Location
Amherst, MA
Undergrads
1,817
Tuition
$44,610
Admission Difficulty
Very Hard
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Reviews 448 total reviews with an average rating of 3.8

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Niche User

Greek Life: I would never join a frat myself, and in my opinion, anyone who has joined a frat did so just to liven up his or her social life. The frats here don't really scream out legacy and honor. This is because the school abolished frats, and students here seem to support this decision. The frats here are more of a fun pastime, I think.

Niche User

Greek Life: The underground frat scene does not interfere too much with the social scene.

Niche User

Greek Life: There is underground Greek life that is pretty marginal, except for a few big parties now and then.

Niche User

Greek Life: Greek life was officially ended at Amherst in the `80s. There is always UMass within walking distance if one needs one's fill of frat parties. And despite this deficiency at Amherst, there is never a shortage of kegs and hard liquor.

Niche User

Drug Safety: A lot of people use marijuana occasionally. Alcohol is big here. Also, a lot of `nerds' drink. Harder drugs are more marginal, as you'd expect.

Niche User

Drug Safety: If someone has something to do that evening, or they have to wake up early the next day, they won't drink that night. Academics and other responsibilities definitely come before partying for most people.

Niche User

Drug Safety: I think that the most important fact about drinking here is that hardly anyone drinks just to get drunk, or if they do, it's very rare. This is why drinking is not a major concern on this campus, even though the state of Massachusetts apparently thinks it should be.

Niche User

Drug Safety: I was amazed at how available alcohol and marijuana are in college. Many people drink on occasion. If you decide not to drink, that's fine, too. You'll find that many others make the same decision.

Niche User

Drug Safety: There is a lot of marijuana on the campus, but alcohol is abused far more. Other than that, I haven't encountered any other drugs, other than occasional rumors of harder drugs.

Niche User

Drug Safety: Drinking is quite common here, but it is by no means a condition to being accepted socially. You can choose to drink, or you can choose to not drink, it won't affect how friendly people are to you.

Niche User

Drug Safety: I haven't known anyone to have serious problems with even the lightest drugs, such as alcohol and marijuana. Generally, people at Amherst know how to pace themselves so that their grades won't suffer.

Niche User

Drug Safety: Most people know their limits with respect to getting drunk, and they know how to plan their time so that an occasional drinking binge will not interfere with their school work. People here don't ignore the fun of being at parties, but they do place academics first. I think most people are very mature in moderating their alcohol consumption.

Niche User

Drug Safety: Everyone can get alcohol somehow, if he or she wants it enough. Although the legal drinking age here is 21, and you can't legally buy alcohol before you're 21, many underage students keep alcohol in their rooms in various quantities. Don't get me wrong-I don't think it's unusual compared to other colleges, nor do I think that it's something that has to change.

Niche User

Drug Safety: It's very easy to get weed here, and many people smoke more than once a week. It's like an acceptable pastime, and even most of the non-smoking students accept it as a fact of life here at Amherst. Cigarettes, which are a lighter drug than pot, are far less popular.

Niche User

Drug Safety: You can get alcohol at almost every party. A lot of people also pre-game, and so usually every weekend you see many drunken people playing Beirut at every party. I don't think it's a big problem, however, because no one ever gets violent or rude because he or she is drunk.

Niche User

Drug Safety: Drinking is very prevalent here, and there's hardly a party without alcohol. What's more, alcohol is free for most students, because the drinking age is 21, so only seniors can legally purchase alcohol, and they're the ones who usually buy the alcohol for parties.

Niche User

Drug Safety: A lot of people at Amherst smoke pot. Well, not the majority, but still a significant portion of the student body. Pot is not considered to be something off limits by anyone here. Relatively few people do something harder than pot.

Niche User

Drug Safety: You'll find drugs if you look for them, but it is not in your face. There is always alcohol available.

Niche User

Drug Safety: There's some drug use here. It's up to you to decide where you want to be.

Niche User

Campus Strictness: The campus police are not strict in a lot of instances, particularly involving drinking. They are far stricter when it comes to drugs and alcohol in freshman dorms.

Niche User

Campus Strictness: Campus police are quite lax and quite nice, but there is a limit to that, of course.

Niche User

Campus Strictness: Until recently, campus police were the loosest you could probably find at a mainstream college. You know, not one of those hippie colleges.

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Niche User

Campus Strictness: As for drinking, it's okay, as long as things are under control. The campus police officers really don't like seeing drunken students stumbling and shouting in the streets. Police are much stricter about drugs.

Niche User

Campus Strictness: The college is strict if they find out you are having a party without permission from the school. There are fines for every single rule violated. Underage drinkers, however, are just warned.

Niche User

Campus Strictness: Parties get broken up quite often, and it happens a lot that we walk across campus because we hear that something is going on, only to find that the party was shut down by the police. I don't understand that. The fact is that there's alcohol in every college party, not just in Amherst, and here things don't really get out of hand.

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Overall ExperienceWhat's This?

Lem Atanga McCormick
Hometown
Chicago, IL
Major
Pre-Med (Biology and French)
View all previous student authors

Students usually don’t choose Amherst because of its academic reputation, although a sound reputation is a must when the competing schools are Harvard and Williams. Rather, students come here because of the promise of experiencing an eclectic array of stimulating peers, professors, classes, and activities. Some become disillusioned, not finding their niche within the abundance of opportunities and freedom. Some succeed in familiarizing themselves with the ways of this place, find that they’re having the time of their life midway through college and become depressed that this whole thing is going to end soon. Chronologically speaking and with clear generalization, freshman year can go by in a rush, with everyone immersed in the whole college experience with their freshmen friends and classmates. Sophomore year can be the most challenging, since a lot of people go through “sophomore slump”—a state of mild or not-so-mild depression caused by the sad fact that all their freshman friends suddenly are not living in the same dorm but are now in far corners of campus. Also, many sophomore students are conflicted by the sudden need to decide on a major and to get serious about their lives. Junior and senior years are usually better and calmer, since most students have settled into a chosen major and formed a group of close friends across distant campus dorms. Upperclassmen, then, can be free to concentrate on studying and having fun.

The key to living here is perhaps keeping yourself open and receptive to new and unfamiliar experiences, opinions, and values. You’ll gain a lot more if you communicate openly with that odd-looking and opinionated girl from Dallas or that too-cool-for-school-looking guy from Philly, rather than choosing to be repulsed by Amherst’s oddities. A place like Amherst, with so many accomplished and bright people threading its grounds, is bound to have more oddities than the average university. Even though few people come to Amherst College for the sole purpose of meeting new people, learning from everyone, exploring themselves and so on, most students do admit, however reluctantly, that Amherst is both fun and a unique learning and growing experience that can be found nowhere else.

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