Student Name on College Documents

Chosen Name at Amherst College

Amherst College students may edit their chosen name in AC Data. Chosen name is a term used to refer to a first and/or second name a person chooses to represent themselves, often tied to their gender identity and/or is in line with their personal desired presentation of self. This may be different from the name an individual was given at birth. Students may also add personal pronouns to their record via AC Data. In addition to contacting the Registrar's Office for support in changing names and pronouns, students may reach out to Amherst's Queer Resource Center for support, community, programming and more. 

Pronouns appear on course rosters at the college.

At Amherst College, chosen name appears on the following:

  • Course rosters
  • Moodle (the College’s Learning Management System)
  • Email display name
  • Student ID cards
  • Campus Directory

Directions on how to change chosen name (first name only) and add pronouns via AC Data are available below.

Students who do not want their chosen name made available as directory information should consider restricting access to directory information, in accordance with FERPA (Family Education Rights and Privacy Act).   Changes to directory information may be updated by filling out the Directory Information form and Returning it to the Registrar’s Office (Converse Hall, Room101). Restricting name and other information in the Amherst College directory does not mean that this information is anonymous to the College community, but rather to those outside of the institution.

First Name on Amherst College Records

Amherst College students may choose how their first name appears on their official transcript, diploma, and degree verifications. Students may elect to have their legal name appear on College records, or they may add a chosen name to appear on these documents. Directions on how to update the Transcript Name and Diploma Name in AC Data appear below.

Students who choose to update their Transcript and Diploma Name but have not legally changed their first name should be aware that a limited number of College officials may have access to view the legal name, but it will not appear on outwardly facing documents. 

An individual’s legal name is defined as the name that identifies an individual for legal and official purposes. Legal name identifies an individual on official government records such as U.S. social security cards, state licenses, passports, and marriage or divorce decrees.

An Amherst College student who has completed a legal name change in Massachusetts or another state may update the name on their Amherst College student record via the Personal Data Update form. Documentation of the legal name change must be submitted to the Registrar’s Office. Upon receipt of this form and documentation, the legal name will be updated on the official student records.

Information on the court process to change a name legally in Massachusetts and additional support can be found at Amherst College’s Queer Resource Center. Additional information on College policies specific to the trans and nonbinary community can also be found on the QRC website. Students interested in legally changing their name who may be non-US citizens should first consult with the Center for International Student Engagement.

How to Change First Name and Pronouns on AC Data

Current students may add a chosen name, pronouns, and Transcript and Diploma Name via AC Data. Chosen name and pronouns appear on course rosters and moodle. Students should clarify how they would like their name to appear on the official transcript and diploma, otherwise that information will default to the legal name.  

Changing First Name

  1. Log in via acdata.amherst.edu
  2. Under the “New Students” heading, select “Name Preferences”
    Name Preferences Screen Shot
  3. On the resulting page, you will see 4 main pieces of information: 1) Legal Name 2) Nickname (this is a name that will appear in parenthesis following your legal or preferred name); 3) Preferred Name; 4) Preferred Pronouns.

    The name preferences menu from AC Data

  4. Students wishing to utilize a name that will appear on course rosters, Moodle, and the campus directory instead of a legal name can input this information under “Chosen/Preferred Name.” Students who would like to use a prefix or pronouns that do not appear under the drop down choices should contact the Office of the Registrar.

    An arrow pointing to the fist name field in the name preferences menu in AC Data

  5. Students wishing to utilize a name that will appear on official transcripts and the diploma instead of a legal name can input this information under “Transcript & Diploma Name.” If you choose to leave the fields blank here, your legal name will appear on these documents. 

    The transcript name tag from AC Data
  6. For your diploma, you may want to include your middle name; the initial of your middle name; Jr., II, III, etc.  You may choose to have your preferred name on your diploma. Changing it here will notify the person in the Office of the Registrar who gathers this information prior to your graduation.  It will appear in the NameCoach program sent to you in your senior year.

    If you are an international student, we recommend you use the name on your passport for your diploma name.  Otherwise there may be problems with your home government if the diploma doesn't match the name on your passport.  If you want a different name read aloud as you walk across the stage to receive your diploma at commencement you may provide a preferred name for the commencement program. You can update that on the NameCoach program when that is sent to you.

  7. Save changes made to the page by clicking “Submit” before exiting.

Adding Pronouns

  1. Adding or updating pronouns is done on the same webpage. Under “New Students,” select “Name Preferences” again.
  2. Scroll to the bottom of the page, and select one of the five available options.

    The pronouns section option for ACData

  3. Save changes made to the page by clicking “Submit” before exiting.