Information for Families and Friends

Thank you for supporting your student’s interest in a semester at Williams-Mystic. Here you’ll find a collection of information and resources that you may find helpful. Please do not hesitate to contact our Admissions Office. You may also contact our Deputy Director Amanda Severin or Assistant Director of Student Life Laurie Warren if you have any questions about life on campus. In the case of an emergency, you may always contact our office at (860) 572-5359 ext. 4. 

Academic Commitment and Financial Aid

Students engage in a 17-week interdisciplinary semester studying literature, science, history, and policy of the oceans and coasts of the United States. They also participate in three field seminars on the Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf Coasts. Students earn 18 credit hours and an official transcript from Williams College. Williams-Mystic is need-blind, meaning that financial need is not an impediment to admission. All admitted students are automatically considered for Williams-Mystic scholarships, which we disburse on the basis of need. Many financial aid packages transfer and apply toward Williams-Mystic tuition, including college, state, and federal grants and loans. For more information, please visit our Admissions and Tuition and Financial Aid pages.

Life After Williams-Mystic

Williams-Mystic has more than 1,700 alumni, all of whom work in unique and exciting fields. You’ll find some in New York’s financial district, others doing oceanic research on the West Coast, and even a few right here in Mystic.

Having such a large alumni community means that students have an incredible pool of career resources. Alumni can network with others in their field by attending alumni reunions, contacting our office, joining our LinkedIn group, or staying in touch with staff and faculty.

Health and Safety

The safety of all of our students is our priority. We aim to provide a positive, safe, and healthy experience for each and every student.  Our seasoned faculty and staff take an active role in all aspects of the semester and engage with students on a daily basis, extensively planning each element of the semester well before students arrive.

The foundations of a successful and safe semester begin with the medical screening process.  All students are required to have a thorough physical examination performed by a licensed medical practitioner within six months of the start of the program. Additionally, we ask that students be exhaustive and forthright in disclosing all pre-existing medical conditions, medications, and medical histories. We do this not to discourage applicants or limit the number of students who can participate, but rather to best enable our faculty and staff to provide a safe and appropriate learning environment both in Mystic, Connecticut and on our Field Seminars. With adequate lead time, Williams-Mystic can frequently accommodate a wide variety of medical issues. Students are also required to provide proof of health insurance that covers a full range of mental and physical health services.

On land-based field seminars, we travel in vans driven by Williams-Mystic faculty and staff members who are First Aid and CPR certified; each vehicle is equipped with a first-aid kit.  In addition, the Executive Director carries a cell phone number and emergency medical information on each seminar participant.

A list of telephone numbers of Williams-Mystic faculty and staff, plus police, fire, and local medical facilities is distributed to each student at the beginning of the semester and posted in each house. While in Mystic, our staff are available for transportation to the nearby walk-in clinic and/or a local hospital. Mystic Seaport security officers make monthly rounds of the houses to check fire extinguishers and smoke alarms.  While we are on our field seminars, security will also make routine checks inside student houses.

Communication and Staying in Touch

Mystic, Connecticut

Students have U.S. mail, fax, and internet services made readily available to them for both academic purposes and personal communication.

Sailing Offshore

On our Offshore Field Seminar, students are required to surrender their cell phones before boarding the ship and do not have access to email. Their progress can be tracked on the Williams-Mystic blog, where we periodically share updates from the vessel and a link to track its progress. If a student must be contacted urgently, please contact Executive Director Tom Van Winkle or Deputy Director Amanda Severin, who will be able to help you reach the ship. 

West Coast and Gulf Coast Field Seminars

We ask that students refrain from using cell phones while in the vans and during lectures. They may use them for personal communication before or after the day’s scheduled events. If a student must be contacted urgently, please contact Executive Director Tom Van Winkle or Deputy Director Amanda Severin, who will be able to help you reach the group.