Help, Pomona or Williams for history

I was recently accepted to Pomona and Williams. I want to study history and was wondering if anyone had advice or experience with the history departments at either schools. I prefer Pomona overall (I think it’s more my vibe) but Williams’ history department is also great. Thank you in advance! I’m also interested in getting a PhD, going to law school, or becoming a journalist (context might be helpful). :slight_smile:

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I would worry less about the actual History department and more about the rest of the college experience. They are very different places. FYI, you don’t want a PhD in History.

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@probablywriting Congratulations on your acceptances. My D didn’t apply to Pomona, but I understand why it’s such a tough choice. I noticed on the Welcome to Williams page that you will be able to connect virtually with faculty and sit in on classes. " “Virtual Class Visits & Faculty Office Hours: Faculty are eager for you to observe their classes and connect with them during office hours. Check back soon for times and links.”

Thanks for the advice! I’m still weighing my options right now. A PhD may or may not be in the picture. My plan is to probably graduate, work for a year or two, and then decide if grad school is really something i need to achieve my goals.

As opinion, you could equal Williams for the study of history, perhaps at some Ivies and other NESCACs, but I don’t think you could surpass it.

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Congratulations - both are outstanding schools. I agree with the prior poster. I would not get caught up on the specifics re the history departments - they are both excellent. Both schools have beautiful campuses, but in very different environments. I really recommend talking to students at both schools before deciding.

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If you prefer Pomona overall, then go there. I would not choose by a department, unless you have a highly specific interest where there is a star professor at one school or the other. Pick the environment where you will thrive overall. College is a multi-faceted experience.

That said, the history department at Williams is truly outstanding— good course options and fantastic professors who are brilliant, knowledgeable, experienced in their field, and personable. Classes are small and discussion oriented, and the two-person tutorial system (in which only two students are in the class, and each week one writes a paper and the other critiques it, switching roles the next week) further enhances learning. Students attending Williams will become excellent at thinking, writing, and supporting a stance through discussion and debate.

You will be well-prepared for a history PhD, law, or journalism grad program, but you can spend four years just loving the opportunity to explore broadly in the liberal arts for the sake of learning as an end in and of itself.

Williams has a Law Society with a Mock Trial Team as well as Moot Court. And after the challenge of Williams courses, the LSAT is easy!

For journalism, The Williams Record is an excellent campus newspaper and very competent, fair, and balanced, with good journalistic standards.


Current Williams students who volunteered to contact admitted students were given emails today. If you receive an email, take advantage of that opportunity to ask questions that a current student can help answer for you.

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@probablywriting - Which college did you choose?