The College of William and Mary, located in Virginia's Chesapeake Bay area, was founded in 1693, making it the second-oldest institution of higher education in the U.S., after Harvard University. In its storied history, the school has educated icons of American history, including Thomas Jefferson, John Tyler, James Monroe, Chief Justice John Marshall, Henry Clay and 16 signers of the Declaration of Independence. William and Mary retains a high standard for student living and is repeatedly ranked among the top colleges or universities in the nation. Accepted students are invited to the school's campus in WIlliamsburg, Virginia, a historic community that has been involved in major phases of the country's history, including colonization, the Revolutionary War and the Civil War and Reconstruction. Student housing is available on-campus as well as in the Williamsburg community. Off campus housing can be found in both the downtown area, and the historic colonial district, both of which are within walking distance of the William and Mary campus.
In 2012, the college enrolled 6,071 undergraduates and 2,129 graduate and professional students, divided among dormitories and college apartments. The large undergraduate program is a main focus of student living, though the college is home to several successful graduate schools, including institutions for the study of law, business, public policy, education, marine science and colonial history. Many of these graduate school have been ranked within the top 50 in the nation in their field, while the undergraduate program is listed as the 6th best public university program in the nation in the 2011 U.S. News and World Report rankings.
Students who elect to live off campus in a college apartment are introduced to an exciting city of about 14,000 residents. The east of the William and Mary campus enters downtown Williamsburg, which passes into the Colonial Historic Area.
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