Do you ever feel isolated at William's because of the location?

Yeah thanks guys and I live on Long Island right now and my town is on the water so this is going to be a very big change being up in the mountains far from the water. I really liked it when I visited so I think I will like it there and I am just second-guessing myself because it was a pretty big decision.

Think about it. Why did you apply? If you are seriously rethinking it, then I think a visit is in order if possible. I applied to Williams many decades ago and was accepted but decided not to attend (due to its location). That area in the Winter is really isolated even with 2,000 other people in the community. It’s likely to be fine. But think about it. You want to give yourself the best options. There really isn’t much there at all in the Winter. The other three seasons are fine. Mainly, I think the lack of a proper town is the downside. People who have gone there seem to have a great alumni connection, however.
Are all of your other options now closed? I think it’s natural to be thinking about it. But most importantly, ask yourself if you are afraid you talked yourself into it and have now determined that you won’t be comfortable there.

Well I applied ED because I thought it would be the best school I would ever have a chance of getting into and I didn’t want to lose the opportunity, so when I decided to apply ED the coach used one of his slots for me. That means I can’t change my mind now. But like I honestly don’t even know what a liberal arts school is and when I was looking at schools that I was initially going to apply to they were all regular size universities.
The whole thing sort of just fell onto my lap because my parents don’t understand the college or recruiting process at all so they couldn’t help me (like in August my dad asked me if I got into all my schools yet, when I hadn’t even applied to any). Well Williams sent a generic mail thing to my coach directed for me, and then I sent a recruiting questionnaire, and after a few emails back and forth with the coach they asked me to come to the recruiting weekend visit, then I told the coach I wanted to go and that was it.
So yeah I decided to go there because it seemed relatively enjoyable when I was there and I didn’t think I would get into any other good schools.

The reason I am having second thoughts is because it was the only school I visited so I don’t have anything else to compare it to

You have made the best decision you could with what you had to work with, @moonquism - and frankly, that is the very best that you (or anybody) can ever do. And in this, as in every big decision you will ever make throughout your life, once you have made it you set your face to it and really commit to making it be as successful as possible.

If in time, with more or different information, it turns out that you want to make a different choice, you assess your options at that point.

In the meantime, Williams is a great school and there will be no shortage of opportunities for you to make your college experience be full of challenges and adventures. Onward!

OP: In post #4, you list 11 other schools to which you would have applied if you had not been accepted ED to Williams College. Those eleven schools (RPI, Univ. of Florida, Penn State, Emory, Chicago, Cornell, Columbia, Tufts, Vanderbilt, Johns Hopkins & NYU) are substantially different than Williams College in almost every way other than regarding academic excellence.

Colleges similiar to Williams College are Dartmouth College in New Hampshire & Middlebury College in Vermont & Bowdoin College in Maine.

I agree with post #8 above that Winter at Williams College is likely to reveal whether (weather) or not your fears are justified.

Here’s what I would suggest. Since it’s not really possible to change ED decisions, go to Williams. When you get there you will be on the track team so that will be an instant group of people you’ll know. Learn to love a winter sport or activity. And if you are not happy there then transfer. The only issue, I’d have if you were my kid would be that FA aid and track opps are really different as a transfer. (Someone with recruiting athletes for transfer will probably know more about how it works).
You can also speak to your guidance counselor. This must happen from time to time. The issue is, coaches talk and it’s likely your acceptance was already posted on social media. So how can anything be changed? I don’t know. It’s a good reason that ED isn’t a good choice for kids but it helps the colleges lock in their choices.
The location might not be optimal but then again every school has positive and negative aspects. You will get a great education and many students would love to have that opportunity. Four years will fly by. Stay positive and think of the positive aspects. Many students make college decisions based on $$, parental aspects and even their own health So choices aren’t usually their first choice. This was, and you changed your mind but you must have liked something about the school. Think of those positive attributes and move forward.

OP’s current location on Long Island within 30 minutes of Stony Brook University is very similar to mine.

The winters will not be a shock to OP, as New York has winters with cold and snow also. It can be a drop colder in winter in the more inland/higher elevation location of Williamstown, and sometimes when there is a cold rain on L.I., there may be snow in Williamstown. But it snows in NY, too. As a New Yorker, OP won’t experience anything “new” in the weather in the Berkshires!

Plus, starting sophomore year, during Winter Study, you could study abroad or do internships in another location if you want to escape to somewhere warmer.

I also think that OP, as a Long Islander in either Suffolk County or easternmost Nassau County, will not find Williams too “isolated.” Traveling off Long Island is difficult and time-consuming due to high traffic congestion, and what’s on L.I.? Beaches and small wooded parks instead of mountains for outdoor fun, and lots of stores. How important is the absence of strip malls and big box stores to one’s sense of physical isolation? The more charming aspects of Long Island (besides beaches), like colonial villages and historical interest and local theatre productions and art museums and a planetarium, have equivalents on campus and locally at Williams.

It would be hard to live on Long Island without a car. It is actually easier to catch public transportation to stores from the Williams campus than it is from many homes on Long Island, where there may be no bus stop within a mile or more. There is a local bus that stops on the Williams campus.

OP, hopefully my earlier post will be reassuring, as will the posts by other posters.

Your decision is made, so get ready for a great four years! From your personal story, it sounds like you had an experience akin to winning the lottery! How wonderful that the outreach to your coach led to your being able to experience one of the best undergraduate educations in America! From here, it is up to you. Go into college with an enthusiastic attitude and embrace the wealth of opportunities available to you. Enjoy!


Quoting @TheGreyKing purely for emphasis!

@TheGreyKing Williamstown is NOTHING like LI. LOL. Not even the weather is similar. As my spouse often reminds me. The Winter is much longer and snowier, colder by far ( not close to the ocean so damper and far more snow), and there is really no comparison except they are both on the East Coast. Comparing the two is strange. The absence of stores (not only box stores but any stores) means you have to travel far to get things. If you ever lived in a rural area ( like the Berkshires) you would know that buying something can often mean driving 1/2-hour to the appropriate store. People who live in rural areas, learn to shop at farm stands and are kinder to their neighbors. They get used to driving a long way. They live differently. It’s real. It’s not a suburb of a big city. Never will be.
OP, Williams is a great school and you are lucky to go there. That being said, you will get used to a different pace. I’ve lived out there and you do learn to love the snow ( and Amazon Prime). You will find that it’s a different pace. Going to any college is a big change unless you live at home.

I mean my dad is from Oley PA which is in the middle of nowhere and I really like it there and visit once a month so maybe I will like Williamstown too

OP. I went to Williams and while the winter is long I suppose, I grew up in New England so it wasn’t a shock for me, there is plenty to do. Firstly we (my entry) went to every home basketball game. The gym would be absolutely packed and school spirit ran high, especially for boys games. There are plenty of parties. Teams workout together at the gym off season. It’s pretty fun to be surrounded by your teammates as they cheer you on while lifting or doing a push up contest. Snow can be fun! There are tons of skiing opportunities discounted for college students in the area. Williamstown is as cute as a button. So much nicer than when I attended for sure.

I think this is a great opportunity for you, especially coming from a family that as you stated has no idea what’s going on with college admissions. You are also going to have an amazing alumni network to help you out. My husband got his very good job through an alum and he is currently creating an internship for a kid who contacted him through the alumni office.

There are plenty of kids who come from really far away and thrive at Williams. At least you have seen snow! There are going to be kids there who have literally never seen snow and never owned a winter coat or a pair of boots.

It is a scary big decision, I remember not wanting to stay when my mom dropped me off, but it was a great 4 years.

@one1ofeach 's post above is interesting because it captures some significant differences which may reflect on whether one is suited for a small, rural LAC or not.

Personally, I would hate to have teammates or any one else cheering me on while weightlifting or otherwise working out. And during my time at a small (about 2,300 student) rural NE LAC, I did not enjoy seeing the same faces day after day. And I had very little interest in getting to know my professors on any basis other than a professional basis.

My point is that you need to know yourself & know what is important to you. The good news is that you will find out during your first year at Williams College.

I attended a small, rural, cold weather LAC for undergrad & a large, public university for law school. I really enjoyed having different groups of friends & acquaintences based on different interests & activities at the large university. And I cherished the freedom to enjoy anonimity and alone time when I wanted.

As described by @one1ofeach in an above post, I think of high school, not college or a university.

The point remains: To each his own. You will be forced to understand your likes & dislikes much better when confined to a small, rural, isolated, cold weather environment. It might be heaven on earth for you or it might not be your cup of tea.

Again, it would be interesting to read of your impressions throughout your first year of college at Williams. I hope that you keep us updated.

P.S. I realize that you are not me and that this thread is about you. I offer my preferences as an alternate viewpoint.

Isolation is a real issue worthy of consideration when thinking about attending a small, rural, cold weather school. Some find it cozy & welcoming, while others may find it too confining & suffocating.

What concerned me, not my DS20, are two things. 1) traveling to and from Williams, the nearest airport, Albany, 50+mins drive away, the scenery could be nice, the road itself is pretty poorly maintained in the NY state side, and there is no direct flight from our city to Albany; and 2) the frigid long winter.
I might have been spoiled by beautiful campuses in many other places, I am not extremely impressed with that of Williams.
But you do have the opportunity to get first-class education, from what we have learned, which is why it is still on DS’ list and he would be happily going if he gets in.

What is a DS20

@moonquism – DS and DD means “dear son” and “dear daughter” in College Confidential slang. It’s a parent writing about their child. The number is the graduating class. So DS20 is their son who will graduate in 2020. In this case, it appears it’s the high school graduating date. Most parents use it to denote their child’s college graduating date.

Okay, well… there is this:

In this major northeastern snowstorm today, a lot of people have not yet made it back to Williams from Thanksgiving break.

We just got a message from a dean that the road from Albany is closed. The college is offering to arrange with Albany hotels to put up students for the night, and also offering to arrange a rescue if there is anyone stranded in a car. Credit to the college, though, for taking good care of the kids!

I heard 3 of the motor coaches bringing kids back to campus from major transportation hubs got stuck on the way to campus and had to be rescued. Everyone is okay, though.

Some classes are missing a lot of students who did not make it back to campus yet.

The dean’s email reassured kids not to worry about missing class if they are not on campus yet and that all professors will understand.

This storm is affecting a lot of travel, not just travel to Williamstown. But certainly being in a more isolated rural location adds to the challenge! I’m sure there are a few people stuck in an airport wondering why they did not choose somewhere warm like Pomona or Stanford!

Of course, a day like this is rare. And when the sun comes out, I am sure the glistening snow will be gorgeous!

@TheGreyKing , this post is why our family is a little freaked out by our son’s extreme interest in Williams! We are from the deep south and my only worry about his school choices are the weather. I know that might sound like a silly worry to some, but the cold and dark winters can put a whammy on a person’s head.

I know there are some people greatly affected by winter but I also think that winter in NE is somewhat exaggerated. It is not dark and gloomy for months and months. Yes, it’s cold. But take this winter as an example. So far my kid has zipped her coat all of one time to my knowledge.

It’s likely there will be a few delays from winter storms but maybe one a year at most. In the grand scheme of things it’s not that big a deal. When I was there I took friends home (I was driving distance) or picked them up in Albany when necessary.

The quality of education there is truly outstanding as is the alumni network.

While weather is certainly a consideration when making an initial college list, I don’t think you need to worry if williams is already a school your kid is really into or been accepted to. The weather just isn’t so extreme as to cause a hardship for kids.

I hear you about your worries about cold weather at Williams! But travel woes like in the bad storm this past Thanksgiving are rare, since they require a big snowfall on a travel date. It does not always snow, just sometimes. When it snows when you already are on campus, you do not need to drive anywhere— you just walk across campus, on the shoveled sidewalks.

As long as your kid does not particularly hate the cold, he will be okay. But I guess the cold can be an adjustment for people from warmer areas. I remember that, on our tour of Amherst, when the tour guide was telling the group how many clubs there are, he said, “There’s even a Cold Club for kids from warm places adjusting to winter in New England!”

The kids at Williams enjoy being there for the first time going out into the snow for their friends from warmer climates! Snow can be so magical!

Cold is manageable with warm attire, and dorms are cozy enough. Just put on a Christmas carol like “Winter Wonderland” or “Sleigh Ride” or “Jingle Bells” or “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” to remind yourself that people can even grow to love winter!

I don’t love the longer nights/dark and the bundling up during winter, even though I have lived in the northeastern USA all my life. But I would totally miss the beauty of the winter snow and the autumn leaves and the new bloom of spring if I ever moved to a place without those seasons. Every place has its charms and its drawbacks.

And, after freshman year at Williams, you can even escape to study abroad in a warmer location during Winter Study, through a travel course, internship, or independent study, thus missing January, the coldest month in Williamstown.