Suspension of SAT/ACT Testing Requirement for 2020-21 Admission Cycle

In response to the enormous global disruptions that have accompanied the rapidly evolving COVID-19 public health crisis, the Amherst College Office of Admission has announced a set of modifications -- including a suspension of our SAT/ACT testing requirement for current juniors -- designed to help students and families in these extraordinary times.

Suspension of SAT/ACT Testing Requirement  Given limitations on opportunities for SAT and ACT testing, Amherst will suspend for one year its requirement that all students applying for first-year admission submit SAT or ACT scores. This test-optional policy applies to all applicants - domestic and international - for the first-year class during the 2020-21 admission cycle. At their own discretion, applicants may still submit SAT or ACT scores for consideration, but SAT Subject Tests will not be considered as part of the evaluation of any applicant's academic record.

Read more about Amherst Admission response to COVID-19 developments.

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!

First-Year Admission Options: Early Decision and Regular Decision

First-year applicants to Amherst may choose to apply under either the Early Decision or Regular Decision options.

Early Decision

Traditionally, about 10 percent of Amherst applicants choose our binding Early Decision (ED) option. As an Early Decision applicant to Amherst, you agree not to be an ED candidate at any other college. You also agree, if admitted, to withdraw your applications from other colleges and to enroll at Amherst in the fall. Because of the level of commitment required, ED is a good option only for those who have decided early in the college search process that Amherst is clearly their first-choice school. 

Early Decision applications must be submitted by the November 1st ED deadline; notice of our admission decision will be sent by December 15. Most ED applicants are either admitted or deferred for reconsideration with the Regular Decision pool, although some ED applicants do receive a final decision of denial at the ED stage.

Regular Decision

More than 90 percent of our applicants choose the Regular Decision option. 

Regular decision applications must be submitted by January 4th RD deadline; notice of our admission decision will be sent by early April. If admitted, you must reply to our offer by May 1st.

Please note that Amherst College does not accept applications from individuals who have already earned a bachelor’s degree.

First-Year Application

Required Application Materials

Update: Please review the statement above regarding the suspension of our SAT/ACT testing requirement for first-year applicants (both domestic and international ) during the 2020-21 admission cycle.

First-year applicants must submit the following materials for Early Decision or Regular Decision:

  • Common Application, Coalition Application OR QuestBridge Application
      Learn more about our application options.
  • Amherst College Writing Supplement 
      Learn more about our options for the writing supplement.
  • $65 Application Fee (non-refundable) or Fee Waiver (requested through Common Application, Coalition Application or Amherst's Quick Pass).
  • 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)
  • Standardized Test Results for the SAT or ACT (either self-reported or official scores).
    Update: See above statement regarding suspension of SAT/ACT requirement for 2020-21.   
        ♦ Applicants may submit either self-reported or officially reported test scores. Official score reports will be required only for students who are admitted and decide to enroll at Amherst. For more information on the submission of self-reported and official test scores, please review our Standardized Testing Policy.
         ♦ We recommend that applicants submit 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 should schedule standardized testing so that scores can be submitted by the appropriate application deadline (either ED or RD). In particular, Regular Decision applicants should be aware that the results of January testing may not reach us in time to be considered.
         ♦ For official test score reporting, use Amherst's institutional codes: 3003 (SAT) and 1774 (ACT).
  • Early Decision Agreement (for ED applicants)
  • First marking period grades from senior year (for ED applicants)
  • TOEFL or IELTS Results (if needed for International Student Applicants): We do not accept self-reported test scores for TOEFL or IELTS; only official score reports are permitted for these tests.

First-year applicants must also submit the following, as soon as first trimester or first semester grades are available:

  • Mid-Year School Report Form
  • Mid-Year Transcript

Optional Application Materials

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


Students with special talents or significant accomplishments in the arts may submit related material for review by Amherst faculty through SlideRoom, where you will find additional, Amherst-specific instructions for each category of submission -- music, theater, dance, and visual art. Prior to submission on SlideRoom, you should review our Special Information for Arts Supplement Submission. (Please do not send originals to us, as we cannot return to you any material submitted.) 


Students who have engaged in significant research in the natural sciences, mathematics, computer science, social sciences or humanities—undertaken independently of the high school curriculum — may include a brief description of the research project in the “Optional Research Questions” section of Amherst’s Writing Supplement. 


Students who wish to participate in varsity athletics may indicate that interest in the appropriate section of the Common Application and may consult the About Amherst Athletics webpage for information about varsity teams and contact with athletic coaches. All prospective student-athletes should review the NESCAC Statement of Common Admission Practices.

Special Circumstances?

If you are a U.S. veteran, a homeschooled student, or an undocumented student, please read our relevant special information pages for additional guidance on the application process.

First-Year Application Deadlines

  • Early Decision: November 1
  • Regular Decision: January 4

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;
  • standardized test results;
  • 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.

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, the most competitive applicants have pursued the strongest program of study available at the secondary level—typically including four years of study in English, math, science, social studies and foreign language—and have achieved the highest levels of academic performance. Standardized tests also play an important role in helping us evaluate you in comparison to students taught in very different secondary schools.  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 Admission

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 enrollment form and required deposit along with a written request for the deferral by the May 1 response deadline. During the deferral year, an admitted student may not apply to or enroll as a matriculated degree candidate at another college or university. A deferred student wishing to receive credit for academic work completed during the year between the completion of secondary school and enrollment at Amherst would be required to reapply for admission as a transfer student.

To begin an application:

To stay on schedule:

Review Admission Statistics for the Class of 2021.