How to Get Into William and Mary

Getting into William and Mary
May 7, 2024
5 min read
Expert Reviewed


Reviewed by:

Mary Banks

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 5/7/24

If you’re bold, driven, and passionate, you’ll fit right in at William and Mary University! To learn more about how to get into this school, read on.

As a major research institution, William and Mary strives to offer students a unique educational experience that they cannot find elsewhere. From students’ very first class, they’re given unprecedented original, hands-on research opportunities to work with peers and faculty on projects that inspire them.

So, if you have a research idea that you’re hoping to develop, or simply want to join an intellectually rich environment that can fuel your ambitions, you should consider applying to William and Mary!

To aid you in your decision and the application process, this guide will go into further depth about everything you need to know about how to get into William and Mary, including the exact scores you’ll need to succeed, the essays you’ll write, and how to ensure your application stands out!

William and Mary Acceptance Rate

As a university that encourages bold thinking and astute problem-solving, William and Mary is committed to admitting students that shine brighter than ever. Knowing this mission, a common question students ask is: “how hard is it to get into William and Mary?”

To answer this question, let’s take a look at the William and Mary acceptance rate. This school has an overall admission rate of 33%, but more precisely, a 39% in-state acceptance rate and a 28% out-of-state acceptance rate. These rates suggest William and Mary is moderately selective.

William and Mary Admissions Stats

Your next question might be: “what does it take to make it into this 33%?” There are several components that the admission committee reviews to make a decision on your candidacy. But, one of the main aspects is your academic potential, which is assessed through the following scores:

William and Mary GPA Requirement

Previous successful William and Mary students had a median weighted GPA between 4.18-4.5, which equates to about a 3.45 to a 3.85. Around 77% of accepted students were also in the top 10% of their class.

William and Mary SAT/ACT Score Requirements

While students have entered William and Mary with impressive SAT and ACT scores in the past, these standardized tests have become optional for students. In an effort to encourage a wider and more diverse applicant pool, William and Mary will only consider students’ test scores if they submit them with their application.

If you wish to strengthen your application with one of these tests, you should aim for an SAT score between 1370-1510 or an ACT score of 32-34

William and Mary Admission Requirements and Deadlines

The rest of your application will be composed of the following materials:

High School Transcripts

Students must submit their transcripts for their academics to be reviewed. The committee will assess the difficulty of the courses you pursued, your performance, and improvement. To assure you impress the committee, you should take several AP or IB courses.

Counselor Letter of Recommendation

Along with your transcripts, your counselor must send a letter of recommendation ascertaining your preparedness for college and academic integrity.

Personal Statement

On the Common App, students will be asked to answer at least one of several questions. This is considered to be your personal statement and will provide the committee with more insight into the life experiences, accomplishments, and motivations otherwise missing from your application.

Activities Section

The Common App will also ask students to list all of their relevant interests, work, volunteer, and extracurriculars so that the committee can learn more about their skills, abilities, and passions. 

An Optional Teacher Evaluation Form and Letter of Recommendation

Students may submit a teacher evaluation form and letter of recommendation if they feel it will benefit them. A strong letter can confirm students’ academic potential!

An Optional Essay

While the verdict isn’t out on whether this optional essay question will be used in the upcoming application cycle, it has been used in the past:

Beyond your impressive academic credentials and extracurricular accomplishments, what else makes you unique and colorful? We know that nobody fits neatly into 500 words or less, but you can provide us with some suggestions of the type of person you are. 

Anything goes! Inspire us, impress us, or just make us laugh. Think of this optional opportunity as show and tell by proxy and with an attitude.

Keep this essay more casual than formal! Have fun with it but ensure you also share aspects of your life or personality that can help you stand out as an applicant.

An On-Campus Interview

Students are given the option to make their two-dimensional application three-dimensional through on-campus interviews with senior students. 

Creative and Performing Arts Submissions

While auditions and portfolios are not required to be considered for admission to William and Mary’s art programs, students may submit portfolios containing their best samples to demonstrate their skill and talent.


There are a few significant milestones you should familiarize yourself with as you complete your application:

Application Material Early Decision I Deadline Early Decision II Deadline Regular Decision Deadline
Applications open August 1 August 1 August 1
Applications due November 1 January 9 January 5
FAFSA and CSS priority deadline November 15 January 15 February 1
Decision notification period Early December Early February By April 1

Source: William and Mary University

Students should meet these deadlines to avoid any processing delays that could affect their chances of acceptance. If there are extenuating circumstances preventing you from meeting your deadline, however, you may ask the Office of Undergraduate Admissions for an extension.

William and Mary Interview

As stated, interviewing with William and Mary is optional. Less than 20% of applicants are actually interviewed because of limited availability. While the majority of interviews are conducted on-campus, some are conducted virtually, but these tend to fill up the fastest.

If you do decide to interview with William and Mary, ensure you book your interview slot early as they’re given out on a first-come, first-served basis! 

If you’re unable to interview, don’t sweat it! This will not put you at any disadvantage in the application process.

William and Mary Essays

William and Mary asks that you use your essay to share who you might become, not just who you are. Here are the essay prompts you can choose from to shed more light on these aspects:

1. Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

2. The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?

3. Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?

4. Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you?

5. Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.

6. Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?

7. Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you've already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.

Consider the essay you respond to carefully! The committee has no preference over one or the other, but encourages you to pick the question that gives you the best outlet to share important details about yourself or your life.

Tips for Getting into William and Mary

To further expand on how to get into William and Mary, here are two tips to follow to ensure you submit a standout application!

Tell Your Personal Story

William and Mary’s admissions team recognizes there’s no perfect application or blueprint students should try to follow to gain acceptance to their school. Instead, they encourage students to share what makes them unique and tell their own personal story!

To ensure you do this, participate in extracurriculars that you’re passionate about and use your essay to share your voice! Avoid any clichés and worry less about what you think will impress the committee and more about what makes you, you!

Review Your Application 

Considering your application will be reviewed at least twice by different committee members, it’s essential you proofread it several times for errors. Grammar or spelling mistakes can make your application less impactful!

FAQs: How to Get Into William and Mary

You can find the answers to any remaining questions on how to get into William and Mary below.

1. How Hard Is it to Get Into William and Mary?

It is moderately difficult to get into William and Mary. While it has a more promising acceptance rate than the Ivy League colleges, it still has high academic requirements and aims to accept only the strongest applicants. 

2. What GPA Do I Need to Get Into William and Mary?

Students should aim for a GPA of 3.45 to 3.85 to be within the competitive range of past successful applicants.

3. What Type of Person Should Not Attend William and Mary?

William and Mary is a major research university that aims to ignite intellectual curiosity. Students that have no interest in research or developing personal projects should consider applying to another college. William and Mary facilitates students’ education with hands-on research experience from their first day of classes!

4. How Many AP Classes Should I Take to Get Into William and Mary?

William and Mary has no specific requirements on the amount of AP classes students should take. In general, students should take as many AP classes as they can without compromising their grades.

For instance, taking 15 AP courses but barely passing them will have a negative impact on your admission chances. However, taking just a few AP classes but excelling in them can help convince the committee of your preparation for college.

5. How Prestigious Is William and Mary?

William and Mary is considered to be a prestigious school. While it ranks 43rd overall, it is the seventh best for its undergraduate programs and is regarded as one of the top public universities in the nation!

6. How Much Does it Cost to Attend William and Mary?

In-state students can expect to pay around $23,907 a year for tuition and fees whereas out-of-state students can expect to pay around $47,196 a year. To ensure all students can afford their education, William and Mary offers extensive merit and needs-based scholarships and grants that can cover a significant portion or the full cost of tuition! 

Final Thoughts

Now that you have a thorough understanding of how to get into William and Mary University and what it can offer you, you should be able to craft a knockout application demonstrating your ambition, intellectual curiosity and capability, and overall excellence! 

Good luck on your application!

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