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How to Write the Williams College Essays 2021-2022

For the 2021-2022 admissions cycle, Williams College announced that they are no longer requiring a writing supplement. Instead, students have the option to submit a 3-5 page academic paper completed within the last year. The paper does not need to be graded and can be creative or analytical.

 

​​Tips for Picking a Paper to Submit

 

If you’re like most high school students, you probably have several options to consider for which paper to submit to Williams. Here are some tips on choosing the best paper to showcase your writing abilities and insights. 

 

1. Be mindful of length. 

 

Williams suggested that students submit a 3-5 page paper, and you should stay within this range unless there’s a very specific paper you want to showcase that’s slightly longer or shorter. This length allows the reader to get a sense of your writing style while not overwhelming them with a lot of information. 

 

2. Pick a paper from a subject you care most about. 

 

Williams gives you the freedom to choose an academic paper without many restrictions. But, if you’re looking to strengthen your application narrative, you may want to consider choosing a paper from a school subject related to your intended major or personal interests. For example if you’re planning to major in political science, you might submit a paper from AP Gov. Or, if you want to major in English, you could send a sampling of the favorite poems you’ve written. 

 

Also consider gaps in your application. If you feel that your analytical side isn’t well-represented, you might opt for a research paper over a creative one (and vice versa).

 

Just don’t send lab reports (per Williams’ request) and be sure that the paper would be easy to understand for someone who might not be a specialist in that subject. When in doubt, ask for a second pair of eyes. Our free Peer Essay Review tool might be a good place to start!

 

3. Describe the assignment.

 

Williams asks that you include a description of the assignment or prompt. This should be brief and include any background info needed for the reader to understand and evaluate your paper.

 

Most times, teachers ask for your academic papers to be written so that lay people can understand them (people without background knowledge in the book or subject), so you shouldn’t have to do too much explaining. In most cases, listing the prompt at the beginning should be enough.

 

4. Get a second opinion. 

 

If you’re not sure which paper to subject, see if your teacher or counselor has time to offer you feedback. They can help you determine which paper has the most insightful content and adds the most to your application narrative. 

 

You should pick a paper that was well-received by your teacher, but the grade itself isn’t everything (for example, you shouldn’t necessarily pick a paper just because you got a 95 vs. 93). Williams doesn’t ask for the paper to be graded, though you could definitely include your teacher’s comments if they’re positive.

 

All in all, as you’re deciding on a paper, you want to consider length, the academic subjects/abilities you want to highlight, and the strength of the content/argument. Finally, make sure that your paper is free of any typos or grammatical errors, as they can easily slip through while you’re completing an assignment, but you have an extra chance to make them right here!


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Our college essay experts go through a rigorous selection process that evaluates their writing skills and knowledge of college admissions. We also train them on how to interpret prompts, facilitate the brainstorming process, and provide inspiration for great essays, with curriculum culled from our years of experience helping students write essays that work.