numerous green initiatives, including energy-efficient buildings, recycling programs, and a commitment to carbon neutrality by 2030.

Extracurricular activities

William & Mary offers a diverse array of extracurricular activities, catering to a wide range of interests and passions.

With over 450 clubs and organizations on campus, there is truly something for everyone. From academic and professional societies to cultural and special interest groups, students have ample opportunities to connect with like-minded individuals, develop new skills, and expand their horizons.

sorority member isolated on purple background with thumbs up gesture and smiling

Greek life is also a significant aspect of campus culture, with numerous fraternities and sororities fostering lifelong bonds and a sense of camaraderie among members.

In addition, the college’s Division I athletic teams provide opportunities for student-athletes to compete at the highest level while representing the Tribe with pride.

College traditions

William & Mary is steeped in time-honored traditions that serve to unite the campus community and create a sense of shared identity among students, faculty, and alumni.

One such tradition is the Opening Convocation ceremony, during which incoming students walk through the historic Wren Building and are welcomed by the college community.

Other beloved rituals include the Yule Log ceremony, where students and faculty gather to celebrate the holiday season, and the Raft Debate, a spirited intellectual contest among faculty members.

These unique customs not only provide memorable experiences for students but also contribute to the enduring sense of connection and pride that defines the William & Mary experience.

What are the pros of attending William & Mary?

What are some of the positive aspects of attending William &Mary? The decision to attend this prestigious institution comes with numerous advantage, the pleasant side of the pros and cons of attending William & Mary.

As a member of the Tribe, you’ll be part of a storied legacy that boasts a strong sense of pride in the college’s rich heritage.

High-quality education and personalized attention

One of the most compelling reasons to attend William & Mary is the exceptional education that the college provides.

With a strong emphasis on undergraduate teaching, the college’s renowned faculty is dedicated to helping students reach their full potential.

Small class sizes and a low student-to-faculty ratio ensure that students receive personalized attention, fostering intellectual growth and meaningful connections with professors.

Furthermore, the college’s comprehensive liberal arts curriculum, coupled with a diverse array of academic programs, allows students to tailor their education to their interests and goals.

Opportunities for undergraduate research, internships, and study abroad programs further enhance the learning experience, providing students with valuable hands-on experience and a well-rounded education.

Unique campus environment and traditions

William & Mary’s beautiful and historic campus, located in the heart of Williamsburg, Virginia, offers a one-of-a-kind setting for students to live and learn.

The college’s rich history, evident in its stunning Georgian architecture and centuries-old traditions, creates a sense of connection to the past and a shared identity among the campus community.

Students are immersed in a vibrant and engaging environment, where they can participate in time-honored customs like the Opening Convocation, Yule Log ceremony, and Raft Debate.

Additionally, the college’s commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship is woven into campus life, with green initiatives and eco-friendly practices ensuring that the beauty and integrity of the campus are preserved for future generations.

This unique combination of history, tradition, and environmental consciousness creates a truly unforgettable college experience for those who choose to become part of the Tribe.

Strong alumni network and career support

Considering the pros and cons of attending William & Mary, another significant advantage of choosing this esteemed institution is the extensive alumni network and robust career support available to students.

The college boasts a wide array of successful graduates in various fields, including business, politics, academia, and the arts.

This strong network of accomplished alumni not only provides valuable connections and networking opportunities for current students but also serves as a testament to the caliber of education and preparation that William & Mary offers.

The college’s dedicated career center helps students navigate the job market and offers resources such as workshops, career counseling, and internship opportunities.

These resources, combined with the college’s impressive job placement and graduate school acceptance rates, demonstrate a clear commitment to the long-term success of its students and ensure that graduates are well-positioned to launch their careers or pursue further education.

Rich history and reputation

The College of William & Mary’s rich history and esteemed reputation set it apart as a unique and prestigious institution.

As the second-oldest college in the United States, William & Mary has played a significant role in shaping the course of American education and has produced numerous influential leaders throughout its long history.

This storied legacy, coupled with the college’s strong academic credentials and membership in the prestigious Public Ivy League, lends an air of distinction and respectability to a William & Mary education.

The college’s commitment to fostering intellectual curiosity, social responsibility, and personal growth has helped to create a lasting reputation for excellence, which students can take pride in as they join the ranks of the Tribe and contribute to the ongoing success of the institution.

What are the cons of Attending William & Mary?

What are some of the negative aspects of attending William & Mary? While there are many advantages to attending William & Mary, it is essential to consider potential drawbacks, and the unpleasant side of the pros and cons of attending William & Mary.

Like any college or university, William & Mary has aspects that may not be a perfect fit for every student.

By carefully weighing these factors against the numerous benefits of attending William & Mary, high school seniors can make an informed decision about whether the college is the right fit for their unique needs and goals.

Cost of attendance and potential student debt

One of the primary concerns for many prospective students is the cost of attending college and the potential for accumulating student debt.

Although William & Mary is a public institution, its cost of attendance can still be quite high, particularly for out-of-state students.

While the college offers financial aid and scholarships to help offset these costs, some students may still face significant debt upon graduation.

It is important to carefully consider the long-term financial implications of attending William & Mary and explore all available resources to make an informed decision about the affordability of this esteemed institution.

Limited campus diversity

While William & Mary has made strides in recent years to increase campus diversity, it remains a predominantly white institution.

Students from historically underrepresented backgrounds may feel that the campus lacks the cultural and social diversity found at some other colleges and universities.

While the college is committed to fostering an inclusive environment and offers resources and support for students of diverse backgrounds, prospective students need to consider the impact of campus diversity on their overall college experience and personal growth.

Potential drawbacks of a smaller college experience

While many students appreciate the close-knit community and personalized attention that a smaller college like William & Mary offers, others may find that certain aspects of the experience are not ideal for them.

When weighing the pros and cons of attending William & Mary, some students may prefer a larger university with a more extensive range of academic programs, resources, and extracurricular activities.

Additionally, the smaller student population may result in a more limited social scene, with fewer opportunities for meeting new people and forming friendships outside of one’s immediate circle.

Prospective students should carefully consider their personal preferences and priorities when determining whether the intimate nature of William & Mary’s campus is the right fit for them.


William & Mary offers a unique and prestigious educational experience steeped in history, tradition, and academic excellence.

As high school seniors consider their options for higher education, it is crucial to weigh the pros and cons of attending this esteemed institution.

Each aspect deserves careful consideration, from the strong alumni network, personalized attention, and vibrant campus life to the potential drawbacks of cost, limited diversity, and a smaller college experience.

By evaluating these factors, the pros and cons of attending William & Mary, prospective students can make an informed decision about whether to join the Tribe and embark on an unforgettable journey.

AdmissionSight is willing to help

At AdmissionSight, every student deserves the opportunity to attend the college of their choice. We specialize in providing expert guidance and support to help you gain acceptance to your top-choice schools.

Our team of college admissions specialists has over a decade of experience assisting students just like you in achieving their goals. We cannot stress this enough; we have the knowledge and expertise to help you succeed.

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Don’t leave your future to chance. Contact AdmissionSight today to schedule a free consultation and take the first step towards achieving your dreams. With our expert guidance and support, anything is possible.


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