Williams College

Williamstown, MA: Located in a small rural town in western Massachusetts, Williams College is a liberal arts school with under 2,000 students. Williams has a beautiful campus, well-kept dorms, and fine sports and eating facilities. Rated best small college in U.S. News and World Report, Williams has an extremely competitive admissions process with less than 30% of applicants accepted.

Academics are the focus of life at Williams; unlike larger “lecture” schools, however, and students learn by getting involved. An average class at Williams has between 20 and 30 students. While there are large lecture classes, (e.g. introductory science and math) most classes are small enough so that everyone participates. For example, the political science and economics classes I attended were exciting because students openly debated the discussion topics, instead of passively taking notes. Furthermore, professors at Williams tend to know each student by name, making the community close-knit. One student reported that the Williams professors love to have lunch with students, and that “meeting professors is as easy as meeting classmates.” On a less positive note, on account of its small size, the school’s music and visual arts departments remain in the developing stages.

I was amazed at how many different extracurricular activities thrive at Williams. With activities ranging from drama, debate, and singing groups to ethnic clubs and social-action organizations, campus life seemed far from dull. The school has several literary publications, including two student newspapers, and a handful of student published magazines.

The food is great; menus vary from week-to-week, and there are plenty of options if you don’t like the main dish on any given day (e.g., salad bar, soups, cereals, etc.).

Williamstown, (Williams’ college town) does not have too much to offer; and students looking for a city school should look elsewhere, because this school is quite a distance from Boston or New York.

Unfortunately, in a written page it is difficult to bring the excitement of a college community to life. The small size of the school community provides a uniquely intimate atmosphere for learning; overall, Williams struck me as a fantastic place to get an education. n

Reviewed in 1992