Williams College

Nestled in the foothills of the Berkshire Mountains in Massachusetts, Williams College is a small, private liberal arts school with a student body of 2,000. Ranked number one on US News’s list of Best National Liberal Arts Colleges, Williams offers the resources and education of a large university while having the close-knit feel of a small, undergrad-focused community.

Williams College has three academic divisions (sciences, humanities, and social sciences) and offers 33 possible majors. With a student-to-faculty ratio of 7:1, Williams makes it easy to form personal relationships with professors, who are all eager to get to know their students and help them outside of the classroom.

A distinctive feature of a Williams education is the tutorial-style classes the college offers, modeled after Oxford and Cambridge Universities. The tutorial is offered in many disciplines; in it, two students are paired with one professor and they meet the professor once week. In the tutorial, one of the two students writes and prepares a paper while the other student critiques it. The professor and two students use the thesis as a jumping off point to have insightful discussions about the topic of choice. Many Williams students have lauded this form of learning as personalized and eye-opening.

Despite its great curriculum and academic setup, Williams isn’t only about learning. The college is also a NCAA Division III school; Williams has been known for its stellar indoor track and field, soccer, cross country and crew teams (the women’s crew team were national champs six years in a row, from 2006-2011).  There are many other club and intramural options for students that are not participating at the intercollegiate level.

Due to its extremely small size and its isolated campus (Williams is about three miles away from the nearest city, which is Boston) Williams students often form long-lasting, close connections with their peers. Though the college phased out fraternities and sororities in the late 1900s, most students claim that the lack of those student groups do not bother them; rather, they find student body is more intimate and cohesive.

Williams offers a balanced blend of academics, sports, and social life. Students at this small college find themselves thoroughly appreciating the academic resources, the various sports teams, and the intimate setting ideal for forming friendships and connections that last a lifetime.