Housing for Transfer & SwALEs

Who is a Transfer Student?

Transfer students who have attended a college or university prior to attending Williams College

Who is a SwALE?

A SwALE is a Student with Advanced Life Experience. A SwALE is a student who meets one or more of the following criteria:

  • A student of 24 years of age or older at the time of matriculation
  • A student who has a legal spouse/partner in full-time residence with them while attending Williams College
  • A student who has legal custody of a child in full-time residence with them while attending Williams College


Requesting Transfer/SwALE Housing

After enrollment in the College, Residential Life & Housing will reach out to talk one-on-one about what campus housing is available and what options may be best suited for your experiences.

Transfer students who do not meet any of the definitions of SwALE students will live in one of the many upper-class housing locations.

SwALE students have the following housing options:

A transfer or SwALE student who believes they have a significant diagnosis, condition, or situation that cannot be addressed via the regular housing processes or programs or within College policies may request a Housing Accommodation. More information can be found here.


  • What is College provided Off-Campus Housing for SwALE Students?

    The college has a limited stock of single rooms in apartments or houses that are reserved only for SwALE students. These units are furnished with typical college bedroom furnishings (twin XL bed & mattress, dresser, desk, desk chair, and microfridge) in each bedroom, plus lounge furniture and small dining table & chairs in the unit’s common area. The kitchen will have standard appliances (refrigerator, range). There will be at least one bathroom consisting of a sink, toilet, and shower. 

    Some units may have more than the standard – the college will not ensure furniture, appliance, or bathroom equity across these units aside from the standards. SwALE students may bring additional good-condition furnishings with them, but the items provided by the college must stay inside the unit at all times, even if not in use. All student-owned furnishings must be removed when the student vacates the unit. Other than what comes with the unit, storage of personal items is the responsibility of the student, including any associated costs.

    Unless you have a fulltime live-in partner or dependent, you should anticipate that you will be sharing the unit with other SwALE students, though you’ll have your own single bedroom within the unit. Units are gender-blind and assigned by the Residential Life & Housing staff based on availability.

    The College and Residential Life & Housing reserves the right to relocate students based on the needs of the institution; every effort will be made to not relocate students in the middle of an academic year. 

    Additionally, a student may submit a Housing Accommodation request for a change if their life situation results in a change to their level of reasonable accommodation as noted above (i.e., a new legal partner/spouse, a new child).

    SwALE students are not required to be on a college meal plan but may opt into one.

  • College provided Off-Campus Housing Policies & Procedures

    Students housed in college provided off-campus housing are expected to abide by the same residential policies as other students who live on campus in traditional housing.

    Notes and exceptions:

    • Animals are not permitted, except those approved by official college accommodation, or within student pet rules (e.g., fish in a small aquarium), or pets already in full-time care of a SwALE student upon matriculation (SwALE students may not add or replace pets during their time at Williams). Pets are not taken into consideration for additional accommodation.
    • Changes to the housing unit or to the grounds are not permitted.
    • A coffee maker, toaster, and microwave in the kitchen of the unit are permitted.
    • Portable air conditioning (A/C) units must be approved and installed/removed by college Facilities staff. Units are permitted during the summer months if the electrical supply for the building will support the load, and the windows will support the unit without damage. The student is responsible for purchasing the A/C unit/s, storing them, and taking the unit/s with them upon vacating.
    • The college assumes that the housing unit will be used by the student year-round from the start of the student’s first semester through their commencement, as long as the student remains enrolled through each academic term. The student does not have to request permission to stay during break periods or summer. However, the college may ask the student what their plans are during break periods, summer, etc., to think through utility usage, security, etc.