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    How to Ace the 23/24 William & Mary Supplemental Essays

    By Varonika Ware

    Varonika Ware is a content writer at Scholarships360. Varonika earned her undergraduate degree in Mass Communications at Louisiana State University. During her time at LSU, she worked with the Center of Academic Success to create the weekly Success Sunday newsletter. Varonika also interned at the Louisiana Department of Insurance in the Public Affairs office with some of her graphics appearing in local news articles.

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    Reviewed by Bill Jack

    Bill Jack has over a decade of experience in college admissions and financial aid. Since 2008, he has worked at Colby College, Wesleyan University, University of Maine at Farmington, and Bates College.

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    Edited by Maria Geiger

    Maria Geiger is Director of Content at Scholarships360. She is a former online educational technology instructor and adjunct writing instructor. In addition to education reform, Maria’s interests include viewpoint diversity, blended/flipped learning, digital communication, and integrating media/web tools into the curriculum to better facilitate student engagement. Maria earned both a B.A. and an M.A. in English Literature from Monmouth University, an M. Ed. in Education from Monmouth University, and a Virtual Online Teaching Certificate (VOLT) from the University of Pennsylvania.

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    Updated: July 11th, 2024
    How to Ace the 23/24 William & Mary Supplemental Essays

    The College of William and Mary is a public research university located in Williamsburg, Virginia. Founded in 1693, it is the second oldest institution of higher learning in the US. The graduation rate is 92%, so attending means you’re on a fast-track to success! Use this guide to figure out how to make your William and Mary supplemental essays stand out!

    About the College of William and Mary

    While responding to the College of William and Mary supplemental essay prompts is optional, your application would benefit from telling the admissions office who you are as an applicant. William and Mary is known as a “public Ivy” and is especially competitive for out-of-state students with a 31% acceptance rate. So, let’s get started on your essay! 

    Before you start your essay

    If you do choose to complete a supplemental essay, the College of William and Mary allows for you to respond to up to two of the following prompts. They are hoping to get to know you and your story through your supplemental essay, so don’t hold back.Two essays should give you ample opportunity to paint a picture of who you are and why you’re a good fit for their school.

    Make your excitement about your topic palpable for your audience. Before you start writing, think about what gets you out of bed in the morning! William and Mary is eagerly awaiting your answer to their unique prompt! 

    Prompt #1

    “Beyond your impressive academic credentials and extracurricular accomplishments, what else makes you unique and colorful?” 

    In this prompt, William and Mary is asking for their applicants to put their character on full display. Remember, when you were young, “show and tell” was your opportunity to present something cool about yourself to your peers. Approach writing this essay in the same way!

    The admissions office isn’t looking for you to tell them what they want to hear; they’re looking for someone who will redefine what it means to apply to William and Mary. Try to incorporate your personality and spunk into the essay as much as possible as well as your passion for what you decide to write about. 

    Questions to consider:

    • Why are you so interested in a particular activity?
    • What makes you an ideal William and Mary applicant?
    • How did you become the person you are today?

    Also see: How to write an essay about yourself

    Prompt #2

    “Are there any particular communities that are important to you, and how do you see yourself being a part of our community?” 

    William and Mary knows that it takes a village, so they want to give you an opportunity to tell them about yours. We’re all part of one, whether that be a team, your family or an ethnic group. 

    We all seek a place of belonging and that connection can mean a lot. While you’re explaining the impact of your particular community, find a way to incorporate what it would mean for you to be a part of the William and Mary community. 

    Questions to consider:

    • What is an important community that you’re part of?
    • How has this community shaped your identity? 
    • What role do you play within this community?

    Prompt #3

    “How has your family, culture and/or background shaped your lived experience?” 

    You’re constantly surrounded by your culture and family, which means they play a big part in who you are and how you think. They can even be your driving force for going to college and getting a degree. Therefore, William and Mary is using this prompt to find out what the building blocks to your personality are. 

    Questions to consider:

    • What are some experiences that you share with your family or cultural group? What are some that you don’t?
    • Are you a first generation college student?
    • What is your personal lived experience? How is it unique?

    Prompt #4 

    “Share more about a personal academic interest or career goal.” 

    For this prompt, you should talk about your dreams for your future or your ambitions. Paint a picture of what you’ll study or what your ideal career will look like. Tell a story that won’t be forgotten. 

    Be sure to include William and Mary into your essay by telling the admissions committee the impact going to their school will have on that particular interest or goal. Are there notable alumni in your desired career field? Does William and Mary offer a stellar curriculum for your major?

    By doing this, it’ll be clear that you did your research and you’re invested in attending this school. Colleges like hearing that they’re your number one choice!

    Questions to consider:

    • What role will this interest play in your future?
    • When you achieve this goal, what will happen?
    • How did you discover this interest?

    Prompt #5 

    “Tell us about a challenge or adversity you’ve experienced and how that has impacted you as an individual.” 

    Challenges have a way of making us stronger, even in ways we might not expect. Unique obstacles that you’ve overcome demonstrate your tenacity and determination, which are qualities colleges look for. 

    Translating this personal issue to a real world situation that you might face in the future can even show that you learn things from each problem you have and apply it moving forward. Talk about how those skills could be used on William and Mary’s campus and possibly improve it. 

    Questions to consider:

    • How do you deal with hardships?
    • Who or what taught you how to solve problems?
    • What did you learn from this challenge?

    Prompt #6

    “If we visited your town, what would you want to show us?” 

    Each state has its own special thing, and who would know better than the locals? That’s exactly why William and Mary poses this question. They want to know where you come from because they might just know where you’re going, if you’re accepted, of course.

    How you derive meaning from where you come from is up to you, but be sure to go beyond just describing your hometown. Mention the things that left their mark on you and why they’re significant.

    Questions to consider:

    • What’s special about where you live?
    • What similarities and/or differences are there between your state and William and Mary’s campus? 
    • Are you especially proud of your hometown? Why or why not?

    Next steps after applying to William and Mary

    Congratulations on starting your application to college! We hope this guide has helped you through the William and Mary supplemental essays. Before you go, there are a couple more things you can do to prepare for this next step in your academic journey.

    Get a taste of what college is like with a campus tour. William and Mary offer both in-person and virtual tours of the university and are eager to welcome you. These tours give you a chance to immerse yourself in campus culture and take a peek at places you might go to as a student. They also give you a chance to connect with other applicants.

    Last but not least, keep doing what you’re doing! You’ve made it this far, and it’s important to keep up the good work. Don’t let senioritis overcome you, and be sure to maintain focus on your grades and continue to shine in your extracurricular activities. You’re almost at the finish line!

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