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On Site: Amherst College

At a Glance

Amherst, Massachusetts

Undergraduate Students: 1,850

Student to Faculty Ratio: 7:1

Acceptance Rate: 7%

Six Year Graduation Rate: 95%

Freshman Retention Rate: 91%

Notable Majors: Economics, English, History, Mathematics, Psychology

The Feel

  • The Environment: Beautiful campus in the small community of Amherst. Views of the surrounding Holyoke Mountains are prevalent. The 1,000 acre campus dedicates 500 acres to a wildlife sanctuary; they have a 50 acre farm, as well. This is a gigantic campus for a small student population.

  • Students have access to 6,000 courses through the Five College Consortium which, in addition to Amherst, includes Smith College, UMass - Amherst, Mount Holyoke College and Hampshire College.

  • There are 34 dormitories and themed housing is available.

  • 98% of students live on campus.

  • 70% of students are are involved in a sport with around 30% of students in a varsity sport.

  • There is no Greek life at Amherst.

Standout Points

  • Strong focus on student connection and support. Faculty only teach 2 courses per semester to allow time for relationships with students, which creates opportunities for research, internships, etc.

  • Courses are taught in a discussion-based format, and the average class size is 19.

  • Unique for its open curriculum: the only general education requirement is a freshman seminar. The only other requirement: 32 courses of your choice, including 8 courses that meet the major requirements. Around half of students double major because of the tremendous flexibility!

  • Interdisciplinary and independent majors are available, and 40% of seniors complete an optional thesis.

  • Financial Info: Need blind, 100% need met, no loans and fully funded. They are in a rare group of schools that do this.

Fun Fact

  • Amherst has longstanding ties to influential authors: Robert Frost taught at Amherst, and the college has an outstanding collection of his works in print, including many first editions! Emily Dickinson’s familial connection to the college resulted in an extensive collection of her works, as well.

Bottom Line Fit:

For the high achieving student not willing to be confined to specific general ed course requirements and who prioritizes a tight-knit campus and relationships with faculty. The benefit of having access to any course at 4 other campuses including the top state school in Massachusetts just down the road doesn't hurt either!

Chad’s Take:

Amherst is highly selective with an acceptance rate of just 7%, but for good reason: this school stands out! The Five College Consortium is super cool, the professors are limited to 2 classes per semester to make time for students, and the open curriculum are all unique.

Learn more about Amherst College!

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