right arrow
Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04

Confusion with other Williams?

commservercommserver 79 replies5 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
edited August 2009 in Williams College
My daughter was accepted and is going to Williams College class of 2013. As a proud parent I tell my acquantances about her going to Williams. In the vast majority of the time I get asked " how did your daughter decide on William and Mary?

I guess that Willams has a lower profile than most colleges.\

Any opinions?
edited August 2009
19 replies
Post edited by commserver on
· Reply · Share

Replies to: Confusion with other Williams?

  • bcashbcash 143 replies0 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Most LACs have much (much) lower name recognition than Universities among the "general public". You can tell them what a liberal arts college is and tell them about Williams's superior academic reputation as an undergrad institution if you care to. And maybe half-heartedly point to Wall Street Journal's top feeder school rankings? lol.
    · Reply · Share
  • bcashbcash 143 replies0 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I was reading Richard Yates's Revolutionary Road the other day and encountered the following passage. The man described here is a man who kept rebelling against his mother and their "upper class" life, by flunking out of prep school and joining the army,etc. It's kinda amusing to read about the "upper class" sentiments towards education in the 1950s. Many of those sentiments I think still persist today.

    "Afterwards, (after leaving the army)it seemed entirely logical for him to shrug off all his mother’s tearful arguments for Princeton or Williams and go slouching away instead to a third-rate institute of technology in the Middle West. There, dozing through his classes in a leather jacket or lurching at night in the spit-and-sawdust company of other campus toughs, growling his beer-bloated disdain for the very idea of liberal arts, he learned the unquestionably masculine, unquestionably middle-class trade of mechanical engineering.”

    Princeton was probably the synonym of extreme elitism back then. It looks like Williams was right up there with P in that regard. Top private colleges changed quite a lot since those days, but what has not changed I guess is the quality of academics.
    · Reply · Share
  • bcashbcash 143 replies0 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Oh, maybe you'd want to point out to them that there's no other "Williams". W&M never refers to itself as "williams".
    · Reply · Share
  • CorbettCorbett 3434 replies4 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Sorry, all LACs -- even the top ones -- are low-profile. In certain circles, Williams has great name recognition. To the general public, it does not.

    And the name confusion issue seems to be endemic among top LACs. At least William & Mary is relatively selective -- if your daughter was going to Amherst, people would be wondering why she picked UMass.

    In the same way, Pomona students routinely have to explain that they aren't at Cal Poly Pomona. And how about those male Swarthmore students who deal with "isn't that a women's college?" because of confusion with Skidmore (which once was).
    · Reply · Share
  • EiddaEidda 137 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    ^ what I find worst is when you say Grinnell, its "Don't you mean Cornell?"
    · Reply · Share
  • CorbettCorbett 3434 replies4 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Get real. There's another LAC in Iowa, called Cornell College (which in fact is older than Cornell University). Grinnell's name problems pale in comparison.
    · Reply · Share
  • bcashbcash 143 replies0 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    And when you say Wesleyan, people say, oh you're going to an all-girls school?
    · Reply · Share
  • smartalic34smartalic34 773 replies16 threadsRegistered User Member
    or with Wesleyan, it's: "oh, is that in Ohio? Or Illinois? Or West Virginia?"

    seems everyone has heard of the Methodist-affiliated, regional (state name) Wesleyans and not the national liberal arts college Wesleyan University, without a state name, without a religious affiliation, and most importantly, without an affiliation to the other Wesleyan schools.

    but yes, LACs, especially without high profile graduate schools and programs, suffer big time with name recognition
    · Reply · Share
  • mythmommythmom 8292 replies13 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    You find that you don't care. Especially when your kid is happy at school.

    My D swore she'd never say Columbia as substitute for Barnard, and she never did, though few ever really got the concept of Barnard.

    S attended a Williams' graduation party today. The graduate is going to Harvard for grad school, and the party was festooned in purple and gold. The pride was palpable. I don't think the parents cared who did or didn't recognize Williams' name.

    I actually think Williams has cultivated this "under the radar" bit. Along the Revolutionary Road lines, I watched a movie win which a very elite young man said he attended "a small, prestigious school in Western Massachusetts" without naming it.

    So it's part of the mystique.
    · Reply · Share
  • ChandlerBingChandlerBing 1870 replies35 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    ^ I love this post. At first, people not universally knowing what Williams was was a little aggravating, but now that I'm going there and really excited about it, I honestly don't care.

    One of my dad's colleagues had a good, albeit snobbish quote: "People who don't know what Williams is, simply don't count".
    Though I don't agree with that... I thought it was kind of funny.
    · Reply · Share
  • limetimelimetime 713 replies30 threadsRegistered User Member
    Pardon me for interrupting, but I think this tendency affects not just LAC's but more liberal-styled institutions as well. point in example: I'm going to Dartmouth, but when I tell them that, this is the reaction I get.
    1. "What? Could you say that again?"
    2. "oh, UMass Dartmouth?"
    3. "Oh...." *pity-filled look from someone who thinks it's a community college in Wyoming or something*
    4. *corollary to #3* "Don't worry, it's where you go for grad school that really matters."
    5. "Darkmouth? Is that a dental school?"


    *facepalm*

    I think the name-recognition problem has something to do with not having a graduate school, maybe.
    · Reply · Share
  • PKWsurf21PKWsurf21 541 replies15 threadsRegistered User Member
    Lol, I'm going to Amherst College next year and people always assume that means UMass. I don't really mind it and found it kind of humorous, although many people ask me why I didn't choose a New York State school and save money if I was going to end up at a state school anyway since I live in NY and their education level is about the same lol. But I felt bad for my sister who went to Colgate because whenever she told someone, they would always respond, "Is that like a dental school?" or make some stupid dental joke. I could see how that could annoy her after a while.
    · Reply · Share
  • heyalbheyalb 917 replies39 threadsRegistered User Member
    All you have to do is remember that half the voters in this country voted for GWB a second time, and you'll realize just how ignorant this country's adults are.

    The blank stares and stupid comments should be expected, when you consider the source.
    · Reply · Share
  • ncephnceph 787 replies23 threadsRegistered User Member
    And then there's Williams Baptist College in Arkansas. They do refer to themselves just as "Williams." I think they may have more facebook groups than the REAL Williams College does.

    Williams Baptist College
    · Reply · Share
  • middsmithmiddsmith 981 replies24 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    heyalb wrote:
    All you have to do is remember that half the voters in this country voted for GWB a second time, and you'll realize just how ignorant this country's adults are.

    The blank stares and stupid comments should be expected, when you consider the source.

    So you sit around feeling better about yourself because you know Williams? That's pathetic. You must be very insecure and unpopular in high school, yes?
    · Reply · Share
  • frydfrogfrydfrog 90 replies34 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I don't think that's at all what heyalb was saying. Nowhere in his post did he/she mention anything self-aggrandizing, nor did he/she ever allude to any sentiment of superiority that she feels simply by virtue of her familiarity with Williams. I've heard of extrapolation, but I think you're predicating your criticism on too little/non-existent evidence.
    · Reply · Share
  • middsmithmiddsmith 981 replies24 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    The blank stares and stupid comments should be expected, when you consider the source.

    You: I went to Williams
    Source: [blank stares then ...] Sonoma?

    heyalb: as expected, look at source.

    If this doesn't equate to self-aggrandizing, I don't know what does.
    · Reply · Share
  • Isle of LucyIsle of Lucy 22 replies2 threadsRegistered User New Member
    You: I went to Williams
    Source: [blank stares then ...] Sonoma?

    I guess this fabricated, imagined conversation could take place on Kitchen Confidential.

    However, if we're talking about colleges, and you think somebody's going to "Williams Sonoma", I'd conclude that you're not the sharpest knife in the drawer.
    I've heard of extrapolation, but I think you're predicating your criticism on too little/non-existent evidence.

    ^^ Agreed.
    · Reply · Share
  • grundoon51grundoon51 49 replies1 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Or a Division I football team...
    · Reply · Share
This discussion has been closed.

Recent Activity