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I have the good (and bad) fortune to be choosing between Amherst and Williams. I recently visited both schools, spent a night in a dorm, went to classes, talked to lots of students, etc. However, I am still pretty torn as to where I should go. Basically, I would like to hear people's opinions on the two schools on anything and everything.
Because it seemed like a good idea, I made a pro/con list:
Amherst Pros: 1. The location is not quite as remote. It is easier to get to (and to get out of) and is in a town that has more than one street.
2. It has a completely open curriculum (although it seems the distribution requirements at Williams aren't all that painful to fulfill)
3. It is more diverse. Depending on who you ask, it has about 50% "white Americans", whereas Williams is 64%.
4. The five colleges surrounding it allow for a little more interaction with surrounding schools, as well as more classes and resources.
1. The entry system and the ability to get singles if you want them. It seems like the entry system does a really good job of creating bonded communities of first years.
2. It has the Oxford-style tutorials which allow for 2 on 1 interaction with a professor.
3. I may be wrong, but it seems like the alumni at Williams are more involved, and do a better job of getting jobs and internships for students. It also seems like Williams grads have better chances at getting into grad schools.
Could someone maybe comment on what Amherst's version of the entry system is? I got the feeling that there was less of a "community" feel at Amherst, especially in the freshman dorms.
I also got the feeling that Williams students seemed more passionate about their school and were overall more excited to be there, whereas Amherst students liked their school, but weren't ecstatic about it.
I also got the feeling that Amherst students were 1. More diverse and 2. slightly more intellectual/focused on academics whereas Williams students were 1. More homogeneous (well-off, white, athletic kids) and 2. Focused on academics, but also focused on having a good time and playing sports.
Lastly, could someone comment on whether the following sentiment seems true: I am from a public school with lots of well-off, white, athletic kids who lean slightly to the left politically and are driven to do well in school but also to have fun and play sports. Would it be incorrect to assume that Williams would be more of a "safe" choice because the kids are similar to my high school, whereas I might get to "broaden my horizons" at Amherst where kids are more diverse socially/economically? Because that is the feeling that I got.