￼Avalon Insights – Williams College
Of course, Williams has the reputation of being a small New England liberal arts college. Indeed, it lives up to that recommendation. However, students on campus do not feel hindered by the environment. In fact, they say there is lots to do both on campus and in the community. There are many restaurants around town, as well as many outdoor activities such as hiking, equestrian, golf, skiing, and opportunities for volunteer work. On campus, there is an active performance center and a plethora of clubs. New York City is only a few hours away by bus if you need a big city fix. One major advantage is that almost all students have a single room throughout all four years of college. Food is good, though not gourmet. Campus is idyllic, especially in the fall and winter when it is absolutely gorgeous.
One of the most compelling features of Williams College is the student culture. While academics are rigorous and challenging, the atmosphere is ambitious and collaborative. Students work together. They help each other. They often work on problems sets together and each one is eager to help the others. As is the case with many small liberal arts colleges, access to professors is paramount to the experience. Indeed, professors have a budget with which they can take students out to eat or do other activities. “Lyceum” is an example of the closeness that in encouraged by the school between the teachers and professors have. Students invite teachers to the Lyceum Dinners and Doddceums, where they bond over historical topics while sharing a catered three-course meal “on the house.” Academically and professionally, teachers often go to bat for their students, finding and recommending them for internships and other professional opportunities. Also, the academic culture is extremely flexible. Students are encouraged to take courses across any areas that interest them.
It is hard to get away from the fact that Williams has the reputation of being a small New England liberal arts college. In all that is good implicit in that reputation, it is correct. It is an ultra-liberal education that features academic rigor. However, it is not the same Academic rigor that you would find at CMU, MIT, Columbia, or Harvard. Students work hard, but they also have time to relax and enjoy themselves in the pristine environment of western Massachusetts.
The reputation of the faculty is superb, and that reputation is well deserved. Collectively, they form a strong professional network with lots of opportunities for interaction with students. Most of the faculty members are accomplished in their own fields and are as gifted in front of a blackboard (or whiteboard) as they are in the professional world.