THE AMHERST COLLEGE ADMISSION MISSION STATEMENT ~ Voted by the Faculty in 1983
Amherst College looks, above all, for students of intellectual promise who have demonstrated qualities of mind and character that will enable them to take full advantage of our curriculum. We seek qualified applicants from different racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds; students whose several perspectives might contribute significantly to a process of mutual education within and beyond the curriculum.
We aim to select, from among the many qualified applicants, those possessing the intellectual talent, discipline and imagination that will allow them most fully to benefit from our curriculum and contribute to the life of the college and society. Grades, standardized test scores, essays, recommendations, independent work, the quality of the secondary school program and achievements outside the classroom are among the factors used to evaluate this promise, but no one of these measures is considered determinative.
THE ADMISSION PROCESS
We take great care to give every application a thorough review. Each application is read by at least two admission deans before being presented to the Admission Committee for discussion. We pay closest attention to a student’s secondary school (or college) transcript, teacher and counselor recommendations, quality of writing demonstrated in essays and described in recommendations, and extra- and co-curricular involvements, talents and achievements.
We give the greatest weight to the transcript: The rigor of courses taken, the quality of grades and the consistency of a student’s prior academic work give us the clearest indication of how well a student will do at Amherst. Recommendations, the quality of a student’s writing, and extra- and co-curricular activities guide us in drawing fine distinctions among very talented applicants. Amherst College has adopted a test-optional pilot program for SAT/ACT testing for first-year applicants to the Classes of 2025, 2026, 2027 and 2028 (students entering Amherst in 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024). The test-optional policy applies to all applicants—domestic and international—applying for first-year admission during the duration of the pilot program. Standardized testing is always optional for transfer applicants. At their own discretion, students may choose to submit SAT/ACT test scores for consideration in the application review process. For more information, review our Standardized Testing Policy.
While no precise list of secondary school courses is required for admission, we recommend the following preparation for Amherst (with the understanding that curricular content and availability will vary from school to school and that most successful applicants will have taken a course of study well beyond this curriculum): four years of English, mathematics through pre-calculus, three or four years of one foreign language, two years of history and social science, and at least three years of natural science, including one year of laboratory science.
Amherst College follows a need-blind admission policy for all applicants—domestic and international, first-year and transfer. An applicant's prospects for admission will never be negatively affected by an application for aid or the applicant's degree of financial need.
Applying. First-year applicants must submit the Common Application or the QuestBridge Application, along with the associated Amherst supplement and other supporting materials. Applications must be submitted online through the portal of the chosen application platform, accompanied by either online payment of the $65 non-refundable application fee or a pre-approved fee waiver (either the Common or QuestBridge fee waiver or Amherst's QuickPass or A2A fee waiver). Applications must be received at our Admission Office by the deadline corresponding to the selected admission decision plan. Additional information about the application process and required application materials is available at: www.amherst.edu/admission.
Early Decision. Less than 10 percent of applicants choose our binding Early Decision (ED) program. This is a good option only for those who have decided early in the college search process that Amherst is their clear and definite first choice. Under this option, a student agrees not to be an ED candidate at any other college and, if admitted, to withdraw all applications from other colleges and to enroll at Amherst. ED applications must be submitted by November 1; applicants will be notified of our decision by early-to-mid-December and must submit the Admission Response Form promptly thereafter.
Regular Decision. More than 90 percent of applicants choose our Regular Decision option. RD applications must be submitted by January 3; applicants will be notified of our decision by late March and, if admitted, must reply to our offer by submitting the Admission Response Form by May 1.
IB, AP and College Courses. In evaluating applications, we view International Baccalaureate, Advanced Placement or college courses taken during secondary school as evidence of academic accomplishment and preparation. In addition, some Amherst departments may allow a student to forego introductory-level courses in areas in which rigorous work has already been completed. However, we do not accept such courses for credit toward the Amherst degree.
Deferred Enrollment. An admitted first-year student may, with the permission of the Dean of Admission, defer matriculation for a year without reapplying. The student should confirm intent to enroll at Amherst by submitting the admission response form and the required deposit or waiver, along with a written request for the deferral. We do not award credit toward the Amherst degree for any coursework completed during the deferral year.
A student may apply for transfer admission to Amherst after completing the equivalent of 32 semester hours of transferable liberal arts coursework at another college or university. (Courses in progress at the time of application are included in determining transferable credit.) With the exception of students applying through our special Japanese Scholars program, we do not accept applications from individuals who have already earned a bachelor’s degree. Nor do we accept transfer applications from students whose college credit was completed as part of a program of early graduation from secondary school or other accelerated completion of secondary school.
Transfer applicants must submit the Common Application, along with the associated Amherst supplement and other supporting materials. Applications must be submitted online through the portal of the chosen application platform, accompanied by either online payment of the $65 non-refundable application fee or a pre-approved fee waiver (either the Common fee waiver or Amherst's QuickPass fee waiver). Standardized testing is optional for transfer applicants (with the exception of required English proficiency testing for international applicants). Applications for fall semester transfer must be submitted by March 1; applicants will be notified of our decision by mid-April and, if admitted, must reply to our offer by late May. Applications for spring semester transfer must be submitted by November 1; applicants will be notified of our decision by mid-December and, if admitted, must respond to our offer promptly. Information on the transfer admission process and required application materials is available at the Admission Office website: www.amherst.edu/admission. Information on COVID-related modifications to transfer eligibility and admission is available at: www.amherst.edu/admission/covid-19-considerations.
U.S. SERVICE MEMBER and VETERAN APPLICANTS
Amherst actively seeks to enroll qualified service members or veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces. Since the creation of our Veterans Scholarship Fund, most military-connected students who have enrolled at Amherst began their academic careers at community colleges or other educational institutions, but qualified military-connected students may also apply to Amherst as first-year students. The College provides an application fee waiver to any U.S. veteran or service member applicant. In general, U.S. military-connected students follow the same first-year or transfer application process as other applicants, but there are some special provisions that apply selectively to U.S. service member or veteran applicants. Additional information is available at: www.amherst.edu/admission/apply/veterans.
As part of our commitment to enrolling military-connected students, Amherst College participates in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Yellow Ribbon Program. For qualifying admitted students, Amherst does not cap Yellow Ribbon spaces and offers an uncapped maximum school contribution per student.
We welcome first-year and transfer applications from international students. About 10 percent of our students are non-U.S. citizens from more than 50 countries; another 5-10 percent hold dual citizenship with the United States and another country and have lived or studied outside the U.S.
Amherst College follows a need-blind admission policy for all applicants—domestic and international, first-year and transfer. This means Amherst will admit international students without regard to their level of financial need. In addition, Amherst meets 100 percent of demonstrated financial need for international students who are admitted to the college and whose financial situation qualifies them as eligible for need-based financial aid.
Our Admission Committee is familiar with educational systems around the world and experienced in the evaluation of international applicants. Regardless of citizenship or geographic location, international students should follow the same first-year or transfer application process required of any other student; the only additional application requirement for international students is the demonstration of English language proficiency. Amherst requires any applicant whose first language is not English to take and submit scores from standardized English proficiency testing—either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Additional information about English proficiency testing requirements is available at: www.amherst.edu/admission/international.
For further information please contact:
Office of Admission
P.O. Box 5000
Amherst, MA 01002-5000