Williams College Admits 1,206 Students for Class of 2020

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

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., March 24, 2016—Williams College has extended offers of admission to 1,206 applicants for the Class of 2020. They were selected from a total applicant pool of 6,982, for an overall acceptance rate of 17 percent.

“We are blessed with a world-class applicant pool, and choosing among so many highly qualified applicants was as challenging as it’s ever been,” said Richard Nesbitt, director of admission. “We’re thrilled with the results of our deliberations, which promise to yield an extraordinarily talented and diverse Class of 2020.”

Of the admitted students, 623 are women and 583 are men. One hundred are international students representing 45 different nationalities. Among American students, 49 percent are students of color: 221 students are Asian American, 186 are black, 169 Latino, and 13 Native American. Twenty-one percent (255) are first-generation college students, and 9 percent (105) have a parent who attended Williams.

Admitted students living in the U.S. represent the following geographic regions: 27 percent hail from the Mid-Atlantic; 21 percent from the West; 16 percent from the Northeast; 13 percent from the South; 8 percent from the Midwest; and 4 percent from the Southwest. Two students come from Puerto Rico, and one student is from Guam. Ten percent (123) are currently living overseas, one of them on a U.S. military installation.

The admitted students represent nearly 840 high schools, and their academic profile is exceptional. Average SAT scores are 727 in critical reading, 722 in math, and 727 in writing. The average super-scored ACT is a 33. Ninety-four 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. One hundred and two admitted students are highly rated musicians, studio artists, thespians, or dancers, and one is a veteran who served in the U.S. Navy as a nuclear reactor operator. Seventy-four students demonstrated extraordinary dedication to serving the needs of others or significant activism in their high school community or beyond, and 38 were noted as “bridge builders,” showing longstanding commitment to activities that span racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, cultural, and religious backgrounds.

The college has long been committed to admitting the most qualified and compelling students without regard for their ability to pay. Among those admitted for the Class of 2020, 19 percent (223 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, 115 students admitted to the Class of 2020 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 2020 is 550 students, as it was last year. Through the college’s early decision process, 245 applicants were admitted to the class, and another 10 will join the Class of 2020 after taking a gap year, making up 46 percent of the class. The remaining admitted students received their acceptances by March 23 and have until May 1 to decide whether to enroll. All accepted students are invited to attend the Williams Previews program April 11-12 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 24, 2016