Don’t make the mistake that this student did.

Why didn’t I choose to go to williams???

I was accepted last year RD to Williams, but I turned it down to go to an arguably more prestigious college. As this time of the year rolls around again, it got me thinking: why oh why didn’t I choose to go to Williams instead? It has a beautiful campus, amazing facilities for a liberal arts college, awesome faculty resources even based on raw numbers professors alone( it blows both Amherst and Dartmouth out of the water in this regard), and all the money a student could ever need (highest funding for summer research of any US college/university AND generous financial aid). Its strengths lie directly within my academic interests. Its tutorial system and Oxford exchange program is unique unto itself. It has amazing placement rates in industries, and professional AND graduate schools according to the surveys such as the WSJ one. Its tight alumni network paved the way for the recent massive campus expansion. Did I just turn down the school because of mere rumors of it being a jock school, despite the fact that it has a lower athletic participation rate than both Amherst and Dartmouth? Did I make the biggest mistake of my life? Can someone else who turned down Williams please level my head.

More than half the students who choose places like Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Stanford over Williams would be better off if they had selected Williams instead. Recall the advice that I gave to Julia Sendor ’08 4 years ago. The phrase “arguably more prestigious” strongly suggests, however, that this student did not have the option on HYPS. Instead, he is probably at one of the lesser Ivies. There are good reasons to choose, say, Columbia, over Williams. If you love the city and hate the country, don’t move to Williamstown. But most students have much shallower reasons for making that decision, often not wanting to go to a school that their Aunt Sally confuses with Williams and Mary. That’s a mistake.

Reader assignment: Point out which points made by the non-Eph above make sense and which do not.

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