Seventy-Third Annual Report to Secondary Schools

Welcome to Amherst College’s 73rd Amherst College Annual Report to Secondary Schools. The reports were inaugurated by Amherst Dean of Admission Eugene “Bill” Wilson in 1947. Even though the internet has made such a report no longer necessary (Dean Wilson surely would have found it remarkable that all of the information in the report could be easily retrieved from anywhere in the world with a phone that fits in your pocket), we have continued with this format, now in its eighth decade.

Many of my predecessors in this role, including Deans Bill Wilson, Ed Wall, Henry “Ted” Bedford, Linda Davis Taylor, Jane Reynolds and Tom Parker, would always open the report with a letter to secondary-school colleagues, and I am happy to follow in this tradition. As I looked back at some of the “anniversary year” reports (from 10, 25 and 50 years ago) for inspiration, I found myself feeling even more connected to the values that the Amherst Admission Office has held for much of its history: openness and transparency; commitment to identifying those students who are the right fit for the College’s mission and culture; and dedication to holistic, need-blind admission.

In the report from 25 years ago, Dean Jane Reynolds observed, “In their best moments, Amherst College students are open-minded, free, feisty, and able to maneuver intelligently in society and the world of ideas.” Having arrived recently with fresh eyes, I see all of these qualities today as well—notably, that feistiness in conjunction with the excitement for the “world of ideas.”

While the students we seek have the same qualities now as then, the admission landscape certainly has evolved. For the class entering Amherst in 1993, the College received 4,302 applications, admitted 991 students (a 23% admission rate) and enrolled a class of 421. Fast-forward a quarter century, and you find last year 9,720 applications for admission, 1,240 admitted (13%) and an enrolled class of 492.

In the same 1993 report, Dean Reynolds spoke of the pending retirement of the 16th president of Amherst College, Peter Pouncey.

At the time of his arrival [in 1984], he saw incoming classes which did not fully represent the demographics of a changing American society; he puzzled over why the College was returning unspent resources to the financial aid budget year after year; and, most significantly, he argued that to be a truly great institution of national prominence, the College must bring “a full sample of the nation’s talent” to the campus.

In the course of Pouncey’s presidency, the dean reported, “the number of students of color entering Amherst each year has grown from 14% to 31.5% of the class.”

I am grateful to Pouncey and Reynolds, and their successors, for their efforts to diversify the College and bring it to a place of leadership among American higher education institutions. Today, nearly half of our incoming class identify as U.S. students of color. Most students receive need-based Amherst scholarships. Our student body includes students from more than 50 countries. Through those we admit, the Admission and Financial Aid Offices strive to uphold the College’s mission to educate students “of exceptional potential from all backgrounds so that they may seek, value, and advance knowledge, engage the world around them, and lead principled lives of consequence.”

Yours in education,

Matthew L. McGann, Ed.D. 
Dean of Admission and Financial Aid

A photo of three people's portraits in circles: Two men and one woman

Admission and Financial Aid Staff for 2020–2021

Our Admission and Financial Aid teams work together to strive toward providing an education for a more equitable and just world.

First-Year Students in the Class of 2023

Student Background Profile

Gender Identification

A pie chart: Female 50%, Male 49%, another gender identity 1%


Receiving scholarship or grant aid from Amherst


Pell Grant recipients


First-generation college students


Self-identify as U.S. students of color


Non-U.S. citizens


Dual citizens of U.S. and another country

Racial and Ethnic Identity

  Federal Reporting Guidelines All Self-Reported Identities*
American Indian or Alaskan Native 2 (<1%) 11 (2%)
Asian American 65 (14%) 88 (19%)
Black or African American 48 (10%) 68 (14%)
Latinx 66 (14%) 66 (14%)
Multiracial 27 (6%) N/A
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander 2 (<1%) 3 (1%)
White 186 (40%) 256 (54%)
Did not report 19 (4%) 19 (4%)

*Total percentage exceeds 100% because students may indicate more than one race and ethnicity.

Student Academic Profile

Admission Plan

A pie chart: 57% enrolled through Regular Decision; 38% enrolled through Early Decision; 5% enrolled through QuestBridge Match

Class Rank & Test Scores

  • 88% of those with reported class rank are in the top 10% of their class
  • 22% of those ranked are valedictorians
  • Mean SAT scores: Evidence-Based Reading and Writing 727, Math 750
  • Mean ACT scores: Composite 33, English 34, Math 32

Admission Statistics

Entry Year Number of Applicants Number of Students Admitted Number of Students Enrolled
2019 10,569 1,195 (11%) 470 (39%)
2018 9,723 1,246 (13%) 492 (39%)

SAT & ACT Scores

Distribution of SAT Scores

Evidence-Based Reading and Writing Applied Admitted Enrolled
Mean 694 736 727
Mid 50% 650-750 710-770 690-760
Math Applied Admitted Enrolled
Mean 716 756 750
Mid 50% 670-790 730-790 720-790

Distribution of ACT Scores

ACT Composite Applied Admitted Enrolled
Mean 32 34 33
Mid 50% 30-34 32-35 31-34
ACT English Applied Admitted Enrolled
Mean 33 34 34
Mid 50% 31-35 34-36 34-36
ACT Math Applied Admitted Enrolled
Mean 30 32 32
Mid 50% 28-34 30-35 30-35

Secondary School Representation

Applied, Public: 6619 (63%); Independent: 2837 (27%); Parochial: 1009 (10%); Home School: 104 (1%)


Public: 6619 (63%)
Independent: 2837 (27%)
Parochial: 1009 (10%)
Home School: 104 (1%)

Admitted, Public: 698 (58%); Independent: 360 (30%); Parochial: 128 (11%); Home School: 9 (<1%)


Public: 698 (58%)
Independent: 360 (30%)
Parochial: 128 (11%)
Home School: 9 (<1%)

Enrolled, Public: 258 (55%); Independent: 150 (32%); Parochial: 57 (12%); Home School: 5 (1%)


Public: 258 (55%)
Independent: 150 (32%)
Parochial: 57 (12%)
Home School: 5 (1%)

Number of schools represented in the class

Total secondary schools represented in the class: 394
  • Public: 231
  • Parochial: 49
  • Independent: 109
  • Home School: 5

Geographical Distribution of Residence

New England 18% (84 students); Mid Atlantic 28% (139 students); Mid West 6% (29 students); South S. East 14% (82 students); West S. West 24% (91 students); International 10% (45 students)
  • New England: Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut
  • Mid-Atlantic: New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Virginia and West Virginia
  • Mid-West: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin
  • South / Southeast: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas
  • West / Southwest: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming

Student Place of Residence

Students reside in:

  • 41 states, including the District of Columbia
  • 25 foreign countries

Countries of citizenship with multiple international students: Canada, China, Honduras, India, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Singapore, South Korea and the United Kingdom

Financial Aid

Class of 2023

$15,817,342 total amount
$54,747 average amount
62% percentage receiving scholarship and grant aid

Fall Transfer Students


Total number of students who applied


Total number of students who were admitted


Total number of students who enrolled


Matriculated from community college


With previous service in the U.S. Armed Forces


Transfer students who enrolled in spring of 2019

Distribution of Majors for the Class of 2019

A chart showing single major, 54%, double major 45% and triple major 1%

Senior Major Distribution by Major

Select an accordion below to see a breakdown single, double and triple majors.