Williams vs Barnard: A Comprehensive Look

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

A female student looking at her laptop and thinking.

Williams vs Barnard: A Comprehensive Look

When it comes to choosing the right college, two institutions that often come up in the conversation are Williams College and Barnard College. Both are highly regarded for their academic rigor, campus culture, and overall student experience. But how do these two top-ranked colleges compare to each other? In this article, we’ll compare Williams vs Barnard based on various criteria to help you make an informed decision as to which is right for you.

Location and Campus Overview

Williams College is located in Williamstown, Massachusetts, a charming town in the Berkshire Mountains. The campus covers over 450 acres and is known for its natural beauty and architectural style. Barnard College is located in the heart of New York City, nestled among the skyscrapers of Manhattan. The campus is small but bustling, with students taking advantage of all the city has to offer.

Famous Williamstown Main Street college building and church, home to Williams College

Both colleges have a distinct vibe: Williams offers a more traditional, picturesque New England experience, while Barnard offers the energy and diversity of New York City. It all depends on what kind of environment you are looking for.

One unique aspect of Williams College’s location is its proximity to the Clark Art Institute, a renowned museum featuring works by artists such as Renoir, Monet, and Degas. The museum is located just a few minutes away from campus and offers free admission to Williams students. Additionally, the college is situated near several hiking trails and ski resorts, making it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

History and Founding of Williams and Barnard Colleges

Williams College was founded in 1793, making it one of the oldest colleges in the country. Its founding principles include a commitment to liberal arts education and a dedication to excellence in all fields of study.

Barnard College was founded in 1889 as a women’s college and has since become one of the most prestigious liberal arts colleges for women in the world. The college is affiliated with Columbia University, which provides students with access to additional resources and opportunities.

Williams College was originally established as a men’s college, but it became coeducational in 1970. Today, the college has a diverse student body and offers a wide range of academic programs, including majors in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences.

Barnard College has a long history of promoting women’s education and leadership. The college has produced many notable alumnae, including Pulitzer Prize-winning author Edith Wharton and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Barnard also offers a unique partnership with Columbia University, allowing students to take classes and participate in activities at both institutions.

Admissions Statistics and Requirements

Both Williams and Barnard are highly selective institutions, with acceptance rates hovering around 9-11%. Applicants to Williams College will need to submit standardized test scores, transcripts, essays, and letters of recommendation. Barnard requires the same application materials but also offers the option of submitting a graded paper or creative writing sample instead of standardized test scores.

It’s worth noting that both colleges are need-blind and meet 100% of demonstrated financial need for admitted students. This means that students who are admitted will receive financial aid packages that cover their full demonstrated financial need.

Additionally, both Williams and Barnard have a holistic admissions process, which means that they consider a variety of factors beyond just academic achievements. They take into account extracurricular activities, community involvement, leadership experience, and personal qualities when making admissions decisions. This allows them to create a diverse and well-rounded student body.

Student Life at Williams vs Barnard: Housing, Clubs, and Activities

Williams College offers several housing options, including traditional dorms, apartments, and theme houses. The college has over 150 student clubs and organizations, ranging from a cappella groups to club sports to activism and social justice organizations.

Barnard College guarantees housing for all four years of undergraduate study and offers a variety of housing options, including traditional dorms, suites, and apartments. The college has over 100 student clubs and organizations, emphasizing leadership development, social responsibility, and intellectual curiosity.

Three happy students smiling

Additionally, Williams College has a strong focus on outdoor recreation and sustainability. The college has its own farm, where students can participate in sustainable agriculture practices, and offers outdoor programs such as hiking, skiing, and rock climbing. The college also has a Center for Environmental Studies, which offers courses and research opportunities in environmental science and policy.

At Barnard College, students have access to a wide range of cultural and artistic events, including concerts, theater productions, and art exhibitions. The college also has a strong commitment to community service, with opportunities for students to volunteer in the local community and participate in service trips around the world.

Academics at Williams vs Barnard: Majors, Minors, and Programs Offered

Williams College offers over 60 majors and minors, including top-ranked programs in economics, psychology, and political science. The college also offers the opportunity for students to design their own majors with the guidance of a faculty member.

Barnard College offers over 50 majors and minors, with a strong emphasis on the arts, humanities, and social sciences. The college is known for its women’s leadership program, Athena, which provides opportunities for women to develop their leadership skills and make a difference in their communities.

Both Williams and Barnard offer a variety of study abroad programs, allowing students to gain international experience and broaden their perspectives. Williams has partnerships with over 20 universities around the world, while Barnard offers programs in over 50 countries.

Additionally, both colleges have strong research programs, with opportunities for students to work alongside faculty members on cutting-edge research projects. Williams has a dedicated center for research and experiential learning, while Barnard offers research grants and fellowships to support student research.

Faculty Profiles: Notable Professors and Their Research

Both Williams and Barnard pride themselves on their highly qualified and dedicated faculty members. Williams College boasts a student-faculty ratio of 7:1 and more than 300 faculty members who are experts in their fields.

Barnard College has a student-faculty ratio of 10:1 and a faculty made up of scholars, writers, and researchers who are leaders in their fields. Notable faculty members include world-renowned poet Elizabeth Alexander and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage.

Williams College’s faculty members are actively engaged in research and scholarship, with many receiving grants and awards for their work. For example, Professor of Psychology Susan Engel has received numerous awards for her research on children’s development and education, while Professor of Physics Protik Majumder has been awarded grants from the National Science Foundation for his work on quantum mechanics.

Barnard College’s faculty members are also involved in groundbreaking research. Professor of Biology Hilary Callahan has conducted extensive research on the effects of climate change on marine ecosystems, while Professor of English Monica Miller has published widely on African American literature and culture.

Campus Resources: Libraries, Labs, and Centers for Research

Both Williams and Barnard offer students a wealth of resources for academic and personal growth. Williams College has three libraries on campus, as well as several research centers and labs for students to explore.

Barnard College has a state-of-the-art library, 25 academic and research centers, and access to the resources of Columbia University’s libraries and research centers.

Williams College’s libraries include Sawyer Library, Schow Science Library, and Chapin Library of Rare Books. Sawyer Library is the main library on campus and houses over a million volumes, while Schow Science Library specializes in science and mathematics resources. Chapin Library of Rare Books is a unique collection of rare books, manuscripts, and other materials that are available for research purposes.

Williams College also has several research centers and labs, including the Williams College Center for Development Economics, the Williams College Center for Environmental Studies, and the Williams College Astronomy Department. These centers and labs provide students with opportunities to conduct research and gain hands-on experience in their fields of study.

Athletics: Varsity Sports and Intramural Activities

Williams College has a strong Division III athletic program, with 32 varsity teams and a commitment to excellence on the playing field and in the classroom. The college also offers a variety of intramural sports and recreational activities for students.

Barnard College offers Division III athletics in several sports, as well as a comprehensive intramural and recreational sports program. The college emphasizes the importance of physical fitness and offers several resources, including fitness classes and a state-of-the-art fitness center.

Both Williams College and Barnard College have a strong tradition of athletic excellence, with many of their teams consistently ranking among the top in their respective conferences. In addition to varsity sports and intramural activities, both colleges also offer opportunities for students to get involved in sports clubs and organizations, allowing them to pursue their passions and interests outside of the classroom.

Diversity at Williams vs Barnard: Comparing Student Body, Faculty, and Curriculum

Williams College and Barnard College are committed to fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion on their campuses. Williams boasts a diverse student body, with 40% of students identifying as students of color. The college has also made a commitment to diversify its faculty and curriculum.

Barnard College is a women’s college with a diverse student body, with 35% of students identifying as students of color. The college has a diverse and inclusive curriculum, with a strong commitment to intersectional perspectives and social justice.

View of students laughing with one another.

Both Williams and Barnard have implemented various initiatives to support and promote diversity on their campuses. Williams has a Multicultural Center, which provides resources and support for students of color, as well as a faculty and staff affinity group for people of color. The college also offers courses and programs that focus on issues of race, ethnicity, and identity.

Barnard has a similar center, the Athena Center for Leadership Studies, which focuses on promoting women’s leadership and empowerment. The college also offers courses and programs that explore issues of gender, sexuality, and intersectionality.

Cost of Attendance: Tuition, Fees, Financial Aid & Scholarships

Attending Williams College or Barnard College is an investment in your future, and both schools understand the financial burden this can place on students and families. Williams College has a total cost of attendance of around $61,770 per year, while Barnard College has a total cost of attendance of around $62,525 per year.

Both colleges are committed to making education accessible to all students, regardless of financial need. Williams College meets 100% of demonstrated needs, while Barnard College meets the full demonstrated needs for admitted students.

Additionally, both Williams College and Barnard College offer a variety of scholarships and financial aid options to help offset the cost of attendance. Williams College offers merit-based scholarships, need-based grants, and work-study programs to eligible students. Barnard College also offers need-based grants, as well as scholarships for academic achievement, leadership, and community service.

The Reputation of Williams vs Barnard: Rankings & Public Perception

Both Williams College and Barnard College have outstanding reputations, but they are known for different strengths. Williams is consistently ranked as one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country, with a focus on academic excellence and intellectual curiosity.

Barnard College is highly regarded for its commitment to women’s education and leadership development, as well as its strong liberal arts curriculum and commitment to diversity and social justice.

Liberal arts carved into a stone window

Despite their different strengths, both Williams and Barnard have a strong public perception of prestigious institutions of higher education. Williams has a reputation for producing successful graduates who go on to pursue careers in fields such as finance, law, and medicine. Barnard, on the other hand, is known for producing strong, independent women who are leaders in their fields and communities.

Conclusion: Which College is the Right Fit for You?

Deciding between Williams vs Barnard College is no easy task. Both colleges offer a top-tier education, a commitment to diversity and inclusion, and a wealth of resources and opportunities for students to explore. Ultimately, the decision comes down to personal preference and fit.

If you’re looking for a traditional liberal arts education in a picturesque New England setting, Williams College might be the right choice for you. If you’re interested in women’s leadership, a diverse and inclusive environment, and the energy and excitement of New York City, then Barnard College might be the perfect fit.

Whatever your choice, both Williams and Barnard provide an exceptional college experience that will prepare you for a lifetime of success and personal fulfillment.

Want to learn more about comparing Williams with other top and well-known Universities and Colleges in the country? You’ve come to the right place. At AdmissionSight, we have over 10 years of experience guiding students through the competitive admissions process.

AdmissionSight can help you put your best foot forward when applying to college this fall. Contact us today for more information on our services.


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.