Acceptance rate for class of 2021 drops to record low of 14.6 percent

On March 23, the College announced that it had offered 1253 students admission to the Class of 2021. Following a 22 percent spike in applications to the College for a total applicant pool of 8593, the College had an acceptance rate of 14.6 percent, down from 17 percent for the Class of 2020 and the lowest in the history of the College.

Of the students admitted, 573 identify as women, 593 as men, five as transgender, three as non-binary, one as agender, one as gender non-conforming, one as gender fluid and one as questioning. 95 are international students, who together represent 47 nationalities. Of domestic students, 50 percent are students of color (220 students are Asian American, 214 are black, 175 are Latino and 17 are Native American).

Additionally, 274 are first-generation college students, and 86 have a parent who attended the College. One admitted student is a U.S. Marine.

“This year’s applicant pool was the largest and strongest in the College’s history, which made rendering decisions particularly challenging,” Richard Nesbitt ’74, director of admission, said. “We anticipate yielding a terrific and diverse class of powerful academics, curious problem-solvers, and engaged community members.”

Among domestic admitted students, 30 percent are from the Mid-Atlantic, 24 percent from the West, 17 percent from the Northeast, 15 percent from the South, 8 percent from the Midwest and 6 percent from the Southwest. Four students are from Puerto Rico and two are from the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The average SAT scores for students who submitted results from the old SAT are 736 in critical reading, 737 in math and 732 in writing. Average scores submitted for the redesigned exam are 722 in evidence-based reading and writing and 721 in math. The average super-scored ACT is 33. Of the accepted students who submitted high school rank, 93 percent will graduate in the top 10 percent of their classes.

Of admitted students, 68 percent applied for financial aid. Admission decisions are need-blind for domestic students and the College provides financial aid packages (including grants, work-study options and loans), which are intended to meet 100 percent of what the College calculates as “demonstrated need” for each student.

The College accepted 230 students who are affiliated with the QuestBridge program, an organization which helps the College identify high-achieving high school students from low-income backgrounds. Additionally, 129 admitted students participated in Windows on Williams (WOW), a program in the fall that provides high-achieving high school seniors from low-income backgrounds the opportunity to visit the College.

As in recent years, the desired size for the Class of 2021 is 550 students. Via the early decision process, 257 students have already committed to attend the College. 16 students were admitted through the QuestBridge Match program, and another 13 will join the class after deferring admission last year.

On April 24-25, all admitted students are invited to attend Williams Previews to explore campus, experience the entry system and engage with future professors and classmates. Students admitted through regular decision have until May 1 to decide whether or not to enroll.