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First Generation Advantage at Williams?

LuckyGusLuckyGus Registered User Posts: 116 Junior Member
edited May 2009 in Williams College
I emailed the admissions committee, and they said that I would have the "first generation status" if I applied (even though I'm white, have a ~120,000 4-person family income, live in a very affluent community and go to an amazing public high school).

How much of an advantage would this give me, even if I applied Early Decision? Does this become even more of an edge when combined with stellar academics, (almost)-recruitment-worthy sports, and good EC's?

I'm just asking because I read that Williams puts more emphasis on first generation applicants than other colleges do (20% of class is first generation).

I feel like such a desperate dweeb for asking this question on this site, but I'm just curious/anxious. Thanks in advance.
Post edited by LuckyGus on

Replies to: First Generation Advantage at Williams?

  • limetimelimetime Registered User Posts: 743 Member
    My belief is that if you have stellar academics, almost recruitment-worthy sports, and good EC's, you won't need that first-gen status at all. :) Also, ED will help your chances a lot. From what I see, the first-gen status won't make or break your application; but it will be like icing on cake if you are in range. :D
  • dkanedkane Registered User Posts: 81 Junior Member
    Did either of your parents attend college? If one of them did, where did he/she go? Does that parent have a post-grad degree? See these posts for discussion:

    Socio-ec Admissions : EphBlog

    My sense is that this status provides a small but meaningful advantage. Whether or not it should is another story.
  • LuckyGusLuckyGus Registered User Posts: 116 Junior Member
    When I say stellar academics, I really mean a stellar GPA (3.99 UW) with the most rigorous courseload, and only so-so SATs (expecting ~2100 from March SAT); my EC's are "good", but definitely not GREAT.

    Would this "small but meaningful" advantage slightly make up for subpar SAT scores?
  • LuckyGusLuckyGus Registered User Posts: 116 Junior Member
  • dkanedkane Registered User Posts: 81 Junior Member
    1) You need to give us more insight into your family background for us to give you a sense of the size of the advantage. First-gen college is a broad category and Williams does make distinctions with it.

    2) What are your math/verbal scores? The writing test is largely irrelevant. ECs are largely irrelevant unless you are a tip. What about APs?
  • ca87ca87 Registered User Posts: 527 Member
    I'm in a similar situation as you. My mother did not attend college, did not even graduate high school, and I have minimal communication with my father, so I will probably be considered first generation. My mom has a mid six figure income, and I think that just because our parents chose to succeed without educational resources, we should not be punished in the admissions process.

    Since Williams has about 20% first generation applicants, we probably stand a fairly better chance than non-first generation applicants. You should email them and ask approximately how many first generation students apply to Williams.
  • wisteriawingswisteriawings Registered User Posts: 102 Junior Member
    ca87, don't worry about your financial situation affecting you in admissions. Williams is need-blind, according to their admissions website:
    Williams has a 100% need-blind/no-loan admission policy.

    Put simply, your financial circumstances will not affect your chance of admission to Williams in any way. Because we believe our community should include the best from all backgrounds, there is no limit on financial aid expenditures.

    Money won't be a factor in your admissions decision at all.
  • ca87ca87 Registered User Posts: 527 Member
    I'm not worried about my financial situation, I'm worried about the definition of first generation changing based on our parents' income.
  • ca87ca87 Registered User Posts: 527 Member
    BTW, an Amherst admissions officer just told me 16% of the class of 2011 is first generation v. 20% at Williams.

    In addition, Amherst told me that they would take my situation of having minimal contact with my college educated father in reading my application.

    Williams said
    We recognize that students who are first generation college bound often have to navigate the college admission process without as much help from their parents or family members, on top of all the other academic and extracurricular responsibilities they have. We are excited to read applications from first generation college bound students. We hope you will consider applying to Williams.

    So from this email I'm guessing W would consider me first generation.
  • LuckyGusLuckyGus Registered User Posts: 116 Junior Member
    I got a 660 for critical reading, a 740 for writing, and a 670 for math. 2070 total. Too bad the writing is "irrelevant"....

    While my mom did attend college, she never actually got a degree. My dad just never went to college.

    Also, I take my school's most rigorous courseload with both AP classes and honors courses wherever possible.

    Scroll up for other info, dkane. What do you think?
  • atom_and_eveatom_and_eve Registered User Posts: 77 Junior Member
    Your race, income, and school type will have no effect on whether or not you are considered a first generation college student.

    The fact that your mom DID go to college might have an impact, however. I don't know the formal definition of first generation, but I would take a look at the common app and see how they ask about your parents' educations (and whether or not it asks if she went to college if she didn't receive a degree)
  • dkanedkane Registered User Posts: 81 Junior Member
    1) Williams definition of first generation is no BA for either parent, so it doesn't matter of your mom attended college.

    2) To meet the definition, you must check the need-financial-aid box. (Yes, I realize that this makes no sense, but there it is.)

    3) Your SATs are on the low side, but if you rank highly enough in your class, Williams will still be interested. Will you be checking a race box other then white?

    4) Much more info going up on EphBlog tomorrow.
  • mytra_ob_Craziermytra_ob_Crazier Registered User Posts: 256 Junior Member
    at any major colleges and universities.. FIRST GENERATION ARE SUPER BIG... omg

    i know three or four people at my schools.. they are just below average.. in everythign. not only academics.. but also extracurricular.. these ppl are also socially retarded. the sats scores are like 1600-1800.... nothing special about them... even activities.. and they got into super major schools like : Amherst, Williams, Dartmouth, Upenn, Georgetown, Duke, Middlebury.. all of the schools that i got rejected from.. even though my stats are super.... so much better than those of them.. their essays suck too..

    i kinda think this is unfair.. i think it's good to encourage first generation.. but should nto discourage asian internationals like me needing nera full aidwho have great potentials.

    I dont want to be bitter or anything but this is the hard truths for people like me.. all of my teachers and counselors at my school and people they know me cry when they heard of my situation.. they expected that i would definitely get into super major big schools. if those firs generations people can thrive at such schools.. i definitely not gonna die..

    being Asian, international, and needing aid, living inthe states and having a twin are the hardest position any applciant could find himself in
  • LuckyGusLuckyGus Registered User Posts: 116 Junior Member
    dkane, the only race box I'll be checking is white...
  • dkanedkane Registered User Posts: 81 Junior Member
    Apologies for the delay. More on socio-ec admissions today:

    More Socially Mobile : EphBlog

    LuckyGus: As long as you check the financial aid box, having parents without BA degrees will give you a small but meaningful advantage in admissions.
This discussion has been closed.