Location
Amherst, MA
Undergrads
1,817
Tuition
$44,610
Admission Difficulty
Very Hard
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Reviews 468 total reviews with an average rating of 3.8

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Niche User

Campus Strictness: To have a party here, you need permission from the school, which is usually not hard. Campus police will break up a party that wasn't cleared first with the school. Usually, people don't really get in trouble, though. Officers here are nice overall, and they do take care of the students, in a way.

Niche User

Campus Strictness: Campus police are very different from state police in that campus police officers do give us humane treatment. They hold a meeting for freshmen every year to outline the rules that they expect us to abide by, and tell us the kinds of things that they will consider as crossing the line. I don't think they are strict, and if they are, it's because they feel they really have to be.

1 person found this useful Report
Niche User

Campus Strictness: I respect the officers here, because they realize that in college, kids are going to party, they are going to drink, and they are going to basically have fun on occasion. They understand that being unnecessarily strict will not help anyone. People have to know their own limits as far as drinking and partying are concerned. Most kids here do know their own limits.

1 person found this useful Report
Niche User

Academics: The teachers are very friendly and ready to help you out with any problem. The classes are bound to be interesting if you choose topics you like.

Niche User

Academics: In my time here, I've gotten close enough to three professors to the point where I feel free to e-mail or come see them and talk about any academic issue that I might have. I personally know dozens of professors here, and they will sit down with you at nearly any time. They are genuinely interested in what you have to say and will really try to get at exactly what you're thinking. You can also chat with some of them about everyday stuff and joke around with some of them, but this depends more on their personality. Most professors I've met here really seek out and enjoy interaction with students.

2 people found this useful Report
Niche User

Academics: Professors are really accessible here. Some have even abandoned set office hours and will make themselves free for any students who wish to come and see them almost at any time. It's great to be able to be lectured formally and then to come talk about the class with the professor one-on-one. I feel more connected to the course material, since I know what the professor is trying to get at and what he or she wants to emphasize.

Niche User

Academics: Teachers here are excellent professionals! They dedicate themselves to teaching and helping the student comprehend everything. So far I have completely enjoyed all my classes, and I found them very interesting.

Niche User

Academics: This is a small college, so the course selection is not as broad as it is at big universities. However, the classes here are very broad in scope and encompass almost everything under the sun. It's a good idea to really read through the course catalog, because some of the coolest classes only take place every other year. Also, if you have special interests, you can take a special topics course in which you'll choose your topic of study and meet one-on-one with a professor and do research on your own. You can also take a class at one of the neighboring colleges or UMass without paying added tuition, although for the most part those students come to take classes here.

Niche User

Academics: I came to Amherst looking for lively discussion and academic rigor. What I found was some degree of academic intensity, but it's much more laid-back than I thought. Sometimes discussion in class can get stagnated because people don't seem to want to speak. There is definitely a possibility of making your stay here an immersing intellectual journey, but you'd generally be in the minority with that attitude toward school. People here are good students, but they're not overly driven.

Niche User

Academics: I think the best thing about the professors here is that they're human. They answer questions and ask them. They teach, and then they listen to your responses on what they've said. They tell jokes and laugh at jokes. I feel very comfortable in class here, a kind of comfort that I don't think I would have had at other, larger schools. In the end they expect a lot of effort from you, but professors do put a lot of their time into the classes they teach.

Niche User

Academics: All the teachers are really helpful, and they enjoy what they are teaching. If you have trouble getting an assignment in, they are usually accommodating in giving you extra time and advice.

Niche User

Academics: It feels kind of homey to go to school here. You really need to put in a lot of work, and during the week, people usually study in the evenings. In every class I've taken so far, it took the teacher about 30 seconds to make me feel comfortable with them, so I even enjoyed classes that were hard for me academically. Freshman year, I took an advanced science class, and after three-quarters of the semester, I felt that I was lagging behind. This could have been a disaster to my GPA, and it really tested my endurance. I felt very depressed that I couldn't catch up with the rest of the class, and finals were looming. However, the professor freed up so much time to personally assist me, and I feel very grateful for that because otherwise I probably might have failed the class. I somehow got through it in the end. I feel that every professor I've had so far would help me in such a way.

4 people found this useful Report
Niche User

Academics: What I think is great here is the fact that there is no core curriculum, and you can choose whatever classes you want. There is only one required course, which happens in the first semester of freshman year, and this a first-year seminar. Mine was on a pretty interesting topic, and these seminars are small, so it is generally good discussion, but some of my friends told me they didn't enjoy their freshman seminar. I've taken some hard courses and some easy ones to compensate my GPA. You're really in charge of selecting your courses here, which can be a little daunting. How can I know if biology of diseases will benefit me more than international trade? It's hard. They do offer excellent academic assistance here, so you don't have to make those decisions on your own.

Niche User

Academics: Some of the professors are good, and some aren't. You'd expect only the best at a place like this, but that is hardly the case. Course materials are generally pretty interesting, although more life and relevance could be injected into them, so students don't look half-dead.

Niche User

Academics: The teachers are very enthusiastic and accessible, and they do offer a lot of interesting courses. But there are definitely classes that are extremely unexciting, in spite of the teachers' commitment to their work.

Niche User

Academics: You can't really say that every professor here is a gifted orator. Some are, so you sit in their classes and time just flies. Some aren't, and this makes their lectures a little tedious. And some have their good days and bad days. It's just like any other school in this sense. However, if you take classes that are interesting for you and that you think you will enjoy, you should be fine, regardless of who the professor is. Every professor has a reputation by now because this is such a small school. Some people actually choose their classes based on who is teaching them. However, the material in most of the classes here is very interesting, so looking at the College Web site for reading lists and syllabi would help a lot in choosing the classes you really want to take.

Niche User

Health & Safety: It seems very safe at Amherst, but I am still afraid to walk alone at night since the school is off of Route 9, which is a busy street.

Niche User

Health & Safety: There were some cases of property damage on campus, but about half of the crimes I've heard of were perpetrated by students from one of the other schools nearby. Usually, things don't get out of hand here. People don't get so drunk as to be violent, and campus police are always on alert and respond quickly to calls. I feel pretty safe going out on weekends here.

1 person found this useful Report
Niche User

Health & Safety: The campus is very safe. You can walk around undisturbed at any time of the day or night.

Niche User

Health & Safety: In my opinion, the campus is surprisingly secure. There are not a huge number of thefts, given the number of unlocked doors everywhere. People usually feel very secure. The campus police also maintain a very visible presence, and are very quick to respond to calls, so safety is also very good.

Niche User

Health & Safety: Amherst has got to be one of the safest schools ever. The town is so quiet, and I think the crime rate is relatively low. On campus, there is a kind of honor code among students. A lot of people don't bother locking their doors and leave their packs unattended in class. I personally have not had any of my stuff stolen, nor do I know anyone who had theirs stolen.

Niche User

Health & Safety: The Amherst campus is extremely safe and secure in every way.

Niche User

Health & Safety: Campus police seems to be comprised of officers who take their job seriously. I think they have enough manpower to deal with such a small school. And it's not like their workload is heavy. People here are generally on the good side, behavior-wise. Very few Amherst students violate any law, aside from drinking of course.

Niche User

Health & Safety: I don't really feel safe walking at night, but here it's definitely safer than where I come from (the big city). Sometimes I see some shady-looking people walk down the streets of the town. The college, however, is usually a sphere of its own, and hardly anyone but students are present at nights. I generally trust students here that they're good people.

Niche User

Health & Safety: Crime on campus amounts mostly to breaking windows and dorm-damage, and it usually happens during a party. I heard of some burglaries, but it's still fine to leave your door unlocked when you go out for a little while. I heard of some violent crimes, but they are truly rare on this campus, I think.

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Overall ExperienceWhat's This?

Lem Atanga McCormick
Hometown
Chicago, IL
Major
Pre-Med (Biology and French)
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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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