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Could you help me answer some questions about Williams?

Diaz42Diaz42 62 replies3 threads Junior Member
edited September 15 in Williams College
Hi everyone, I'm a rising senior and had a few questions about Williams and were wondering if you could answer them. Thanks in advance.

What are the tutorials at Williams like? Are they in all classes?
What other colleges have the tutorials?
Is Williams strong in my areas of interest (physics, history, geology, linguistics)?
Is Williams' social scene dominated by drinking (I'm a kid who prefers to just hang out with friends)
What colleges are similar to Williams but less selective?
How does Williams help student on the engineering track?
What other colleges offer winter study? Is winter study beneficial?
Has anyone ever got shut out of a class?
edited September 15
27 replies
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Replies to: Could you help me answer some questions about Williams?

  • Diaz42Diaz42 62 replies3 threads Junior Member
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  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 6244 replies97 threads Senior Member
    edited May 28
    Williams is very strong in physics, not sure about the rest but I assume they are above average. Look at the profs in each dept, their backgrounds and research focus and classes offered. Do that for all your schools.

    Tutorials are intense, with only 2 students and one teacher. Admissions says that about 50% of students take one tutorial, most of those who do take one don't take another. Not sure about other US schools that offer tutorials, Ohio U honors program used to, maybe St. Johns and New College as well.

    There is prevalent binge drinking at many LACs. It is not difficult to attend parties and not drink though. Certainly there are students who hang in smaller groups at all schools.

    Many of the schools on your other thread could fit the bill as similar, but less selective: Colgate, Grinnell, Kenyon, Sarah Lawrence.

    Paging @TheGreyKing



    edited May 28
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  • merc81merc81 12312 replies211 threads Senior Member
    edited May 28
    Is Williams strong in my areas of interest (physics, history, geology, linguistics)?

    IPEDS can show you the popularity of the various majors at Williams (and other colleges): https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?q=Williams&s=all&id=168342#programs. Williams graduates a relatively high number of students (34) with majors from its excellent history department, for example.

    With respect to physics, you can read articles about Williams' Apker recipients, such as https://physics.williams.edu/articles/augenbraun-apker-winner/.

    Regarding the study of linguistics, Williams' absence of a major or concentration in this field may indicate that its courses in this area would be considerably less plentiful than at colleges with an available major/minor.

    https://www.williams.edu/academics/areas-of-study/
    edited May 28
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  • momrathmomrath 6048 replies39 threads Senior Member
    @Diaz42
    What are the tutorials at Williams like? Are they in all classes?
    I believe tutorials are offered in all (or at least most) academic areas. Most involve written papers, but they can also be visual (i.e. art studio) or quantitative (i.e.math & physics). Satisfaction level can vary depending on how sympatico the 3 parties -- one professor, two students -- are. My son took a couple of tutorials which he enjoyed, but ultimately preferred the small seminar (6 to 10 students) format. This is probably more than you want to know, but it explains the tutorial concept and gives a idea of the range of topics: https://catalog.williams.edu/pdf/tut.pdf
    What other colleges have the tutorials?
    My understanding is that Williams is the only US school that offers the Oxford model tutorial, though most academically rigorous schools (especially LACs) offer small seminar-style courses.
    Is Williams strong in my areas of interest (physics, history, geology, linguistics)?
    Yes, yes, yes and no. Physics is a small but excellent department. History is a liberal arts mainstay. Geosciences encompasses geology, mineralogy, oceanography and earth sciences. Williams mountain location is ideal for field work. Same goes for Environmental Studies. There is no linguistics major per se, but majors in several foreign languages are available. Williams encourages experimentation across disciplines. Double, even triple, majoring is common as are cross-disciplinary concentrations.
    Is Williams' social scene dominated by drinking (I'm a kid who prefers to just hang out with friends)
    My son's experience was that "hanging out with friends" pretty much defined Williams social scene, and the first year entry residential system provides a ready-made social group. No doubt some kids drink more than is good for them, but it's much less widespread than rumored.  
    What colleges are similar to Williams but less selective?
    I think your other thread pretty much covered the range. I'd look at Colby, Grinnell, Wesleyan, Conn College, Skidmore, Kenyon. 
    How does Williams help student on the engineering track?
     Williams doesn't offer engineering (except as a 3/2 program with Columbia). Graduate and professional school advising is excellent overall.
    What other colleges offer winter study? Is winter study beneficial?
    Winter study is a fun time to kick back with friends, enjoy snow sports and explore a topic outside of your comfort level. Last year's course offerings: 
    https://winterstudy.williams.edu/winter-study-2020/
    Has anyone ever got shut out of a class?
    It happens, but not to the extent that it impedes getting from A to B in your major. My son's experience was that an appeal to the professor usually fixed the problem. If not, there were plenty of other desirable options. He said he could have easily filled up another 4 years with interesting courses.
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  • circuitridercircuitrider 4335 replies189 threads Senior Member
    Wesleyan has an interdisciplinary major called, The College of Social Studies (CSS) that requires enrollees to take at least one individual tutorial with an assigned faculty member in order to complete the degree:
    https://owaprod-pub.wesleyan.edu/reg/!wesmaps_page.html?stuid=&facid=NONE&tutorial_list=CSS&term=1209
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  • mominwashingtonmominwashington 20 replies3 threads Junior Member
    edited May 29
    Wesleyan actually has lots and lots of tutorials in every department, even outside the CSS major. I don't know why this isn't shared more. These are the tutorials offered for the upcoming fall semester (click the 'show tutorials' box and then 'list courses' to search and see them all): https://owaprod-pub.wesleyan.edu/reg/!wesmaps_page.html?stuid=&facid=NONE&page=search&term=1209

    Colby has a very popular January plan for winter study: https://www.colby.edu/januaryprogram/
    edited May 29
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  • circuitridercircuitrider 4335 replies189 threads Senior Member
    @mominwashington wrote:
    Wesleyan actually has lots and lots of tutorials in every department, even outside the CSS major. I don't know why this isn't shared more.

    I was wondering the same thing!

    It's not played up the way it is at Williams, but I can remember having a tutorial nearly 50 years ago, with the late Joe Reed (who passed away only recently.) I'm assuming it was under the English department, but it's the nature of Wesleyan that it could have been under American Studies or Film Studies just as legitimately. Reed's courses, especially, were frequently cross-listed.

    I'm glad to know they're still around!
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  • merc81merc81 12312 replies211 threads Senior Member
    What colleges are similar to Williams but less selective?

    Carleton should be included in this discussion, as should Vassar, which accepts ~33% of its male applicants.
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  • PublisherPublisher 12316 replies167 threads Senior Member
    OP asked:

    "[Which] colleges are similiar to Williams, but less selective?"

    Answer: Applying ED to Williams College. ( Williams College's ED admit rate is dramatically higher than its RD admit rate, although many ED applicants are preferred athletes and legacies.)
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  • PublisherPublisher 12316 replies167 threads Senior Member
    According to the Fiske Guide To Colleges 2020:

    Overlaps for Williams College:

    Amherst, Brown, Dartmouth, Harvard, Yale, Middlebury, Princeton, Stanford.
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  • PublisherPublisher 12316 replies167 threads Senior Member
    OP: If you want to attend an LAC, then apply ED in order to enhance your odds of admission.

    Williams College
    Bowdoin College
    Dartmouth College
    Davidson College
    Carleton College
    Amherst College
    Pomona College
    Hamilton College
    Haverford College
    Bates College
    Colby College
    Colgate University
    Middlebury College
    Vassar College
    Wesleyan University

    If you want to avoid drinking / substance use, then Pomona College, Davidson College, Haverford College are my best guesses.

    Tough to avoid drinking parties at small, rural LACs. If you are a disciplined athlete who can tolerate being alone or in a very tiny group, then you can make your own fun. It is really about self-disciplins & confidence.

    Colby College in Maine has new athletic facilities.

    But, I am not going to lie to you, at most LACs social activities tend to revolve around drinking.

    This is a reason that I like larger schools in warm weather climates or those located near an urban area = more people with different interests & more variety of social & athletic events. Again, it is about self-discipline & confidence, but also about increasing the odds of alternative activities.
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  • PublisherPublisher 12316 replies167 threads Senior Member
    edited May 30
    Outside of the 8 Ivy League schools, you should consider Northwestern University, Duke, Michigan, Virginia, Stanford, MIT. Vanderbilt & Rice as well. University of Washington is a serious school. University of Chicago.

    As a safety school, consider the University of Pittsburgh. Lots of scholarship merit awards.
    edited May 30
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  • merc81merc81 12312 replies211 threads Senior Member
    edited May 30
    Is Williams' social scene dominated by drinking[?]

    Though the below survey-based rankings cannot indicate more than a relative position in the case of Williams, note that it does not appear on either of the Princeton Review lists related to high alcohol consumption:

    https://www.princetonreview.com/college-rankings?rankings=lots-beer

    https://www.princetonreview.com/college-rankings?rankings=lots-hard-liquor
    edited May 30
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  • Diaz42Diaz42 62 replies3 threads Junior Member
    Thanks everyone for your responses!
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  • Diaz42Diaz42 62 replies3 threads Junior Member
    merc81 wrote: »
    What colleges are similar to Williams but less selective?

    Carleton should be included in this discussion, as should Vassar, which accepts ~33% of its male applicants.

    How do you find the male acceptance rate for a school?
    · Reply · Share
  • Diaz42Diaz42 62 replies3 threads Junior Member
    Publisher wrote: »
    OP: If you want to attend an LAC, then apply ED in order to enhance your odds of admission.

    Williams College
    Bowdoin College
    Dartmouth College
    Davidson College
    Carleton College
    Amherst College
    Pomona College
    Hamilton College
    Haverford College
    Bates College
    Colby College
    Colgate University
    Middlebury College
    Vassar College
    Wesleyan University

    If you want to avoid drinking / substance use, then Pomona College, Davidson College, Haverford College are my best guesses.

    Tough to avoid drinking parties at small, rural LACs. If you are a disciplined athlete who can tolerate being alone or in a very tiny group, then you can make your own fun. It is really about self-disciplins & confidence.

    Colby College in Maine has new athletic facilities.

    But, I am not going to lie to you, at most LACs social activities tend to revolve around drinking.

    This is a reason that I like larger schools in warm weather climates or those located near an urban area = more people with different interests & more variety of social & athletic events. Again, it is about self-discipline & confidence, but also about increasing the odds of alternative activities.

    I've been thinking of everything I want in a college and it seems like Pomona is really great. Are more religious LACs like Holy Cross less drinking than others?
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  • merc81merc81 12312 replies211 threads Senior Member
    edited May 30
    How do you find the male acceptance rate for a school?

    For a central resource, visit IPEDS, select a school of interest (e.g., https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?q=Vassar&s=all&id=197133#admsns) and select "ADMISSIONS." For slightly more recent information, visit individual college sites, then combine sources to infer missing data.
    edited May 30
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  • merc81merc81 12312 replies211 threads Senior Member
    edited May 30
    Are more religious LACs like Holy Cross less drinking [oriented] than others?

    With respect to this, I would be more inclined to compare HC to other Patriot League LACs, such as Lafayette, than to other religiously based LACs specifically.
    edited May 30
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  • PublisherPublisher 12316 replies167 threads Senior Member
    edited May 30
    The only connection--even though I am Catholic--that I have with Holy Cross are friends who attended & always knew that they would become physicians. They loved Holy Cross but were determined to get into medical school. Somewhere along the way, however, my friends did learn to like the taste of a Mimosa or two. But they also work hard & make wages expected for medical professionals.

    Lafayette, Lehigh & Bucknell & Colgate probably have more drinking than does Holy Cross.

    Truthfully, if you want to avoid drinking, elite National Universities offer more alternative activities. But it is an individual choice. Just easier to avoid at some schools than others.
    edited May 30
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  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 6244 replies97 threads Senior Member
    edited May 30
    Diaz42 wrote: »
    merc81 wrote: »
    What colleges are similar to Williams but less selective?

    Carleton should be included in this discussion, as should Vassar, which accepts ~33% of its male applicants.

    How do you find the male acceptance rate for a school?

    IPEDS is typically a year or two old. Usually better to use the most recent common data set.

    Section C1 has the freshman class admissions data. For Vassar class of 2023, 870/2887 men were accepted (30.1%) acceptance rate, 1257/6074 women were accepted (20.7%).

    https://institutionalresearch.vassar.edu/data/2019-2020/

    edited May 30
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