Students sitting in circles on Quad

Prospective Students

This has been an extraordinarily challenging time for all of you, so take pride in having navigated so many complexities. Although the world has not yet returned to normalcy, we hope that you are nevertheless looking forward to the excitement of college ahead. Some of you may already be immersed in the college search process; others may be starting now. We're delighted that you are interested in exploring the opportunities available at Amherst College!

Your first step should be to review our Applying to Amherst information to learn about our standard application and admission processes. We realize, however, that this year is anything but "standard." With our lives being altered in multiple ways by evolving COVID-19 developments, it is a time of change and adaptation with new questions and concerns continually emerging. We  hope this additional information will add some clarity in these unpredictable times and make this one part of life a little less stressful.

Test-Optional Pilot Program    Amherst has adopted a test-optional pilot program for SAT/ACT testing for first-year applicants to the Classes of 2025, 2026 and 2027 (entering Amherst in 2021, 2022 and 2023). This test-optional policy applies to all applicants, domestic and international. Testing for transfer applicants has always been and continues to be optional. At their own discretion, applicants may elect to submit SAT and/or ACT scores for consideration and will be required to indicate on their application if they would like their SAT and/or ACT scores to be considered as part of the application review process. SAT Subject Tests will not be considered as part of the evaluation of any applicant's academic record.

Expanded TOEFL & IELTS Options   Given the Covid-related limitations on TOEFL and IELTS testing, Amherst will also accept the TOEFL Special Home Edition, the TOEFL ITP for China, and the IELTS Indicator during the 2021-22 admission cycle for any international applicants who are required to submit English language proficiency testing results. These additional tests will be weighed equally with the regular, in-person TOEFL and IELTS tests.

Regular Decision Deadlines  To ensure that our RD application deadline does not fall on a weekend or a school holiday, we have moved our RD deadline from January 1 to the next available school day and will adjust our RD deadline accordingly as we move forward each year. This year's application deadlines are November 1 for Early Decision and January 3 for Regular Decision.

Expanded Application Fee Waivers  We don't want application fees to be a financial barrier to applicants. Complete our short-and-simple Quick Pass form to see if you qualify for an Amherst fee waiver. (Of course, we also accept the general fee waivers issued by the Common, Coalition and QuestBridge Applications, but our Quick Pass has even broader criteria for fee waiver eligibility.)

Flexibility for Changes in Academic Programs  We realize that your education may have undergone substantial disruption during this time. Your school may have ended the school year abruptly, moved to remote learning, switched to pass-fail grading or introduced other changes related to public health. Similarly, there have been significant changes to the administration of AP, IB and other exams. More changes may be instituted in the coming year. As a college that is committed to holistic review and considering each applicant within the context of their school environment, Amherst will be understanding of these situations. Please be assured that the consideration of your application will not be negatively affected by academic developments that are clearly beyond your control.

Sustained Commitment to Financial Aid  During this time when many families are experiencing employment disruptions and financial reversals, Amherst's commitment to expanding access to higher education remains unabated. We will steadfastly continue to follow a policy of need-blind admission for all applicants, domestic and international, and to provide aid awards that meet 100% of the demonstrated financial need of all admitted students  through grants/scholarships and student employment with no initially packaged student loans. (Student loans are still available to those students who wish to borrow to replace the student income contribution, replace the work component of the aid package, purchase a computer, or as a family financial option.)

Campus Visits  We're delighted to be once again welcoming visitors to our beautiful campus! We're also continuing to offer virtual campus visits, including Zoom information sessions presented by an admission officer and tours led by our awesome team of student guides. And we've added a series of special-topic themed virtual sessions. Whichever option you choose, be sure to check out our campus tour video. The current schedule and registration for in-person campus visits, virtual campus visits and themed sessions is available at Visiting Amherst, along with a link to the campus tour video. We'd love to have you join us!

On that same page, you'll find our Admission Conversations video with featuring five summer admission interns sharing their Amherst experience. There's also a series of student-faculty panels that provide interesting and informative insights into what it's like to teach and learn at Amherst. And there's even more about student life at Amherst to be discovered by reading our student blogs and the bios of our tour guides and diversity outreach interns.

Getting in Touch  We are monitoring emails and phone messages regularly, so please don't hesitate to contact us at or (413) 542-2328. We want to stay in touch!

We send our best wishes for the health and well-being of you, your family and your community. We are thinking of you in these challenging days.