Housing for Students with Advanced Life Experience (SwALEs) & Transfer Students

Requesting Housing

New Transfer Students and new Students with Advanced Life Experience (SwALEs) will be asked to complete an online OCL housing form upon enrollment.

Generally, new transfer students will be expected to live in traditional student housing on campus. However, a new transfer student may qualify as a SwALE – read below for more information.

A SwALE or new transfer 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 Special Housing Accommodation. More information can be found here.


Who qualifies as a SwALE?

A SwALE is defined as a student who meets at least one of these criteria:

  • will matriculate at the college at the age of 24 or over;
  • will have a legal spouse/partner in full-time residence with them in Williamstown;
  • will have legal custody of a child in full-time residence with them in Williamstown.

A SwALE who matriculates at age 24 or older, who does not have a legal spouse/partner in residence with them nor custodial children, has the following housing options upon their matriculation at Williams:

  1. traditional upperclass housing;
  2. housing not affiliated with the college (directly contracted between the student and the landlord);
  3. college-affiliated housing specifically for SwALE individuals, living together.

A SwALE who has a legal partner/spouse in full-time residence with them, and/or who is a legal custodial parent, has the following housing options upon their matriculation at Williams:

  1. housing not affiliated with the college (directly contracted between the student and the landlord);
  2. college-affiliated housing specifically for SwALE couples/families.

What is College-Affiliated Housing for SwALE individuals?

The college has a limited stock of single rooms in apartments or houses that are reserved only for SwALEs. If a room is available in one of these units and you choose this housing, you will be sharing the unit with other SwALEs, though you’ll have your own single bedroom within the unit. Units are gender-blind.

These units are furnished with typical college bedroom furnishings (twin XL bed & mattress, dresser, desk, desk chair), plus lounge furniture and small dining table & chairs in the unit’s common area. 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 appliance or bathroom equity across these units aside from the standards. SwALEs 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 SwALE-owned furnishings must be removed when the SwALE vacates the unit. Other than what comes with the unit, storage of personal items is the responsibility of the SwALE, including any associated costs.

SwALEs housed in these units are expected to remain in the same unit for the entirety of their Williams student experience. The college reserves the right to require SwALE relocations as needed. Additionally, a SwALE may submit a Housing Appeal for a change if the SwALE’s 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).

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


What is College-Affiliated Housing for SwALE couples/families?

The college has a limited stock of apartments that are reserved for this purpose.

  • For a SwALE with a legal partner/spouse in full-time residence with them, reasonable accommodation is a private studio or one-bedroom apartment.
  • For a SwALE (with or without a legal partner/spouse) with one or two custodial children with them, reasonable accommodation is a private two-bedroom apartment.
  • For a SwALE (with or without a legal partner spouse) with three or more custodial children with them, reasonable accommodation is a private three-bedroom apartment.

These units are unfurnished. 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 appliance or bathroom equity across these units aside from the standards. SwALEs may bring good-condition furnishings with them. All SwALE-owned furnishings must be removed when the SwALE vacates the unit. Other than what comes with the unit, storage of personal items is the responsibility of the SwALE, including any associated costs.

SwALEs housed in these units are expected to remain in the same unit for the entirety of their Williams student experience. The college reserves the right to require SwALE relocations as needed. Additionally, a SwALE may submit a Housing Accommodations request for a change if the SwALE’s 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).

SwALEs are not required to be on a college meal plan, but may opt into one. SwALE spouses & children may opt for a college meal plan, at the SwALE’s expense.


College-Affiliated Housing Policies & Procedures

Students housed in college-affiliated 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).
  • 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 are permitted during the summer months if the electrical supply for the building will support the load and if the windows will support the unit without damage. The student is responsible for purchasing the A/C unit/s, storing them, and for taking the unit/s with them upon vacating. A work order must be completed for installation & removal.
  • 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, though the college may ask the student what their plans are during break periods, summer, etc., to think through utility usage, security, etc.