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Promise Scholars


This innovative program is designed to ease transfer from Richard Bland College to William & Mary for high-ability, Virginia residents who are Pell-eligible. The Promise Scholars Program will provide W&M courses at RBC, scholarship funds, guaranteed housing, peer-to-peer support, and mentorship to eligible students who have committed to transferring to W&M. Two W&M faculty members will travel to RBC’s campus to teach one general education course, COLL 100 or COLL 150, each semester of the sophomore year, giving students the opportunity to experience William & Mary while at Richard Bland.

  • Beginning this spring, RBC will recruit 30 students into the Honors Program to be provisionally accepted as Promise Scholars candidates for fall 2018.
  • A select 15 of the 30 provisional students will become Promise Scholars in Year 2 (fall 2019) at RBC.
  • Students will live in the *ASPIRE Living/Learning Community (community will include Honors, Promise Scholars, and international students who are dedicated to academic excellence, service learning, campus engagement, and leadership development).

Celia Brockway
Honors Program Coordinator
cbrockway@rbc.edu | 804-862-6100 ext. 8533

Program Requirements

  • A desire to attend William & Mary
  • Admission into Richard Bland College
  • Advanced Studies Diploma
  • 3.5+ GPA
  • Virginia resident
  • Commitment to live on-campus at RBC and participate in all Honors Program requirements
  • Applicant must apply to the Honors Program
  • Pell Eligibility; must complete a FAFSA application each year
  • Two full years of coursework at RBC and graduation with an Associate’s Degree (regardless of the number of transfer credit brought to RBC)
  • Complete Promise Scholar application – due no later than June 15
  • To remain eligible for the program, Promise Scholars (provisional and accepted) must meet academic benchmarks, including a 3.25 cumulative GPA and 2.7 GPA in the William & Mary COLL courses
  • Financial Information

    • A completed FAFSA (available on January 1 of the application year) results in an “Estimated Family Contribution” (EFC). This is used to determine the amount of Pell funding each student can receive.

      At Richard Bland College:

      • A $2,000 scholarship ($1000 each semester) for being a Promise Scholar candidate
      • A $1,000 scholarship ($500 each semester) for being a participant in the Honors Program
      • Guaranteed housing in the ASPIRE Living/Learning Community
      • Promise Scholar candidates are assured to have 80% of direct costs* paid

      At William & Mary:

      As part of the transfer process to W&M, Promise Scholars must complete a CSS PROFILE.

      Cost of AttendanceAid Package Example
      $39,555$1,000 Estimated Family Contribution (EFC)
      $38,555$3,000 Promise Scholar Award
      $35,555$4,970 Federal Pell Grant
      $30,585$30,585 W&M Need Grant
      $0$1,000 Federal Student Loan
      $39,555 in Total Aid
  • Application Process

    • Students will submit the following application materials via an online form – Application deadline is June 15

      Statement of Intent submitted as a word document, 200-300 words, single spaced. Prompt – What program of study are you interested in pursuing at W&M and what will you bring to that experience?

      Resume or list of extracurricular activities submitted as a word document or PDF

      Recommendations from one teacher to be submitted * online (reflects critical thinking, creative problem solving, participation, etc.)

      Recommendations from one school counselor to be submitted * online (reflects intrinsic vs extrinsic locus of control, grit, clarity around goals, etc.)

      *a link will be sent to complete student recommendations as part of the application process

      The results of the application process will be reviewed and ranked

      50 students will be forwarded to an interview process

      Students will schedule their 30-minute interview to take place between June 18 – 26

      30 candidates will be notified of their acceptance by July 3

      Students must commit to be provisionally accepted as Promise Scholars by July 10

  • Evaluation Process

    • Examples of questions include:

      Describe a time when you had to be resourceful to complete a class project/assignment.

      Tell us about a time you failed or didn’t live up to your expectations. What did you learn and how did you get past it?

      What is education and why is it important?

      If you were an inanimate object, what would you be and why?

      Faculty or Teaching Staff

      Ability to think creatively as defined by discipline.

      Quality of written work per discipline standards.

      Motivation to succeed in college based on personal observation.

      Capacity for self-reflection and academic improvement per discipline standards.

      Academic Support Staff or School Counselor

      Student takes responsibility for his or her own actions.

      Student seeks challenges in and outside of the classroom.

      Student is proactive in reaching academic and career goals.

      Face-to-Face Interview

      Describe a time when you had to be resourceful to complete a class project/assignment.

      Tell us about a time you failed or didn’t live up to your expectations. What did you learn and how did you get past it?

      What is education and why is it important?

      If you were an inanimate object, what would you be and why?

  • Coursework @RBC

    • All Promise Scholars are Honors students and are thus required to complete Honors coursework during their time at RBC. The coursework listed below is part of the total Honors Program curriculum that will be required in order for students to graduate with Honors from RBC.

      • Honors Orientation
      • 3 ESE (Exceptional Student Experience) Honors Seminars (1 credit each)
        • Leadership
        • Experiential Learning
        • Community Service
        • Capstone / Transfer
      • 2 “H” Classes (3 credits each) OR W&M COLL courses (Promise Scholars ONLY)
      • 1 ASPIRE presentation designed and delivered to peer group
      • 1 Student Success Module designed to prepare students to serve as peer mentors to incoming Honors students
      • 1 Individual exhibition at spring RBC Student Expo
      • 100 Campus Engagement Points (at least 25 at the end of each semester)
William and Mary


The Promise Scholars Program is one of three opportunities to experience W&M at RBC. Other options include our Guaranteed Admission pathway for transfer students with a 3.25+ GPA and a recommendation from the Provost, and The Bridge Program. The Bridge Program is a co-enrollment option for qualified students to take up to four classes at W&M and pay RBC tuition. Transportation is provided to W&M twice a week for Bridge students.

Promise Scholars will be guaranteed housing their first year at W&M. Focused attention will be provided to assist their academic and social success on campus via faculty advisors, a career center, and residential counselors. Financial support and college work-study will alleviate the stress associated with cost.

William & Mary has an excellent track record of academic rigor, strong alumni relations, and career preparation. Students attending W&M are focused on scholarship and professional success. If this describes young people you know, please refer them to Richard Bland College of William & Mary.

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