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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College Freshman

Facilities: In general, the facilities are in great shape. Any that aren't are either in the process of being renovated or will be soon. The gym is large, free, and convenient. The student center could use some new arcade games, but it's still functional, and the dining hall is well kept. No big complaints here.

College Freshman

Campus Dining: There is one dining hall on campus, Valentine or "Val," which I like because the whole campus eats together, but the limited hours can be extremely annoying at times. The food itself is typical of most colleges, except we have waffle machines and panini presses open at most meals, which I would highly recommend. Since the budget cuts, there have been a lot of complaints about the variety of choices offered, but when students get tired of Val, there are several good and inexpensive places to eat literally five minutes from campus.

College Freshman

Computers: There are two main computer labs on campus in the libraries. It's usually not too difficult to find an available computer, except for possibly during midterms and finals week. Anyway, most students bring their own laptops, and there is WiFi in all of the dorms and academic buildings.

College Freshman

Off-Campus Housing: Off-campus housing here is virtually nonexistent-almost everyone lives on campus all four years.

College Freshman

Academics: The professors at Amherst are terrific overall-they are very knowledgeable in their respective fields and always available during office hours outside of class. The workload is fairly rigorous, as expected, but it is manageable if you are willing to put in the work. Academically, I would say that almost all of the departments here are very strong, and Amherst definitely lives up to its reputation.

College Freshman

Health & Safety: Amherst's campus is extremely safe, aside from the occasional security incident or theft. I'm never afraid to walk around campus alone at night. The campus police are pretty lenient with parties but will shut one down if it gets too loud or out of control.

College Freshman

Athletics: There are a lot of intramural options. I play varsity baseball, but it doesn't seem like enthusiasm is great for sports on campus. However, there is great support for soccer and basketball.

College Freshman

Campus Dining: The only dining hall sucks-it is the worst. I find myself ordering out all the time, and the food in town and delivery options are great. My suggestion would be to get less swipes on your card and get more AC dollars, which can be used in town.

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College Freshman

Parking: Freshmen cannot bring cars, and parking is not very easy. The parking lots are located on one corner of campus.

College Freshman

Campus Housing: The dorms are the nicest I've seen at any college. I am in one of the worst freshman dorms, and all my friends from other schools commented about how big all the dorms are.

College Freshman

Computers: Bring your own computer. The wireless connection all around campus is great.

College Freshman

Off-Campus Housing: Everyone stays on campus at Amherst.

College Freshman

Weather: Bundle up-the winters are ridiculously cold. If you aren't well dressed, walking to class sucks.

College Freshman

Nightlife: The parties are great, and the cops are real cool about everything. Off campus, Monkey Bar is the best bar.

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College Freshman

Diversity: There are many different groups represented here. While I feel it is a diverse college, the majority of students are still white. Even so, I feel like everyone is very accepting of all different races and sexualities.

College Freshman

Health & Safety: The campus is very safe, and the College police are really friendly. But be warned that if you cross Route 9 with an open container, the police from the town of Amherst get to deal with you, and they're not nearly as forgiving.

College Freshman

Overall Experience: I can't complain, really. People here are interesting, nice, and intelligent for the most part-or the ones I've met anyway. It's not too work-oriented or too party-oriented for me, and the balance is inviting. The College is very small, which I think is a good thing, but some people might not like that.

College Freshman

Local Atmosphere: Amherst is a nice, substantial-sized town. There are cheap and nice restaurants and enough stores to get by with. Eight miles away is Northampton, which is a very fun, larger town with a subculture. Between the two of them is a huge mall that everyone goes to all the time for everything they need. Also in the area are four other colleges, and of those, Smith and Mount Holyoke are girls only, and groups of Smith girls come to parties at Amherst all the time.

College Freshman

Off-Campus Dining: The town of Amherst has some very nice restaurants. Most are affordable, and the few that aren't are great places to go when your parents visit and it's on their tab. I really like Freshside-it has amazing tea rolls-and Antonio's- be sure to get the pesto tortellini pizza!

College Freshman

Academics: The professors are really engaging and very easy to get in contact with. Most of my classes have been no larger than 30 students. The workload is what you would expect at a top liberal arts college. I plan on becoming a history major, so I have a lot of reading, but that should be expected of any humanities course. Another great thing about Amherst is that there is no core curriculum, so my fear of the sciences can't hurt my grades.

College Freshman

Transportation: We have buses that run late and go between all the towns and colleges in the area. It takes a long time to get anywhere, but they're reliable. I know some kind of safe ride thing exists, but the campus is so small and so safe that I've never seen a reason to use it.

College Freshman

Facilities: The gym is incredibly nice. People compare it to a country club. The student center is tiny, but it gets the job done and is nice inside, so people like to go there. It contains the only place to eat on campus aside from the cafeteria, but that's not so important because town is so close by. The libraries are just basic and ugly but good enough.

College Freshman

Drug Safety: Like anywhere else, there are potheads and there's a fringe of people doing harder drugs. But it's small.

College Freshman

Campus Strictness: The campus police are not very strict. They don't like alcohol in freshman dorms, and they respond to noise complaints, but there really seems to be a tacit acceptance of widespread underage drinking. They do seem to know where all of the parties are and occasionally half-heartedly "bust" one, but "getting caught" is not a very big deal.

College Freshman

Greek Life: It's small, very self contained and completely underground. I have a few friends pledging, but I have never once been to a frat party, and that's typical. They have their own parties, but the ones most people go to are put together by other groups.

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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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