Chance me: Williams College as an ED Applicant

I would like to double major in mathematics and philosophy. I live in Illinois and am a white female. I know that my chances at Williams are slim but I’m under the impression that it can’t hurt to apply ED. I believe their RD is ~12 percent and their ED is ~33 percent. Any feedback is greatly appreciated!

My grades

-Freshman Year-

ap human geography (B,A)

honors written&oral communication (B,A)

honors biology (B,B)

acting (A,A)

spanish 2(B,B)

-Sophomore Year-

ap seminar (A,A)

honors algebra 2 (C, A)

honors chemistry (B,A)

ap world history (B,A)

honors spanish 3 (B,B)

-Junior Year-

ap lang (B,B)

honors precalc (A,A)

ap physics (B,C)

ap us history (B,A)

ap psychology (A,A)

college spanish (A,B) (dual credit)

personal finance (A)

-Senior Year-

humanities (N/A) [Semester Course]

college composition (dual credit) (N/A) [Semester Course]

philosophical literature (N/A) [Semester Course]

humanities (N/A) [Semester Course]

college statistics (dual credit) (N/A) [Semester Course]

college algebra (dual credit) (N/A) [Semester Course]

ap environmental science (N/A)

ap economics (micro and macro) (N/A)

ap spanish (N/A)

Weighted GPA: 4.06

Unweighted GPA: 3.42

-community college classes-

summer 2021

  • Intro to Anthropology at Harper College

  • History Since 1877 at Oakton Community College

fall 2021

  • Calc 1 at the University of Pittsburgh
  • Intro to International Relations at UIUC

  • Intro to Sociology at Oakton Community College

  • Logic (Philosophy Course) at Oakton Community College

  • Microbe and Society at Oakton Community College

spring 2021

  • Calc 2 (UIUC through NetMath)
  • Ethics (philosophy course) at Oakton Community College
  • Social Problems (sociology course) at Oakton Community College

-Main EC-

Science Olympiad 4 years - 3rd in the state (2021)

Presented a case study at the Harvard Global Health and Leadership conference at Harvard University freshman year

Attended the Harvard Global Health and Leadership conference sophomore year and competed in the community pitch competition (Virtual due to covid)

Attended the Harvard Global Health and Leadership conference (Virtual)

Presented a paper sophomore year at the International Youth Research Conference in Tokyo, Japan

Leader of the community outreach program at my school (Junior Year)

I also tutor outside of school

My main extracurricular would be my work. I work as a receptionist at a country club and watch kids while their parents have dinner.

As you can see from my grades it’s been a “bumpy ride”. I have been working almost full-time throughout high school and more than full-time during the summers. I received a C in honors algebra 2 and Ap Physics but after that, I really got my act together regarding mathematics and have become better some might even dare to say good. I am planning to use the improvement approach regarding my grades however since I received a C in physics after I already received one in Algebra 2 I’m not sure how effective that would be. I went from having a C first semester to an A second semester. I really fell behind regarding my mathematics skills in middle school (algebra 1) and never really tried in my math classes because I usually was able to scrape by with a B until sophomore year. Second semester sophomore year is when covid hit. I used the freed-up time to try and reteach myself the mathematical skills I was lacking. I went from having a C first semester to an A second semester. While reteaching myself math it sparked a passion and I realized that this is what I wanted to study in the future. I loved the analytical side of the process and how there are multiple ways to achieve the same result. My school doesn’t offer many philosophy courses so I have opted to take them at a community college near me. As I stated earlier I understand that my chances are slim given my uw gpa, however, I was curious to see if my extracurricular activities and extra courses I’ve taken could help my application. I’ve also had some familial problems throughout high school but I’m not sure if/how I would incorporate that into my application.

While you will be an interesting applicant, Wiiliams generally looks for consistently high academic performance in nearly all of the students it accepts. For this reason, you may want to consider colleges that are at least somewhat less selective. Based on your interest in philosophy, a few of these schools may be worth researching: Best Colleges for Philosophy.


Williams is probably out of reach for you with an uw3.4 GPA, is there another school that you might use your ED chit on? Is Williams affordable per their Net Price Calculator? (run NPCs of all schools on your list)

Part of the difference between the ED and RD acceptance rates at Williams, and other schools like it, is that legacies, Posse, Questbridge, and recruited athletes typically apply in the ED round. There is still an ED bump for unhooked candidates at many schools, but not nearly as much as it looks on first blush.

Make sure that you put your jobs and work hours in your activities section of your common app…don’t shortchange yourself, consider splitting the jobs out between commitment during the school year, and the summer. If you are working full time during the school year, it’s uncommon, and although it won’t make up for the 3.4, it is still relevant. You might also ask your HS GC to address that in their LoR.

What other schools are on your list? Do you have at least one affordable safety? UIUC is good for philosophy, I would also add Pitt. Posters can make some more suggestions if you give us more parameters, and budget.


Hello! Thank you for your response! I was thinking the same as you. I think my gpa is too low for Williams. I wasn’t sure if/how much of my other activities could help me in the admissions process. I have other schools on my list (many match/safties) but I was between applying ED to Williams College and Barnard College as my reach schools just to see if I could potentially get in.

Hello! Thank you for your response! I was thinking the same as you regarding my gpa. I also think that it is too low for Williams. I wasn’t sure if/how much of my activities could help me in the admissions process. I was between applying ED to Williams College and Barnard College as my reach schools just to see if I could potentially get in. The schools on my list are Fordham University, Indiana University, NYU, UIUC, UWashington, College of Williams and Mary, UIC, Loyola University, and DePaul University. UIUC is one of my top choices because they would accept all of my transfer credit and I would be able to graduate early.

Williams is the only LAC on your list…are there others you find appealing?

I don’t understand why you work nearly full time during the school year, is it to help with household expenses? You mentioned having some family problems as well…I would talk to your HS GC about addressing that in their LoR.

What is your budget for college? Is UIUC affordable? Do you qualify for Illinois Commitment, or Illinois Promise?

What are your AP scores?

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I do find other LAC appealing such as Colby College, Bates College, and Bowdoin College. I worked near full time during high school because my parents thought It was important for me to have a good work ethic regarding “real world” experiences. The hours I worked also differed by week some weeks I’d work 20ish hours and some I’d work 40ish hours. I was able to keep my grades decent while doing that as well so there was never a need to lower the hours I worked. The two classes I received a C in likely would have been C’s regardless of whether I was working or not. I received a 4 on four AP exams and a 3 on three AP exams. I don’t necessarily have a budget for college but preferably under 35k. UIUC would be affordable and I do not qualify for the Illinois Commitment or Illinois Promise.

Williams or Barnard? Those are very different schools. One urban in a large city and women, one rural in a teeny town and coed.

What are you looking for? Most of the colleges on your list are in major metro areas with Williams being the odd man out.

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Truthfully, I don’t have a preference in whether I attend a school that’s in a large city or rural town. I also don’t have a preference if the college I’d attend is coed or all female. I think I could benefit from a school that is in a rural town because I think I would then focus more on academics. I’m not big on partying or going out frequently either so I don’t think that would be a factor.

I don’t think your options are affordable if you’re looking at $35,000 if that includes housing.

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Hello! All the schools I’ve listed were affordable when I was checking their NPC. Even if some go over $35,000 that’s not a deal breaker for me.

Then maybe you want to rethink the list you posted above which is mostly urban schools.

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As far as focusing on studies, Barnard wouldn’t be any more distractive than any other schools. In theory you could limit yourself to the all-female dorm and the University campus.

But that would neither be necessary nor healthy. The nice thing about NYC is that there are so many offerings, parks, arts, music, theatre, dance, zoos, aquarium, — even the beach or the Appalachian Trail,… that you can time-budget without worrying about hangovers.

No matter how committed a student you are, you will need to allow the occasional afternoon to wind down and recharge.

Do you have any test scores? Are you applying test optional?
How much can your parents afford to pay each year?

Based on what you wrote above, I think that both Barnard and Williams will probably be out of reach.

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OP says they checked the net price calculators and the numbers look good. So they can keep these in their plans. There are many times where private schools can be less than instate options or close to the same amount.

The sticker price is not what many pay.

At Barnard over 40% receive aid and the need based scholarships average $56,000 per year

At Williams around 50% received need based scholarships averaging about $54,000.

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