Given the variety of preparations among homeschooled students, Amherst's evaluation of such students is conducted on a case-by-case basis. Amherst uses the Common Application or the Coalition Application for first-year applicants, including the all related school forms included as part of those applications. Homeschooled students should identify themselves as such within the "Education" section of the Common Application or Coalition Application and should enter the name and contact information of the home school supervisor in the "Counselor" fields. Home school supervisors will then be asked additional questions within the standard school report forms regarding supplementary information on the students homeschool program and performance.
In addition, we recommend that homeschooled candidates make every effort to provide us with the following:
- A complete description of high school course work and texts used. The homeschool instructor should detail the syllabi and time dedicated to each discipline. It is expected that the home-schooled curriculum will conform to or exceed the standards of the student's state-mandated curriculum. While no precise list of secondary school courses is required for admission, we recommend the following as minimal preparation for Amherst: four years of English; mathematics through pre-calculus; two years of history and social science; three years of natural science with one year of laboratory science; and three or four years of one foreign language.
- A detailed written recommendation of the student covering academic and personal areas from the homeschool teacher.
- Outside recommendations from people who have known the applicant in contexts other than academics (i.e., employer, minister, conductor, coach). When appropriate, letters of recommendation from individuals who have worked with the student in academic settings (summer programs, local colleges or universities, etc.) should be included.
- The homeschool teacher should provide a summary of the student's academic performance: grades or other evaluations in whatever format the homeschool teacher has provided for the student. Results from course work outside the homeschool setting should also be provided.
- Writing samples: perhaps a short piece and a longer research paper.
- Any additional documentation deemed pertinent.
A high school diploma or its recognized equivalent is required before enrolling at Amherst College. We also require an end-of-year report, as we do for all matriculating students, and ATB (Ability to Benefit) documentation for those offered financial aid from the college.
Amherst does not offer personal interviews for first-year applicants on campus or off, but we encourage homeschooled students or their parents to contact a member of the admission staff (via email or phone) to discuss the above recommendations or unusual circumstances that may pose a hardship for providing the requested application materials.