Northeastern vs Williams: A Comprehensive Analysis

August 17, 2023
By AdmissionSight

Northeastern vs Williams: A Comprehensive Analysis

If you are considering Northeastern vs Williams College for your higher education, it’s essential to compare the two comprehensively. Both are highly respected institutions of higher learning, but what are the differences, and which one might be a better fit for you? In this article, we will analyze the two colleges in detail and help you make an informed decision.

Introduction to Northeastern vs Williams

Located in Boston, Massachusetts, Northeastern University is a private research institution founded in 1898. It has ten colleges and schools with undergraduate majors in different fields, including business, engineering, health sciences, journalism, and law.

Northeastern is highly selective and recruits students from all over the world. It’s best known for its co-op program, where students get real-world work experience while earning college credit.

Williams College, on the other hand, is a small, private liberal arts college located in Williamstown, Massachusetts. It was established in 1793 and has a reputation for providing an excellent liberal arts education. Although the school offers fewer majors than Northeastern, it has a low student-to-faculty ratio, ensuring that students receive individualized attention from their professors.

Both Northeastern and Williams Colleges have a strong commitment to research and innovation. Northeastern has a number of research centers and institutes, including the Center for Drug Discovery, the Global Resilience Institute, and the Institute for Health Equity and Social Justice.

Williams College also has a number of research centers, including the Williams College Center for Environmental Studies and the Williams College Center for Development Economics. Both schools offer students opportunities to engage in cutting-edge research and contribute to the advancement of knowledge in their respective fields.

Location and Campus Overview of Northeastern vs Williams

When it comes to location and campus, Northeastern and Williams couldn’t be more different. Northeastern’s campus is situated in Boston, one of the most vibrant cities in the US. The campus is spread across several blocks in the city center, allowing students to immerse themselves in Boston’s vibrant culture. You’re never short of things to do on campus, from attending a Red Sox game or exploring Boston’s famous museums and art galleries.

A large crowd of students walking in the school campus.

Williams College is located in a more rural area in the Berkshires of Massachusetts. Surrounded by hills and mountains, it is a picturesque setting, and students enjoy access to beautiful hiking trails and other outdoor activities. However, if you’re looking for city life, Williams might not be the best fit.

Despite the differences in location, both Northeastern and Williams offer unique opportunities for their students. Northeastern’s location in Boston provides students with access to a wide range of internship and job opportunities, as well as a diverse and bustling community.

Williams, on the other hand, offers a more intimate and close-knit community, where students can form strong relationships with their peers and professors.

Another notable difference between the two campuses is their size. Northeastern has a much larger student body, with over 20,000 undergraduate and graduate students, while Williams has a smaller student body of around 2,000. This difference in size can impact the overall campus culture and the types of activities and events that are available to students.

Student Body Demographics: Diversity and Size Comparison

In terms of student body demographics, Northeastern and Williams differ significantly. Northeastern has a significantly larger student body, with over 20,000 students. The student body is diverse, with over 100 countries represented, and 30% of students are international. Northeastern also has a large number of transfer students.

Williams College, on the other hand, has a much smaller student body, with approximately 2,000 enrolled students. The school is known for being highly selective, with only around 13% of applicants being admitted. The student body is predominantly white, with limited diversity. However, Williams has a strong commitment to improving diversity and inclusivity on campus.

Despite the differences in size and diversity, both Northeastern and Williams have a strong commitment to providing a supportive and inclusive community for their students. Northeastern offers a variety of resources and programs to support underrepresented students, including the Torch Scholars Program, which provides full-tuition scholarships to first-generation college students.

Group of students walking on the school campus.

Williams has also implemented several initiatives to improve diversity and inclusivity, such as the Davis Center, which provides resources and support for students of color and LGBTQ+ students.

Another notable difference between the two schools is their location. Northeastern is located in the heart of Boston, a bustling city with endless opportunities for internships, networking, and cultural experiences.

Williams, on the other hand, is situated in a rural area of western Massachusetts, surrounded by mountains and natural beauty. While both locations offer unique advantages, students should consider their personal preferences and career goals when choosing a school.

Admission Process: Northeastern vs Williams

As mentioned above, both Northeastern and Williams are highly selective institutions. Northeastern has an acceptance rate of around 18%, while Williams has an acceptance rate of around 9%.

Both schools consider a range of criteria when evaluating applications, including academic achievement, extracurricular activities, essays, and letters of recommendation. Northeastern also places a significant emphasis on work experience and leadership potential.

It is important to note that both Northeastern and Williams have holistic admissions processes, meaning that they consider the whole applicant and not just their academic achievements. This means that factors such as personal background, overcoming adversity, and unique talents or experiences can also play a role in the admissions decision.

Additionally, both schools offer various options for early decision and early action applications, which can increase an applicant’s chances of acceptance. However, it is important to consider the commitment of applying early decision, as it is binding and requires the student to attend the school if accepted.

Academic Offerings: Majors, Minors, and Research Opportunities

When it comes to academics, both Northeastern and Williams offer high-quality education. Northeastern has ten colleges and over 90 undergraduate majors, ranging from Computer Science and Biology to International Affairs and the Music Industry. Students at Northeastern can also participate in research opportunities, and the co-op program provides unique hands-on work experience.

Williams College specializes in undergraduate liberal arts education, offering 36 majors. The school has an open curriculum, allowing students to create a personalized study plan with guidance from their advisors. The small class sizes enable students to have in-depth discussions and build close relationships with their professors.

Additionally, both Northeastern and Williams offer minors that allow students to explore other areas of interest outside of their major. Northeastern has over 100 minors, including Entrepreneurship, Game Design, and Global Social Entrepreneurship.

Williams offers 12 interdisciplinary concentrations, such as Africana Studies, Environmental Studies, and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.

Faculty Members: Northeastern vs Williams

Both Northeastern and Williams hire highly qualified and experienced faculty members to teach their students. Northeastern has over 1,500 full-time faculty members, and around 95% of them have a doctorate or other terminal degree. The faculty members at Northeastern are handpicked for their teaching and research expertise and are known for being supportive and accessible to students.

A male student raising his hand while other students listen intently


Williams College has a slightly different approach to faculty hiring. The school places significant emphasis on faculty-student relationships, and faculty members are expected to take on an advising role in addition to teaching. The faculty at Williams are highly trained and experienced in their fields and are known for their teaching excellence.

Despite their differences in hiring practices, both Northeastern and Williams prioritize diversity and inclusivity among their faculty members. Northeastern has made a concerted effort to increase the diversity of its faculty in recent years, with a particular focus on hiring more women and people of color.

Williams has also taken steps to increase diversity among its faculty, including implementing bias training for hiring committees and actively recruiting underrepresented groups.

Another factor to consider when comparing the teaching styles of Northeastern and Williams faculty is the size of their classes. Northeastern is a larger university, with an undergraduate enrollment of over 13,000 students, while Williams is a smaller liberal arts college with around 2,000 students.

As a result, classes at Northeastern tend to be larger, with more opportunities for students to interact with a diverse range of peers. At Williams, classes are typically smaller, allowing for more individualized attention from faculty members and a closer-knit community among students.

Campus Life: Housing, Extracurricular Activities, and Student Organizations Comparison

Campus life is an essential aspect of college, and Northeastern and Williams approach it differently. Northeastern’s campus is located in Boston, which means students have access to an array of social opportunities, from sports and recreation to shopping, dining, and nightlife. The university also provides over 40 student-run clubs and organizations and has a range of housing options to suit different lifestyles.

Williams College has a more intimate campus with a community-oriented approach to student life. Since the school is smaller, it has a more cohesive atmosphere where students can get to know each other well.

Williams has over 150 student groups, including academic and extracurricular clubs and organizations. Housing at Williams is mainly residential, and students live in dorms or shared apartments.

Two students packing their things in a dorm room.

Additionally, both Northeastern and Williams offer various opportunities for students to engage in community service and volunteer work. Northeastern has a dedicated Center of Community Service, which connects students with local organizations and provides them with meaningful service opportunities.

Williams College also has a strong commitment to community service, and students can participate in service trips, volunteer programs, and community outreach initiatives.

Sports Programs: Northeastern vs Williams

Both Northeastern and Williams have a strong focus on athletics and offer excellent sports programs for their students. Northeastern is known for its NCAA Division I Sports teams, and the school’s teams consistently rank highly in collegiate sports.

The facilities at Northeastern are state-of-the-art and well-maintained. The school offers athletics scholarships to students who excel in sports and demonstrate leadership potential.

Williams College also has an impressive athletics program, with 32 varsity teams. The school participates in NCAA Division III sports and has a strong tradition of athletic excellence. The sports facilities at Williams are extensive, including a new athletic center with multiple gyms, a swimming pool, and an ice arena. Athletics scholarships are not offered at Williams, as the school places more emphasis on academics than sports.

Despite the differences in their approach to athletics scholarships, both Northeastern and Williams offer a wide range of sports programs for their students. Northeastern has a particularly strong focus on team performance, with coaches who are dedicated to helping their athletes succeed both on and off the field.

Williams, on the other hand, places a greater emphasis on individual achievement, with many of its sports programs designed to help students develop their skills and reach their full potential.

Overall, both Northeastern and Williams provide excellent opportunities for students who are interested in sports. Whether you are looking to compete at the highest level or simply want to stay active and healthy, these schools have something to offer. So if you are passionate about sports and want to continue pursuing your athletic goals while also getting a top-notch education, consider applying to Northeastern or Williams today!

Career Development Programs: Northeastern vs Williams

Both Northeastern and Williams offer exclusive career development opportunities to help students prepare for their future careers. Northeastern, in particular, is known for its co-op program, where students work at top companies and institutions while earning college credit.

The co-op program helps students gain valuable work experience and make industry connections before they graduate. Northeastern also has a prominent alumni network, with graduates working in significant companies worldwide.

Williams, on the other hand, has a robust career development program that includes internship opportunities and networking events with alumni. The career center provides students with job search resources, including resume and interview preparation. Williams also has a loyal alumni network that students can leverage to find jobs or internships.

Additionally, Northeastern offers a unique global co-op program, where students can work abroad in countries such as Australia, China, and Germany. This program allows students to gain international work experience and cultural immersion, which can be valuable in today’s global job market.

a female intern talking to a male employee

Northeastern also offers a variety of career-focused clubs and organizations, such as the Entrepreneurship Club and the Women in Business Club, which provide students with networking opportunities and professional development resources.

Williams, on the other hand, has a strong focus on mentorship and career exploration. The college offers a program called “Winter Study,” where students can take a month-long course on a specific career field or industry. This program allows students to gain hands-on experience and explore potential career paths.

Williams also has a career trek program, where students can visit companies and organizations in major cities such as New York and San Francisco to learn about different industries and network with alumni in those areas.

Tuition Fees and Financial Aid Packages: Cost of Attendance Comparison

College tuition is a significant investment, and it’s vital to consider the cost of attendance when comparing schools. Northeastern’s tuition fee for the 2021-2022 academic year is around $58,000, plus additional fees for housing, meals, and other expenses. Williams College’s tuition fee is slightly higher, at around $60,000 per year.

Both schools offer financial aid packages to help students cover the cost of attendance. Northeastern provides need-based and merit-based scholarships and grants, as well as work-study opportunities and loans.

Williams College has a no-loan policy, meaning that students receive grants rather than loans to cover their financial needs. Williams also provides need-blind admission, which means that the school considers a student’s application without considering their ability to pay.

It’s important to note that the cost of attendance can vary depending on a student’s individual circumstances. For example, students who live off-campus may have lower housing costs than those who live on campus. Additionally, students who receive scholarships or grants may have a lower overall cost of attendance than those who rely solely on loans.

Another factor to consider when comparing the cost of attendance is the potential return on investment. Graduates from both Northeastern and Williams College have high earning potential, with average starting salaries of around $70,000 and $60,000, respectively. This means that while the cost of attendance may be high, the investment in a degree from either school can pay off in the long run.

Graduation Rates and Employment Outcomes: Northeastern vs Williams

Another critical aspect of college is post-graduation success, and both Northeastern and Williams have strong track records in this area. The graduation rate at Northeastern is around 84%, and the school has a high level of employability among its graduates. Many Northeastern graduates go on to work for top companies like Amazon, Apple, and Goldman Sachs.

a graduation hat sitting on an answer sheet

Williams College has an impressive 95% graduation rate, and graduates of the school go on to have successful careers in a variety of fields. The school has recently expanded its resources for career development, and graduates have gone on to work for companies like Bank of America, Pfizer, and Teach for America.

It is worth noting that both Northeastern and Williams have strong alumni networks that can be beneficial for graduates in their job search. Northeastern has a vast network of over 255,000 alumni, and the school offers various networking events and career fairs to connect students with potential employers.

Similarly, Williams College has a robust alumni network, with graduates working in various industries worldwide. The school also offers career-related events and workshops to help students build their professional skills and connect with alumni in their fields of interest.

Public Perception and Rankings of Northeastern vs Williams

Both Northeastern and Williams have exceptional reputations in the academic community and beyond. Northeastern is ranked as the #39 national university by US News and World Report, and many of its programs rank highly for their quality and innovation.

Williams College is ranked #1 for best liberal arts college in the country by US News and World Report, and it’s consistently ranked as a top small college in the US.

Additionally, both Northeastern and Williams have been recognized for their commitment to diversity and inclusion. Northeastern has been named a Diversity Champion by INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine for six consecutive years and has received numerous awards for its efforts to create a welcoming and inclusive campus environment.

Williams College has also been recognized for its diversity initiatives, including its partnership with the Posse Foundation to provide full-tuition scholarships to talented students from underrepresented backgrounds.

Conclusion: Which College is the Best Fit for You?

Both Northeastern and Williams can provide an outstanding education, but they have different strengths and approaches to learning. Northeastern is known for its co-op program and urban campus, providing students with the opportunity to gain real-world work experience and immerse themselves in a vibrant city.

Williams College prioritizes a personalized, intimate approach to learning, which is ideal for students who are interested in liberal arts and want to build close relationships with their professors and peers.

Ultimately, the decision of which college to attend depends on your academic interests, career goals, and lifestyle preferences. We hope this comprehensive analysis has provided you with the information you need to make an informed decision.

View of a woman sitting on the stairs of a school building.

It is important to note that there are other factors to consider when choosing a college, such as location, campus culture, extracurricular activities, and financial aid. It is recommended that you visit each campus, talk to current students and faculty, and attend information sessions to get a better sense of what each college has to offer.

Remember, the college you choose will have a significant impact on your future, so take the time to make a thoughtful and informed decision.

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 to learn more about what we offer.


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