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Williams College


The founders of Williams College named the school after a local colonel by the same name. Though it first opened as a free school with a small population, it changed its name just two years later to Williams College, the name it still uses today. It now credits its official foundation date as 1793, making it one of the oldest colleges in Massachusetts. The college also established its own foreign missionary program during the early 19th century, which allowed students to travel overseas and spread the gospel of Christianity. The biggest change in the history of the college occurred in 1815 when the school nearly closed due to financial problems. Several professors left and formed a separate school called Amherst College, which is still open today. Those left behind eventually raised enough money to keep Williams College open. Major donations in modern times helped the school build several new buildings for its students.

Forbes ranked Williams College as the top college in the United States for undergraduate students. U.S. News and World Report later ranked the college as the best liberal arts school in the nation. Those rankings only helped the college grow and thrive. Though it has a total enrollment of fewer than 2,100 students, the college believes in keeping its class size low, which it accomplishes through its intensive admissions process.

Williams College Accreditation Details

As one of the oldest colleges in the country, students know without a doubt that Williams College has accreditation, but they often aren’t sure of what type of accreditation the school has or where it comes from. The Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc. granted accreditation to Williams College. The college, like others across the country, must go through a renewal process as well. The college has established its own board that prepares the school for going through this renewal process. This process usually occurs at least once every decade, and Williams received a continuation of its accreditation in 2008.

Williams College Application Requirements

Though Williams is not an Ivy League school, it is close to being one. The college accepts less than 18 percent of the students who apply each year, and the admissions board looks at a number of factors before sending out acceptance letters. Students who receive acceptance generally have high grades, a large number of extracurricular activities on their record and volunteered or worked outside of school. The best students are often those who send in transcripts that show they took classes in math, science, a foreign language, social studies and English. Williams offers early acceptance to students who apply in the early fall and regular acceptance to those who apply later in the year.

All students must take and submit scores from the SAT and two SAT subject tests or the ACT with the writing portion. After completing the Williams online application, students will also need to pay a $65 application fee and send in both a secondary school report and a mid-year report. Williams also requires that all applicants send in two evaluations done by teachers in their school. Students may submit a writing sample, which can improve their chances of receiving an acceptance letter. Additional requirements such as a research abstract or a portfolio are required of those studying scientific, visual arts or performing arts subjects.

Tuition and Financial Aid

The cost of attending Williams College comes in at around $65,000 a year. This includes a tuition rate of nearly $50,000 a year and room and board costs of around $13,000 a year. Those interested in studying abroad or working on a foreign missionary trip will need to pay an extra $1,500 for that program. Williams also requires that all students have some type of health insurance. Those who do not have insurance, or are not covered by a parents’ policy, will pay a little over $1,500 a year for health insurance through the college.

Though this rate might seem high, Williams offers a number of different aid packages for its incoming students. The average amount of aid received by students each year is more than $46,000, and unlike other colleges, Williams does not focus on income guidelines or how much need a student has due to his or her parents’ income. The college only looks at the student’s application and what that student will bring to the campus. Students can also apply for special programs through the school to cover some of their other expenses, and they may have access to work study opportunities. Some students may opt for private student loans, as well.

Student Experience

Williams College wants its students to graduate as well rounded people, which is why the school offers study abroad and winter study programs that allow students to gain extra hands on experience in their fields of study. The college offers some unique degree programs, including Arabic Studies, Asian Studies, Bioinformatics, Japanese and Geostudies. Students have the option of working on their degrees in foreign locations like Africa, England and China. The college also offers some interesting minors or concentrations as well, including Justice and the Law, Latino Studies, Cognitive Studies and Africana Studies.

The college offers journalism students the chance to work on the Williams Record, which is one of the oldest college newspapers in the country. Other activities include the campus radio station, the college yearbook, an annual trivia contest and more than 10 different bands and vocal singing groups. Students also enjoy watching one of sporting events on campus. The college has tennis, cross country, basketball and other teams, and students can join unofficial teams too. All students enrolled in Williams College also take part in its Winter Study program, which allows students to take unique courses not otherwise offered on campus to supplement their required courses.