Williams College Admits 257 to Class of 2021 in Early Decision Plan

Media contact:  Noelle Lemoine, communications assistant; tele: (413) 597-4277; email: [email protected]

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., December 12, 2016—Williams College has offered admission to 257 students under its Early Decision plan. These students make up nearly 47 percent of the incoming Class of 2021, whose ultimate target size is 550.

Richard Nesbitt, director of admission, said 728 students applied, a 25 percent increase over last year and a record number for Early Decision. “We were particularly pleased with the increase in applications from high-achieving, low-income students, which I attribute to our intensive efforts to extend our message of access and affordability to students of all socioeconomic backgrounds,” he says.

The admitted students represent 209 secondary schools around the world. Thirty-four states are represented, with the largest numbers coming from New York (52), Massachusetts (45), California (28), Connecticut (13), Maryland (11), Florida (9), New Jersey (9), and Virginia (7). Six students come from each of the states of Illinois, Ohio, and Texas. The 12 international students admitted represent 10 countries: Bangladesh, Canada, China, Ghana, Jamaica, Kenya, Mexico, Pakistan, the United Kingdom, and Venezuela.

Of the 257 admitted students, 140 identify as men, 94 as women. One identifies as agender and 22 students did not respond to an optional question about gender identity (but did answer a required binary question that appears on the application).

American students of color are 30 percent of the Early Decision admits, including 27 who identified as African American, 30 as Asian American, 18 as Latino, and one as Native American. Twelve students opted not to share information about their race or ethnicity. Twenty-five are first-generation college students (that is, neither parent has a four-year college degree), and nearly 20 percent of Early Decision admits come from low-income families. Eighteen students admitted through Early Decision participated in Windows on Williams, an all-expenses-paid program that provides talented, high-achieving high school seniors from low-income backgrounds the opportunity to visit campus during the fall of their senior year.

Applicants to the Class of 2021 had the opportunity to submit standardized test scores for the ACT, the redesigned SAT, or the old SAT, and their test score averages are in line with previous Early Decision cohorts: ACT average of 33, old SAT averages of 731 in critical reading, 727 in math, and 725 in writing, and redesigned SAT averages of 724 in evidence based reading and writing and 720 in math. Of those admitted who reported class rank, 83 percent were among the top 10 percent of their high school classes.

Highly rated musicians, actors, artists, and athletes are well represented in the group. “Students are drawn to Williams primarily for its fine academic reputation and the opportunity to engage in small classes, Oxford-style tutorials, and extensive undergraduate research opportunities,” says Nesbitt. “Equally attractive, however, are the exceptional co-curricular offerings on the stage, the playing fields, and the community at large.”

Early Decision applicants commit to attend Williams if admitted. Early Decision letters were released the evening of Friday, Dec. 9. The Regular Decision application deadline is Jan. 1, with notification in late March. Students admitted via the Regular Decision plan have until May 1 to decide whether they will attend.


Founded in 1793, Williams College is the second-oldest institution of higher learning in Massachusetts. The college’s 2,000 students are taught by a faculty noted for the quality of their teaching and research, and the achievement of academic goals includes active participation of students with faculty in their research. Students’ educational experience is enriched by the residential campus environment in Williamstown, Mass., which provides a host of opportunities for interaction with one another and with faculty beyond the classroom. Admission decisions on U.S. applicants are made regardless of a student’s financial ability, and the college provides grants and other assistance to meet the demonstrated needs of all who are admitted.


Published December 12, 2016