Williams vs. CMC vs. Pitzer

Hello everyone! I hope you are all doing well. I have been incredibly fortunate to have been accepted to these schools, and I am honestly struggling to decide where to go.

For Williams, this is the first school I was accepted to. They are very selective regarding transfers, especially, and everyone has been so lovely, kind, and incredibly helpful. Everyone there goes above and beyond, and I would love to be in an environment that would push me to be a better version of myself (Sometimes I get thoughts about not being good enough, then I remember how capable I am). However, I am very nervous about how rigorous it is and how it will reflect my GPA. I’ve spoken to students, and they told me about how there’s no grade inflation at Williams, which is not an issue, but I’m worried that I will work hard and not be able to apply to MD/PhD programs because of the possibility of a lower GPA . Also, coming from California, I am afraid of the cold weather. I was also born in the desert, no joke. So the cold is also playing a part in this decision.

For Pitzer and CMC, I am so excited about these schools but honestly haven’t interacted with the students and faculty. Pomona was my dream school, which I was rejected from, so I feel that I would get the best of both worlds at both schools. I am leaning more towards CMC, but overall, they are both fantastic choices that would allow me to stay close to home but far away enough to grow. I am concerned that I won’t get as much institutional support compared to Williams, which completely amazed me by how much they care about me. But maybe, I wouldn’t need as much support.

Overall, they are all great choices. If grades mainly didn’t scare me as much (the cold is a minor part), I would commit to Williams. However, I am more comfortable with CMC and Pitzer, and there is more risk with Williams. I hope to make an informed and wise decision, especially because my parents have done so much for me to be in this position. Thank you so much, everyone!

Here is an article about grade inflation at Williams:

which has a link to this document showing GPA for each level of course in each subject for 2019:

In general, college students will say that their own college “does not have grade inflation”, whether or not that is actually true. Indeed, most colleges have grade inflation, but some may have more grade inflation than others.


You mentioned your longer term aspirations. In the nearer term, what interests you academically? What would you like to concentrate in as an undergraduate?

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Thank you for your message! I am looking forward to majoring in Biology. Along with studying Biology, I am also excited to continue my leadership and advocacy work where I end up at. :relaxed:

It appears that at your Claremont options you would be taking many of your science classes at Keck? For these courses, CMC and Pitzer may overlap, which underlies their similarity for the study of biology.

To contrast these colleges, CMC’s general orientation leans toward the study of economics and government; at Pitzer, psychology, sociology, anthropology and environmental studies (note the campus xeriscaping) represent well-developed majors.

You may want to consider choosing between these schools based on the extent to which they match your broader academic interests.

Williams merits additional discussion.


Thank you so much for the thoughtful response! Yes, I would be taking a lot of these classes at Keck.

I also had a huge focus on government in my CMC essays and Pitzer to a certain degree. But, at this point in my education, academic interests aren’t a major factor, to be honest.

I am concerned about other factors and hope to make a decision soon. Thank you so much for your help; I appreciate you!

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With respect to the climate at Williams, your imagination may be influenced by your limited experience. You would encounter true northeastern winters in Williamstown in the general range of a four-season, temperate climate. March through early spring might represent the least appealing time, actually, weeks during which mud may predominate.

Academically, Williams places among the top schools in the country, and enrolls some of the most capable students. However, its high percentage of varsity athletes may diffuse its academic intensity relative to some similarly regarded colleges. Based on what you have written, you would appreciate its classroom environment: Best Colleges for Classroom Experience | The Princeton Review.


You are absolutely right. I also lived in Europe for a while but never experienced the winter; my experience is definitely limited.

Williams is so incredible, and its institutional support is almost unparalleled. I am honestly just very scared as it is so different than what I know.

Thank you so much for your thoughtful and informative messages, merc81!

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@Jane31,I can understand that Williams may be outside of your perceived comfort zone, but I think you are exaggerating its scariness. I don’t know your educational background, but I can tell you categorically that Williams wouldn’t have accepted you unless they felt you could do the work and be an asset to their campus community.

It’s in everyone’s (yours and Williams’) best interest for you to succeed and to that end the college offers multiple support systems to help you along the way to graduation and to achieve whatever you choose to do post-Williams.

Both the academic and social environments are nurturing and friendly so there’s no reason to doubt that that “lovely, kind, and incredibly helpful” support won’t continue once you are a student. Your professors will know you personally and care about you in the classroom during your time at Williams and afterwards in recommendations and advice. I always say Williams is the gift that keeps on giving. :slight_smile:

Williams students fare well in MD/PHD acceptances. The college provides generous graduate and professional school advising early on in the cycle. Again, I would suggest that you reach out to one of the advisors in your field of interest for specifics.

Williamstown does get a long, snowy winter, but it’s also a profoundly beautiful mountain village setting and as long as you dress properly you’ll most likely come to enjoy the snow. I’d suggest that you contact current Williams students for recommendations as to what exactly proper Williams winter apparel would entail.


Dear momrath, I appreciate your response, and your comment about my perceived comfort zone is spot on! Absolutely, I am exaggerating its scariness, and I have been actively trying to understand why. Also, unfortunately, after receiving my Williams acceptance, I start feeling like an imposter every time I think about it. It felt like such an unrealistic dream for me since starting college, and now, I can’t believe I got this lucky.

I spent a few days digesting these comments and am leaning towards Williams. Though CMC and Pitzer are two hours away from home, and I am much more comfortable with the idea of going there, I feel that the opportunities at Williams are unparalleled, and their academics would transform me.

I genuinely hope to expand on my love for learning, thrive, and get good grades at Williams!

Thank you very much, momrath!


Your feelings of being an impostor exist in your head and you can fight those feelings! Williams chose you because they are confident you can succeed there.

I am sure that you have heard this before: admissions officers at competitive colleges often say that many students they reject could have done just as well there had they been able to be admitted.

You made it! Above all those others who also could have done well at Williams. Feel proud. Feel confident. Feel ready.

Yes, you will have to work hard. So will everyone there, not just you. You are their equal.

Reject Williams based on the cold, the rural location, the size of the student body, the social justice warriors, the distance from home… anything like that is a legitimate reason to reject it.

But fear of your own inadequacy? No. You will regret that choice.

Never dream small. Dream big.

Good luck!


Williams is where your heart wants to go - go for it! Agree - dream big!

Which school did you choose, @Jane31?