We recommend that, although the Williams College supplement is optional, you do your best to complete one. It never hurts to provide Williams with more information about your personality, passions and what you could provide the campus community.
This is an opportunity for you to present another writing sample. It’s entirely optional, and you can either respond to one of the prompts below in an essay of no more than 300 words, or you can upload an academic paper (preferably in the humanities or social sciences) completed in the last academic year.
1. The first-year Entry – a thoughtfully constructed residential microcosm of the student community that’s a defining part of the Williams experience – brings together students from around the world with different perspectives, interests and backgrounds. Imagine having a late-night conversation with your Entrymates about a community that you value. Describe that community and why it’s important to you.
Do you have any special family traditions that were different growing up? Are you from a small town in a foreign country? Have you had a unique experience in high school, different from others that you know? Any of these suggestions are great places to start brainstorming the different communities you might have for this prompt. You want to highlight something you haven’t already mentioned in your application to show the admissions office that you are going to contribute meaningfully to the Williams College community.
2. All-Campus Entertainment (ACE), a student organization, hosts a weekly event called “Stressbusters” – an opportunity for students to focus on self-care by stepping away from their typical routine and enjoying some unscheduled time – and snacks! – with friends. Weekly Stressbuster activities might include a concert, playing with a therapy dog, painting pumpkins, building with Legos, etc. What’s your version of a “stressbuster,” and how does it help you rejuvenate in the midst of a hectic week?
The answer to this question doesn’t have to relate to school at all, in fact, it’s even better if it’s doesn’t. The curriculum and extracurricular life at Williams is rigorous, and the school is acknowledging the importance of relaxation and rejuvenation. Do you ride your bike to de-stress? Do you walk your dog or cook? Anything that you find restorative value in counts!
3. At Williams we believe that bringing together students and professors in small groups produces extraordinary academic outcomes. Our distinctive Oxford-style tutorial classes—in which two students are guided by a professor in deep exploration of a single topic—are a prime example. Each week the students take turns developing independent work—an essay, a problem set, a piece of art—and critiquing their partner’s work. Focused on close reading, writing and oral defense of ideas, more than 60 tutorials a year are offered across the curriculum. Imagine yourself in a tutorial at Williams. What topic would you be most excited to study in that setting and why?
Is there something you’d love to learn that relates in some way to your intended area of study? Or is there a topic you’ve heard about but want to dive in deeper in this class? Why? What is it about that topic that makes you want to learn more? Be sure to explain what the topic is, and your exact reasoning for choosing it.
Stephen is the co-founder and COO of AcceptU. He received a BA from Cornell University, an MA from Columbia University Teachers College, and a Ph.D. from Rice University. Prior to founding AcceptU, Stephen was an Assistant Dean of admissions at Cornell for four years and an Associate Dean of graduate admissions at Princeton University for six years. Stephen is an IECA Associate Member.