After graduating Junction High School, Junction, Texas, Wilson attended Texas A&M University, and transferred to Harvard University in 1911.
According to Texas A&M yearbooks (1910-1911), Arthur William Wilson was a freshman at Texas A&M in 1910. In the 1910/1911 course catalogue (bulletin), Arthur William Wilson was a sophomore in Chemical Engineering.
His time at Harvard was turbulent, as he was involved in a fatal accident during a street car strike which resulted in a friend’s death. In addition to the trauma from this tragedy, Wilson’s attendance resulted in consequences which included taking a year off and eventual withdrawal from the University in 1915. During his time at Harvard, however, he was actively involved as an Editor of The Harvard Monthly, contributing poems and other written works for publication. During this time, he met and befriended Scofield Thayer, James Sibley Watson, E.E. Cummings, John Dos Passos, Clarence Britten, and Cuthbert Wright.
While at Harvard, Wilson participated in the activities of the Harvard Aesthetes, a name given to a group of poets attending Harvard in a period roughly between 1912 and 1919. It includes: Malcolm Cowley (1898–1989), E.E. Cummings (1894–1962), S. Foster Damon (1893–1971), John Dos Passos (1896–1970), Robert Hillyer (1895–1961), and John Brooks Wheelwright (1897–1940).