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Ask any questions about Williams here!

writingpumpkin03writingpumpkin03 158 replies6 threads Junior Member
Hey, all! I'm a prefrosh who'll be attending Williams in the fall. I thought I could make a thread where Williams students and alumni could respond to any questions that prospective high school students on CC had about the College. This could be a helpful resource for an applicant who can't tour the college, and it can provide an honest perspective about the College that goes beyond marketing material. Ask away :)
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Replies to: Ask any questions about Williams here!

  • TheGreyKingTheGreyKing 2226 replies104 threadsForum Champion Williams College Forum Champion
    @johnstitt’s question can be addressed by posters through the other thread to which he provided a link, as opposed to in this thread, which can focus instead on various other questions potential applicants may have about Williams.
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  • johnstittjohnstitt 4 replies5 threads New Member
    edited June 2019
    my bad, sorry!

    Legit question: Does Williams sometimes feel too small, especially for people who came from public schools?
    edited June 2019
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  • writingpumpkin03writingpumpkin03 158 replies6 threads Junior Member
    @johnstitt I think it depends on whether or not you're looking for a small and personalized college experience. Personally, I would have been totally lost going to a bigger university, but many people appreciate the anonymity.
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  • BizbreakBizbreak 2 replies0 threads New Member
    Hi there - I am a Williams alum (class of '06) who attended from a large-ish public school in the Washington D.C. suburbs. I was a little worried both about the size of the college and the remoteness of the location. Ended up loving both. The community felt a little small by senior year, but it also felt like such a blessing to have been surrounded by such amazing people for four years. And the setting ended up being a blessing as well. When there's little else to do, people have fun with one another and build a very tight-knit community. Williams changed my life in so many ways and I will be a loyal Eph forever!
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  • oldschooldadoldschooldad 129 replies9 threads Junior Member
    How much does the school embrace the outdoors? If an applicant has a track record of wilderness experience (plus the academic qualifications, obviously), is that a good way to articulate a match with Williams? Will that resonate with Eph ethos?
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  • makemesmartmakemesmart 1753 replies14 threads Senior Member
    How do students (and visiting parents) get to and from Williams? Even though I do see the bucolic location to be a plus, getting to it, esp during the brutal winter months, seem to be a hardship. We flew to Albany then drove to Williamstown and drove to Boston, flew out when we toured Williams. Doable, but any other options?
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  • TheGreyKingTheGreyKing 2226 replies104 threadsForum Champion Williams College Forum Champion
    @makemesmart- At the students’ vacation times, even the shorter ones, there are buses that the students can take, to the airport in Albany or to Boston or to New York City. My son has taken the Williams College bus to and from Penn Station in NYC and it was very manageable.

    There is no way around it, though- Williamstown is remote, and when you choose it in part for its purple mountains majesty, you realize there is a trade-off involved in travel time, particularly if you are flying in from another country or region of the USA as opposed to having a four or five hour drive from somewhere on the east coast. Lots of students come from other parts of the USA or other nations, however, so there will be a number of other students adjusting to the same challenges with you.

    @oldschooldad - All extracurricular activities will help develop the school’s picture of your child’s commitment and accomplishments. I would not say there is any evidence that some are more favored than others. However, you may be right that an enjoyment of the outdoors is a good match for Williams in that someone who enjoys the outdoors may prefer Williams over some of the nearer-a-city alternatives like Swarthmore or Haverford that rural-averse applicants may prefer. Once accepted, your child might enjoy the Outing Club, the WOOLF orientation program option for entering freshmen, Mountain Day, Friday morning sunrise hikes, environmental science classes that take advantage of the location, skiing or snowboarding or hiking options in PE classes, etc.
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  • writingpumpkin03writingpumpkin03 158 replies6 threads Junior Member
    @oldschooldad The school is very outdoorsy, and I think that an applicant who loves the outdoors would fit in well there. However, I'm only a student, so I don't know what that might mean for admissions. At the very least, it can't hurt :)
    @makemesmart I live a driving distance away from the college and my parents are used to New England winters, so it hasn't been an issue for me. It seems like most people fly into Albany and take a bus/shuttle to Williamstown.
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  • one1ofeachone1ofeach 797 replies17 threads Member
    Regarding censuring of free speech/civil discourse on campus: I attended williams in the dark ages and go back often for homecoming. I have friends who are much older alums and recently we got to talking about the reactionary censuring of speakers and different, ie non ultra liberal, opinions on campus. I’ve always dreamed of my kids applying here but this has me worried. I started reading the williams record and was upset to see that there seems to be a lot of student outrage and protest over inane things. This whole mentality of calling for profs to resign for saying boo is troubling to me.

    I am quite liberal but I firmly believe that people should be allowed to make mistakes, that people should be allowed to invite speakers of conservative mindset to campus, that professors should be allowed to read literature as its written because the words are the point and the impact is important.

    Any current students have a sense of how extreme the limiting of non liberal speech is? How much has the extreme sjw mindset taken over?
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  • TheGreyKingTheGreyKing 2226 replies104 threadsForum Champion Williams College Forum Champion
    @one1ofeach - Parent of current student, not a student myself, but I will PM you.
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  • shuttlebusshuttlebus 503 replies1 threads Member
    one1ofeach wrote: »
    I started reading the williams record and was upset to see that there seems to be a lot of student outrage and protest over inane things. This whole mentality of calling for profs to resign for saying boo is troubling to me.

    Any current students have a sense of how extreme the limiting of non liberal speech is? How much has the extreme sjw mindset taken over?

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelpoliakoff/2019/11/21/can-storied-williams-college-be-saved-from-itself/#690fe439297a


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  • ivegraduatedmomivegraduatedmom 50 replies0 threads Junior Member
    edited November 2019
    This is a national cultural shift and is in no way special to Williams. Current sociopolitical trends make their way onto college campuses, too. To think otherwise is naive, so I do wonder at the author's agenda. If he had written about the trend in our nation's colleges and universities in general, he would have no problem convincing me.

    Wake up, folks. The world is changing around you. And this generation of young people is finally speaking up about it.
    edited November 2019
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  • nickgajnickgaj 50 replies8 threads Junior Member
    How academically rigorous is Williams? Being #1 in the country, I would think that it could be very stressful there.
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  • TheGreyKingTheGreyKing 2226 replies104 threadsForum Champion Williams College Forum Champion
    @nickgaj- Yes, it is. I sometimes think professors confuse rigor (which should be a function of cognitive complexity) with quantity... or maybe just forget the kids are taking three other classes, too!

    Williams is a place where you will work hard around-the-clock. Some weeks will be completely nuts with many papers or presentations or exams coming around the same week.

    Here’s a helpful tip: balance your classes. Try not to pick four classes heavy on reading and papers in the same semester. Sprinkle in a class or two with problem sets and exams instead of readings and papers.

    But, at both Williams and other colleges, the kids who do not succeed seem not to be the ones who are working hard. Most often, the kids who fail are the ones who get too into the party scene or otherwise fail to handle time management well. It takes a lot to get an A at Williams... but it also takes a lot to fail! Professors are very accessible, and there are support systems in place.

    If you have developed work habits and time management skills during high school, you should be fine. If you were able to excel at your high school without developing these skills, you will need to work to develop them at college.
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  • moonquismmoonquism 71 replies4 threads Junior Member
    edited December 2019
    What is the thing about the professor saying boo and students telling him to resign like what happened @ the post from higher up
    edited December 2019
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  • TheGreyKingTheGreyKing 2226 replies104 threadsForum Champion Williams College Forum Champion
    edited December 2019
    @moonquism-

    Here is the article that was mentioned in the post to which you allude. You can read it for yourself:

    https://williamsrecord.com/2019/11/students-call-for-boycott-of-english-department/

    An article in the next week’s paper said that the English department stated that registration numbers remained about the same as last year’s. So it is not a very widespread boycott.

    As at most colleges, you will find a variety of views and of degrees of activism. You will have a few students who protest, and others like this one quoted in the article:
    “I didn’t feel offended,” one student said. “The professor didn’t sound racist; actually, he was trying to explain what the word meant in the context of the reading.”
    edited December 2019
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  • participant03participant03 4 replies0 threads New Member
    Is it still fun? How is the party scene?
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  • TheGreyKingTheGreyKing 2226 replies104 threadsForum Champion Williams College Forum Champion
    edited December 2019
    @participant03 - Maybe @writingpumpkin03 can answer better as a student.

    But my understanding is that a variety of social choices are available. On Saturday nights you can find everything from kids studying, to small gatherings playing board games or otherwise hanging out, to groups going to shows or similar entertainment, to small “pregame” parties, to crowded parties on Hoxsey Street where there will be people doing kegstands.

    So, you probably will be able to find the kind of fun you want, whatever that is. (Except there are no fraternities/ sororities.)

    The workload is heavy. But most people make time to participate in extracurricular activities (clubs, service activities, sports, performing groups) and/or social events of one form or another.
    edited December 2019
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  • participant03participant03 4 replies0 threads New Member
    so helpful thank you!!
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