REQUIREMENTS AND CAMPUS GUIDE
School Name: Williams College
School Location: Williamstown, MA
School Type: Private Liberal Arts
Williams College Admissions Rates Class 2026
TTest-Optional for 2022-2023 Admission Cycle
Fall 2021 Test Scores
Evidence-based Reading & Writing Range: 720-770
SAT Math Range: 740-790
ACT Range: 33-35
Early Decision: November 15
Early Results: December 15
Regular Deadline: January 8
Regular Results: April 1
Curriculum Type: Distributional Requirements
Greek Life: No
Athletics: D III: NESCAC
WILLIAMS COLLEGE TIPS & GUIDE
Williams Application Requirements, Admissions Tips, and University Guide
“The people who know, know.”
That’s the common refrain from Williams College students when confronted with the fact that, despite the school’s stellar reputation, very few people have ever heard of the small liberal arts college in the mountains of northwestern Massachusetts. Common reactions when hearing about the school is a blank stare (sometimes combined with confusion with Wesleyan, Wellesley, or William & Mary). However, the people who have heard of it have an extremely high opinion of the school. The reaction or an immediate raise of the eyebrows and something along the lines of “wow, that’s a great school.”
Williams College is ranked #1 in national liberal arts colleges in the United States. Here’s what you should know about Williams College.
What is Williams College known for?
Williams College is known for its stellar academics and overall reputation. It’s also known for some of its traditions like Mountain Day. Mountain Day is a widely popular tradition at Williams. On one Friday in October (which Friday is a closely-guarded secret and somewhat spontaneous decision), the President will announce early in the morning that all classes are canceled. There will then be a host of planned events on- and off-campus, including the most iconic: a mass hike up to Stony Ledge, where students are met at the peak with cider, apple donuts, a view of Mt. Greylock, and performances by various a cappella groups. The random nature of Mountain Day has also given rise to the unofficial tradition of “Mountain Day Roulette,” where, every Thursday in October students may decide to throw parties, stay up late, or otherwise not prepare for their Friday classes on the off-chance that tomorrow will be Mountain Day and those classes will be canceled.
What are academics like at Williams?
Williams is also known for some distinctive choices regarding course schedules and formats. Students can have traditional majors, and instead of minors, students can take up a concentration – a group of courses around specific topics that pull from different departments and disciplines. Students can also develop their own major or participate in experiential education. Williams requires all students to take 3 courses in arts and humanities, 3 social sciences, 3 science and mathematics courses, and 1 diversity course. Students are also required to take 2 writing-intensive courses.
On tours and in promotional materials, probably the most talked-about feature of a Williams education is the Oxford-style tutorial classes—two-on-one classes where two students meet with one professor once a week. Each week, the three will meet and one of the students will present a paper or presentation, and the other and the professor will offer feedback. Although they’re part of what makes Williams unique, they’re most popular with humanities majors in their junior or senior year—plenty of students go through all four years without taking one.
Williams is also known for its Winter Study program and consequent 4-1-4 course schedule. Typically, students take four classes in the spring and fall and then spend the “Winter Study” period in January taking a single class pass/fail. Winter Study classes range wildly in topic and intensity, including several international offerings, but are designed to allow students to spend time studying and enjoying the campus without worrying about grades. The classes offered during winter study are academic classes with a twist—like Introduction to Animal Tracking and Cooking Moroccan Food From Couscous to Tea. Students are also welcome to conduct an independent study during this period.
Williams is also known for its lack of a credit-hour system—instead of designating different amounts of credits to courses and requiring a certain number of credits to graduate, students are required to pass 32 regular classes, and four Winter Study classes as well as complete their distributional requirements in order to graduate.
The “Division of the Day” ensures that student-athletes can thrive athletically and academically. Williams only allows classes to be scheduled from 8 am – 4:00 pm M-F and 7 pm – 9:40 pm on Monday evenings. All extracurricular activities are to be scheduled outside of these times. This generally means that, although they’re pretty quiet and respectful about it, Williams students are quick to slip out the door if a class runs overtime and student-athletes do not have to choose between academic or athletic commitments. Roughly 35% of all students participate in intercollegiate sports, with 32 varsity teams, 4 junior varsity teams, 24 club teams, and a large intramural program.
Academically, Williams fosters a collaborative rather than competitive culture. The lack of curves in most classes means that students aren’t competing against one another for high grades. Instead, you’ll often see students studying together before big exams because working together is in everyone’s best interest.
Is Williams College an Ivy League?
Although Williams College is not technically an Ivy League school, it is consistently ranked as the #1 Liberal Arts College. It has beaten Ivy League schools, such as Brown, on Forbes rankings. The “Ivy League” is technically an athletic conference consisting of eight private universities playing at the NCAA Division I level. Williams College is part of the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) and plays most sports at the NCAA Division III level. NESCAC schools are sometimes referred to as the “Little Ivies,” with Williams, Amherst, and Wesleyan called the “Little Three” (as compared to Harvard, Yale, and Princeton called the “Big Three”).
How big is Williams College? How many students does Williams have?
Williams College is about the same size as most other liberal arts colleges — around 2,000 students. The school generally aims for a student body of 2,200, with incoming class sizes of 550 students.
Is Williams College affordable?
Williams meets 100% of demonstrated needs with no loans or work-study expectations. Williams is unique in also guaranteeing free textbooks and required course materials for all students on financial aid. Additionally, Williams is need-blind for all domestic applicants. The 2022-2023 comprehensive cost is $78,800.
Does Williams College have Greek life?
No, not even a little bit. In fact, Williams College was one of the first colleges to ban fraternities, in 1962, eight years before becoming coeducational. That being said, with one-third of the students being varsity athletes, those teams, as well as certain student organizations, function similarly within the social dynamic of the college. There are over 125 student organizations on campus! 96% of students participate in at least one extracurricular activity.
Williams Admission Rates
| Data Source
| Class of 2025
| CDS 2021-2022
| Class of 2024
| CDS 2020-2021
| Class of 2023
| CDS 2019-2020
| Class of 2022
| CDS 2018-2019
| Class of 2021
| CDS 2017-2018