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.
First-Year Application Deadlines
- Early Decision: November 16
- Regular Decision: January 4
Typically, 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 16th 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.
More than 90 percent of our applicants choose the Regular Decision option.
Regular decision applications must be submitted by the January 4th RD deadline; notice of our admission decision will be sent by late March. 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.
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 should 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)
- Optional 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 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 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 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)
- 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)
- 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. Please see our International Students Applicants page for additional information on acceptable versions of TOEFL and IELTS testing.
Students with accomplishments in specific areas may wish to submit optional additional information for consideration.
Students with talents or accomplishments in the arts - music, theater, dance, and visual art - may submit related material for review by Amherst faculty. Please review our Special Information for Arts Supplement Submission for additional information. (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.
If you are a U.S. service member or 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 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 and required deposit or waiver, 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 reapplys for admission as a transfer student