Williams College Top Questions

Describe the students at your school.


Williams is a genuinely diverse community. Not only do students come from varying ethnic backgrounds and places within (and without) the United States, but the life experiences that they’ve had are incredibly unique. In the college admissions world Williams students have a reputation for being athletic and preppy. As a private institution that only became co-ed in 1970, Williams has certainly perpetuated this image for a while. Undoubtedly the school has made progress; today's student body is cognizant of relevant social issues in a way that many wouldn't associate with preppy private schools. Additionally, a lot of students are invested in academic disciplines that lend themselves to activism and social change, something the school hasn't historically been known for. Despite this, the stereotypes about Williams students can seem to dominate the campus from time to time. Almost everyone, it seems, plays a sport, and the art scene is not as prevalent here at it is at some other liberal arts schools. In the end, however, every Williams student comes from a completely different background, which yields a highly eclectic campus. The diversity of thought that each student brings to conversations, both within and outside of the classroom, breaks down most initial assumptions people have about one another and makes it impossible for any one stereotype to be too pervasive.


They kids are great.


Williams students are typically athletic and/or outdoorsy, intelligent, competitive, confident, and multi-talented. In my experience, the freshman entry system at Williams does a great job of promoting interactions between the diverse student body--students of different races, social classes, religions, sexual preferences, etc. Some of my closest friends are "different" from me in these regards. I feel that these interactions are more common at Williams than they are at most other schools. People often talk about the "community" at Williams, which I personally have really bought into. Students, while competitive and high-achieving, are genuinely concerned about the well-being of their fellow students. Students, each with their unique background and experiences, often come together to listen to each other: every Sunday night Williams has "Story Time," during which one students tells their life story or a particular incident that shaped their life. This is further promoted by the entry system. The Junior Advisor system also describes students at Williams very well. First, there are the students who apply to be Junior Advisors. They volunteer their Junior year to live with freshmen without receiving free room and board or getting paid in any way. While people list many reasons for becoming a JA, in my mind it all boils down to a desire to contribute to the Williams community, of which the entry system is a huge part. The fact that only about 1/3 of applicants are given the JA position speaks to how many students have a vested interest in contributing to the Williams community. Second, there are the students who volunteer to serve on the JA Selection Committee. These students, including current and former JAs as well as the peers of the applicants, spend something like 4 hours a day for about a month trying to pick the best JAs. These students also don't get paid or anything like that and don't even get the recognition that JAs do. I really think this shows how dedicated students are to the Williams community.


Williams students are typically athletic and/or outdoorsy, competitive, confident, intelligent, and multi-talented. In my experience, the freshman entry system at Williams does a great job of promoting interactions between the diverse student body--students of different races, social classes, religions, sexual preferences, etc. Some of my closest friends are "different" from me in these regards. I feel that these interactions are more common at Williams than they are at most other schools. The most active students are predominantly the ones who lean to the left, but i would say the school is predominantly left-of-center, with a small percentage leaning right. Most students are politically aware, but not as politically active as one might imagine they would be at a liberal arts college; I attribute this mostly to students being too preoccupied with schoolwork to have the time to be very active. Still, there are groups on campus that are politically active.


Williams students are typically athletic and/or outdoorsy, competitive, confident, intelligent, and multi-talented. In my experience, the freshman entry system at Williams does a great job of promoting interactions between students of different races, social classes, religions, sexual preferences, etc. Some of my closest friends are "different" from me in these regards. These interactions are by no means perfect across campus and some students do end up feeling left out, but this is true of any college. I feel that these interactions are more common at Williams than at most other schools. The most active students are predominantly the ones who lean to the left, but i would say the school is predominantly left-of-center, with a small percentage leaning right. Most students are politically aware, but not as politically active as one might imagine they would be at a liberal arts college; I attribute this mostly to students being too preoccupied with schoolwork to have the time.


We are very diverse, truly. It is not a difficult endeavor to find friends at Williams. There are an infinite amount of resources designed to facilitate with friend-making and things of that nature. Because of our small student population, we may not have an excessive number of any one minority group, but we are home to myriad different types of people. You'd feel out of place here if you want a rowdy environment. We're not a party school even though our weekends are event-filled and very fun. This being said, it is human nature to identify with similarities. There are four lunch tables in the dining hall .... one has all the hockey players having a team dinner, the other is seating a large group of first-year students from their "entry". The third table could be a student activity group and the fourth would probably be an eclectic group of students. Generally, I'd say students align with a liberal-minded agenda. But that's only because of what's defined as "liberal." I'll leave it at that. Students aren't from a certain area in particular ... New York is the most represented state but I have multiple friends from an international area like Columbia, Canada or South Korea. All kids are interacting with one another. People are anxious to meet people from diverse backgrounds and friendships are often formed because of this curiosity.


There are a lot of students here from New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and California. Yet, we have students at Williams from every state. Williams also has a sizable international population. I have friends from across the U.S. as well as from several foreign countries. It isn't hard to make friends here, regardless of where you're from. The entry system can really help you meet students from all over the place. Students here aren't that politically active. Many people here are apathetic, or just don't talk about their political views if they have them. The people who seem to be the most outspoken politically usually lean to the left.


The vast majority of Williams students are from either Massachusetts, New York, or California. That being said, there are students here from every state, and many foreign countries. I have made friends with people from the UK, Jordan, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Zimbabwe, and Pakistan. Supposedly, Williams students lean towards the left. I hardly ever experience this because many people here are apathetic. One of my friends started a health care reform club and couldn't get anyone to join because no one really cared. Most of the times I experienced heated political debate were in my poli sci class on international relations. Many students here are wealthy, but many are not. It just depends who you talk to. Regardless of socioeconomic status, few people seem concerned about what they wear every day. The "Williams Uniform" is a mixture of some kind of Williams athletic gear, cableknit sweaters matched with leggings as pants, slouchy t-shirts matched with leggings as pants, destroyed and/or dark wash skinny jeans, Uggs (in the winter), Hunter Wellies and Jack Rogers sandals (in the summer), and the ever present black North Face Jacket, black Wayfarers, and Longchamp tote bag. Very few people seem to have a sense of style beyond these articles of clothing.


I believe every single one of my classmates is the most brilliant person I will ever meet...and then I meet the next one.


My classmates were privileged but not prideful; well-mannered, well-groomed, and well-rounded; in shape and in touch with world issues; hard-working, brilliant, and creative.


a diverse group of students with varying interests


My classmates are socially diverse and friendly.


Athletic, wealthy, New England / New York / California, strong personalities, intelligent


my classmates were mostly white americans who seemed to live in a world other than mine.


Students at Williams have a broad range of socio-economic backgrounds, though the best represented US states are California, Massachusetts, and New York, like many other eastern colleges. While we have a large Jewish population and there are several churches and religous groups on campus, the student population is largely non-practicing or atheist. We tend to be a fairly casual bunch, tees and jeans and sweat pants are typical classroom gear, and we lean a bit towards the left.


Though Williams certainly thinks of itself as being progressive with regards to racial, economic, and gender equality, the steps taken by the administration to deal with these problems are largely all fluff and no substance. Though numerically Williams has students from all over the world and from all different kinds of backgrounds, for reasons that boggle my mind, everyone conforms to the traditional "prep" image upon arrival. If you don't like wearing pink polo shorts with popped collars and Banana Republic chinos, expect to feel out of place and to belong to a silent minority that is too fractured by the depression of not fitting in to unite and overturn the tyranny of the preppies. People at Williams only interact with other people who are like them. Period. What's even more maddening is that people seem totally oblivious to this. When a recent racist incident erupted on campus, there was nearly a riot of people demanding that racism just couldn't exist at Williams, that the problems must be imagined. Williams is big on a "not to people like us" mentality. Politically, there is a group of Williams students who rather vocally try to pull the general culture to the far left, but the average student is completely and totally politically apathetic. Anything that preserves the status quo is acceptable.


I wore sweatpants, gym shorts, and a t-shirt to pretty much all of my classes. People dont care what you dress like. The school is very diverse, anyone could fit in. The majority of kids want to be rich someday.


Most students are not particularly vocal about politics. Those who are tend to go the activist route. THe whole range is in there, but I'd say most people are either what are popularly known as centrists or liberals. Williams students are from all over the country and the world. I've met folks from Norway, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, California, Alaska, and Berkshire County Massachusetts itself. New York and California are the two most represented states, followed by MA is I am remembering correctly. With the excellent financial aid system, there are definitely more and more folks from different financial backgrounds, but more than half still come from money. That doesn't mean people are obnoxious about it (a few are, but you'd get that anywhere). Who you talk to is really in your own hands. There are many different types of folks here, and it certainly makes life more interesting to try and interact with them all, but some do and some don't. There is a strong LGBT community on campus, and a Women's Center was recently founded. True introverts probably would feel out of place, as well people who are very conservative.


Williams is a wealthy school and there are a lot of private school kids. Yet everyone interacts with everyone at Williams.


There is a niche for nearly all types of students at Williams... there are a wide variety of social and racial groups on campus. If there were four tables, one would be filled with jocks/drinking crowd, one would be typical nerds, one would be cross country runners, and one would be the eccentric group.


I am an ethnic minority, and I have never experienced any racial hatred on campus. The student body is open and accepting. No student should feel out of place, but the campus is largely Caucasian and that may be a turn off to some prospective students. The campus is very fit (60{4a082faed443b016e84c6ea63012b481c58f64867aa2dc62fff66e22ad7dff6c} active in sports) and outdoors-oriented, and that might make others feel a little left out, but that is usually not the case in my experience. Many Williams students come from the Northeast, many from New York City. I would not say that Williams students are generally well-to-do, but some of the students here are wealthy. The campus is predominantly liberal.


I love Williams students because people seem very open minded... but I wish there was even more diversity and that people didn't hang out with only their own "kind", which happens quite frequently.


The Williams student body is mostly white, middle class and suburban. Given the location of Williams (a small, mostly white, middle class, suburban town), it makes sense that certain kinds of students are attracted to the school. However, minority groups on campus are not very visible at all. Everyone knows that there is a Black Student Union and a Queer Student Union, but people who are not in those organizations are somewhat apathetic towards them and, I think, take them for granted. I think that an Orthodox Jew, gay, non-athletic person from Los Angeles would feel really out of place at Williams, but he's there and he loves it! People manage to find their group at Williams that accepts him/her. Most students wear jeans and a T-shirt to class. Nobody underdresses for class (no pajamas and sweat pants are even rare), but they also do not overdress. Most of the International students hang out together, most black students hang out together, most white students hang out together and so on and so forth. However, through freshman orientation and the entry system you definitely meet and make friends that you never thought you would make. Most Williams students are from Massachusets or New York or white, small suburbs on the East Coast in Connecticut, New Hampshire, Maine etc. I have been told that everyone at Williams is pretty wealthy, but most people either don't flaunt it or just don't talk about it. I think something like 40{4a082faed443b016e84c6ea63012b481c58f64867aa2dc62fff66e22ad7dff6c} of the student body is on financial aid, which sort of sucks because it's not the majority, but it's something. Students are NOT politically aware or active on campus, but they might be off campus. Environmental safety is the only political issue on campus that most of the students care about and the upcoming election was kind of a big deal. Students are pretty apathetic about politics. Most people seem moderate or left-leaning, but no one really talks about it. Some students discuss how much they will earn one day, but not many. Everyone does seem pretty hopeful that the Williams education will provide a comfortable lifestyle. Williams students are excited about school, they really do work hard and party kind of hard and they know how to balance social/athletic activites and schoolwork for the most part. Williams student kick butt!


The student body is very diverse. While students of different races and backgrounds do hang out together and even become very close friends, there can be some tension. There were one or two racist incidents this year that provoked a lot of outrage from the student body. While some say this sort of thing is prevalent, my guess is that only a small handful of students really harbors racist attitudes. The student body's reaction demonstrates how concerned students in general are about equality and respect. Socioeconomic status does not seem to be much of an issue. Students do not spend much time talking about money or financial differences. I know that a large percentage of students are on financial aid, but it really makes no difference socially.


Kind, respectful and a true team atmosphere. There is no competition among students, and I really like that. If you are having problems in or out of the classroom, most Williams students tend to help each other out. This extends to our very loyal alumni base who are extremely open and work hard to help students find jobs on Wall Street, etc. You can see the "culture" of Williams most clearly in the party scene on weekends. If you show up at a party randomly, you will almost never be thrown out and people will be kind and offer you a drink even though they have no idea who you are. That is pretty cool and definitely something that is not found at larger schools!


In my opinion, diversity of the student body at Williams is successful enough that no student should feel completely out of place. There are a number of students with way too much money, but that's not everyone. Also, if you choose to spend enough time with the International student body, Williams can seem extremely diverse. Of course, you can also choose to just associate with your own color/income-level. But don't do that. You'll learn more if you look for a variety of friends. I think student interaction is defined mainly by sports teams and group activities. You'll wind up hanging out with the people that you train with or practice with, much of the time. So if you choose a homogenous team, you may wind up with a more homogenous group of friends. Then again, though, there are a number of campus activities where you can meet the other folks, too, if you so choose. What do students wear to class? Probably pyjamas or sweatpants and ugg boots. Probably expensive sweatpants and ugg boots. Sometimes I wish there was more fashion-consciousness... but then again, it's academics, right? You can still wear something pretty if you want to. It's Massachusetts. The QSU may not be huge, but it is active, and accepted. Queer Bash is one of the favorite events of the year among everyone.


I feel that, for it's size, obscurity, and cost, Williams is a pretty diverse campus. Although the campus seems to be primarily white, upper middle class kids from the North East, we have a variety of races, religions, nationalities, etc. The campus is predominately liberal, but there are also a lot of moderates. Everyone's opinion is (usually) respected and discussed in a respectful manner. The stereotypical Williams student wears jeans, a polo, flats (for girls), running shoes (for boys), and a Williams sweatshirt to class. The style of dress doesn't vary too much, but it also seems like people are comfortable wearing different styles. Everyone is pretty casual, and no one seems to care about fashion that much.


The Williams student body is amazing. Everyone I have met is hilarious, friendly, and fascinating. There are student groups on campus (QSU,MSU etc.), but they in no way over power the social situation and the groups don't form a 'clique' (for example, I'm a part of the MSU and the QSU, while I'm neither muslim or LGBT. They're extremely open and friendly.) I don't think anyone would feel out of place at Williams. There seems to be a little of every type of person here. Different types of people definitely interact. In fact, my step-father asked me a similar question "Is there a black table" and I looked at his weird because I didn't know what he meant, but he explained all the black kids sat together at his college. This was a novel concept for me. Most Williams students are from New England or California and I have no idea why. This prevalence doesn't seem to split the students into argon wearing preps and long haired surfers or anything. I didn't even know until I looked at that part of the brochure.


Williams is a very tolerant campus. We all pretty much want to get along, and with the exception of a few isolated incidents, we do. We have a tendency to intellectualize everything; philosophical discussions are not limited to the classroom, or even the dining hall - they pretty much go wherever students are. Politically, we're far to the left. Environmentally, we're quite active. Most of us want to stay here forever.


There is a lot of diversity at Williams but the different groups tend to interact mostly among themselves. I am a white athlete and so are most of my friends. People are aware though of the world outside of themselves. Most students are politically aware and are active in various students groups dedicated towards environmental issues or social justice.


The student body is very diverse both ethnically and socio-economically. However, because people are all mentally on the same plane, no real trouble ever comes of it. I will sometimes be hanging out with friends and realize that I'm with a German, someone from Ghana, a Mexican, someone from Hawaii, and someone from New York. This is an experience that I've never got anywhere else and really makes me appreciate my education here.


I think that students of different ethnicities interact on a fairly regular basis. Several of my good friends are black. I think a lot of student groups geared to one type of people promote isolation and seclusion. But overall, those groups still seem to interact with others on campus.


Trying to become diverse, and initiatives are working to recruit students from different backgrounds, but also students who do different kinds of things. Racial minorities recruited, yet few who participate in sports. Is the sports environment still dominated by the white-male jock mentality. If the sports team culture is strong on campus and few minorities participate on a team, then where are the alternative outlets for "non-academic" expression. Too many students drive on campus, not enough ride bicycles. Religious life is not cultivated nearly enough. Students by and large are afraid to celebrate their spirituality. The word "GOD" is somewhat of Taboo to mention in daily conversation.


i dont think anyone will feel out of place here. i have a diverse group of friends. i think that most students are liberal, but there is definitely a conservative body. williams financial aid is extremely helpful in making a diverse student body socio-economically.


The one complaint I have about the student body is the racial segregation. Williams students are all tolerated by one another, yet at the same time I feel that the minority groups on campus tend to segregate themselves and create their own little niche. While this is perfectly acceptable, it is sometimes disheartening to not see many mixed-race friend groups.


Williams tries hard to admit a diverse student body--some would say they try too hard... I'm glad they do all they can to increase the diversity. Compared to my hometown Williams is very diverse--I'm from a fairly small town in Oregon. One thing I know Williams does an outstanding job with is getting international students. I think our financial aid program makes the difference for international students. Williams students vary socioeconomically but are heavy on the wealthy side, and you can feel that money on campus. Different sorts of people definitely mix around in friend groups but not so much that you can't see some separations between students of different races. The biggest factor in grouping like this is sports teams though--the sports teams become very tight friend groups.


Mostly white, mostly christian. A small, vocal gay minority. Some are absurdly rich, most are well off, and some are from families of modest means. The campus, politically, is slightly left of center, though probably farther right than most small, New England liberal arts colleges.


I'm in a religious group (Williams Christian Fellowship) and an international student group. My experience with these groups has been awesome, as the members of each group are dedicated to the functions of the group. These groups ease the transition into college life and act as a support base.


Students mix pretty well here, care and talk about diversity.


We are an overwhelmingly moderate-liberal group of students...or at least the conservatives don't make much noise.


Quite diverse, compared to what I'm used to.


Williams student are not politically active, but they are relatively tolerant and interested in learning about people who are different from themselves.


Williams is not a very diverse campus - majority white and affluent. However, the administration is aware of this issue and actively seeks to correct it. Students are not politically aware, but most are liberal or left-leaning.


most people are liberal. yes, there is a lot of interaction among students.


We are way too stressed out.


Williams has an activist campus. There are lots of social justice and sustainable food campaigns.


At Williams you don't really notice differences in people's financial backgrounds, unless you zillow.com their house, of course. There is no where to shop nearby, no great restaurants to eat at and no real bars (well, one) to drink at. For the most part, I had no clue whether my friends were wealthy or not until I visited their houses.


There's a great mix of interests, backgrounds, and personalities in the student body here, and we generally get along great with each other regardless of how different we are.


The campus could be more diverse and possible more accepting of each other but I think that is something we are working toward and a lot of people care. for the most part, Williams is just full of over-achievers, everyone is very involved in sports, music, theatre, student government or community service. It is rare to see someone who isn't weighed down with extracurriculars. We have a generally liberal campus and I think most people are supporting the Democrats this time around. I think the atmosphere is competitive and hardworking but also fairly casual among students.


Williams students are from all over the country and foreign countries as well, but a large number are probably from New England, New York and California. The school is working hard at creating a diverse student body but this goal hasn't yet fully been acheived - a lot of kids here are WASPy prep school kids and sometimes minority groups might feel out of place. However, my friends of all races and backgrounds seem to be enjoying the school immensely, regardless of its composition. Williams kids are pretty liberal overall but there is a small minority of republican-minded students. The atmosphere on a day to day basis is friendly, casual, accepting. Students don't get too dressed up for class - jeans and a sweater or hoodie are most common but sweats are perfectly acceptable too.