Amherst College Writing Supplement Options

Below you'll find the prompts for the writing supplement in the 2023-24 application cycle (Fall 2024 entry term).

In addition to the main essays you must write as part of the Common Application, Apply Coalition with Scoir, or QuestBridge Application, Amherst requires a supplementary essay of all applicants.

There are three options for satisfying Amherst's supplementary writing requirement for the first-year application: Option A, Option B or Option C. Applicants may elect only one of those options. Before deciding, you should carefully read the descriptions of all three options (including specific conditions associated with Option B and Option C) to determine which is most appropriate for you. Please note that these descriptions are provided for convenience of preview only; your actual writing supplement should be submitted through the Common Application or Apply Coalition with Scoir online system (unless you are submitting the QuestBridge application only, in which case you will be instructed on how to email, mail or fax your supplement to our office).

Option A  

Choose one of the following quotations, and respond to the question posed, in an essay of not more than 350 words. It is not necessary to research, read, or refer to the texts from which these quotations are taken; we are looking for original, personal responses to these short excerpts. Remember that your essay should be personal in nature and not simply an argumentative essay.

Prompt 1

"Amherst College is committed to learning through close colloquy and to expanding the realm of knowledge through scholarly research and artistic creation at the highest level. Its graduates link learning with leadership—in service to the College, to their communities, and to the world beyond." – from the Mission of Amherst College

Prompt 1 Question: What do you see as the benefits of linking learning with leadership and/or service? In your response, please share with us a time where you have seen that benefit through your own experience.

Prompt 2

"We seek an Amherst made stronger because it includes those whose experiences can enhance our understanding of our nation and our world. We do so in the faith that our humanity is an identity forged from diversity, and that our different perspectives enrich our inquiry, deepen our knowledge, strengthen our community, and prepare students to engage with an ever-changing world." - from the Trustee Statement on Diversity and Community

Prompt 2 Question: In what ways could your unique experiences enhance our understanding of our nation and our world?

Prompt 3

"Strong commitment to the freedom of inquiry lies at the heart of Amherst College’s mission to create a home in which the liberal arts may flourish. As a small residential liberal arts college that prides itself on the ability, curiosity, and diversity of its students, Amherst seeks to create a respectful environment in which members of its community feel emboldened to pursue their intellectual and creative passions." – from the Amherst College Statement of Academic and Expressive Freedom

Prompt 3 Question: Tell us about an intellectual or creative passion you have pursued; what did you learn about yourself through that pursuit?

Option B 

Submit a graded paper from your junior or senior year that best represents your writing skills and analytical abilities. We are particularly interested in your ability to construct a tightly reasoned, persuasive argument that calls upon literary, sociological or historical evidence. You should not submit a laboratory report, journal entry, creative writing sample or in-class essay. Also, if you have submitted an analytical essay in response to the "essay topic of your choice" prompt in the Common Application or Apply Coalition with Scoir writing section, you should not select Option B. 

Curious about Option B?  Learn more....

Option C

If you are/were an applicant to Amherst's Access to Amherst (A2A) program, you may use your A2A application essay in satisfaction of our Writing Supplement requirement. If you would like to do so, please select Option C. However, if you would prefer not to use your A2A essay for this purpose and you want to submit a different writing supplement, select either Option A or Option B. Option A, Prompt 2 is the same prompt as the A2A application essay; if you would like to submit an updated version of your A2A application essay, please choose Option A.

Please note that Option C is available only to applicants to Amherst's A2A program. Non-A2A applicants must choose either Option A or Option B.