Williams College
Williamstown, MA, USA

Reviews

Williams College
4.39 Average Rating

Paige from Bonita, CA

a current student here
8 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Williams College is a quiet giant. So few people outside the northeast seem to have heard about this amazing school that is the number one undergraduate education in the country, and yet some of the wealthiest, most successful people are Williams graduates. It creates a close-knit, warm environment of learning that is an absolutely amazing place to be with so many opportunities.
Tips for prospective students
Work hard to get in, because if you do, it is an amazing experience.
Academic Rigor
Williams is an extremely rigorous school. The focus is definitely on education and it turns out some very well-rounded, weathered students on the other side. There is always lots of work to be done, but the learning and quality of teaching is definitely worth the effort. This is definitely a place of quality education.
Dorm Life
As a freshman, you live with an entry. This is a group of varying people who you live with for a year. Your entry gets really close and it is a way to have friends right off the bat starting in a new place.
Food and Dining
The dining hall food is excellent. It is so good and there is so much of it. The only problem is watching out for the freshman fifteen!
What to do for fun
Extracirricular activities are big. Everyone is active in life outside classes here. Whatever your interests, there is probably a group of like minded individuals for you to join. There are also parties on weekends. Also, there are speakers, performances ( both professional, like the New York City Ballet which comes every year, and school done, like the musical written by a student), and so much more.
Bang for the buck
It is expensive, but well worth it. It has great financial aid programs and graduates from Williams have the highest average earnings of any college in the country.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
Mountain day is one of our best traditions. One of the first three Fridays in October is Mountain Day, decided by the Dean as well as Williams Outing Club, and is kept a secret until the morning when the bell is rung and school is canceled. Then, everyone does hikes up some of the mountains nearby for apple cider, donuts, and a Capella. It is a magical day.
Great for these types of students
If you want a well-rounded education at a top-tier school in an isolated environment without the cutthroat environment of some top level schools, Williams is definitely the place to be.
Clubs and Activities
There are hundreds of clubs throughout campus on pretty much everything imaginable: from radio to gospel choir to debate to glass blowing.
Greek Life
There is none.
Campus Safety
Campus security is extremely nice and helpful. If someone is drunk and needs to be taken to the hospital or something, they are never mean or cruel; they are not there to get you into trouble, only to help. They are really good about protecting our campus, even though, overall, it is a very safe place.
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Jennah from Westport, CT

a current student here
8 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
This school provides a very diverse but tight-knit community. The professors are so passionate about what they teach and are determined to make you fall in love with their material. The opportunities are endless here because the school is always willing to fund for students' projects and turn ideas into reality.
Tips for prospective students
Don't be afraid to try new things and don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zones when choosing classes and extracurriculars. But please don't overwhelm yourself by joining too many clubs on campus. Most importantly, talk to professors and talk to the deans. The faculty on this campus want to help you so don't be afraid to use resources.
Academic Rigor
The work load is heavy but it's reasonable. Like I said before, don't be afraid to use your resources because there are so many available here at Williams. For example, there is a Math and Science Resource Center (MSRC), Writer's Workshop, tutors, etc. Just don't kid yourself and save everything for the last minute or try to BS your work. Smaller school means smaller classes mean professors are very meticulous about work.
Dorm Life
Dorms are small, but cozy. If you're lucky, you'll get a big room. There's always heat in the winter and enough space for a fan. If your room is small, like mine was freshman year, you'll definitely have a common room to decorate, put stuff in, have parties in, etc.
Food and Dining
Some dining halls are definitely yummier than others. But overall, the food is better than decent. Not homemade, but good. There are always choices for vegetarians and vegans as well. They have special nights when they serve just indian food, breakfast for dinner, etc.
What to do for fun
No matter what scene you're in, there will always be something for you to do. Williams isn't a big party school obviously, but once in a while there are some good dance parties and you'll always find someone to go drinking with. If you're not into the party scene, you'll find something to do with friends like watch movies, go out to eat. And honestly, some weekends you're just gonna have to stay in and do work.
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College sophomore

a current student here
7 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
1. The school takes care of its own. Financial aid is excellent, even if the policies are a little quirky. The college provides events every once in a while to help students relax. There are advocacy groups on campus for mental health, sexual assault support, and things like that.
2. The social life can be a little stuffy, because the school is small. It's good to form at least a couple groups of friends.
3. The academics is harder than I expected it to be... but they will help you through if you are willing to put in the effort. Free tutoring, from professors and other students. There is a free writing center where you can take your essays and tutors will look over them and give suggestions.
Tips for prospective students
If you're looking to apply: Williams has a huge emphasis on community. It's almost sacred. It's good to have an awesome academic record, because everyone on campus is just as smart or smarter than you. Of course you could always apply just to see; I know plenty of people who did not have the best grades and are doing great here.
If you've been accepted: Move-in day was especially hard for me because I had never visited the campus. Even if money is tight, go visit! The campus roads are meandering, and they don't really go where you expect them to. I almost passed the college going down Route 2 on move-in day... Don't worry about not fitting in. No one here fits a stereotype.
Academic Rigor
I thought I was going to die last year, mostly because I thought I had a handle on everything in high school, and that made me cocky about college. It was a big wake up call-- After I received a D on my English paper and a 55 on my Psychology quiz, I got my act together and took advantage of the free one-on-one tutoring and writing center. Ended up with a B in Psychology 101 and a C+ in English, mostly because my high school wasn't helpful in terms of writing papers. But I'm learning.
Dorm Life
The dorms aren't bad. Of course they're not great, but I personally didn't mind sharing the bathroom. Everyone's schedules differentiate throughout the semester, so the bathroom was mostly empty anyway. The food is good, although I needed to supplement my diet with some good old Korean food. I did not have a roommate last year, but next year I will, with a person of my choosing. Our sleep and study schedules line up nicely. Everyone on my floor is super nice, referring to both my freshman and sophomore year.
Food and Dining
The food is fine. We have lots of options during the year: Whitman's, which is located in the student center, Mission, which is located in one of the freshman dorms, and Driscoll, which is on the east side of campus. Those are open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. At night, Whitman's turns into Late Night, which serves delicious fried things for midnight snackers or people who just missed dinner. We also now have Lee, which serves breakfast food at night. In the morning, Goodrich serves coffee, tea, bagels, and other breakfasty things for early risers. We also have Eco Cafe, located in the science building, which serves breakfast and grab and go lunches, prepackaged for convenient and on-the-go class schedules. The student center also serves grab and go lunch. Finally, we have the '82 Grill, which is open on weekend nights and serves giant pizzas and tray-sized nachos for especially hungry people, or for groups to share.
What to do for fun
There are actually a lot of things going on during the year, even though the school itself is small. We have stressbusters once a month, with free massages and candy and small things like that. We have events like plays, musical performances, art shows. We also have a huge acapella population... 6 groups, if I counted correctly. There's usually something to go to or do every night of the year. But you can also always stay in your room and cry over sad movies or play games on your computer or chat with friends or whatever. No judgment. People are very respectful of your comfort zone and they never try to force you to drink or try drugs.
Bang for the buck
Definitely worth every hard-earned dollar.
Greek Life
No Greek life, although I suppose the closest thing we have is our acapella groups.
Campus Safety
Very safe. Everyone is watching out for everyone else, and we very rarely have someone overdrink. The campus police are also pretty nice. The deans definitely handle situations carefully and let everyone know about their decisions via email.
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Tiffany from Cupertino, CA

a current student here
6 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
The professors I've had so far have been very accessible. Definitely take advantage of their office hours, for it's a great place to get all your questions about the material answered. Even when professors' office hour schedules are not compatible with you schedule, it's quite easy to email the professor and set up a different time for you to get help. Since the campus is relatively small, the libraries are conveniently close by, and they stay open pretty late for people who want to stay up late doing work. Even though I'm taking all large lecture classes, my largest class has 40 students. Williams College is a great place for learning.
Am enjoying being here
The entry system definitely may feel limiting sometimes, but if you get along with your entry, hanging out with your entry mates is a blast! However, if you don't get along with them, you share a bathroom with people from the neighboring entry if you live in frosh quad, and you can get to know them. Unfortunately, it is really hard to meet people in classes.
Bang for the buck
The tuition is pretty high, but the intimate academic environment is pretty worth it.
Tips for prospective students
Be sure to visit the school before making the decision to go to Williams, but the visit experience should not be the entire determining factor of whether or not you choose to attend Williams. Connect with people (especially people from your area) who are also going to Williams and get to know them before going off to college.
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A Willy Junior

a current student here
4 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Williams is not a college fore everyone. I have realized that unless students are willing to accept and live in the purple bubble for four years, it will be a difficult adjustment. With that being said, I love Williams because without the experience it provides, I could become the person I am today.
Tips for prospective students
Be prepared to study hard and become close to the relatively small population of students. Also, take advantage of all the small activities the campus has to offer because without it, Williams life can become mundane quite fast.
Academic Rigor
I have had many rough nights at Williams. While it depends on your majors and the classes you choose, just remember that Williams is no longer high school. Good grades will not come easily; work for it. After all, you are competition with other students who might have also been valedictorian in their respective high schools.
Dorm Life
Even as a freshman, it is not difficult to have good housing, whether you want a double or a single. Most students choose to stay on campus because it is more convenient and dorms offer more than enough incentives such suites, kitchens, large common room space, etc.
Food and Dining
We have three dining halls which still does not say much because food can sometimes be awful. There's nothing to complain about in terms of breakfast and dinner because they can sometimes be decent, but I cannot remember having a good lunch.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
Mountain day! It is one Friday in October (that is randomly chosen) where students and teachers have the day off to climb the mountain. When we reach the top, there are all types of donuts and cider along with singing and much picture taken.
Greek Life
None. We no longer have fraternities and sororities.
Campus Safety
They are quick and helpful!
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William from New York

a current student here
4 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Academic Rigor
classes at williams are tough, but when you get through all of the work you're rewarded at the end with a deep understanding of the course material. professors aren't shy about piling on the work, but they're also extremely approachable and always looking to help students out. there are also numerous academic resources for students to help you with problem sets in math and science course,s and writing workshops to help you polish papers.
Dorm Life
the entry system was one of my favorite parts of my first year. while you need to be sure to expand out from your entry a little bit on your own, which can be daunting at first, you'll find that people here are incredibly friendly and willing to meet new people.
Food and Dining
there are some nights that are better than others, as at any school, but generally williams dining does a great job. the have relationships with many of the nearby farms that provide us with fresh, local fruits and vegetables which are great.
Campus Safety
this is an incredibly safe campus, and if ever you have a problem or feel unsafe there are several places you can go to or call for help.
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Anna from Chester, VA

a current student here
4 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
Outside the nurturing and exceptional education provided in class, the entire student and staff population of Williams has taught me so many lessons in my short time being here.
Am enjoying being here
Adapting to being a college freshman anywhere is kind of weird, but I've really liked Williams so far.
Bang for the buck
Even Forbes agrees with me. Williams provides a phenomenal education and exhilarating experience that is worth every penny.
Tips for prospective students
When applying to Williams, please visit it and express as much as you can how much you want to go here.
Great for these types of students
Intellectual, athletic, well-rounded, curious, artistic, environmentally-aware, witty, sarcastic...
anyone
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williams freshman

a current student here
3 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
williams is wiliam-sy in its own williamstown way - you need to talk to the students to get a sense of what that means. academic rigorous, but everyone helps each other get through it. the people here - students, staff, faculty - is what drives the place.
Tips for prospective students
be yourself in your essay. come visit the campus to check for your gut-feeling component of your college search if you can - it can feel isolating for some which is completely opposite of a city. coming from near a city, the rural surroundings for me was actually perfectly complementary and enjoy the scenic views.
Academic Rigor
certainly more rigorous than most, if not all, other undergraduate institutions when looking at it as a whole. i have friends placed all across the country at the top institutions, but not necessarily those with an emphasis on undergraduate education. the rigor, however, is recognized not just within ourselves but the alumni who reach out to us.
Dorm Life
constant updates to the dorm neighborhoods, lack of support for upperclass students, and a seemingly not well thought out process that favors housing coordinators and their friends leads to plenty of frustration your soph/junior years. however, your freshman experience is helped guided by the entires led by two junior advisors, which is different than your traditional ra experience. they help your transition tremendously, and if you don't need them, that's fine too.
Food and Dining
pretty solid for a college dining hall. plenty of options from three main dining halls, plus the 82' grill, plus the eco cafe for the mornings gives plenty of variety and choice. constant conversations on our dining hall services maintains a check to make sure students get what we want.
What to do for fun
you never get bored here. attend the talk by the u.s. senator here. go to that music performance (or eight) the next night. grab a meal with a professor. go to the surrounding areas for volunteering opportunities or explore. join one of the over 200 clubs. hit the hiking trails in the berkshires with your friends - try snowshoeing or mountain climbing. cheer on your friends at their sporting events (athletics are quite solid here). go to formals hosted by the clark, or parties in the weekends.
Great for these types of students
quirky, well-rounded interests
Greek Life
none - which is good in my aspect. however, varsity teams unofficially pretty much take the role of greek life, and not for the good. compared to other colleges which officially do have a greek life, however, much better at williams than i could have anticipated.
Campus Safety
get to know those officers - lovely people to chat with (and help you when you need it).
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Marsha from belmont, MA

a current student here
27 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
The classes are fast paced and challenging, particularly the math and science courses. If you keep up with the coursework, reading, and go to office hours, you definetly learn a lot. English classes are not much different than high school. You have a small discussion class and are graded heavily on participation. Depending on your teacher, you can become a better writer by constructive criticism. However, one teacher loved my writing and I got As on all my papers, while my other English teacher never gave me more than a B and always remarked that my writing was convoluted. In my biology class in the spring, I never did too well on the tests, despite my best efforts to go to office hours and study. I recommend reviewing the material over the summer to be more prepared for the material when the school year starts. My introductory anthropology class did not teach me a lot, I mostly got information from the readings, which were very dry, long, and oftentimes boring. I recommend taking a higher level anthropology class to learn more about specific topics.
Am enjoying being here
I like the rigor of the classes, but the location is very isolated and rural. On the weekends, there is not much to do and the non-school sponsored parties are often broken up. Every First Fridays of the month, there is a college sponsored party at Goodrich Hall, which is fun most of the time, especially when there is a good DJ playing music. Due to the amount of homework, most of the time during the week and a good amount of time in the weekend is spent studying. Lab writeups take up a lot of time in particular and I spend most of Sunday night at the Math Science Resource Center. Additionally, my family lives 3 hours away so I get homesick occasionally. It's also a little hard to meet friends. If you don't click with a lot of people in your entry (the people that live on your floor), it's not easy to meet people from classes that will become your friends. Meeting people through clubs on campus is another option but usually most people have a lot of work and don't have time to be substantially involved on campus.
Bang for the buck
Yes, it's very affordable! Don't be scared off by the sticker cost. They try to make the school affordable so there's no need for loans. The school gives out a lot of scholarships/grants for financially needy students and there's work study too to complete your financial aid package, plus federal grants if needed.
Tips for prospective students
Try to meet as many people as you can the first couple of weeks of freshman year. People are friendlier during this time and more likely to want to make friends with other freshman. Don't just stick with your entry or you will miss out on meeting other people. Get help on subjects before it's too late: there's the Writing Workshop, Math science resource center, help from professors, and peer tutoring.
Great for these types of students
It's great for students who are outgoing and prepared for academic challenges and living in an isolated town. It also has an active Outdoors club so it's a great choice for students who like to hike and do outdoor activities.
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Demarius from Calumet City, IL

a current student here
9 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Williams College is a really fruitful environment where intelligence and hard work thrives. The interactions amongst students and professors breeds an environment in which ALL learn and benefit. The opportunities that this institution presents are innumerable.
Tips for prospective students
Be ready to hit the ground running if you're considering Williams. Williams is definitely a place that breeds an intellectual environment for everyone. The discussion-oriented courses are key as you develop relationships with your professors. Here, we take advantage of academic resources (tutors, writing workshops, math and resource center, office hours with professors, etc.). Every second of life at Williams is a learning experience that's makes your time well worth it!
Academic Rigor
Most courses at Williams are rigorous. The work load may seem impossible, but that's what makes Williams such a valuable institution. The rigor challenges the students beyond measure and it is up to them to embrace the challenge and reap the benefits.
Dorm Life
The dorm life at Williams can suit your needs depending on what you like. Many rooms on campus are singles and there are a substantial amount of double room. After the first-year, students can choose to live with their closest friends. There are no RA's so the dorm life overall is pretty lax.
Food and Dining
Williams has three main dining halls with other smaller cafes for breakfast. The options are very accommodating for vegetarians. Salad bars, ice cream machines, deli stations, pasta stations, desert stations. Occasionally, there are times where the food choice isn't the most appealing. The restaurants (Sushi Thai, Spice Root, Subway, Spring St. Pizza, Papa Charlie's) are also great options.
What to do for fun
Williamstown has many opportunities for fun. From attending athletic competitions with your fellow schoolmates, partying on the weekend (despite copious amounts of work), to exploring the great outdoors. The outdoors scene here is great with many mountains to hike. During the winter time, students may go to nearby ski resorts. Many fun things to do at Williams!
Bang for the buck
Ranked #1 in the Princeton Review for Best Value Colleges over Harvard, Princeton,Yale, and all of the other Ivy League favorites. #1 in Forbes for Colleges that will make you rich.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
Mountain Day is held in October. Classes are cancelled and most students hike the mountains of Williamstown and sing songs and drink apple cider!
Great for these types of students
Great for students with a passion for learning and succeeding. Intelligence, hard work, and perseverance thrive in this environment.
Clubs and Activities
There are many social spaces at Williams College. The clubs and activities are all-inclusive, and if there is not a club or activity that suits your needs, you can create a club.
Greek Life
There is no Greek life at Williams.
Campus Safety
The campus is really safe. People sometimes feel comfortable enough to leave the belongings sitting around, and no one touches it. Security is always on-call and cooperative.
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