Williams College Admits 1,253 Students to Class of 2021

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

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., March 23, 2017—Williams College has extended offers of admission to 1,253 applicants for the Class of 2021. They were selected from a total applicant pool of 8,593.

“This year’s applicant pool was the largest and strongest in the college’s history, which made rendering decisions particularly challenging,” said Richard Nesbitt, director of admission. “We anticipate yielding a terrific and diverse class of powerful academics, curious problem-solvers, and engaged community members.”

Of the admitted students, 95 are international students representing 47 different nationalities. Among American students, 50 percent identify as students of color: 220 students are Asian American, 214 are black, 175 Latino, and 17 Native American. Thirty-seven percent identify as white and five percent opted not to identify. A total of 274, or 22 percent, are first-generation college students, and seven percent (86) have a parent who attended Williams. A total of 593 identify as men, 573 as women, five identify as trans or transgender, three as non-binary, one as agender, one as gender non-conforming, one as gender fluid, and one as questioning. Seventy-five students did not respond to an optional question about gender identity (but did answer a required binary question that appears on the application).

Admitted students living in the U.S. represent the following geographic regions: 30 percent hail from the Mid-Atlantic; 24 percent from the West; 17 percent from the Northeast; 15 percent from the South; eight percent from the Midwest; and six percent from the Southwest. Four students come from Puerto Rico, and two students are from the U.S. Virgin Islands. Nine percent (110) are currently living overseas.

The admitted students represent 916 high schools, and their academic profile is exceptional. Applicants had the option to submit standardized test scores for the ACT, the redesigned SAT, or the old SAT. Average scores on the old SAT are 736 in critical reading, 737 in math, and 732 in writing. Average scores on the redesigned SAT are 722 in evidence based reading and writing and 721 in math. The average super-scored ACT is a 33. Ninety-three percent of the students who submitted high school rank are projected to graduate in the top 10 percent of their class.

The students possess a wide diversity of academic and nonacademic interests. The admitted class includes highly accomplished visual and performing artists, athletes, debaters, community servants and activists, and one U.S. Marine.

The college has long been committed to admitting the most qualified and compelling students without regard for their ability to pay. Among those admitted to the Class of 2021, nearly 30 percent are affiliated with a community-based organization focused on college access. Of that group, 230 students are affiliated with QuestBridge, an organization with which Williams has partnered since 2006 to identify talented, high-achieving high school students from low-income backgrounds. Additionally, 129 students admitted to the Class of 2021 participated in Windows on Williams, a college-sponsored program that provides high-achieving high school seniors from low-income backgrounds the opportunity to visit the Williams campus during the fall of their senior year.

Williams’ strong financial aid program is critically important in encouraging outstanding students to apply. Sixty-eight percent of admitted students applied for financial aid. Admissions decisions are need-blind for U.S. students, and the college provides grants and other assistance to meet 100 percent of the demonstrated financial need of every student. Williams students graduate with debt levels that are among the lowest in the country.

Students who choose to come to Williams say they were attracted by its academic reputation, size, academic facilities, and the attractiveness of the campus, in addition to the personal attention and extracurricular opportunities it offers.

The target size for the Class of 2021 is 550 students, as it was last year. 257 applicants were admitted to the class through early decision, 16 through the QuestBridge Match program, and another 13 will join the class after taking a gap year. The remaining admitted students received their acceptances by March 22 and have until May 1 to decide whether to enroll. All accepted students are invited to attend the Williams Previews program April 24-25 to explore the college and meet many of their future classmates.


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 March 23, 2017