Amherst, MA
Admission Difficulty
Very Hard
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Reviews 468 total reviews with an average rating of 3.8

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3 College Freshman

Off-Campus Dining: The food exists, and it's not half-bad. Everybody loves Antonio's Pizza, for instance. Outside of that, however, you'll be hard-pressed to find anything better than a 3.5-star on Yelp.

4 College Freshman

Campus Housing: Housing varies wildly from dorm to dorm. All of the first-year dorms are terrific, though of course, some are still noticeably better than others. Since Amherst is a pretty small college, pretty much every dorm is near your classes (the farthest you'll have to walk will never be more than 10-15 minutes).

3 College Freshman

Local Atmosphere: The town of Amherst definitely has a very college-town feel, which is reasonable, considering there are like 50,000 college students living in the area. No matter what, however, you're still in the middle of a small town in western Massachusetts, so you'll have to temper your expectations accordingly. The food around here is good, but not great. There's a large mall nearby, so shopping is pretty good, and a free bus system runs through all of the colleges in the area.

5 College Freshman

Majors: It's extremely easy to major in anything at Amherst, especially thanks to the open curriculum. You don't have to declare a major for years, and even after that, you can still pretty much add or drop majors at any time. You can pretty much just double major on accident, and there are triple majors abound.

1 person found this useful Report
College Freshman

Majors: I haven't yet declared a major, so my experience in the field is rather limited.

5 College Freshman

Academics: It's one of the top liberal arts colleges in the U.S. What do you expect? The academics are terrific.

3 College Freshman

Guys & Girls: There's definitely a hook-up culture at Amherst, as opposed to a dating culture, but it's certainly not worse than any other college in the U.S. You can still date if you really want to.

5 College Freshman

Diversity: I come from a largely homogenous high school, so coming to Amherst was my first chance to ever meet so many people from different ethnicities and backgrounds. It is NOT just white and preppy. Well, it's pretty preppy. But definitely not predominantly white.

1 person found this useful Report
5 College Freshman

Overall Experience: Amherst is a terrific school. It's small, which makes it incredibly easy to meet and know people. The classes are great, especially since the open curriculum and shopping period ensure that I only have to take classes that I truly want to take. Things are going great.

3 College Freshman

Athletics: Since Amherst is a small school, a LOT of the students are an athlete in one sport or another. However, sports does not dominate campus life by any definition.

3 College Freshman

Drug Safety: There's definitely a drinking culture at Amherst, but then again, there's a drinking culture at pretty much every school. I can't complain-- people probably drink here more than they do at your average high school, but it's not unmanageable (though your experience will vary greatly depending on which dorm you live in).

4 College Freshman

Computers: Word of advice: always use a wired ethernet connection to get internet whenever you can. The WiFi coverage on Amherst's campus is terrific, but compared to a good wired connection, the WiFi here is pretty darn slow.

Life will be much easier if you own your own laptop, but there are plenty of computer labs spread throughout the campus, should you need them. Compared to the relatively small size of the college, the main computer lab in Frost Library is actually quite large-- there will always be a computer available if you need one.

College Freshman

Scholarships: I did not apply for financial aid; Amherst's aid is entirely need-based (and very good, from what I've been told), but I do not qualify.

College Freshman

Greek Life: There aren't any official frats or sororities. There are a few "unofficial" frats, where a bunch of people just agree to live in the same suite, but they're actually not a very big presence on campus.

3 College Freshman

Weather: During the winter, Amherst is cold, and it snows a lot. But what can you really expect from New England? By those standards, the weather is just fine.

5 Recent Alumnus

Local Atmosphere: Amherst itself is a nice little town with many families and college professors/staff, as well as a lovely library and town green with many local activities each week and weekend. The greatest boon to attending Amherst, however, is the Five-College Consortium -- the ability to take classes at any of the other four colleges in the region (three liberal arts colleges and one state university, all with very different offerings), and to have such easy access and proximity to the other college campuses and towns. Northampton in particular, which houses Smith College, is a more bustling alternative to Amherst with better music venues and nightlife.

1 person found this useful Report
Recent Alumnus

Greek Life: No official (or permitted) Greek life at Amherst.

3 Recent Alumnus

Campus Dining: There is only one dining hall on campus. Pro: everyone has to get together in the same place for all meals, which fosters community. Con: everyone has to get together in the same place for all meals... It's easy to feel tired of going to the same place and seeing the same group of people, especially on a small campus with a student body of under 2000. The food offerings have become more varied (and edible) over the years, and I hear they have continued to improve since 2010.

2 people found this useful Report
3 Recent Alumnus

Campus Strictness: The college campus is adjacent to the town green and the main strip of Amherst, and also takes steps to integrate the local community into its own offerings. For example, local residents can use the Amherst College library and enter the campus center, etc. This also sometimes means that folks from the town make it into dormitories and parties as well, which has caused safety issues in the past.

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Student

Athletics: It's okay. Not the best, but has its presence.

5 College Student

Scholarships: I do not have FA but I've heard that it's one of the best.

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Student

Transportation: It's better than some others but could be better.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Student

Campus Housing: It's overall great. The dorms are nice and spacious. Room draw process is kind of random.

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Student

Campus Strictness: Not sure. Seems to be changing.

5 College Student

Academics: I have no doubt it is one of America's best. Professors are very passionate and knowledgeable about what they are doing. Amherst does seem to have a little more workload than other comparable colleges - it feels like high school at times. Facilities are great. Internship opportunities with professors are available, and if you are one of the ones to get one, you'll spend time with the professor a lot. Open curriculum leaves a wide range of choices which I have come to appreciate a lot more than I imagined I would. In the end, it's the professors who are the greatest. The grading is reasonable.

1 person found this useful Report

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Overall ExperienceWhat's This?

Lem Atanga McCormick
Chicago, IL
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.

Admitted Students' GPA/Test Scores More on admissions . . .

Applicant Status At Amherst College

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