Brown University vs Williams College: A Comprehensive Overview

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Female student smiling with her classmates.

Brown University vs Williams College: A Comprehensive Overview

Are you trying to decide between Brown University vs Williams College for your undergraduate education? Both prestigious institutions have their unique strengths and offer exceptional academic opportunities, so it can be difficult to determine which one is the best fit for you.

In this comprehensive overview, we’ll take a closer look at the history, location, admission requirements, curriculum, faculty, student life, career prospects, tuition, diversity, rankings, alumni network, campus safety, and extracurricular activities of Brown University and Williams College. By the end of this article, we hope to provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision.

The History and Background of Brown University and Williams College

Founded in 1764, Brown University is the seventh-oldest college in the United States and is located in Providence, Rhode Island. Its mission is “to serve the community, the nation, and the world by discovering, communicating, and preserving knowledge and understanding in a spirit of free inquiry, and by educating and preparing students to discharge the offices of life with usefulness and reputation.”

Brown has a diverse student body, with approximately 9,000 undergraduate, graduate, and medical students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries. In contrast, Williams College was founded in 1793 and located in Williamstown, Massachusetts. It’s a private, liberal arts college with a mission to provide a “top-quality education in the liberal arts and sciences that will enable graduates to thrive and contribute to a changing world.” Williams College has a small, tight-knit student body of around 2,000 students from all over the world.

Brown University has a long history of academic excellence and innovation. It was the first Ivy League institution to offer undergraduate programs in engineering and computer science. Brown is also known for its open curriculum, which allows students to design their academic programs without any required courses outside of their chosen field of study.

Williams College is consistently ranked as one of the top liberal arts colleges in the United States. It has a strong focus on undergraduate education, with a student-to-faculty ratio of 7:1. Williams College is also known for its beautiful campus, which includes a 2,600-acre forest and a museum of art with over 14,000 works in its collection.

Location and Campus Facilities of Both Universities

Brown University’s 143-acre campus is located in Providence, Rhode Island, with easy access to the city’s vibrant arts and culture scene. Brown’s facilities include 256 buildings, including residential halls, research facilities, libraries, and athletic facilities. Brown’s campus has recently undergone significant expansions, with new academic and research facilities added to meet the growing demand.

Two students talking in a desk with a laptop.

On the other hand, Williams College is located in the idyllic town of Williamstown, Massachusetts. Its 450-acre campus is situated in the heart of the Berkshire Mountains, making it a picturesque and peaceful setting for students to learn and grow. Williams’ facilities include world-class libraries, research laboratories, art studios, music practice rooms, and athletic facilities, all of which are designed to support students in their academic pursuits.

Both universities offer a variety of outdoor spaces for students to enjoy. Brown University’s campus features several green spaces, including the Main Green, which is the central hub of campus and a popular spot for students to relax and socialize.

Williams College’s campus boasts a beautiful botanical garden, a wildlife sanctuary, and several hiking trails that offer stunning views of the surrounding mountains. These outdoor spaces provide students with opportunities to connect with nature and take a break from their academic pursuits.

Admission Requirements and Application Process: Brown University vs Williams College

Both Brown University and Williams College have very competitive admissions processes, with acceptance rates of less than 7%. Brown University requires a Common Application, along with essays, letters of recommendation, and standardized test scores.

Williams College also requires the Common Application, along with additional essays, interviews, and test scores. Both universities place a strong emphasis on academic achievement, extracurricular activities, community service, and personal character when evaluating candidates.

Aside from the academic requirements, both Brown University and Williams College also consider the diversity of their student body. They actively seek students from different backgrounds, cultures, and experiences to create a vibrant and inclusive community. In addition, both universities offer need-blind admissions, which means that they do not consider a student’s financial situation when making admission decisions. They also provide generous financial aid packages to ensure that admitted students can afford to attend.

It is important to note that both Brown University and Williams College have early decision and regular decision application deadlines. Early decision is a binding agreement, which means that if a student is accepted, they must attend the university.

Regular decision, on the other hand, is non-binding, and students have until May 1st to decide which university they will attend. It is recommended that students carefully consider their options and apply to multiple universities to increase their chances of acceptance.

Curriculum and Academic Programs: Brown University vs Williams College

Brown University and Williams College both offer a wide range of academic programs and majors for undergraduate students. Brown University has over 80 undergraduate concentrations, which are designed to help students explore their interests and pursue their passions. Brown has a unique open curriculum, allowing students to create their course of study based on their interests and strengths. They also have a flexible grading policy that emphasizes mastery instead of grades.

Similarly, Williams has a wide range of academic programs, including over 35 majors and several interdisciplinary programs. Williams places a strong emphasis on critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills, which are developed through rigorous coursework and extensive research projects. Williams encourages students to take courses in various disciplines, allowing for a well-rounded education.

group of students studying outside

Both Brown University and Williams College offer a variety of extracurricular activities and opportunities for students to get involved on campus. Brown has over 400 student organizations, including clubs for community service, sports, and the arts.

They also have a strong athletic program, with 38 varsity teams and a focus on promoting physical fitness and wellness. Williams also has a vibrant campus life, with over 150 student organizations and a strong commitment to sustainability and environmentalism. They have a popular outdoor program, offering opportunities for hiking, camping, and other outdoor activities in the beautiful Berkshire Mountains.

Faculty Members, Research Projects, and Student-to-Teacher Ratio Comparison

Brown University and Williams College have exceptional faculty members who are experts in their respective fields of study. Brown University has nearly 800 full-time faculty members, many of whom are award-winning scholars and researchers.

Brown’s faculty members encourage students to pursue their research interests, and many students collaborate with faculty on research projects. Williams College faculty members are similarly accomplished, with over 300 full-time faculty members who are experts in their fields.

Williams faculty members prioritize one-on-one interactions with students, offering personalized attention to help them develop their academic and personal goals. The student-to-teacher ratio at Williams is 7:1, meaning that Williams provides a highly personalized and intimate academic experience.

In addition to their exceptional faculty members and personalized attention to students, both Brown University and Williams College offer a wide range of research projects for students to get involved in. Brown University has a strong focus on interdisciplinary research, with projects ranging from neuroscience to environmental studies.

Williams College also offers numerous research opportunities, with projects in fields such as economics, psychology, and biology. These research projects provide students with hands-on experience and the opportunity to contribute to cutting-edge research in their field of interest.

Student Life at Brown University vs. Williams College: Housing, Clubs, Athletics, and More

Both Brown University and Williams College offer a diverse range of extracurricular activities for students to enjoy outside of their academic pursuits. Brown University has over 400 clubs and organizations, covering a wide range of interests, from academic clubs to cultural organizations to social clubs.

Brown also has 34 varsity athletic teams that compete in NCAA Division I sports. Williams College also has many clubs and organizations for students to participate in, with over 150 student-run groups. Williams has 32 varsity athletic teams and competes in NCAA Division III sports. Williams places a strong emphasis on student wellness, offering a range of housing options, fitness facilities, and counseling services to support students’ physical and mental health.

Group of students sitting on the bench while using the alaptop.

One of the unique aspects of student life at Brown University is the Open Curriculum, which allows students to design their own academic path without any required courses or distribution requirements.

This gives students the freedom to explore their interests and passions and to take courses across a wide range of disciplines. Additionally, Brown has a strong commitment to community service and social justice, with many opportunities for students to get involved in local and global initiatives.

At Williams College, students have the opportunity to participate in the Williams-Exeter Programme at Oxford University, which allows them to spend a semester studying at one of the world’s most prestigious universities.

Williams also has a strong focus on sustainability, with initiatives such as the Zilkha Center for Environmental Initiatives and the Sustainable Food and Agriculture Program. Students can get involved in sustainability efforts through clubs and organizations, as well as through academic courses and research opportunities.

Career Opportunities and Post-Graduation Prospects for Alumni: Brown University vs Williams College

Both Brown University and Williams College provide exceptional career preparation and support for their students. Brown has a robust career services center that offers career counseling, job and internship listings, alumni networking events, and information on graduate school.

Brown graduates go on to pursue a wide range of career paths, including business, law, medicine, engineering, and more. Similarly, Williams provides extensive career services, including personalized counseling, job and internship databases, and alumni mentoring programs. Williams graduates are highly sought-after by top employers, with over 95% of graduates employed or pursuing advanced degrees within six months of graduation.

Additionally, both universities have strong alumni networks that provide valuable resources and connections for graduates. Brown’s alumni network spans across the globe, with over 90,000 alumni in more than 170 countries.

The university hosts numerous alumni events and offers various opportunities for alumni to stay connected and engaged with the university community. Similarly, Williams has a vast alumni network, with over 28,000 alumni worldwide. The college’s alumni association provides a range of services and resources, including career support, networking events, and volunteer opportunities.

Tuition Fees, Financial Aid Options, and Scholarships Available to Students

Both Brown University and Williams College are expensive, with tuition fees costing over $50,000 per year, and it can be a significant financial burden for families. Both universities offer several financial aid options, including need-based aid, merit aid, and scholarships.

Brown University was the first Ivy League university to eliminate loans from their financial aid packages, making it more affordable for students from lower-income families to attend Brown. Similarly, Williams College is committed to meeting the full demonstrated financial need of its students, ensuring that all students are able to afford a Williams education, regardless of their financial background.

A woman using her laptop while sitting.

In addition to financial aid options, both Brown University and Williams College offer various scholarships to their students. Brown University offers several merit-based scholarships, including the Presidential Scholars Program, which covers full tuition, room, and board for four years. Williams College also offers several merit-based scholarships, including the Williams College Book Award, which is awarded to outstanding high school juniors who have demonstrated intellectual leadership and a commitment to serving their communities.

Furthermore, both universities have programs in place to help students manage their finances while in school. Brown University offers financial literacy workshops and one-on-one financial coaching sessions to help students develop budgeting and money management skills. Williams College has a student-run Financial Wellness Program, which provides resources and support to students on topics such as budgeting, credit management, and student loan repayment.

Diversity on Campus: Comparing the Student Body Composition at Brown University vs. Williams College

Brown University and Williams College have diverse student bodies, with a commitment to inclusivity and diversity. Brown has a large international student population, with students from over 100 different countries. Brown’s student body is also diverse in terms of race, ethnicity, religion, and socioeconomic background. Williams College is similarly diverse, with students from all 50 states and over 67 different countries. Williams College places a strong emphasis on creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for all students.

Despite their similarities in terms of diversity, there are some differences between the student bodies at Brown and Williams. Brown has a larger percentage of students who identify as LGBTQ+ and has a strong LGBTQ+ community on campus. Williams, on the other hand, has a higher percentage of students who are first-generation college students and has programs and resources specifically designed to support these students.

Both Brown and Williams recognize the importance of diversity and inclusion in creating a vibrant and enriching campus community. They offer a variety of cultural and identity-based student organizations, as well as events and programming that celebrate diversity and promote cross-cultural understanding. Overall, both institutions are committed to creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for all students, regardless of their background or identity.

Rankings and Recognition: Brown University vs Williams College

Brown University and Williams College are both highly regarded and recognized for their academic excellence. Brown University is consistently ranked among the top universities in the country by U.S. News & World Report and has been ranked as high as 14th in the nation. Williams College is regularly ranked as the #1 liberal arts college in the country by U.S. News & World Report and has been ranked as such for 20 consecutive years.


However, rankings are not the only measure of academic excellence. Both Brown University and Williams College have a long history of producing successful alumni who have made significant contributions in various fields. Brown University has produced eight Nobel laureates, while Williams College has produced 17 Rhodes Scholars.

Additionally, both institutions have a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion, with Brown University being one of the most diverse Ivy League schools and Williams College having a need-blind admission policy for all students, regardless of their financial background.

Alumni Networks, Support Systems, and Community Outreach Programs of Both Universities

Both Brown University and Williams College have extensive alumni networks, support systems, and community outreach programs. Brown has a vast and active alumni network, with over 85,000 alumni living around the world.

Brown’s alumni network provides mentorship, career guidance, and networking opportunities for students and graduates alike. Williams College also has an active alumni network, with over 28,000 alumni living around the world. Williams’ alumni network provides support to students and recent graduates, connecting them with job opportunities and offering advice and guidance.

Students laughing around while sitting.

In addition to their alumni networks, both Brown University and Williams College have robust support systems for their students. Brown University offers a variety of resources to support student success, including academic advising, tutoring services, and mental health counseling. Williams College also provides a range of support services, including academic support, career counseling, and wellness programs.

Both universities also have strong community outreach programs. Brown University’s Swearer Center for Public Service connects students with community organizations and provides opportunities for service learning and community engagement. Williams College’s Center for Learning in Action offers similar opportunities for students to engage with the local community through service projects and internships.

Campus Safety Measures, Emergency Protocols, and Student Health Services Available

Brown University and Williams College take campus safety and student health very seriously, with a range of resources available to ensure student well-being. Both universities have comprehensive campus safety measures, including emergency protocols, campus security personnel, and crisis management procedures. Student health services are also available on campus, including health clinics, counseling services, and mental health resources.

In addition to the aforementioned resources, both Brown University and Williams College have implemented new safety measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These measures include mandatory mask-wearing, social distancing guidelines, and increased cleaning and sanitation protocols.

Both universities also offer COVID-19 testing and contact tracing to help prevent the spread of the virus on campus. Students are encouraged to stay informed about these safety measures and to follow all guidelines to help keep themselves and their fellow students safe and healthy.

Extracurricular Activities Offered at Brown University vs. Williams College: Music, Theater, Art, etc.

Brown University and Williams College offer extensive extracurricular activities for students interested in music, theater, art, and other creative pursuits. Brown has a vibrant arts scene, with several student-run theater groups, music ensembles, and visual arts clubs. Williams College also has a thriving arts scene, with a state-of-the-art performing arts center, art museum, and several theater groups run by students.

In addition to the arts, both Brown and Williams offer a wide range of extracurricular activities for students to explore. Brown has over 500 student organizations, including clubs focused on community service, sports, and academic interests. Williams also has a diverse range of student organizations, including a popular outdoors club, a debate team, and a student-run investment fund.

Three students talking while sitting on the library.

Furthermore, both universities offer opportunities for students to engage in research and internships outside of the classroom. Brown has a dedicated office for career development, which helps students find internships and job opportunities. Williams has a strong network of alumni who often provide internships and job opportunities for current students.

Final Verdict: Which School is the Ideal Choice for You – Brown University or Williams College?

After considering all the factors, it’s clear that both Brown University and Williams College are exceptional institutions that offer top-quality academic programs and vibrant campus life. Ultimately, the choice between the two will depend on your individual preferences, goals, and interests.

Consider factors such as location, campus culture, academic offerings, extracurricular activities, and financial aid options when making your decision. No matter which school you choose, you’ll be joining a community of passionate and talented students who are dedicated to making a meaningful contribution to the world.

If you’re interested in pursuing a career in the arts, Brown University may be the better choice for you. The school has a renowned arts program, with opportunities to study theater, music, visual arts, and more. Williams College, on the other hand, is known for its strong programs in the sciences and humanities.

Another factor to consider is the size of the school. Brown University is a larger institution, with over 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students, while Williams College has a smaller student body of around 2,000. If you prefer a more intimate learning environment with smaller class sizes and a tight-knit community, Williams College may be the better fit for you.

If you’re set on getting into a world-class college but aren’t sure how to make it happen, we can help! AdmissionSight is a leading college entrance expert with over a decade of experience helping students just like you get into the schools of their dreams.

At AdmissionSight, we focus on offering a wide range of services, all aimed at helping students perfect their applications to catch the attention of admissions officers. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about what we offer.



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