Entries are groups that first-years are sorted into by the college (not randomly). They’re basically floors that will do organized activities together, talk together, and spend all of Freshman year together. Williams always emphasizes embracing a diversity in opinions, background, ideas, and personality traits. Ask around and see how others would describe you, or what they think is most interesting about you. That can provide a good starting point for brainstorming some ideas.
Culture, interests, and unique talents are all different perspectives with which you can approach the prompt. This supplement is often the most difficult for students because it can come out sounding self-centered to the applicant. If you have that issue, steering away from writing about personality and achievements by following one of the above listed ways — it can mitigate the feeling that you are bragging, and make the essay simpler to write.
The cultural way of approaching the prompt is choosing an aspect of your culture and then portraying how that affected you, and why that brings a new idea or perspective to a group conversation. No matter what its ancestral background is, each family has a specific, idiosyncratic culture and traditions that separate it from the rest. Maybe your dad takes you horseback riding, or you and your mom love to go candle shopping, or all of the siblings in your family have to cook at least one meal a week together.
Each of these traditions can be utilized to explain a certain characteristic of you that is unique. For instance, in the candle-shopping scenario, the meticulous attention to color and form that you and your mom paid to each candle made you become much more attentive to detail, causing you to try to deeply and fully understand another’s arguments or background when conversing with them.
Interests and unique talents can be approached in a similar way to the cultural approach: Choose an uncommon or interesting passion that you have (everyone has at least one, from knowing how to make origami trees to being a connoisseur of different brands of pencils), and elaborate on why that makes you who you are, and why that affects your perspective in discussion. Discuss why your interest/talent shapes your worldview, and why that gives a unique perspective to the conversation.
Williams College Application Essay Prompt
This makes it all the more important that your application to Williams College is as strong as you can possibly make it. A compelling application begins with a well-crafted essay, and we at CollegeVine are here to help you with just that. In this blog post, we’ll go over the tips, tricks, and insights you need to write a supplemental essay that is sure to wow the admissions officers and help you stand out in the application pool.
Imagine yourself in a tutorial at…
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 70 tutorials a year are offered across the curriculum, with titles like “Biomedical Ethics,” “Women in National Politics,” and “Extraterrestrial Life in the Galaxy: a Sure Thing or a Snowball’s Chance?”
Imagine yourself in a tutorial at Williams. Of anyone in the world, whom would you choose to be the other student in the class, and why?
At first glance, this question may seem rather daunting. It’s lengthy, it’s detailed, and it’s talking about a subject you may not yet be an expert on: Williams’ unique tutorials. However, there’s no need to stress. In reality, this question is far more open-ended than you may initially perceive it to be. At its heart, it is asking you to identify one person, living today, whom you would like to engage with in a close-knit academic setting.
The first step to answering this question is to understand the context in which it is framed. This means learning what, exactly, a Williams tutorial is like. Typically, a tutorial has no more than ten students; these students are then divided into pairs. Every week, one member of the pair writes a paper, which is approximately 5 pages in length, and the other member writes a critique. Then, the professor leading the tutorial meets with the pair to engage in a robust academic dialogue regarding the paper and the responding critique.
Naturally, this dynamic lends itself to deep intellectual intimacy. With your tutorial partner, you’ll likely be sharing raw insights, personal convictions, and passionate discussions. This is someone you’ll have to trust to be critical of your work, and in turn, someone whose ideas and opinions you’d be willing to analyze as well. Thus, the ideal tutorial partner you choose should be someone who you not only believe can help you grow as a student, but who you feel you can intellectually stimulate and challenge as well.
Remember that you don’t know anything about the admissions officer who will be reading this essay, and you want to steer clear of any topics that may potentially offend or simply rub them the wrong way. It is always wise to err on the side of caution, and it may be in your best interest to keep your essay rather neutral in this regard.
Beyond this, who you choose to select is entirely up to your discretion. You could identify a celebrity, a prominent intellectual, a figure in your personal life, or any other individual you deem fit. No matter who you choose, what’s most important is that you provide a clear answer as to why you are choosing them.
Think about the ways in which you want to grow as a student during your time in college, and then think about how the figure you choose will help you do so. What are your academic strengths? Where do you need to improve? In what ways do you want to be challenged? When you graduate from university, how will your approach to academia have changed?
Additionally, you should think about how your own intellectual passions can be tied back to whomever you choose. For instance, let’s say you are particularly interested in increasing female representation in politics. During your time in high school, you’ve volunteered with organizations like the League of Women Voters or the National Organization for Women, and helped start a female empowerment club at your high school.
For your response to this question, you could discuss how you would choose former Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, to be your partner in the Women in National Politics tutorial. You could describe the kinds of questions you’d ask her, what you’d hope to learn from her, and how you’d bring in your past experiences to add a new perspective to your conversations with her.
The key to successfully pulling off this essay is passion. After reading your supplement, admissions officers should not only be able to clearly imagine you as a member of a Williams tutorial, but also as a member of Williams’ greater academic community. A successful response to this prompt helps illuminate your academic and personal interests, and leaves admissions officers with a clearer idea of who you are as a student and as an individual.
With these tips in mind, you’re ready to begin working on your Williams supplement. We at CollegeVine wish you the best of luck, and encourage you to contact one of our highly trained essay specialists for even more help with perfecting your essay for Williams College!
For more tips and tricks on how to master the application process, be sure to sign up for CollegeVine’s personalized application guidance program and mentorship services.