Williams vs Brown University: Which is the Better Choice?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

a female student writing an essay

Williams vs Brown University: Which is the Better Choice?

Are you trying to decide between Williams and Brown University? Both are prestigious institutions that offer exceptional academic programs and campus experiences. Choosing between Williams vs Brown University can be challenging, which is why this article provides comprehensive look at all aspects of both schools to help you make the right decision.

Introduction to Williams and Brown University

Williams and Brown are both highly respected universities with rich histories and diverse student populations. Williams is a small liberal arts college located in Williamstown, Massachusetts, while Brown is a medium-sized research university located in Providence, Rhode Island.

Aerial scenic shot of Williams College

Williams College was founded in 1793 and has a strong focus on undergraduate education. The college offers over 40 majors and has a student-to-faculty ratio of 7:1, ensuring that students receive personalized attention from their professors. Williams is also known for its beautiful campus, which includes a 2,600-acre forest and a museum of art.

Brown University, on the other hand, was founded in 1764 and is one of the oldest universities in the United States. The university has a diverse student body, with students from all 50 states and over 100 countries. Brown is known for its innovative approach to education, with a focus on interdisciplinary studies and experiential learning. The university also has a strong commitment to research, with over 70 research centers and institutes on campus.

Academic Programs Offered by Williams and Brown University

Both Williams and Brown offer a wide range of world-class academic programs and degree options. Williams is known for its outstanding undergraduate liberal arts education, while Brown has a strong reputation for research and provides opportunities for students to pursue independent study and research projects.

Williams offers over 35 majors and concentrations across the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. Brown has 80+ majors available in a variety of fields, including STEM, social sciences, arts, and humanities. Both universities support student research and independent study.

Williams and Brown also offer a variety of interdisciplinary programs that allow students to explore multiple fields of study. Williams has a popular program in Environmental Studies, which combines coursework in biology, geosciences, and policy studies. Brown offers a unique program in Science and Society, which examines the intersection of science, technology, and society from a variety of perspectives.

Additionally, both universities have strong international programs, with opportunities for study abroad and language immersion. Williams has partnerships with universities in over 20 countries, while Brown has its own campus in Rome, Italy, where students can study for a semester or year.

Comparison of Admission Requirements of Williams and Brown University

The admission requirements of Williams and Brown are quite similar, with both schools requiring standardized test scores and essays. However, Williams places a greater emphasis on extracurricular activities, character, and involvement in the community, while Brown focuses on intellectual curiosity and academic achievement.

Additionally, Williams also requires applicants to submit two teacher recommendations, while Brown only requires one. On the other hand, Brown requires applicants to submit a graded written paper, while Williams does not have this requirement. It is important for prospective students to carefully review the admission requirements of each school they are considering, in order to ensure they are submitting a complete and competitive application.

Campus Life at Williams vs Brown University

Life on campus at Williams and Brown is incredibly vibrant and engaging. Williams offers a tight-knit community where students are encouraged to participate in campus activities and traditions. Brown offers a more diverse range of campus options, including fraternities and sororities, athletics, and a vibrant arts scene.


Group of students standing on a room.

Both universities also offer a variety of resources and support services for students. Williams has a strong focus on wellness, with a health center, counseling services, and a variety of fitness classes and activities. Brown has a robust career services center, offering career counseling, job and internship listings, and networking opportunities. Both universities also have active student government associations, providing opportunities for students to get involved in campus leadership and decision-making.

Cost of Attendance at Williams vs Brown University

Williams and Brown are both private institutions with relatively similar tuition rates. Williams’ tuition and fees total approximately $75,000 per year, while Brown’s tuition and fees total around $79,000 per year. Both universities offer generous financial aid and scholarships to help students mitigate costs and make their education more affordable.

However, the cost of attendance at a university is not just limited to tuition and fees. Students also need to consider the cost of living, including housing, food, transportation, and other expenses. Williams and Brown are both located in expensive cities, with Williams in Williamstown, Massachusetts, and Brown in Providence, Rhode Island. Students should budget accordingly and explore options such as living off-campus or finding part-time work to help cover these costs.

Additionally, students should also consider the return on investment of their education. Both Williams and Brown are highly ranked universities with strong academic programs and prestigious reputations. Graduates from these institutions often have high earning potential and successful careers. However, students should also research the job market and career prospects in their field of study to ensure that their investment in education will pay off in the long run.

Financial Aid Options at Williams vs Brown University

Both Williams and Brown offer need-based aid, which means that students with lower financial means will pay less for tuition and fees. Williams has a no-loan policy for students who qualify for financial aid, while Brown offers both grants and loans to help students finance their education. Both schools also offer merit-based scholarships to high-achieving students.

Additionally, Williams and Brown have work-study programs that allow students to earn money while gaining valuable work experience. These programs provide part-time jobs on campus or in the local community, and the earnings can be used to help pay for tuition and other expenses.

Furthermore, both universities have financial aid counselors who can assist students in navigating the financial aid process and finding additional sources of funding. They can also provide guidance on budgeting and managing student loans after graduation.

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: How Does Williams Compare to Brown?

Williams has a very low student-to-faculty ratio of 7:1, which allows for greater personal attention and support from professors. Brown’s ratio is slightly higher at 9:1, but still provides ample opportunity for interactions with faculty members.

However, it is important to note that student-to-faculty ratio is not the only factor that determines the quality of education. Other factors such as class size, teaching methods, and resources available also play a significant role. Williams and Brown both have a strong commitment to providing a high-quality education, and students at both institutions have access to a wide range of academic and extracurricular opportunities.

Diversity on the Campuses of Williams vs Brown University

Both Williams and Brown have diverse student populations and are committed to creating inclusive and welcoming campuses. Williams students come from all 50 states and 60+ countries, with 39% identifying as students of color. Brown also has a diverse student body, with students from all 50 states and over 100 countries, with more than 45% identifying as students of color.

Three students talking to a teacher while on a hallway.

In addition to their diverse student populations, both Williams and Brown have a variety of student-led organizations and initiatives that promote diversity and inclusion on campus. Williams has a Multicultural Center that hosts events and provides resources for students of color, LGBTQ+ students, and first-generation college students. Brown has a Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan that outlines specific goals and strategies for creating a more inclusive campus community. Both universities also offer courses and academic programs that focus on issues of diversity and social justice.

Career Services Offered by Williams vs Brown University

Both Williams and Brown offer comprehensive career services to help students explore their interests, develop new skills, and prepare for their future careers. Williams offers personalized advising and support, including job search strategies and one-on-one resume review. Brown has an extensive network of alumni, which provides students with valuable connections and internship and job opportunities.

In addition to personalized advising and support, Williams also offers career workshops and events throughout the year. These events cover a range of topics, from networking and interviewing skills to industry-specific job search strategies. Students can also take advantage of Williams’ online job board, which features job and internship postings from a variety of industries and employers.

Brown’s career services also include career counseling and workshops, as well as access to a variety of online resources. Students can use Brown’s online job board to search for internships and job opportunities, and can also connect with alumni through the university’s alumni network. Brown also offers a unique program called the BrownConnect Summer Institute, which provides students with funding and support to pursue internships in a variety of fields.

Athletics Programs Available at Williams vs Brown University

Williams and Brown both have strong athletics programs and offer a variety of sports for students to pursue. Williams is particularly known for its ski team, while Brown is known for its excellence in rowing and football. Both universities offer a range of intramural and club sports as well.

Aside from the traditional sports, Williams and Brown also offer unique athletics programs. Williams has a strong ultimate frisbee team that competes at a national level, while Brown has a highly competitive equestrian team. Additionally, both universities have strong dance programs, with opportunities to participate in ballet, modern, and hip hop.

For students who are interested in sports but may not want to compete at a varsity level, Williams and Brown offer a variety of recreational sports. These include yoga, rock climbing, and even Quidditch, a sport inspired by the Harry Potter series. These recreational sports provide a fun and low-pressure way for students to stay active and meet new people.

Reputation of Williams vs Brown: Which is More Recognized?

Both Williams and Brown have excellent reputations in the academic world and are highly respected by employers and graduate schools. Williams is consistently ranked as one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country, while Brown is known for its excellence in research and has produced several notable alumni, including John F. Kennedy and Emma Watson.

Unknown student writing on her table.

However, there are some differences in the academic programs offered by these two institutions. Williams has a strong focus on undergraduate education, with a student-to-faculty ratio of 7:1 and a curriculum that emphasizes critical thinking and writing skills. Brown, on the other hand, offers a wider range of academic programs, including graduate programs in fields such as engineering and public health.

Another factor to consider is the location of these two schools. Williams is located in a small town in western Massachusetts, while Brown is situated in the heart of Providence, Rhode Island. This difference in location can impact the student experience, with Williams offering a more traditional college campus feel and Brown providing access to a vibrant city atmosphere.

Alumni Network Comparison between Williams and Brown University

Both Williams and Brown have robust alumni networks that provide students and graduates with professional connections and opportunities. Williams has a strong network of alumni in the arts, finance, and education, while Brown’s alumni network is known for its strength in technology and research fields.

Additionally, Williams has a unique program called the Williams Alumni Network (WAN), which connects current students with alumni in their desired career fields for mentorship and guidance. Brown, on the other hand, has a program called the Brown Alumni Association (BAA), which offers a wide range of networking events and resources for alumni to connect with each other and with current students.

Graduation Rates Compared between Williams vs Brown University

Both Williams and Brown have high graduation rates, with Williams reporting a 94% graduation rate and Brown reporting an 87% graduation rate. These rates demonstrate both schools’ commitment to student success and support.

However, it is important to note that the graduation rates may not tell the whole story. Williams, for example, has a smaller student body compared to Brown, which may contribute to a higher graduation rate. On the other hand, Brown has a more diverse student population, which may present unique challenges that affect graduation rates.

Additionally, both schools offer various resources and programs to support students throughout their academic journey. Williams has a strong advising program and a writing workshop, while Brown has a comprehensive career development center and a student support services office. These resources contribute to the high graduation rates and overall success of students at both institutions.

Location Analysis: Williamstown vs Providence

The locations of Williams and Brown provide unique experiences for students. Williams is located in Williamstown, Massachusetts, a small New England town with beautiful scenery and outdoor recreational opportunities. Brown is located in Providence, Rhode Island, a vibrant city with a thriving arts and culture scene, and easy access to Boston and New York City.

However, the location of Williams also means that it can be isolated from larger cities and cultural centers. On the other hand, Brown’s location in Providence allows for easy access to internships, job opportunities, and cultural events. Additionally, Providence is known for its food scene, with a variety of restaurants and cafes to explore. Overall, both locations offer unique advantages and it ultimately depends on the individual student’s preferences and priorities.

Prospective Student Interviews: Which School do They Prefer?

Prospective students that we interviewed expressed admiration for both Williams and Brown’s excellent academics, diverse student populations, and extensive alumni networks. They noted that the location, campus culture, and campus traditions played a significant role in their decision-making process.

However, some students also mentioned that the availability of research opportunities and internships was a crucial factor in their decision-making process. They were impressed by the research facilities and resources available at both Williams and Brown, and appreciated the emphasis on hands-on learning experiences.

Additionally, many students also considered the financial aid packages offered by each school. They appreciated the transparency and clarity of the financial aid process at both Williams and Brown, and noted that the schools were committed to making education accessible and affordable for all students.

Faculty Profiles at Williams and Brown: How Do They Compare?

Both Williams and Brown have exceptional faculty members who are leaders in their respective fields. Williams’ professors are known for their teaching excellence and dedication to their students, while Brown’s faculty members are renowned for their research and contributions to academia.

However, there are some notable differences between the two institutions when it comes to their faculty profiles. Williams College has a smaller student-to-faculty ratio, which allows for more personalized attention and mentorship opportunities for students. On the other hand, Brown University has a larger and more diverse faculty, with a wider range of expertise and research interests.

Another factor to consider is the level of collaboration between faculty members at each institution. Williams College emphasizes interdisciplinary collaboration, with many professors working across departments and fields. Brown University, on the other hand, has a strong tradition of individual research and scholarship, with less emphasis on interdisciplinary work.

Campus Tour Videos: Comparing the Experience at Williams vs Brown University.

Virtual campus tours of Williams and Brown provide an excellent view into life on both campuses. Williams’ campus is picturesque, with stunning natural beauty and a charming New England atmosphere. Brown’s campus is more urban and diverse, with modern facilities and a bustling city atmosphere.

Two people talking in front of a laptop while sitting on the couch of a living room.

One of the standout features of Williams’ campus is its location in the Berkshire Mountains, which provides ample opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking and skiing. The campus also boasts a strong sense of community, with small class sizes and a close-knit student body.

On the other hand, Brown’s campus is located in the heart of Providence, Rhode Island, a vibrant city with a rich cultural scene. The campus is home to a diverse student body, with students from all over the world, and offers a wide range of academic programs and extracurricular activities.

Conclusion: Which School is the Better Choice for You?

Choosing between Williams and Brown can be a difficult decision, as both universities offer exceptional academic programs, campus experiences, and opportunities for personal and professional growth. Choosing between the two depends on your individual needs, preferences, and career aspirations. We hope our comparison has helped you make a more informed choice; whichever option you choose, it’s sure to be an incredible journey filled with personal and academic growth.

It’s important to consider the location of each university when making your decision. Williams is located in a small town in western Massachusetts, while Brown is located in the heart of Providence, Rhode Island. If you prefer a more urban environment with access to a variety of cultural experiences, Brown may be the better choice for you. However, if you prefer a quieter, more rural setting with access to outdoor activities, Williams may be the better fit.

Another factor to consider is the size of each university. Williams has a smaller student body, with just over 2,000 undergraduate students, while Brown has a larger student body, with over 7,000 undergraduate students. If you prefer a more intimate academic environment with smaller class sizes and more personalized attention from professors, Williams may be the better choice. However, if you thrive in a larger community with more diverse perspectives and opportunities for extracurricular involvement, Brown may be the better fit.


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