Considering College

Amherst College students share some thoughts on what they wish they had known in high school about the college search process.

Here’s a quick overview of Amherst and what sets us apart.

College should be a time of discovery—an opportunity for intense intellectual exploration, when you wrestle with difficult questions, connect disparate ideas and discover what’s possible. You search, imagine and create.

At Amherst, we embrace those opportunities for discovery, and we work together to transform them into outcomes that can change the lives of people down the street and around the world.

Limitless Opportunities

Amherst students are part of a lively intellectual community—a community that prepares you to use ideas to make a major difference wherever you go, whatever you do.

You shape your education.

The liberal arts experience at Amherst is rooted in the flexibility and freedom of our open curriculum, a curriculum that very few other institutions offer. With no distribution or general education requirements, Amherst allows you to choose the courses that define the shape of your education.

Our faculty are more than faculty.

Amherst professors are some of the world’s foremost authorities in their fields, renowned for their scholarship and research, and they work with students every day, in and out of class, as teachers, advisers and mentors from the moment our students arrive on campus.

Just wait until you meet our students.

Supported by their faculty, our students—1,850 of the most interesting, intellectually adventurous, independent-minded people you’d want to meet—publish papers in major professional journals; present at national and international conferences; and undertake research, internship, study and community engagement projects around the world.

You’ll have opportunities at not just one college, but five.

Because we’re a member of the Five College Consortium—a partnership of four liberal arts colleges and one large research university in the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts—Amherst students can take courses at all member institutions, allowing access to an astonishingly broad and diverse set of experiences right here at home.

Three students talking on the Quad

A Campus that Looks Like the World

We’re diverse.

The campus experience at Amherst starts with our students—1,850 smart, ambitious, high-spirited people from all walks of life, from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

  • 45 percent of our students self-identify as domestic students of color.
  • 10 percent of our students are international.
  • 55 percent of our students received need-based financial aid.
  • 18 percent of our students are the first members of their families to attend college.

We believe that diversity is an engine of innovation, and that a great intellectual community should look like the world. With every incoming student, that community comes to life here.

You’ll have a million fun things to do.

Our students perform in at least a dozen musical ensembles, play on 27 Division III teams and run over 100 clubs and organizations. They jump into everything from community engagement to political activism, from student publications to affinity groups (cultural, religious and more).

A student holding seedlings in a greenhouse That opportunity for discovering? It starts now.

Living on campus, you’re part of a community.

Amherst is truly a place where learning includes living. We guarantee housing for all of our students for all four years. Almost all of our students live on campus. And all first-year students live in residence halls on our first-year quad, right in the heart of campus, as part of a comprehensive first-year experience.

Sophomores, juniors and seniors choose their residence halls. Some decide to live in theme communities, which allow students who share an interest to be together on the same floor or dorm. Current theme houses include the Asian Culture House; Charles Drew (black culture); cooperative living; health and wellness; La Casa (Latinx culture); Marsh Arts House; and French, German, Chinese & Japanese, Russian, and Spanish language houses.

A Place Where Discovery Happens

Location, location, location.

Amherst College is in the Pioneer Valley, an area of exceptional cultural richness and natural beauty bordered by the Holyoke Mountain Range of Western Massachusetts. The College is an integral part of the town of Amherst, often cited as the best college town in America. The ethos here is: Start local, think big, work together. 

Amherst Is a Beautiful Place

In this photo montage, catch a glimpse of Amherst College’s campus and people.