Social/party culture at williams and NESCAC schools

I’m looking at NESCACs and one of my concerns is the social atmosphere and culture at the schools, specifically Willaim’s which is my top choice right now. I like to have a good time and party on the weekends and I’d really like to know more about what that looks like for Willliams students. Beyond Williams, what NESCACs have the best social scene?(although I understand that’s a pretty relative question) I’m also planning on playing a varsity sport, so how does that maybe change the experience- if at all?

Middlebury is know for athletes, and i’ve heard that quidditch and hockey are fun events there. I’ve also been told that there’s a big drinking culture. Williams is also known as one of the better (if not top) of the NESCAC schools sport-wise, but I don’t know anything about their social life


Colby is known to be very social in the way I think you are describing it. I suspect that you will find a pretty vibrant party scene at most (including Bowdoin, Bates, and Hamilton.) Trinity also is known to have a lively weekend culture.


I’m in Middletown pretty frequently and one of the things I’m struck by when weekends roll around is how thinly spread out the student body is and that even though Wesleyan is one of the larger NESCACs (only Tufts, a RU with an 11,000 total enrollment is larger) there are so many competing parties, movies, plays and concerts that you almost never see the entire student body at the same gig. The closest I’ve ever come is Homecoming which literally takes place in the middle of campus. One of the other things I find relatively unique at Wesleyan are the number of people who cook for themselves. There is a grocery store run right out of one of the dormitories for the convenience of all the foodies.


Middlebury doesn’t appear on either of these two lists, however:

1 Like

Yeah- that’s why I said relative to one another. It doesn’t seem like any of these schools are specifically known for their party culture lol

There is a big drinking culture at all of the NESCACs IMO, but non-drinkers aren’t excluded. Some of the schools DO have athlete/non-athlete divides, some students would even call it tension.

With regard to the Princeton Review lists, perhaps not enough Middlebury students took the time to reply to PR’s student survey (which is what they base those lists on).


Agreeing with @Mwfan1921 here. It sounds as though the OP is looking for the sort of culture most of the NESCAC’s have but don’t necessarily like calling attention to.


Honestly, there’s a large culture of drinking to have fun on campus. Students wander campus extremely drunk and underage drinking is widespread, and students do not get in trouble for it. There’s literally nothing to do on the weekends unless your an athlete or in greek life. You won’t be excluded if you do not drink but be prepared to be taking care of your sloppy drunk friends. If you go to larger schools there are sports games, more events, and a more diverse social scene. If you just like to drink I guess you will find the NESCAC fun I guess.


@foreverrr77, few of these schools have Greek life.

OP, you might want to also take a look at Colgate, Bucknell, Lehigh, Lafayette, and Union.

1 Like

Hamilton College has greek life. These liberal arts colleges do have but it’s very exclusive and small.

1 Like

@gardenstategal : Just to be clear: Your references to Colgate, Bucknell, Lehigh, Lafayette, and Union are references to schools with heavy drinking cultures. Do I understand correctly ?

OP: Can you define what you mean by “party on the weekends” ?

Is this a reference to heavy drinking ?

Although not an LAC, Dartmouth College offers a robust drinking scene.

@Publisher , yes. OP is looking for a LAC with excellent academics and a drinking culture as an option, if I understand correctly. These fit that bill.

There are moderate amounts of drinking, at least “moderate” from a college perspective, or more correctly from a rural college in a very small town perspective.

The party culture at many NESCACs differs than that at many other colleges because most of them do not have fraternities or sororities. Amherst, Bowdoin, Williams, Colby and Middlebury, Connecticut, and Bates Colleges have all abolished them, or never had them in the first place.

Also, the Williams social scene is very open and informal in comparison to the smaller LACS and Ivies. All parties are open to the entire campus, whereas at some schools you have to be on the invite list. Also, different groups host “formals” or dance parties from a wide range of activities, including the sports teams, performing groups, etc.

1 Like

Also, here is an article from the Harvard Crimson about Williams and the campus social scene without fraternities. Harvard is considering banning fraternities as well:


i don’t know much about most of the NESCACs, but i do know that colby has a pretty lively party culture (at least it did a few years ago, I’m honestly not sure how much things have changed due to some changes made by the administration over the years). furthermore, I believe trinity has a lively party culture as well, but it is easily the most conservative NESCAC, so if that’s not your vibe, it probably wouldn’t be a good fit.

i second looking into union and colgate, though I’m uncertain if the culture at each school is more exclusive than those at the NESCACs. something to note is that many LACs in smaller/rural areas will nearly always have an available drinking scene/party culture because a lot of students don’t deviate from campus on the weekends. even ridiculously smart kids need to let loose once in a while, lmao.


Regarding some suggestions being made in this topic, note that the OP would like to play a varsity sport, for which Division I schools may not be suitable.