Amherst College

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Amherst CollegeThe campus at Amherst College is found in the town of Amherst in western Massachusetts. It is a small college town that hosts a well-educated population; 40 percent of the town’s 35,000 people hold some form of graduate degree. Students apply to Amherst College from all over the United States, and the bulk of the students who enroll at the college are from California, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York and Illinois. The school hosts 1,785 students from 49 states as well as an international population from 54 different countries.

Amherst College Accreditation Details

Amherst College has been accredited by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education, which is a part of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

Amherst College Application Requirements

Students who wish to apply to Amherst College have the option to apply for early decision acceptance or regular decision acceptance. Students who choose to apply as an early decision candidate must demonstrate their commitment to attending Amherst College by withdrawing all other applications upon admittance to the school.

To apply as a freshman to Amherst College, students must submit the following required application materials within the timeframe of the early or regular decision deadline:

  • Common Application
  • Writing Supplement to the Common Application
  • $60 non-refundable application fee
  • Application fee waiver, if applicable
  • Transcripts from secondary schools
  • School Report
  • Two letters of recommendation from teachers
  • ACT scores or SAT scores
  • Two SAT II tests
  • Early Decision Agreement (if applicable)

After a student has submitted their application, they must include the grades on the transcript from the first semester of their senior year.

Amherst College makes its admission decisions based upon a student’s academic record and their extra-curricular activities. They place most of the emphasis on the transcript provided by the secondary school. Amherst looks for students who have succeeded academically while taking the most advanced course options available to them. Amherst College does not suggest specific requirements for a candidate’s GPA or test scores, however, they provide an overview of the typical class that is admitted each year to Amherst College.

About 84 percent of students admitted to Amherst College come from the top 10 percent of their high school graduating class, and 97 percent fall within the top 25 percent of their graduating class. About 85 percent of students accepted into Amherst College had an ACT score of 30 or above. The mean SAT score has previously been: 720 in critical reading, 721 in math, and 714 in writing.

Tuition and Financial Aid

The comprehensive tuition fee at Amherst College is $62,940 annually. This covers tuition, room and board, but it does not include student fees, insurance, books, personal expenses and travels. The actual cost of attendance is estimated to be between $68,393 and $70,843 per academic year.

Amherst College accepts the following forms of payment and financial aid:

  • Federal Direct Stafford Loans
  • Federal Perkins Loans
  • Federal Direct Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students
  • Amherst College Loans
  • Computer Loans
  • Short-Term Loans
  • MEFA Undergraduate Loan
  • New Jersey CLASS Loan
  • Monthly Payment Plans

Student Experience

Amherst College focuses on providing its small student body a liberal arts education that is delivered in personalized and intensive format. Amherst offers what they call an Open Curriculum. This method of teaching allows students to pursue a major while simultaneously taking courses that suit a wide range of interests. Amherst does not offer required or core courses in general education. The school offers 850 different courses each semester and students are encouraged to try out new disciplines outside of their normal interests. Students pursuing an education in physics are entitled to also take courses in anthropology or even history of art. The college offers 38 different majors and allows students to design their own major. These majors are also supported by the Five College Consortium, which allows students at Amherst to take courses for credit from nearby schools including the University of Massachusetts Amherst. This network provides students access to over 6,000 courses. Amherst College believes that this is the true value of its programs.

At Amherst College, students have direct access to many of the staff and faculty on campus. The staff to student ratio for the entire campus 8 to 1 and the average class size for undergraduate courses is 16. About 90 percent of classes offered have fewer than 30 students in each meeting. Because of the small class sizes, students can benefit from discussion-based classes as well as personal feedback and careful attention to submitted work. Small class sizes and high rates of faculty attention allow the school to use active methods of student learning that differ from the traditional method of lectures and note taking. Freshmen are even entitled to take a First Year Seminar. These seminars are designed to introduce new students into the methods of education used at Amherst College. Students work closely with professors and faculty to develop their critical thinking skills as well as their speech and writing skills. Previous seminars have included: Encounters with Nature, Thinking Through Improvisation, Political Leadership, Drugs in History, Vienna around 1900: Cradle of Modernity and The Great Schism through Eastern Eyes.

Amherst College boasts a 96 percent graduation rate, and this is a result of the academic support that students receive both in and out of the classroom. From the on-campus Writing Center to tutoring and counseling services, Amherst provides the resources students need to succeed during their four years at the college. Amherst College also hosts the Moss Quantitative Center, which provides specialized help for students studying mathematics, science and economics at Amherst. The center offers drop-in study help for many of the individual classes in these areas.

Students at Amherst are also offered the possibility of taking part in over 100 different campus organizations. These organizations are varied and students are also encouraged to start their own organizations as well as participate in a group at one of the other Five College consortium colleges.

Amherst College provides a liberal arts education with a focus on expanding a student’s academic skills as well as their interests. The facilities available at Amherst College allow students to learn about almost anything they want with excellent support from the faculty and staff.

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