Skip to content
All posts

Mastering the William and Mary Supplemental Essays 2023-2024

When crafting your supplemental essays for the College of William and Mary, remember that they offer a valuable opportunity to provide a richer picture of who you are, beyond your grades and SAT scores. For the 2023-2024 admissions cycle, William and Mary have provided a couple of unique prompts that require thought, self-reflection, and a dash of creativity.

The first prompt asks you to explore a topic, idea, or concept that makes you lose track of time. How do you learn more about this thing that engages you so deeply? In essence, it wants to delve into your intellectual curiosity. As an institution known for its strong commitment to student-faculty interaction, William and Mary wants to see applicants who are passionate and curious.

When tackling this prompt, start by identifying a subject that you genuinely love. Discuss how you've explored this interest - it could be through books, projects, internships, or even heated discussions during dinner. Most importantly, demonstrate how this passion shapes your perspective and future ambitions.


Prompt 1: Explore a topic, idea, or concept that makes you lose track of time. How do you learn more about this thing that engages you so deeply? (500 words)

Ever since I first read "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" by Jules Verne, the mysteries of the ocean depths have captivated me. Time disappears when I delve into the latest marine biology research, watch documentaries on underwater exploration, or explore tide pools during family trips to the coast.

My fascination extends beyond casual interest. I've sought out every opportunity to learn more. I've spent countless hours at the local aquarium volunteering and learning about marine life from experts. I enrolled in advanced biology classes in school, transforming my room into a study center strewn with textbooks, articles, and documentaries about ocean life.

This passion has shaped my worldview, making me an advocate for ocean conservation and climate change awareness. It has also charted my future path. I dream of studying Marine Biology in college, and my ultimate goal is to contribute to the scientific understanding of our oceans, perhaps discovering unknown species or innovating ways to protect our marine ecosystems.

The second prompt requires you to illustrate a community to which you belong. This prompt aims to understand your social context and your place within it. Here, William and Mary are looking for your ability to contribute positively to their diverse campus community.

While approaching this prompt, remember that "community" does not only refer to a geographic location or cultural group. It could also mean a group of people united by a shared interest or goal, like a sports team, a book club, or a volunteer group. Discuss your role within this community and the impact you've had on it.


Prompt 2: Describe a community to which you belong. How did you come to belong to this community? (500 words)

I belong to a unique community: a high school debate team called "Debaters for Change." Our mission extends beyond winning tournaments; we aim to raise awareness on social issues through informed discourse.

Joining was intimidating at first. I had no prior experience, and the team was filled with seasoned debaters. However, with their encouragement and mentorship, I slowly found my voice. I learned to craft logical arguments, challenge opposing views respectfully, and most importantly, listen.

Through the team, I've not only developed my public speaking and critical thinking skills but also found a group of passionate, driven individuals who share a commitment to make a difference. Our heated discussions often extend beyond practice, turning lunch hours into impromptu debates about everything from climate policy to educational reforms.

Being a part of this community has shaped me as an individual. It taught me the power of informed discourse and has ignited a desire to be part of solution-making processes on a larger scale. I hope to continue this journey in college, contributing to the vibrant intellectual community at William and Mary.

Additionally, there is an optional prompt which encourages you to discuss a time when you’ve built bridges between cultures. As an international university with students from diverse backgrounds, William and Mary values individuals who can foster an inclusive environment. If you choose this essay, highlight experiences that demonstrate your empathy, understanding, and ability to connect people from diverse backgrounds.


Optional Prompt: Describe a time when you’ve built bridges between cultures. (500 words)

During a summer exchange program in Spain, I lived with a host family whose customs, language, and daily life were very different from my own. Initially, the cultural differences were overwhelming, and communication was challenging due to my limited Spanish. However, I saw this as an opportunity to bridge the cultural gap.

I taught my host family how to prepare some classic American dishes, while they showed me how to make traditional Spanish cuisine. We exchanged stories about our home countries, breaking stereotypes and gaining a deeper understanding of each other's cultures.

When the annual 'Fiesta de la Ciudad' occurred, my host family encouraged me to participate. I donned a traditional Spanish dress and danced the flamenco with locals, feeling a deep sense of connection and acceptance.

This experience taught me the power of empathy and mutual respect in building bridges between cultures. It was a small-scale example of what I hope to do throughout my life, fostering understanding and acceptance among diverse groups of people. As a student at William and Mary, I hope to continue these cross-cultural interactions, enriching the campus with my experiences and learning from others.


Finally, remember to keep your writing concise and personal. Authenticity beats grandiosity every time. Ensure that your essays capture your unique voice and highlight experiences that have shaped you.