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The real deal: Williams is one of the most selective colleges in the country. We admit fewer than one in five applicants. The real deal, part two: We’re not just looking for top scores and impressive accolades. We want creative thinkers, diverse perspectives, and people who’ll bring as much to the community as they’ll gain from it.

High School Preparation

Applicants to Williams should pursue the strongest program of study offered by their secondary schools. While there are no absolute requirements for admission, competitive candidates typically study English, math, natural science, foreign language and social studies in four-year sequences and present a distinguished record throughout their secondary school career.

While the academic record is the most important factor in the admission process, we seek students who will serve as leaders not only in the classroom, but in the community at large. To that end, we also consider candidates’ non-academic involvements and achievements at school and in their communities. A strong non-academic record might reflect a wide range of talents and achievements or distinguished accomplishment in just one or a few areas.

To gain a better sense of students who’ve been admitted to Williams over the past four years, check out our Student Profile.

Early Decision and Regular Decision

First-year applicants for whom Williams is their first-choice college may apply under the binding Early Decision program. Early Decision applicants may submit an Early Decision application to only one institution and if admitted under Early Decision are expected to withdraw all other college applications and to initiate no new ones.

First-year applicants who wish to apply to more than one college should apply under the non-binding Regular Decision plan. The majority of applicants apply under Regular Decision and if admitted, have until May 1 to accept their place in the class. Acceptances are always contingent upon the applicant finishing the school year in good standing.

Transfer applicants typically apply in the spring for fall enrollment.

Standardized Testing Deadline Application Deadline Notification Date
(online)
First-year Early Decision October November 15 December 15
First-year Regular Decision December January 1 April 1
Transfer Applicants March April 1 May 15

Application Requirements

  • Common Application (including Williams-specific questions)
  • Early Decision Agreement Form (Early Decision applicants ONLY)
  • Standardized Testing
    Williams requires the following standardized tests:

    • SAT or ACT with Writing
    • Two SAT Subject Tests

    Scores should be sent to Williams directly from the testing agency. The Williams SAT code is 3965 and ACT code is 1936. If sending a score report from the testing agency poses a financial hardship, please take a screenshot of your score report and email it to admission@williams.edu. Please note that we cannot process test scores submitted on a high school transcript.

  • Secondary School Report
  • Two Teacher Evaluations
  • Mid-Year Report
  • $65 Application Fee
    If the $65 application fee poses a financial hardship, a fee waiver can be requested on the Common Application or via the Williams-specific questions page of the Common Application. Applying for a fee waiver will not disadvantage your application in any way.

Optional Application Materials

  • Williams Writing Supplement (available via the Common Application)
  • Visual/Performing Arts Portfolio
    If you have a well-developed talent in the arts, samples of your work can be submitted for review by Williams faculty. You can indicate your interest in submitting an art supplement via the Williams-specific questions on the Common Application. Upon doing so, an “Art Supplement” tab will display on the left-hand side of the screen. Please note that in order to submit your art supplement to Williams, you must first submit a Common Application to Williams.
  • Scientific Research Abstracts
    If you have pursued significant scientific or mathematics research or projects and are considering a research or academic career, we welcome brief descriptions of your work. Materials can be submitted via the Common Application or by email to admission@williams.edu.

International Applicants

Additional Information for International Applicants (Non-US Citizens)

Williams is committed to building a community that includes the brightest minds from around the world. Each year, we receive nearly 1500 international applications—that is, from students who, regardless of country of residence, do not hold U.S. citizenship, permanent residency or a green card—from more than 100 countries. Today, international students comprise seven percent of the Williams community and hail from more than 60 nations. To learn more about the international community, check out this video or Williams International.

While we are not need-blind for international applicants, exceptionally talented international candidates typically will be admitted regardless of their degree of need. Williams meets 100 percent of the demonstrated need of every student admitted to the college. In addition to funding tuition, room, and board, our aid packages for international students include yearly travel, textbooks, and personal spending allowances. Financial aid also applies to any Williams approved study away program throughout the world; additional resources are available to offset the costs of Winter Study trips and projects.

Please note that if an international applicant intends to apply for financial aid at any point during their time at Williams, they MUST apply for financial aid when applying as a first-year applicant for admission.

Application Requirements for International Applicants

Given the number of international applicants to Williams annually, the Admission Committee is familiar with the nuances of school systems and curricula from around the world. Therefore, international applicants follow the same application procedures as U.S. citizens and are not required to submit any additional forms or testing. Those students whose first language or language of academic instruction is not English must document their English proficiency, but there is no one required examination. While we are happy to review TOEFL or IELTS results, such examinations are not requirements for admission to Williams. Please note that if an applicant is unable to sit for both the SAT or ACT with Writing AND SAT Subject Tests, Williams recommends prioritizing the SAT or ACT with Writing.

Transfer Applicants

Additional Information for Transfer Applicants

Because so few students choose to leave Williams prior to graduating, we have relatively few places available for transfer candidates. Please see the chart below for a four-year history of transfer applicants.

Year of Entry at Williams Number of Transfer Applications Number of Transfer Admissions
2014 216 13
2013 225 9
2012 257 10
2011 251 12

Application Requirements for Transfer Applicants

  • Common Application (including Williams-specific questions)
  • A statement explaining your rationale for leaving your present college as well as your specific reasons for wishing to attend Williams
  • Standardized Testing
  • Final High School Transcript
  • Transfer College Report
  • Two College Instructor Evaluations
  • College Transcript
  • $65 Application Fee
    If the $65 application fee poses a financial hardship, a fee waiver can be requested on the Common Application or via the Williams-specific questions page of the Common Application. Applying for a fee waiver will not disadvantage your application in any way.

Optional Application Materials

  • Williams Writing Supplement (available via the Common Application)

Veteran Applicants

Additional Information for Veteran Applicants

Williams encourages applications from qualified men and woman who’ve actively served in the United States Military.

We consider the applications of all U.S. applicants without regard to their ability to pay and promise to meet 100% of each admitted student’s demonstrated financial need for four years. In many cases, this may well exceed the aid provided by veterans programs. Information on available financial aid, including our participation in the Yellow Ribbon Program, is available on our financial aid site.

You should use the Common Application and be sure to detail your academic and employment histories. The Common Application by itself may not accurately capture all of your individual interests and experiences so please be sure to describe your unique circumstances in the additional information section or by submitting supplementary materials.

For us to consider your application, we need transcripts for all of your secondary and post-secondary academic work, including any coursework you may have completed during service. We take a holistic approach to the admission process, and will evaluate each application—including these transcripts—in context, taking into account any time that may have elapsed since enrollment.

We understand that military service can result in gaps in educational enrollment. If service has taken you away from academic work for more than two years, we recommend that you enroll in challenging college level courses prior to submitting a formal application. Military service builds capacities in men and women that would enrich any institution, but Williams also represents a highly rigorous academic environment. Successful completion of post-secondary course work will provide us with the most recent picture of your academic abilities and the best evidence of your potential for academic success.

You may apply either as a first-year or a transfer student, depending on the amount of college coursework you’ve completed. For transfers, the college registrar will determine how much credit will be awarded for work completed at other institutions. Please consult the transfer section of our “Apply” page to determine the best option for you.

For veterans returning from service, applying to college can sometimes feel overwhelming, and we stand ready to advise and aid throughout the process. Please contact Admission or Financial Aid representatives to discuss any special circumstances, and to help you determine whether Williams might represent the best educational fit for you.