UCLA and Williams: A Comprehensive Comparison

July 19, 2023
By AdmissionSight

UCLA and Williams: A Comprehensive Comparison

Struggling to decide between UCLA and Williams College? Look no further. We bring you this article so you can make an informed decision.

Introduction: A Brief Overview of UCLA and Williams College

UCLA is a public research university located in Los Angeles, California, while Williams College is a private liberal arts college located in Williamstown, Massachusetts.

Both institutions are highly reputed and offer excellent academic programs. However, there are significant differences between the two that may affect your decision to enroll.

One major difference between UCLA and Williams College is their size. UCLA has a student population of over 44,000, while Williams College has a much smaller student body of around 2,000.

Group of students smiling and talking to each other.

This means that UCLA offers a wider range of academic programs and extracurricular activities, while Williams College provides a more intimate and personalized learning experience.

Additionally, the location of each institution may also play a role in your decision. Los Angeles offers a bustling city atmosphere with access to a diverse range of industries and opportunities, while Williamstown provides a picturesque, small-town setting with a strong focus on the arts and humanities.

Campus Culture and Student Life: How Do They Differ?

The campus culture at UCLA is diverse and cosmopolitan. As a public university, its student body is composed of a wide variety of individuals from different backgrounds.

Additionally, UCLA prides itself on its vibrant social scene, with numerous clubs and organizations to join. On the other hand, Williams College has a small, tight-knit community that emphasizes close relationships between students and faculty.

With a smaller student population, Williams provides a more intimate and personalized experience. Students at Williams can enjoy outdoor activities in the surrounding area due to the college’s location in the picturesque Berkshires.

Despite the differences in campus culture, both UCLA and Williams College offer a range of extracurricular activities to their students. At UCLA, students can participate in sports teams, music groups, and volunteer organizations. Williams College also has a variety of clubs and organizations, including a popular outdoor club that organizes hiking and camping trips.

Another difference between the two schools is their academic focus. UCLA is known for its strong programs in the sciences and engineering, while Williams College is renowned for its liberal arts curriculum.

Williams College has a unique tutorial system, where students meet one-on-one with a professor to discuss and analyze texts. This system fosters close relationships between students and faculty and encourages intellectual curiosity.

Academic Programs Offered: A Comparison of Course Offerings and Curriculum

UCLA offers over 125 majors, while Williams College offers over 30 majors and concentrations. Both institutions have a range of academic programs to choose from that cater to different interests and academic goals.

Group of students walking in the campus.

However, UCLA offers more specialized programs due to its status as a research institution, while Williams has a more traditional liberal arts curriculum. Despite the differences in curriculum design, both schools offer rigorous academic programs that will challenge and engage students.

One of the unique features of UCLA’s academic programs is its emphasis on interdisciplinary studies. Students have the opportunity to combine courses from different departments to create a customized major that aligns with their interests and career goals. This approach allows students to explore different fields and gain a broader perspective on complex issues.

On the other hand, Williams College has a strong focus on undergraduate research and encourages students to engage in independent research projects.

This provides students with hands-on experience in their field of study and prepares them for graduate studies or careers in research. Additionally, Williams offers a wide range of study abroad programs that allow students to gain a global perspective and immerse themselves in different cultures.

Faculty and Student Ratio: Which College Offers More Attention to Students?

One of the standout features of Williams College is its low student-to-faculty ratio of 7:1. This ratio means that students receive more one-on-one attention and mentorship from faculty members.

In contrast, UCLA has a much higher student-to-faculty ratio of 18:1. While this difference in ratio signals more peer-to-peer interaction, it can also lead to students having less individual time with their professors.

However, it is important to note that a low student-to-faculty ratio does not always guarantee a better learning experience. Other factors such as the teaching style of the faculty, the availability of resources, and the overall campus culture also play a significant role in shaping the academic environment. Therefore, it is essential for students to consider a range of factors when choosing a college that best fits their needs and goals.

Admissions Process: A Comparative Analysis of the Requirements and Acceptance Rates

The admissions process for both UCLA and Williams College is highly competitive. However, there are differences in their application requirements. UCLA requires applicants to take the SAT or ACT, while Williams College has adopted a test-optional policy.

Close up of students smiling at the camera.

Williams College also requires applicants to submit supplemental materials, such as an art portfolio or writing sample, to demonstrate their creativity and intellectual curiosity. Additionally, Williams College has a slightly lower acceptance rate of 12%, while UCLA’s acceptance rate is around 14%.

Another difference between the admissions process at UCLA and Williams College is the way they evaluate extracurricular activities. UCLA places a strong emphasis on leadership roles and community service, while Williams College values students’ passion and depth of involvement in their chosen activities.

This means that a student who has dedicated themselves to one or two activities may have a better chance of being accepted to Williams College, while a student with a more diverse range of activities may have an advantage at UCLA.

It’s also worth noting that both schools have different application deadlines. UCLA has a November 30th deadline for regular decision, while Williams College has a January 1st deadline.

This means that students who are applying to both schools will need to plan their application timeline carefully to ensure they meet both deadlines.

Financial Aid Packages: How Do They Stack Up?

Both UCLA and Williams College offer excellent financial aid packages to help deserving students afford a high-quality education. UCLA, being a public institution, offers in-state tuition rates to California residents.

Additionally, UCLA has a need-blind admissions process, which means that admissions decisions are not influenced by an applicant’s financial status.

Williams College, on the other hand, is a need-based institution that meets the full demonstrated financial need of its admitted students. It is also worth noting that Williams College has a higher net price due to its status as a private college.

Another important factor to consider when comparing financial aid packages is the types of aid offered. UCLA offers a variety of aid options, including grants, scholarships, work-study programs, and loans.

Williams College, on the other hand, offers primarily grants and work-study programs, with limited loan options. This means that students at Williams College may graduate with less debt than those at UCLA.

It is also important to note that both institutions have resources available to help students navigate the financial aid process. UCLA has a dedicated financial aid office that provides personalized assistance to students and families.

Williams College has a similar office, as well as a financial aid calculator on their website to help students estimate their expected family contribution and potential aid package.

Career Prospects: Which College Produces More Employable Graduates?

UCLA’s graduates enjoy a high success rate after graduation, with an average starting salary of $65,000 per year. Its graduates land jobs with prestigious companies and organizations worldwide.

business students brainstorming

On the other hand, Williams College graduates have a lower starting salary of around $50,000 per year due to the focus on liberal arts education and its resulting breadth of career opportunities. However, Williams College graduates typically have excellent critical thinking and analytical skills coveted by employers.

Another factor to consider when comparing the career prospects of these two colleges is the industries in which their graduates tend to find employment.

UCLA graduates often pursue careers in technology, entertainment, and business, while Williams College graduates tend to gravitate towards fields such as education, non-profit work, and government. This difference in career paths can impact starting salaries and long-term career growth opportunities.

It’s also worth noting that both colleges have strong alumni networks that can be beneficial for graduates seeking employment. UCLA’s alumni network is particularly robust, with many successful graduates who are eager to help current students and recent graduates find job opportunities. Williams College’s alumni network is smaller but still active, with many graduates working in leadership positions in various industries.

Alumni Network: How Active and Supportive Are the Graduates of Each College?

Both UCLA and Williams College have active and supportive alumni networks. UCLA alumni are well-distributed across the world but are concentrated in California.

Williams College’s alumni network is more nationally concentrated, and alumni are known to be highly involved with their alma mater. Both institutions offer career services and networking opportunities for their students and graduates.

Additionally, UCLA’s alumni network has a strong presence in the entertainment industry, with many graduates working in film, television, and music.

Williams College’s alumni network, on the other hand, has a strong focus on philanthropy and community service, with many graduates involved in non-profit organizations and social justice initiatives.

Despite these differences, both alumni networks are known for their generosity and willingness to support current students and recent graduates.

Diversity and Inclusion: How Do the Two Schools Foster an Inclusive Environment?

UCLA’s diverse student body is representative of California’s multiculturalism, with students from many different ethnic, racial, and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Students smiling at the camera together.

UCLA offers academic and social programs that promote inclusivity and diversity. Williams College has a less diverse student body, but the college is committed to creating an inclusive environment. Williams has various cultural organizations and academic programs that promote cultural awareness and diversity training.

One of the ways that UCLA fosters an inclusive environment is through its Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. This office provides resources and support for students, faculty, and staff to promote diversity and inclusion on campus.

Additionally, UCLA has a Diversity Requirement for undergraduate students, which ensures that students take courses that explore issues of diversity and inequality.

Williams College also has a similar requirement, called the Social Justice Requirement, which aims to educate students on issues of social justice and diversity. Both schools recognize the importance of creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for all students.

Research Opportunities: Which College Offers More Opportunities for Undergraduate Research?

UCLA is a research institution that offers undergraduate students extensive opportunities to engage in research activities. The university provides research grants and funding to undergraduate students, in addition to numerous research centers and institutes.

Williams College has research opportunities as well, but students will have to seek out those opportunities. Professors are always available to mentor and guide students individually in their research.

It is important to note that the type of research opportunities available at each college may differ. UCLA’s research opportunities are primarily focused on STEM fields, while Williams College offers research opportunities in a variety of fields, including humanities and social sciences.

Additionally, UCLA’s research opportunities may be more competitive due to the larger student body, while Williams College’s smaller size may provide more personalized research experiences for students.

Study Abroad Programs: A Comparison of International Education Opportunities

Both UCLA and Williams College offer their students diverse international study abroad programs. UCLA’s extensive range of international programs includes options for year-long, semester-long, and summer study abroad.

Williams College also offers various study abroad programs, with options for students to study in Europe, Asia, and South America. These international programs allow students to gain valuable global experiences.

Studying abroad not only provides students with valuable global experiences but also enhances their resumes and career prospects. Employers often look for candidates who have international experience and are able to work in diverse environments. Therefore, participating in a study abroad program can give students a competitive edge in the job market.


Ultimately, the decision between UCLA and Williams College will depend on your individual academic, social, and financial needs. Both institutions offer excellent academic programs, a tight-knit community, and strong resources to their students.

Segue to AdmissionSight

At AdmissionSight, we firmly uphold the conviction that every student is entitled to the chance to pursue their dreams at their preferred college. Our mission is to equip you with the expert advice and unwavering support you need to secure a place at the schools you aspire to attend.

Don’t let your future hinge on uncertainty. Reach out to AdmissionSight today to arrange a complimentary consultation and embark on the journey toward realizing your dreams. With our expert mentorship and steadfast support, the sky’s the limit.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign up now to receive insights on
how to navigate the college admissions process.