Location: Williamstown, MA
Percent Women: 52
Tuition (one year): $46,600
Most Popular Majors: Economics, History, English Language and Literature, Psychology, Political Science and Government
Greek Life: No
Acceptance Rate: 17%
For more information about financial aid, scholarships, majors, study abroad, and average test scores, visit Williams’ website at http://admission.williams.edu.
Why Choose Williams?
"Choose Williams for a community experience, where at some base level you will feel connected with everyone around you (or, at a higher level, you'll probably know 60% of them by your sophomore year). Choose Williams for the individual attention you will receive from professors, and the strong bonds you will form with them that will foster your academic growth. Choose Williams for a Harvard-level education without the pretentiousness that comes with going to a school with that label."
"For the opportunity to experience not only academic excellency at its finest, but personal growth. People here are talented and have lots to share, so listen and be prepared to gain immensely."
"I chose Williams for the community. My first impressions of the students were that they were friendly and willing to help out complete strangers. That and they all have multiple things going for them. Every student is multi-talented and, if given the chance, will amaze you with what they are capable of."
"The people here are smarter than you'd ever imagine. Be prepared to be constantly surprised by what they can teach you."
"If you love learning and want to be surrounded by people who have the same intensity for expanding their mind, then Williams is your place."
"I love the focus on storytelling, and recognizing that everyone in the community has a story to tell--which is obviously exemplified by story time (every Sunday, a member of the community, be it a student, faculty member, or staff member, tells parts of their life story). I also love the small class sizes and the amazing and attentive professors. The general atmosphere of Williams is just friendly, which makes it a lot easier to be a first year here."
"The quiet study room in Paresky."
"I really enjoy the gym! Whether you're an athlete or just looking to workout more, the gym is super accessible. It doesn't hurt that there are multiple tvs installed throughout to keep you entertained when you're hitting the treadmill."
"The town is quaint and has that classic, New England feel. In the winter, it gets a bit cold but the campus under snow is georgous. In the spring, when the flowers start to bloom and the skies are clear, this place is pure magic."
"There is definitely a large athlete presence and a large prep school presence on campus, which can be alienating for people outside of these groups, since those groups can tend to dominate the culture of the school."
"The hookup culture. It can be alienating for students who don't want to participate and would rather work on establishing long-term relationships."
"The all nighters are the worst!"
"The school's size can be annoying sometimes. After three semesters, you start to feel like you're running out of people to meet (which isn't true). One way to break out of that rut is to join a new club or take a class out of your usual interests. You'll tend to meet new, interesting people."
New Collegiette on Campus
"It's pretty great. I always felt like you get special attention paid to you when you're a first-year (from upperclassmen, and professors if you're in higher level classes). The entry system really gives you a support system from the beginning, and makes it easy to integrate yourself into the college. Freshman year can always be tough, and the transition can always be tough, but Williams makes it a lot easier."
"Getting used to the culture is surprisingly natural. Getting used to the grades is not."
"It's a real change because as much as I love it here, it's not all peaches and cream. It was a culture shock completely."
"There are many events on campus dedicated to making the transition to college as smooth as possible for the frosh. There's first days, which includes events such as the Purple Key Fair (where all the clubs and student organizations table so students can learn more about them). There's also Ephventures, which is a bunch of first-year orientations. The most popular/well-known one is WOOLF, where students spend 3 days backpacking in the Berkshires."
"They really make sure first-years feel welcomed and prepared to begin their career at Williams. There's the entry system, where students are placed in groups comprised of various individuals, with the hopes of increasing their awareness and appreciation for both the similarities and differences they have with their peers."
All About Academics
"I would say the most popular majors are political science and history. A typical workload involves hundreds of pages of reading and maybe a problem set."
"I'm not really sure what the most popular majors are, maybe Economics? I would say that the typical student spends a few hours each day on work, with some extra time on weekends (during the day, that is, Saturday and Sunday)."
"Williams can be a rigorous academic environment. Students put a lot of time into their work and it's amazing that we are still able to participate in so many extracurricular activities!"
Learn from the Best
"That's hard. Unfortunately, a lot of my favorite professors have left. A few would include Dorothy Wang (an English and American Studies professor who really takes an interest in her students and is always willing to meet up to chat at Tunnel City), Carmen Whalen (a Latino/a Studies and History professor who will make you question everything you know about history), and Bud Wobus (who will somehow make you interested in Geosciences/rocks even if you had absolutely no interest in it before...also, so adorable)."
"I've found a lot of my favorite professors in the Political Science and Art departments. Most professors are super accessible (whether through email or office hours) and want to engage students in the best possible way. They love what they're doing and it shows."
'The professors here are great! I haven't found my 'favorite' one yet and it's tough to decide on something like that when you have many talented, engaging professors to choose from."
Interests & Involvement
"I participate in a lot of music ensembles. There are a lot of directions you can take your interest in music--there's Berkshire Symphony, which only meets about 4 weeks in total during the semester, but during those weeks you have rehearsal every other day for almost 3 hours. You also need to try out, and the level is a lot higher than other ensembles on campus, but if you are used to performing at that level it can be a lot of fun. There's also Student Symphony, which is once a week and is completely student-run. It's a lot of fun and more relaxed, but definitely a lower level of performing. You can find happy mediums in more specific ensembles like Wind Ensemble or Jazz Ensemble, which both meet once a week, or in chamber groups with people close to your skill level."
"I am part of the women's rugby team and I love it! It was something I tried for the first time as a freshman and it was completely out of my comfort zone, but I gave it a shot. Now, I can't really see my life without it. It helped me realize that I am capable of a lot more than I thought. I also participate in a group called Active Minds, which promotes the importance of mental health."
"I'm a member of GQ (short for Good Question), a co-ed acappella group on campus. We rehearse an average of 6 hours per week and have two concerts a semester. Besides singing, we hang out and really get to know each other beyond rehearsal time. I love it!"
"Many students participate in more than one group on campus. It's very much a part of the culture to be active in one's community and continuously push one's self to be a part of more!"
"For a small, New England school, I would say Williams has a good amount of team spirit. Many students participate in athletics of some sorts, so their friends go out to events to support them. There's always a big turnout for Homecoming, where current students can mingle with alum while supporting our football team."
"I would say it does, for a Division 3 school. Our teams are generally good (in DIII), so athletics are viewed positively, although it's nothing like going to a DI school (in terms of how many people show up to games). Athletes or athlete cultures are sometimes viewed negatively, and there's talk about an athlete/non-athlete divide, but I feel that a lot of athletes overcome this divide."
"Williams does have team spirit. The community also is very supportive of athletics and go to games as well."
"I would say Williams is just as athletic as it is academic oriented. A lot of students play a sport, whether competively or for fun, throughout their stay here."
"I would say it's a lot better than other places. You can walk back to your dorm alone at night, and you never have to worry about people spiking your drinks (I shouldn't say never, but I have never heard about it happening) besides the fact that most people pregame parties anyway so you're more likely to be drinking before you go out and will be making your own drinks in that case. I think there is definitely a white male complex present in academic and social spaces at Williams, as in you may sometimes be made to feel uncomfortable by privileged white dudes in class or at parties. However, there are so many strong women present here (and so many strong female professors, also!) that it is easy to break through that, or at least I have found that to be true."
"It's fine. I don't feel too much pressure as being a women because I am in the same classes as any boy on this campus. I just have to assert myself more in social settings and let guys know that grabbing me to dance or things of the like are not okay."
"There are many young women in leadership roles on campus and that is really empowering. It's great seeing women being valued as leaders and being treated accordingly."
"We have a group on campus called the Williams College Women's Collective, and they host events that spread awareness of issues regarding women. Just recently, they did a photo campaign about what it means to be a feminist."
Food & Drink
"It isn't your mother's cooking, but it's pretty damn good for a college campus. Particularly if you hit up Mission (or Driscoll on most days), you shouldn't be disappointed. Paresky's 82 grill is reliably tasty, although the general dining hall at Paresky can be lacking. Grab n Go has good choices if you have no time for class. Probably the best part about Williams dining is snack bar/late night, which is from 8:30 to 12 or 1 depending on weekday or weekend. You can grab a pizza, fried food, or breakfast foods whether you're up late studying on a Wednesday or out late partying on a Friday."
"Food is okay. It gets a little boring because it's on a weekly rotation, but food is food. Also, grab n go is a lifesaver when I have 20 minutes to grab a meal in between classes."
"There are three dining halls on campus: Driscoll, Paresky and Mission. Paresky is the more central one and where a lot of students end up--whether to grab a quick bite through Grab n' Go or sit down for a meal. The food is set on a weekly rotation but if you know what you like, you'll know where to go and when and won't be disappointed."
"The food is pretty good. There could be more of selection for gluten-free food and people with dietary restrictions. But for a college dining hall, it's not at all bad."
"The dining staff is wonderful! You get to know them while they get to know you and they work very hard to make sure students can enjoy their meal in the midst of a hectic semester!"
"The social scene is whatever you want to make of it and I appreciate that. If going out isn't for you, there are little activities hosted by campus groups that you can do on Friday nights like baking. The school also has parties for students if you want to go out an dance. And you can always stay in and hang out with friends. The social scene can be as fun as you want it to be so I can't really complain."
"I think it depends on what circles you run with. Personally, I have found the social scene to be pretty limited, but have found that to be fun. I enjoy partying with people I know well, and seeing a high concentration of people I know when I show up to parties. There are dance parties held most weekends, along with parties at sports houses or hosted by sports teams that are probably similar to frat parties (we don't have frats). There are also parties held in basements and other dorm spaces that might be more talking and some dancing (although the music is usually pretty loud). Then, there will be smaller parties, pre-games, and etc that are usually for more intimate groups of people. Some weekends, there might not be much to do, but usually you can find something."
"The night life is pretty tame. That being said, there is something for nearly everyone. If you want a big party, there's likely to be one found on Hoxsey street or hosted by some sports team. More intimate gatherings are held in common rooms/people's dorms. If you're not really into going out, there's events like Get Baked, where you can bake sweet goods on a Friday night."
"It's what you make it. You can easily stay in your room and watch movies (which is not a bad idea, especially when it's cold!) or you can head to a pregame and then to one of the parties being held in Greylock or on Hoxsey."
"Not as poppin' as it would be in a large city school but it's pretty good for its size. Not every weekend night is going to be amazing but you're sure to have more than a few."
"I would say it's amazing. We have great housing here. I got the 4th to last pick as a sophomore (aka bottom of the chain) and got an absolutely beautiful room in a beautiful house. Most people get singles, even as sophomores (and freshman!). Most housing is right on campus and a very short walk away from everything."
"The selection for dorms varies, but they're all pretty good. I'd say the best dorms are in the old frat houses like Perry and Agard. The rooms are spacious and the views are pretty sweet."
"When you're a freshman, you live in either Mission or Frosh Quad. Frosh Quad has the more authentic, New England college feel to it with its brick buildings covered in ivy whereas Mission is more modern looking. When you're an upperclassmen, you can pick to live in old frat house, co-ops, apartments on Spring Street or Greylock Quad, which has the most typical, college dorm set up."
"Personally, I love Agard. It's my first year living there and I can't complain. My room is not cramped at all, I have access to a kitchen and living room and the view is pretty. I'd definitely say it's one of the hidden perks of living on campus."
"They are really accomodating with room preferences. It is highly likely that you will get a single, if you request one (even as a freshman). Most people are happy with their living situation and there are mini housing lotteries throughout the year for people who want to change their dorm."
"Pretty nice. Most places have good rooms, with access to kitchens, laundry rooms, and, in some cases, living rooms. Can't complain!"
"The town is barely a town...more like a street. I think this is good because it makes you tap into all the resources the college has to offer, and means that instead of going to, say, an art museum downtown or a concert venue, you would go to your friend's photography exhibit for her class or your entrymate's jazz performance. We have some good eats, like Pappa Charlie's for sandwiches and Sushi Thai and Spice Root for dinner (although those are fairly upscale for the college student's budget). Tunnel City is a great place to do work and chat with friends over coffee. Images is our movie theatre that only shows one movie at a time...but the movie is always good, so think of it as a filler.."
"The town is small and has little to do. We have one main street with little shops and restaurants and that's really it. It can also be a little pricey. But when I feel like spoiling myself, I'll grab a meal at Spice Root or Sushi Thai."
"There's not much of a downtown. That being said, there are plenty of events on campus to keep students preoccupied. Also there's the two art museums (WCMA and the Clark) which serve as great excursions."
"Williamstown is your typical, quaint, New England town. It's pretty to walk around and can be quite relaxing. One of my favorite spots is Lickity Split, which has some of the best ice cream (and lime soda!)."
HC's Complete College Guide: Williams College
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