Helping Your Student Make the Most of Williams

More Ways to Help

Welcome to the community of Williams families.

Like our students, we come from every imaginable place, culture and circumstance, so each of us brings a uniquely valuable parental perspective.

As the father of a Williams student and two very recent alumni, I’ve witnessed from a front-row seat the intellectual and personal growth that transforms young adults at this extraordinary college.

And I’ve learned that we have a hugely important role to play in our students’ college experience. After all, we know them—and they know us—better than anyone else at this stage of their lives. As they explore their own potential and passions, our students need to share their challenging, sometimes bewildering, new experiences within our familiar and loving context.

As they have all their lives, our students may naturally come to us first for help. (“I got a C on my first paper!” “I’ve got a really bad sore throat!” “My roommate sleeps with all the lights on!”) Our own, and natural, first response may be to “fix it” for them—a real challenge when most of us are so far away.

So I’ve also learned that it’s important to “lean back” sometimes—to let my children navigate their own, sometimes delightfully unpredictable, paths through college. Fortunately, Williams is designed to help our students get all the support they need, throughout their entire undergraduate experience. Here are two ways we can help our students meet these challenges and make the very most of their Williams experience:

Encourage our students to reach out for themselves to a professor, a dean, a counselor, a coach, an academic support specialist, a chaplain). Williams is filled with spectacularly qualified and deeply dedicated faculty and staff whose jobs are to support students in every way possible to get the most out of their undergraduate experience. Encourage your student to get to know at least one faculty member well enough to feel entirely comfortable asking for a graduate school or job recommendation—and to befriend one adult on campus with whom they can be completely themselves.

Get to know as much as we can about all the opportunities Williams has to offer—and share what we’ve learned with our students. Taking classes outside their comfort zones, studying away, exploring a new personal interest or hobby, exploring Williams’ beautiful natural surroundings, and getting engaged in the community are only some of the ways our students can learn and grow beyond their wildest expectations.

We also invite you to help us make Williams a better college for all students as a Wiliams volunteer.

Again, welcome to the Williams community. We’re delighted to have your student—and you—join us.

Rob White P’11, P’13, P’17
Director of Parent and Family Programs