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Program History

The WILL* program, formerly known as Women Involved in Living and Learning, was founded in 1980 as part of Westhampton College’s response to a growing body of feminist scholarship and research demonstrating that women’s colleges provide exceptional learning opportunities for students. 

WILL* offers students a valuable knowledge base about the influence of gender and other identities across disciplines and cultures as well as practical leadership and career skills that will improve their academic and professional accomplishments. The University of Richmond's program was the first in the United States to combine coursework in women's studies (which became Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University of Richmond in 2004) with internships and leadership opportunities outside of the classroom.

The Wellesley College Center for Research on Women has studied the WILL* program extensively and reported favorable research findings on the program's structure and impact. In 1997, Wellesley senior research scientist Fern Marx noted that "WILL* is an extremely effective vehicle for empowering and transforming female students."  Beginning in 2013, WILL* officially opened its application process to transgender and gender non-conforming students.

Over the years, a number of public and private institutions have replicated this model, including Duke University, Tulane University, University of Michigan-Dearborn, Winona State University, University of Maryland Baltimore County, the College of New Jersey, and University of Cincinnati.

Application Deadlines

Submit summer applications by Aug. 1 to take advantage of an expedited early admission process. Summer admits begin the WILL* program shortly after arrival on campus.

Fall applications are due Oct. 1.