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Rachel Kapelke-Dale

How to Get Into William and Mary: SAT and ACT Scores, GPA, and More

College entrance representing how to get into William and Mary- Image by Magoosh

Looking for a top-notch education on an idyllic campus? William and Mary, in Williamsburg, Virginia, might be for you. The second-oldest college in the United States (and the first law school), W&M has literally centuries of educating students under its belt. Curious? In this post, we’ll look at what you need to know about how to get into William and Mary! From William and Mary SAT scores and ACT scores to admissions more generally—everything you need is in this post.


 

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William and Mary at a Glance

Ranked #4 for undergraduate teaching by US News & World Report (as well as #18 for veterans and #39 among national universities), there are lots of advantages to attending W&M. So just what are they looking for in their students? Here’s a quick snapshot!

William and Mary Admission Rate38%
William and Mary SAT scores (middle 50%)1300-1490
William and Mary ACT scores (middle 50%)30-34
William and Mary GPA for admitted freshman (average)3.9

 
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William and Mary SAT Scores

If your SAT scores aren’t quite where you want them to be, there’s good news: William and Mary has gone test-optional for three years, starting with the 2020-2021 admissions cycle (class of 2024).

However, it can still be useful to look at William and Mary SAT scores. Why? They not only tell us what the school’s looking for in its students, but they can also tell us about the selectivity of the school more generally.

With that in mind, here they are!

SectionAverage Score25th Percentile75th Percentile
Math715660750
Reading/Writing700660740
Composite141513001490

The composite range of 1300-1490 puts William and Mary in highly selective territory. A score of 1300 falls into the 90th percentile of SAT test-takers, while a score of 1490 falls into the 99th percentile.

Taking a look at the division of those scores: math scores are slightly higher than verbal (Evidence-Based Reading and Writing) scores, but not significantly. This tells us that the school’s looking for relatively well-balanced students.

80% of successful applicants in the class of 2023 took the SAT. However, as the school is going test-optional—at least for the next few years—we’d expect those stats to drop soon!

A quick note that test-optional is different from test-blind. William and Mary admissions will still consider your test scores if you include them in your application. And if you’re scoring in this range, we highly recommend that you do!
 
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William and Mary ACT Scores

Like William and Mary SAT scores, William and Mary ACT scores are pretty high. But don’t let that intimidate you: remember, the school is test-optional through the 2023-2024 admissions cycle.

If your scores aren’t where you want them to be, you can let the other parts of your application speak for you instead! On the other hand, if your scores are in the W&M average ACT score range, they’ll only help your admission odds.

With that in mind, here are the William and Mary ACT scores at a glance:

Section25th Percentile75th Percentile
Math2733
English3135
Composite3034

How do these compare to the school average for SAT scores? They’re slightly higher, percentage-wise, translating to a 93rd-99th percentile ACT composite score.

In this case, the 25th percentile-75th percentile of English scores (31-35) are significantly higher than the Math scores (27-33). However, don’t read too much into this: remember that the ACT has four sections, and the school didn’t release data for the Science or Reading sectional scores.

Again, if you’re struggling to pull your scores up, keep in mind that there are no ACT requirements at W&M. You can also take the SAT—or, in a pinch, not submit any test scores at all!
 
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William and Mary School Acceptance Rate

With an acceptance rate of 38%, William and Mary is considered most selective by U.S. News. You can think about it this way: about one in three students who applies gets in.

If William and Mary is your dream school, though, don’t let this deter you! You can definitely increase your chances of getting in by aiming for high test scores, working on your essays, and otherwise doing your absolute best on the parts of your application that you can still control.
 
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William and Mary School GPA Average

The average high school GPA of students admitted to William and Mary is 3.9. According to US News & World Report, admissions committees at the school regard GPA as “very important.”

However, we realize that, if you’re applying to colleges this year, your GPA is now out of your hands. If that’s the case, don’t panic! There are still things you can do to boost your chances of admission.

Chief among these? If your GPA is significantly lower than average, submitting high standardized test scores on the ACT or SAT can help show the admissions office that you’re ready for college-level work. Even if you’re only able to put in a month or two of prep, this can still have a significant effect on your score and may end up making the difference!
 
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William and Mary School Freshmen Profile

Though its name doesn’t sound like it, the College of William & Mary is actually a public institution. This means that in-state students have a leg up when it comes to getting in. The school maintains a 65/35 ratio between in-state and out-of-state undergraduate students. However, this may shift slightly from year to year to maintain the balance in the entire population (for example, last year it was 67/33).

After Virginia, the states sending the most students to William and Mary were Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New York, and California. Internationally, the most W&M students come from China, Canada, South Korea, India and the United Kingdom.

Of the 1,525 students admitted in the class of 2024, the demographics broke down to: 7% Black, 11% Asian/Pacific Islander, 8% Hispanic/Latino, 4% international, and 60% white.

50 incoming freshmen were valedictorians of their high school classes, with 77% overall placing in the top 10% of their graduating classes.
 
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William and Mary School Other Admissions Requirements and Info

William and Mary look at applications holistically, so if your “stats” aren’t where you’d like them to be, keep in mind that you still have a chance at getting in! Two readers go over each application to select, in the words of the William and Mary admissions office, “an exceptionally talented and diverse student body.”

If you’re only applying to William and Mary, or if your other schools don’t need it, then relax: you can skip the writing portion of the SAT or ACT. The school doesn’t use standardized test essays to evaluate your writing ability; they use your application essay to do this, instead.
 
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William and Mary FAQs

Why isn’t William and Mary an Ivy League school?

The fact that William and Mary isn’t in the Ivy League doesn’t say anything about it except that it isn’t part of a particular athletic conference. Yup—that’s the only thing that unites Harvard, Brown, Columbia, et al.

In terms of quality, prestige, and sheer age (it was founded in 1693—the second oldest college in the states!), William and Mary is up there with the most elite schools. US News & World ranks it in the top 50 universities in the US. So if that’s what’s holding you back from applying—don’t let it!

What is William and Mary known for academically?

William and Mary is generally known for the high quality of its undergraduate teaching; it was ranked #4 in the United States for this!

More specifically, Poets & Quants ranks it as #15 in its list of the Best Undergraduate Business Schools, while the Princeton Review ranks it as #10 for the Best Science Lab Facilities.

Among William and Mary students, the most popular majors are social sciences, business and related subjects, biological and biomedical sciences, multi- and interdisciplinary studies, and psychology. It’s also got a great computer science program! As you can see, this backs up those rankings quite well!

What else makes William and Mary unique?

In addition to its age, its high teaching quality, and its excellent facilities, William and Mary has a close-knit student body. All freshmen and most upperclassmen live on campus. Their small class sizes help build this community: the average student-teacher ratio is 11:1.

It’s also known for its athletics: William and Mary is a Division 1 school, so you can expect to see some good games!

Finally, William and Mary is known for its illustrious alumni. Three presidents (Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, and John Tyler) went here!

Does William and Mary give merit scholarships?

They do—and they’re pretty generous. On average, students received $4,385 in merit scholarships in 2021.

Their programs include the William & Mary Scholars, which gives students the amount of in-state tuition and fees, Monroe Scholars, which gives students a $3000 research stipend, and 1693 scholars, which includes full tuition, fees, room, and board (equivalent to in-state levels).

Which is harder, UVA or William and Mary?

It’s very, very…very close. UVA ranks #26, with SAT scores of 1340-1520 (25th-75th percentiles) and ACT scores of 30-34 (25th-75th percentiles).

On the other hand, William and Mary ranks #39, with SAT scores of 1300-1490 (25th-75th percentiles) and ACT scores of 30-34 (25th-75th percentiles).

Based on those stats, it’s fair to say that UVA is ever so slightly harder to get into than William and Mary. Admissions rates make it even clearer: UVA’s is 26%, while W&M’s is 38%.

Does William and Mary have an engineering program?

Not in and of itself. Instead, the school has a combined degree program with Columbia University. You can either spend three or four years at William and Mary, then two years at Columbia, to get a bachelor’s degree in your primary subject from W&M and a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Columbia.

However, if you want to study entirely at William and Mary, you can also do that through the physics department, selecting their Engineering Physics and Applied Design undergraduate track.

Does William and Mary have Greek life?

They do! William & Mary has 16 fraternities and 13 sororities. However, if you don’t want to participate and are worried about missing out, keep in mind that less than a third (31% of men and 29% of women) participate in them.
 
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A Final Word

To get into William and Mary, make sure you present the best all-around application that you can. Even if your scores and GPA are in the William and Mary SAT average range (or the ACT average range), it’s not enough. Let your personality shine through in your essay and show why you’d be a good fit.

Getting your stats up to those ranges can also give your application a boost. Study with Magoosh for a 100-point score guarantee on the SAT and a 4-point score guarantee on the ACT to help you get into the college of your dreams. Good luck!

Improve your SAT or ACT score, guaranteed. Start your 1 Week Free Trial of Magoosh SAT Prep or your 1 Week Free Trial of Magoosh ACT Prep today!

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About Rachel Kapelke-Dale

Rachel is one of Magoosh’s Content Creators. She writes and updates content on our High School and GRE Blogs to ensure students are equipped with the best information during their test prep journey. Rachel has helped students around the world prepare for various standardized tests, including the SAT, ACT, TOEFL, GRE, and GMAT, and she is one of the authors of our Magoosh ACT Prep Book. Rachel has a Bachelor of Arts in Comparative Literature from Brown University, an MA in Cinematography from the Université de Paris VII, and a Ph.D. in Film Studies from University College London. For over a decade, Rachel has honed her craft as a fiction and memoir writer and public speaker. Her work has appeared in over a dozen online and print publications, including Vanity Fair Hollywood. When she isn't strategically stringing words together at Magoosh, you can find Rachel riding horses or with her nose in a book. LinkedIn


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