Non-traditional student page

Williams welcomes students who identify as non-traditional, and we offer extensive resources and support to ensure that non-traditional students have the tools they need to be a fully engaged community member and thrive during their time at Williams and beyond. We recognize that "non-traditional" might encompass many different identities, but at Williams, the term is typically used to describe students who fall outside the 18 to 22 year-old range and/or have taken a non-linear path from K-12 education to college.

Making the Transition

During the weeks and/or months leading up to your transition to Williams, you'll receive support from the Office of Admission and the Dean’s Office, among other departments, to provide you with essential information and details about your new community and to answer all questions as best as we can. This will include support with the enrollment process, housing, financial aid questions, move-in dates, course selection and registration, work study placement, and much more. Upon arriving to Williamstown, you will have access to on-campus resources that range from mental health counseling to research fellowship guidance to career advising. We offer several orientation programs as an introduction to campus life–these include first-generation, transfer and veteran, international, and first-year orientation programs. These programs include the opportunity to get off campus to discover your new home in the Berkshires. You will also receive ongoing support from the Dean’s Office and the Student Transfer/Veteran Coordinators. You can learn more about the transition and life at Williams on the college website.

Living in
the berkshires

Williams is located in Williamstown, MA, which borders New York and Vermont and is part of Berkshire County. A vibrant place to live and learn with an abundance of arts and cultural offerings, breathtaking natural surroundings that allow for a variety of outdoor recreation, and small town community, Berkshire County provides a wonderful setting for students' time at Williams. 

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The closest airport is Albany International Airport in Albany, NY, which is about an hour from Williamstown. Amtrak train service is also available from and to Albany and Pittsfield, MA. Trains run from New York City to Albany and from Boston to Pittsfield. Williams College offers shuttle service for students at certain times of year to and from Boston, New York, and Albany. For local travel, the Berkshire Regional Transit Authority (BRTA) offers free bus service around Berkshire County for Williams students who show their ID. Williams students may also access the on-campus Zipcar program, which allows students to rent vehicles by the hour or day. 

Meal Plans and Food Options

You can read more about the Williams College meal plans on the Dining Services website. Williams students are able to participate in the meal plan system, and students living in dorms are required to participate in one of the meal plan options. Students not living in dorms may opt out of the meal plan system entirely. Students moving with a custodial child(ren) and receiving financial aid will be provided with a child allowance, which can be used to address the cost of food. The child(ren) and spouse of a student are not able to participate in a meal plan.


Williams provides a number of different housing options for transfer, veteran, and non-traditional students. Past students have lived in first-year entry housing, upperclassmen dorms, and campus-affiliated apartment-style units. To learn more about housing options and your particular eligibility, please visit the link below.

Parent and Partner Resources

Non-Williams Student Spouse/Partner

For Williams students transitioning to the area with a non-Williams student spouse/partner, the college's Spouse and Partner Resources can offer introductory support, if needed. A good starting point for local employment and relocation resources can be found on the college website.  


Childcare is considered as part of the financial aid package for parents with a custodial child. Parents are provided with an annual stipend to account for the cost of childcare. In addition, if your child is not yet school-aged, the cost of a childcare center will be addressed in the financial aid package. There are several childcare providers in the area. If possible, student parents typically enroll their child at the Williams College Children’s Center located on campus. You can find out more about childcare options in the area on the college website.

School System

Williamstown residents are part of the Mount Greylock Regional School District. This includes Williamstown Elementary School, which serves students from pre-K to grade six, and Mt. Greylock Regional School, grades seven through twelve. The area also has several independent schools. If possible, admitted students will be provided with a school tour prior to the enrollment decision deadline. You can read more about school options in the local area on the college website.

Student Employment Opportunities

Williams provides one of the most generous and comprehensive financial aid programs in the country, including its all-grant financial initiative, which allows student to attend Williams without having to take out loans or hold required jobs on campus or in the summer. Of course, many Williams students still opt to work, and they have access to a wide array of campus jobs. Transfer and veteran students have held many different positions, such as admission ambassador, writing center tutor, sports announcer, teaching assistant, research fellow, first-generation student coordinator, and many more. Students who would like to work typically secure an on-campus job quickly and easily.

Health Insurance

All students receiving financial aid have access to free health insurance. Custodial children of Williams students typically secure health insurance through the state-run MassHealth program. Spouses/partners might also secure health insurance in this way, if needed.

Cell Phone Service

Check with your provider about coverage as Verizon, AT&T, Spectrum, and T-Mobile have been known to work best in Williamstown.


Don't hesitate to reach out to Dean Mendes, coordinator of transfer and veteran admission, or to one of our current students through Connect with a Student.