Consider Amherst

Get a glimpse of Amherst College and see what makes us special!

Students who are interested in applying to Amherst should first be familiar with our available admission options, our application requirements, our deadlines and our approach to reviewing and evaluating applications for admission. Keep reading... It’s all here!

Admission Options

Keefe fire pit at dusk

Amherst College will continue its test-optional policy for all applicants.

In June 2023, we formalized our four-year test-optional pilot program as our policy for all applicants. Read more about what this means for applicants on our Standardized Testing Information page.

First Year Application Materials

Submitted by the Applicant

  • Common Application OR Apply Coalition, Powered by Scoir OR QuestBridge Application. Learn more about our application options.
  • Amherst College Writing Supplement. Learn more about our options for the writing supplement.
  • $75 Application Fee (non-refundable) or Fee Waiver (requested through Common Application, Apply Coalition with Scoir, or Amherst's Quick Pass).
  • Optional Standardized Test Results for the SAT or ACT (either self-reported or official scores).
    •  Applicants who choose to submit standardized test scores for consideration at the admission stage may submit either self-reported or officially reported test scores. Official score reports will be required only for those students who elect to submit standardized test scores as part of the admission process, are subsequently admitted and then decide to enroll at Amherst. For more information on the submission of self-reported and official test scores, please review our Standardized Testing Policy.
    • Applicants who choose to submit standardized test scores at the admission stage may wish to consider submitting all test results, as we evaluate applications based on the most advantageous combination of scores (superscore) for either the SAT and/or ACT, regardless of test date.
    •  Applicants who choose to submit standardized test scores at the admission stage should arrange to submit their scores (self-reported or official) by the appropriate application deadline (either ED or RD).
    • For official test score reporting, use Amherst's institutional codes: 3003 (SAT) and 1774 (ACT).
  • Early Decision Agreement (for ED applicants)
  • TOEFL, IELTS or Duolingo Results (if needed for International Student Applicants):  Applicants may submit either self-reported or officially reported test scores. Official score reports will be required only for those students who are subsequently admitted and decide to enroll at Amherst. Please see our International Students Applicants page for additional information on testing.

Submitted by a School Official

The following materials must be submitted on behalf of the applicant by a guidance counselor, college counselor or other school official. Typically, these forms are submitted through the application platform (Common App, Scoir or QuestBridge) that the applicant chooses. 

  • School Report
  • Secondary School Transcript
    • A high school diploma or its recognized equivalent is required before enrolling at Amherst College.
      Counselor Recommendation (College Counselor / Guidance Counselor)
  • Two Teacher Recommendations (English, Math, Science, Social Studies or Foreign Language)
  • First marking period grades from senior year (for ED applicants)
  • Mid-Year School Report Form (as soon as first trimester/first semester grades are available)
  • Mid-Year Transcript (as soon as first trimester/first semester grades are available)

Amherst has partnered with, through which counselors may upload materials directly for applicants. Official documents can also be submitted by email to We cannot accept official documents that have been emailed to our office by applicants themselves.

Due to processing time, it may take up to a week for submitted documents to reflect on our online system. Please do not submit duplicate documents unless we have notified you that a document is missing. 

After you've submitted your application and materials, don't forget to check our Current Applicants page for information and answers to Frequently Asked Questions.

Optional Additional Materials

Students with accomplishments in specific areas may wish to submit optional additional information for consideration.

First-Year Application Review and Evaluation

Amherst takes great care to review every application thoroughly. Each application is read by at least two admission deans before being presented to the Admission Committee for discussion. In evaluating your application, we pay closest attention to your:

  • secondary school transcript;
  • teacher and counselor recommendations;
  • quality of writing as demonstrated in your essays, writing supplement, testing and recommendations;
  • extra- and co-curricular involvements, talents, and leadership;
  • standardized test results (optional / if submitted by student);

Amherst uses a holistic approach to the review of application materials to develop a multi-dimensional perspective of the applicant. We give the greatest weight to your academic transcript. The rigor of the courses you’ve taken, the quality of your grades and the consistency with which you’ve worked over four years give us the clearest indication of how well you will do at Amherst. While there is no specific set of secondary school classes required for admission, most successful applicants have pursued the strongest program of study available at their secondary school—typically including four years of study in English, math, science, social studies and foreign language—and have achieved the highest levels of academic performance. Recommendations, the quality of your writing, and extra- and co-curricular accomplishments also help us draw fine distinctions among very talented applicants.

IB, AP and College Courses

If you have taken International Baccalaureate, Advanced Placement or college courses during secondary school, we view this as significant evidence of your academic ambition, accomplishment and preparation. However, we do not accept such courses for credit or advanced standing, although some Amherst academic departments will allow you to forego introductory-level courses in areas in which you have already completed rigorous work.

Deferred Enrollment / Gap Years

If you are admitted to Amherst College, you may request permission from the Dean of Admission to defer your matriculation for one year without reapplying. To do so, you must confirm your intent to enroll at Amherst by submitting the Admission Response Form, along with the online Enrollment Deferral Request Form and a written statement of plans for the gap year; those materials must be submitted by the May 1 response deadline. During the gap year, an admitted student may not apply to or enroll as a matriculated degree candidate at another college or university. Any academic work completed in the gap period between the completion of secondary school and enrollment at Amherst will not be eligible for credit toward the Amherst degree, unless the student reapplies for admission as a transfer student.