The New Ivies 2012 Page 10

These top 10 schools are the next generation of excellence

By Explore Editor

What the students are saying about:

Williams College

Williams College

At Williams college, academics are all about the approximately 2,000 undergrads. The focus is on teaching, not research, and professors form relationships with students that extend well beyond the classroom. “I will never forget the moment that my math teacher knew my name is passing … even BEFORE the first class,” writes a freshman. Tutorials and Winter Study, two unusual academic opportunities, largely define a Williams education. Tutorials pair two students with one professor (read: lots of individualized attention). “Tutorials are a huge part of the Williams experience. During the meeting, the students present their papers and critiques, and then discuss them with the professors.” During Winter Study, the month in-between the fall and spring semesters, students have a choice between taking a wide range of off-beat classes, going abroad for the month, or working on an independent project. Though, on the whole, students are conscientious to the point of overachievement, they report that undergrads aren’t competitive—with each other, at least. “One of the best things about Williams is that there’s this taboo about discussing your grades. It makes for a really great and non-competitive environment,” says a sophomore. Once work is done, students tend to hang out on campus – and, though quaint and full of natural beauty, Williamstown is isolated. But the athletic, outdoorsy and social students don’t seem to mind spending time on campus together. “We come here for the academics, and for one another.” That, in a nutshell, is Williams’ largest selling point.