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Williams College Diversity Statistics

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Students smiling for the camera in front of a building.

Williams College Diversity Statistics: An In-Depth Overview

Williams College is a private liberal arts college located in Williamstown, Massachusetts, USA. It was established in 1793, making it one of the oldest institutions of higher education in the United States. Known for its dedicated undergraduate education, Williams College offers a wide range of academic programs in the arts, humanities, sciences, and social sciences.

With a strong emphasis on a liberal arts education, Williams encourages students to explore a broad spectrum of subjects before concentrating on their major field of study. This approach helps students develop a well-rounded knowledge base and critical thinking skills. The college also places a significant focus on undergraduate research opportunities, enabling students to work closely with professors on various projects.

Williams College is part of the Little Three, a collegiate athletic conference with Amherst College and Wesleyan University, highlighting a strong tradition in college sports. Beyond academics and athletics, Williams boasts a vibrant campus life with numerous student-led organizations, clubs, and activities, allowing students to engage in a wide range of interests and community service projects.

How many students attend Williams College?

As of February 2023, Williams College is home to a total of 2,258 students. 

This diverse group includes 52 graduate students and a variety of undergraduates: 586 freshmen, 582 sophomores, 531 juniors, and 507 seniors.

When we look back at September 2022, the total student population was slightly higher, at 2,331, with the numbers distributed as follows: 52 graduate students, 585 freshmen, 584 sophomores, 529 juniors, and 581 seniors. Among these students, 2,185 are enrolled on a full-time basis, while 39 are part-time students.

One of the standout features of Williams College is its student-to-faculty ratio, which is an impressive 7:1. This low ratio is a clear indication of the college’s commitment to providing a focused and intimate educational experience.

Small class sizes are a hallmark of the college, ensuring that students receive personalized attention from their instructors. This setup not only facilitates a deeper understanding of the coursework but also fosters strong bonds between students and faculty, significantly enhancing the overall learning experience.

Group of students talking in the stairs.

 

Williams College Undergraduate Population

For the 2022-2023 academic year, Williams College has an undergraduate enrollment of 2,169 students. 

The college’s curriculum is divided into three main academic divisions: languages and the arts, social sciences, and science and mathematics. These divisions are further broken down into 26 departments, offering students a choice of 37 majors, along with a variety of concentrations and special programs. The academic calendar is structured around two main semesters, each consisting of four courses, plus a unique one-course term in January.

When it comes to admissions for the Class of 2027, Williams College received 11,465 applications. Of these, 1,145 were offered admission, translating to an acceptance rate of 10%. Ultimately, 541 students chose to enroll, with early-decision applicants making up 46% of the incoming class.

The overall acceptance rate for Williams College during this admission cycle was 9.8%, a figure derived from the 858 students admitted through the regular decision process. This competitive acceptance rate underscores Williams College’s status as a highly selective institution, reflecting the college’s rigorous academic standards and its appeal among prospective students.

Williams College Graduate Population

In February 2023, Williams College reported a total student enrollment of 56 graduate students, which remains unchanged from the number recorded in September 2022. 

Looking at the graduation outcomes, for the cohort of 548 first-year students who started in 2017, 74% completed their degrees at Williams within a four-year timeframe, and an impressive 97% graduated within six years. Notably, about 45% of these students achieved graduation with dual majors, illustrating a commitment to academic breadth and depth among the student body.

Turning to the alumni network, Williams College boasts 31,748 living alumni, who are connected through 51 regional alumni associations both in the United States and internationally. The alumni engagement is strong, with a participation rate of 46.5% in the 2022-23 Alumni Fund. This indicates a strong ongoing connection between the college and its graduates.

Furthermore, a significant portion of alumni, specifically more than 61% of those who graduated between 1980 and 2000, have pursued higher education beyond their undergraduate degrees. The fields of management, education, law, and healthcare are particularly popular among Williams alumni, highlighting the diverse career paths that graduates pursue following their time at the college.

Group of students walking side by side in the school campus.

Williams College International Student Population

As of Fall 2023, the composition of the student population highlights this diversity, with 42% of U.S. students identifying as students of color. 

The student body is notably diverse, drawing undergraduates predominantly from New York, Massachusetts, and California, in that order. Furthermore, Williams College boasts a rich international presence on campus, with students hailing from more than 90 different countries. These international students account for about 9% of the overall student population.

This international representation underscores the college’s global appeal and its commitment to fostering a multicultural educational environment where students from a wide range of backgrounds can learn from each other.

Williams College Gender Distribution

The gender distribution at Williams College shows a nuanced picture of its student body, spanning both undergraduate and graduate levels. For undergraduates, men make up 48.2% of the population, women are slightly more at 50.8%, and students identifying as another gender account for 1%. In the graduate population, the distribution shifts slightly: men constitute 42.9%, women increase to 55.4%, and those identifying as another gender make up 1.8%.

Williams College Student Population

Undergrad

Graduate

Men

48.20% 42.90%
Women 50.80%

55.40%

Other Gender

1.00%

1.80%

This data provides insight into the college’s gender dynamics. The higher percentage of women in both undergraduate and graduate programs reflects broader trends in higher education, where women have been enrolling and graduating at higher rates than men for several decades.

The presence of students who identify with genders other than male or female, although small in percentage, indicates an environment of inclusivity and recognition of diverse gender identities at Williams College.

The historical context of Williams College adds depth to this analysis. The phasing out of fraternities starting in 1962 and the adoption of coeducation in 1970 were significant steps towards creating a more inclusive and equitable campus culture. These changes likely paved the way for the diverse gender distribution seen today.

By moving away from a fraternity-dominated social environment and welcoming women students, Williams College has evolved into a more inclusive academic institution that supports diversity in gender and beyond.

a group of student's social life at princeton

Williams College Age Distribution

Williams College showcases a notable level of age diversity among its student population. With an age diversity score of 49.36 out of 100, the college is recognized for its ability to attract students across a broad age spectrum. This score reflects a balanced mix of students from different age groups, although it leans heavily towards those who are within the traditional college age range.

Age Range

Percentage

Under 18

2.00%
18-19

40.30%

20-21

43.90%
22-24

11.20%

25-29

1.40%
30-34

0.60%

35-39

0.60%
40-49

0.00%

50-64

0.00%
Over 64

0.00%

Unknown 0.00%

A “traditional college student” is usually defined as someone who is between the ages of 18 and 21. At Williams College, a significant 87.02% of the student body falls within this age range. This percentage is considerably higher than the national average, which is around 60%. Such a high proportion of students in the traditional age range indicates that Williams College is particularly appealing to younger individuals seeking a college education immediately after high school.

Despite this emphasis on the younger demographic, the presence of students outside the traditional age range suggests that Williams College also offers opportunities and a welcoming environment for older students, whether they are pursuing undergraduate degrees later in life or engaged in graduate studies. This blend of age groups enriches the college community, fostering a diverse learning environment where students of all ages can share perspectives and experiences.

Williams College Diversity Statistics and Racial/Ethnic Demographics

Williams College is a vibrant academic community that boasts a diverse student body, including representation from 59 countries. The international student population at Williams primarily comes from China, Canada, and South Korea, highlighting the college’s global appeal.

Out of the vast number of international students studying in the U.S. in 2020, which was estimated to be around 1,159,798, Williams College hosted approximately 168 of these students.

Specifically, the college’s campus is enriched by 168 international students, with the overwhelming majority, 166, being undergraduates. This international group forms part of the total student population of 1,987, of which 1,962 are pursuing undergraduate degrees.

Race/Ethnicity

Percentage

White

54.64%
Asian

14.41%

Hispanic

12.96%
Black/African American

5.13%

American Indian/Native American

0.05%

Two or more

7.18%

Unknown

5.63%

These statistics underscore Williams College’s commitment to creating an inclusive educational environment where students from a wide range of backgrounds and perspectives can thrive. The diversity of the student body not only enhances the learning experience but also fosters a sense of global community and understanding on campus.

Female student writing a letter in a table near the window.

Williams College Racial/Ethnic Diversity Among Faculty

Williams College employs a total of 348 instructional faculty members, showcasing a strong commitment to academic excellence and mentorship. A significant portion of the faculty, 59%, hold tenured positions, indicating a stable and experienced teaching staff dedicated to the institution and its students. Moreover, the vast majority of faculty members, 97%, possess doctorates or other terminal degrees in their fields, underscoring the high level of expertise and specialization available to students.

Faculty Race/Ethnicity

Percentage

White

86.47%
Asian

4.07%

Multi-Ethnic

1.02%
Black or African American

3.91%

In recent years, Williams College has actively pursued initiatives to enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion among its faculty and staff. These efforts are aimed at fostering a welcoming and inclusive community for everyone at the college. By focusing on increasing the representation of underrepresented groups, the college seeks to enrich the educational experience with a wide range of perspectives and expertise.

These initiatives are part of a broader strategy to embed diversity and inclusivity into the fabric of academic and institutional life at Williams College, ensuring that all members of the community feel valued and supported.

Williams College Geographic Diversity

Williams College is deeply committed to cultivating a geographically diverse community, valuing inclusivity and respect across various social identities. This commitment is woven into the college’s mission, emphasizing the importance of embracing the wide array of backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives of its students, staff, and faculty. By offering a global curriculum and maintaining a diverse campus community, Williams aims to nurture individuals who are open to understanding and engaging with a broad spectrum of identities and cultures, encouraging them to look beyond their personal viewpoints.

The college’s dedication to diversity spans multiple dimensions, not limited to race, ethnicity, and gender, but also including sexual orientation, socio-economic status, language, culture, national origin, religion, age, disability, and military or veteran status. Such a comprehensive approach to diversity is central to Williams College’s ethos, significantly enhancing the educational journey and fostering a supportive environment for all community members to thrive in a globally interconnected society.

Reflecting its commitment to geographic diversity, a remarkable 86.63% of Williams students come from outside the state, and an additional 9.4% are international, making Williams College rank 49th among 2,183 institutions for geographic diversity. The student location diversity score is impressively high at 97 out of 100.

Notably, the majority of undergraduates hail from New York, Massachusetts, and California, showcasing a wide geographic representation on campus. The college also supports an 8% undergraduate international enrollment and a 41% U.S. minority enrollment, underlining its efforts to create a richly diverse learning environment.

To further support students from underrepresented groups, Williams College has instituted several initiatives and programs. The Davis Center, for instance, plays a pivotal role in addressing the unique needs of racial, ethnic, and diverse groups within the community.

The college offers a variety of resources and training to assist staff, faculty, and students in developing learning opportunities tailored to diverse needs. Williams encourages and facilitates discussions on diversity, equity, and inclusion, often sparked by student activism, which brings critical issues of power, privilege, and justice to the forefront of community awareness.

Through these efforts, Williams College demonstrates an unwavering commitment to fostering an inclusive and supportive environment for all students, particularly those from underrepresented backgrounds. This holistic approach to diversity and inclusion not only enriches the campus culture but also prepares students for success and leadership in a diverse world.

Students holding their books while in the library.

Williams College Financial Diversity

Williams College is deeply committed to financial diversity among its students, ensuring that financial constraints do not hinder access to its high-quality education. To this end, the college provides substantial financial aid to its undergraduate students:

  • Approximately 52% of Williams undergraduates benefit from need-based financial aid.
  • About 18% of undergraduates receive Pell Grants, which are awarded to low-income students.
  • For 28% of students receiving aid, their parents are not required to contribute financially towards their education.

All financial aid packages from Williams consist entirely of grants, including federal, state, and Williams College grants, with no loans or campus job requirements.

The comprehensive fees for the 2023-2024 academic year are set at $64,540 for tuition, with additional costs for board, room, and fees amounting to $16,620. A study away fee may also apply, costing $1,500. Notably, Williams College adopts a unique financial aid approach, being the first institution in the country to offer an “all-grant” financial aid system.

This system ensures that all admitted U.S. students have their demonstrated financial need fully met for four years, without the burden of loans or required work-study, effectively making Williams accessible regardless of a family’s financial situation. Over half of all Williams students benefit from this financial aid, reflecting the college’s dedication to maintaining an economically diverse student body.

In the fiscal year 2022-2023, Williams reported operating expenditures of $295,907,000, with private support contributions amounting to $75,163,570 and an investment pool valued at $3,486,558,000 as of June 30, 2023. These financial resources underscore Williams’ ability to support its mission and commitments, including its financial aid program.

Williams College supports its commitment to diversity and inclusion through various initiatives aimed at underrepresented groups, ensuring a welcoming environment for all. Financial aid statistics reveal that the average financial aid offer for freshmen is approximately $53,164, with the average need-based scholarship or grant awarded to first-year students being $65,134. These figures highlight Williams’ significant investment in making education accessible to a broad demographic.

The college has implemented several initiatives to support students from underrepresented backgrounds, including:

The Davis Center: Focuses on the needs of racial, ethnic, and diverse groups within the community.

Financial Aid and Affordability: Aims to expand economic diversity and make Williams accessible to students from all economic backgrounds.

Diversity Initiatives: Dedicated to fostering a diverse and respectful community through a global curriculum and a variety of campus activities.

Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Works to create an equitable community free from bias and discrimination.

Recruitment Efforts: Seeks to diversify the applicant pool by reaching out to non-traditional communities and regions.

Community Learning and Dialogue: Encourages conversations around diversity, equity, and inclusion, equipping community members to engage thoughtfully with these critical issues.

Williams College’s comprehensive approach to financial aid, alongside its initiatives to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion, demonstrates a firm commitment to ensuring that students from all backgrounds can thrive and succeed, making it a leader in creating an accessible, supportive, and inclusive academic environment.

USC students talking and walking in the campus.

How diverse and inclusive is Williams College?

Williams College is recognized for its strong commitment to diversity and inclusivity, reflecting this through its student body, faculty, and various institutional practices and initiatives.

Williams has students from over 59 countries, with a significant portion of its student body coming from outside Massachusetts, including international students, making it a melting pot of different cultures and perspectives.

The college has a vibrant mix of racial and ethnic backgrounds among its students, including representation from underrepresented groups. With students identifying as White, Asian, Hispanic, Black/African American, American Indian/Native American, and those identifying with two or more races, the campus is a reflection of a broad spectrum of identities.

Over half of the undergraduate students receive need-based financial aid, and the college has an “all-grant” financial aid policy, ensuring that education at Williams is accessible to students regardless of their financial background.

Williams College also emphasizes diversity among its faculty, with a significant percentage holding terminal degrees and coming from varied backgrounds, enriching the academic environment with diverse perspectives and expertise.

The college has established several initiatives and programs aimed at promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion, such as The Davis Center, which focuses on the needs of racial, ethnic, and other diverse groups.

Williams has met 100% of the demonstrated financial need for all admitted students for four years, showcasing its commitment to making education accessible to all, regardless of economic background. The Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion works to create a community where all members can thrive, by addressing bias, discrimination, and opportunity gaps.

Williams College fosters a campus culture that values open dialogue, respect for all social identities, and critical engagement with issues of power, privilege, and justice. This is evident in the support for student activism and the encouragement of discussions around diversity, equity, and inclusion.

The college’s efforts to expand its applicant pool and attend to the needs of students from underrepresented groups demonstrate a proactive approach to building a diverse and inclusive academic community.

The college’s high rankings in geographic diversity and its comprehensive support for international students and students from a variety of economic backgrounds further underscore its inclusivity.

Williams College’s comprehensive approach to diversity and inclusivity is evident across multiple facets of its community—from student demographics and faculty composition to institutional initiatives and campus culture. This holistic commitment not only enhances the educational experience but also prepares students to thrive in a diverse and interconnected world.

Young woman talking to someone while sitting.

Is diversity important at Williams College?

Williams College’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is woven deeply into its institutional fabric, impacting every aspect of campus life and academic programming. Beyond the foundational elements previously discussed, Williams further exemplifies its dedication through additional practices, programs, and community initiatives that showcase its holistic approach to fostering an inclusive environment.

Williams offers specialized programs and courses that focus on global cultures, social justice, and historical contexts of marginalized groups, enriching the curriculum with diverse perspectives. These programs not only provide students with a deeper understanding of different cultures and societies but also prepare them for effective leadership in a diverse world.

The college not only focuses on diversifying its student body but also places a high priority on recruiting and retaining faculty from underrepresented backgrounds. This effort ensures that the faculty composition mirrors the diversity of the student body, providing role models and diverse perspectives within the classroom.

Beyond traditional need-based financial aid, Williams has implemented innovative financial support systems designed to alleviate the incidental costs of college life that can disproportionately affect students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. These may include travel grants for international students, funding for books and materials, and support for engaging in extracurricular activities that are part of the Williams experience.

The college supports several cultural and resource centers that cater to the needs of various student groups, including international students, students of color, LGBTQ+ students, and others. These centers are vital for fostering a sense of belonging and community among students, offering spaces where they can celebrate their cultures, share their experiences, and access resources tailored to their needs.

Williams regularly hosts dialogues, workshops, and seminars on diversity, equity, and inclusion topics, inviting scholars, activists, and thought leaders. These events encourage open discussions, provide education on social justice issues, and promote a campus culture that is actively engaged in addressing contemporary challenges related to diversity and inclusion.

Understanding the importance of a diverse applicant pool, Williams employs targeted recruitment strategies aimed at underrepresented populations. These include outreach to high schools in diverse communities, partnerships with organizations that support students from diverse backgrounds in their college application processes, and hosting campus visit programs for prospective students.

The college leverages its network of diverse alumni to mentor current students, provide internships, and support career development. Alumni play a crucial role in building a supportive community and offering students guidance and opportunities beyond the college.

Encouraging students to engage with the world beyond Williams, the college offers a variety of study abroad programs and global initiatives. These programs are designed to enhance students’ understanding of global issues, cross-cultural communication, and international perspectives.

Through these extensive efforts, Williams College not only commits to the idea of diversity and inclusion but actively embeds these values into the daily lives of its students, faculty, and staff. By continuously evolving its policies, programs, and practices to better support a diverse and inclusive community, Williams sets a strong example of how institutions can work towards creating a more equitable and understanding society.

College students gathered around a table while talking.

Clubs at Williams College that promote diversity

Williams College offers a variety of clubs and programs dedicated to enhancing diversity and inclusion within its community. Below are some notable clubs and initiatives at Williams College:

Committee on Diversity and Community (CDC)

The Committee on Diversity and Community at Williams College, previously called the Commission on Campus Race Relations, helps enhance diversity and foster a sense of community on campus. This committee is made up of faculty members, staff, and students who are dedicated to improving relationships and understanding among various campus groups.

The CDC looks closely at how inclusive and diverse the campus environment is, identifies any issues related to diversity and inclusion, suggests new ideas and programs to address these issues, and supports the college’s mission to prepare students to actively participate in a diverse world. By doing so, the CDC contributes significantly to making Williams College a more welcoming and understanding place for everyone.

The Davis Center

The Davis Center plays a crucial role at Williams College by offering support and resources tailored to the needs of students from diverse racial, ethnic, and other underrepresented groups. It acts as a hub for fostering a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere on campus. The center is dedicated to enhancing the college experience for these students by ensuring they have access to the support and resources they need.

Moreover, it actively works to promote diversity and inclusion throughout the college, aiming to enrich the campus culture for everyone. Through its various programs and initiatives, the Davis Center helps to build a community where all members feel valued and included, contributing to the overall goal of creating a more diverse and equitable academic environment.

Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Williams College is committed to building a campus community where everyone has the opportunity to succeed. This office focuses on tackling issues such as bias and discrimination, aiming to create a fairer environment for all. It works on identifying and bridging gaps that might prevent some community members from accessing the same opportunities as others.

The office spearheads important discussions and launches programs aimed at enhancing inclusivity, fairness, and social justice within the campus. Through its efforts, the office strives to ensure that Williams College is a place of equality and respect, where diverse perspectives are valued and all individuals feel welcomed and empowered.

These organizations and efforts are essential in creating a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere at Williams College. They provide support to underrepresented communities, advocate for diversity, fairness, and inclusion, and facilitate important discussions about social justice issues within the campus community.

Young woman looking outside while holding her books.

Is Williams College The Right Fit For You?

Deciding if Williams College is the right fit for you involves considering several aspects of what the college offers and how it aligns with your personal and academic goals. Williams College, known for its strong commitment to liberal arts education, provides a unique and enriching environment for its students. Here are some key points to consider:

Academic Excellence

Williams College is renowned for its rigorous academic programs, small class sizes, and personalized education. With a broad range of majors and minors in the arts, humanities, sciences, and social sciences, the college encourages interdisciplinary learning. For example, the college’s unique tutorial system, inspired by the Oxford model, pairs students with professors in intense, discussion-based classes, offering a deeply engaging learning experience.

Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion

Williams is dedicated to creating an inclusive community where students from various backgrounds feel welcome and supported. Through initiatives like The Davis Center and the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Williams actively works to promote diversity, equity, and social justice on campus. The presence of diverse clubs and student organizations ensures that there are platforms for voices from all walks of life.

Financial Aid and Support

Recognizing the importance of making education accessible, Williams meets 100% of demonstrated financial need for all admitted students. The college’s pioneering all-grant financial aid policy means students can graduate without the burden of loan debt, making it an attractive option for those seeking financial support.

Vibrant Campus Life

Life at Williams extends beyond academics, offering a vibrant campus culture with numerous clubs, organizations, and activities. Whether you’re interested in arts, sports, environmental advocacy, or community service, there’s a place for you. The college’s location in the picturesque Berkshire Mountains also provides ample opportunity for outdoor activities, enhancing the student experience.

Strong Alumni Network

Graduates of Williams join a network of alumni who are leaders in various fields. This network can be a valuable resource for mentorship, internships, and career opportunities. The college’s emphasis on building a tight-knit community translates into lifelong connections.

Global Perspective

With students from over 50 countries and opportunities for study abroad, Williams fosters a global perspective. Programs and courses are designed to prepare students for success in an interconnected world, encouraging them to understand and appreciate different cultures and viewpoints.

Research and Innovation

Students at Williams have unique opportunities for research and innovation, often working closely with faculty members on projects. This hands-on experience is invaluable for those interested in pursuing research careers or further education.

Deciding if Williams College is the right fit for you comes down to what you value in your college experience. If a close-knit community with a strong emphasis on liberal arts education, diversity and inclusion, financial support, and a vibrant campus life aligns with your goals, Williams could be an excellent choice. Consider visiting the campus, talking to current students or alumni, and exploring the academic and extracurricular offerings in more detail to make an informed decision.

Students sitting on the bench of a school.

Final Thoughts

Williams College shines as a leading example of diversity and inclusion in the realm of higher education. Through its comprehensive approach, which includes targeted recruitment, financial aid policies, academic programs, and campus initiatives, Williams not only talks the talk but walks the walk when it comes to fostering a diverse and inclusive environment.

The college’s efforts, from the Davis Center’s support for underrepresented students to the proactive work of the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, highlight its commitment to creating a space where all students can thrive, regardless of their background.

The presence of various clubs and initiatives dedicated to promoting diversity and equity speaks volumes about the college’s vibrant community life. These organizations support students from diverse backgrounds and educate and involve the wider campus in critical conversations about social justice, equity, and inclusion.

By continuously evaluating and enhancing its diversity and inclusion strategies, Williams College ensures that it remains a welcoming place for all. For students seeking a college experience rich in perspectives and committed to equality, Williams offers a compelling choice. The commitment of the college to diversity goes beyond mere statistics; it’s about fostering a sense of community and respect that equips students to navigate the diverse and complex world beyond campus.

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