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Pros and Cons of Williams?

topp25topp25 5 replies10 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
What are the best part of Williams? What are the worst?
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Replies to: Pros and Cons of Williams?

  • PublisherPublisher 7740 replies80 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited August 11
    I find it a bit disturbing that such a wealthy school would have "run-down parts of campus" as noted in the pst above.

    Any concern regarding lack of name recognition is misguided as employers and grad schools are well aware of Williams College's stellar academic reputation.
    edited August 11
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  • writingpumpkin03writingpumpkin03 156 replies6 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I haven’t seen any areas of the campus that I would describe as “run-down”. There are definitely old and outdated buildings, for sure, but nothing is “run-down” in the sense that it is badly maintained. In fact, I’ve always had the impression that the college spends quite a lot on facilities and landscaping—probably more than is necessary, to be honest.

    I agree that prospective students shouldn’t get the wrong impression regarding name recognition.
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  • EphmanEphman 456 replies4 threadsRegistered User Member
    I think the GreyKing's points were mostly fair, but I disagree vehemently with the "run down" facilities comment. I don't think any school in the liberal arts category can top Williams in terms of facilities, and most are far behind. In fact, the critiques I've heard are that Williams has poured too MUCH money into construction over the past few decades. The difference between the campus now vs. what it was even 20 years ago is truly dramatic.

    Consider: the student center (including the main dining halls), a second, smaller student life building, the theater and dance complex, the campus library, the two main humanities buildings, and the football / track / lacrosse complex are all very new, absolutely state-of-the-art facilities. The studio art building is also spectacular and still relatively new. I don't think any liberal arts school offers a better student center, set of dining halls, library, or theater complex in particular, and that covers where students spend the bulk of their free time outside of their dorm rooms. Williams is in the process of finishing a massive 200 million dollar science complex, which along with Amherst's impressive new facility will now be the state of the art for liberal arts colleges. Williams also just built two brand new upperclassmen dorms and regularly updates all of its dorms. Those dorms towards the end of their life-cycle will soon receive gut rehabs ... college dorms take a beating, but Williams is pretty on top of major rehabs for every dorms on pretty regular schedules. Some of the indoor athletic facilities could use some upgrades, but Williams did just pour a few million into improving the field house (which was the worst of them) this summer. Williams also just completed a brand new Williams Inn and is in the planning stages for a new art museum.

    When I highlight the best things about Williams, I like to point out what distinguishes it from its main peers (Amherst, Swarthmore, Bowdoin, Middlebury, Pomona), all of which offer tremendous undergrad educations, small class sizes, great reputation, and so on. Williams' unique attributes to me are:
    - Tutorials
    - Winter Study
    -a lot of great, quirky, really cool institutional traditions (some relatively new and some very old) including Mountain Day (in particular), Williams Trivia, the WALLS program, and watch dropping at graduation
    - Williams-Oxford
    - the entry and JA system
    - close proximity to world class museums (which feature not just art but a lot of great events) in a rural environment (the Clark and MassMOCA, and coming in about two years, EMRCA, plus likely even more forthcoming)
    - and of course, the mountain setting cannot be emphasized enough!
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  • bresdobresdo 22 replies1 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I think the only thing run down is the athletic facilities...for a school that has basically won every Lear Cup since it started the locker rooms, weight rooms, etc and all out dated. Compared to all the other NESCAC school Williams is far behind.
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  • circuitridercircuitrider 3367 replies168 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I think the days when even the wealthiest LAC could just dip into its endowment and solve all their deferred maintenance problems with one fell swoop are long gone. Old New England campuses are like museums devoted to the history of American architecture and like any museum, the constant curating and upkeep can be expensive. Most of Williams' peers sort projects according to priorities - student safety being #1 - and assign routine things like fresh paint or new carpeting, to specific rotational schedules. Bottom line: Leave the endowment for more important probems like maintaining need-blind admissions (which I suspect takes up much of its functioning), and be aware that just because something looks "run down" doesn't mean it's being neglected.
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