Williams College is one of the oldest colleges in the country. It has also been listed at the very top of the best liberal arts schools in the nation. Founded in 1793, the private school just started admitting women in the 1970s. The school’s 450-acre campus is located in Williamstown, Massachusetts near the Berkshire Mountains. The rural setting allows for the small undergraduate population of just under 2,100 students to become bonded during their four years. Williams College is responsible for many firsts in college traditions: they were the first to create a society for alumni and the first to wear caps and gowns at graduation.
The academic programs at Williams are divided into three sections: humanities, sciences, and social sciences. There are 31 majors, and students can choose to participate in 12 other academic areas that are not offered as majors. The most popular majors include: social sciences; English; physical sciences; mathematics and statistics; and foreign languages, literatures, and linguistics. The courses are laid out into two semesters, separated by a winter term in January. During this month, students can choose to take a course for pass or fail status. Some of the past subjects have included Learn to Play Chess, Inside Jury Deliberations and Shaping Your Life After Williams. Others decide to use the winter term to study abroad or participate in research projects. Class sizes have remained very small at Williams; 75 percent of classes have fewer than 20 students. In fact, the student to faculty ratio is 6.5 to one.
There are many student organizations on the Williams College campus. Although fraternities were banned in the 1960s, many students are still able to connect through the various groups available on campus. The Williams Record is the longest-running student newspaper on campus and was founded in 1887. Students can also participate in multiple kinds of music ensembles, choirs and more than eight a cappella groups. Williams College also has a prominent athletic department. Their 32 teams compete in the NCAA’s Division III levels and the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC). There are also many intramural sports teams; more than half of the students at Williams participate in one or more sports.
There are more than 30,000 living Williams alumni who can aid students after they finish their undergraduate experience. This dedicated group of people helps place students in internships and jobs; the connection is a valuable one. There are many reasons Williams is one of the top liberal arts schools in the country. Students interested in demanding academics combined with fun extracurricular activities should look into Williams College’s impressive reputation.