How to Write the William and Mary Supplement 2018-2019

The College of William and Mary is located in Williamsburg, VA and is considered one of a few “public Ivies.” This means that they are public institutions that offer lower tuition but a high-quality education comparable to that of an Ivy League school. It’s a solid medium-sized school of about 9,000 undergraduates with an emphasis on research, particularly for undergraduates, which is rare. Though it’s academically rigorous, the small-town vibe that Williamsburg possesses is unique and special. Last year they had an acceptance rate of 36%.

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

Here’s the good news: you can write about whatever you want. Here’s the bad news: it needs to possess some serious academic and intellectual, as well as creative, heft. And it really shouldn’t be less than 450 high-quality, thoughtful, intentional words if you want them to pay attention. It’s the perfect supplement for that thing that you so desperately wanted to write about but perhaps your guidance counselor deemed “too unrelatable” (not to bash guidance counselors, they do amazing work, and we’re forever indebted to them).

We embrace quirk and pizzazz. Here’s your chance to go for it with that creative writing piece about how you’re planning to decorate your room in college to reflect your personality. Or, a description of how you organize your desk at home and why. What you made yourself for breakfast the morning that you took the ACT. Think outside of the box and be non-traditional with this.

Imagine that you’re an admissions reader and you’ve been trapped in this big room for hours upon hours, week after week, reading admissions essays. There are some “nice” ones, some “throwaways,” and some “standouts.” And then, your essay comes along to wake them up out of their three-pile routine. That should be your goal, always, but particularly here because it’s their only question.


Let us know if you need help. Sometimes “anything” or a broad question can be even more overwhelming than a highly specific one (see: USC’s godforsaken hashtag question).