Q: In light of COVID-19, will A2A participants be able to visit campus? 

At Amherst, the safety of our community and visitors is our highest priority, so we’ve moved our programming to online platforms. We’re sad that we won’t be able to welcome you to campus in person, but we’re looking forward to welcoming you virtually!

Frequently Asked Questions

Below you'll find the answers to some frequently asked questions about our Access to Amherst (A2A) program. Make sure you also check out the main Access to Amherst webpage for more information. If you can't find the answer to your particular question, please feel free to contact us by email at admissionprograms@amherst.edu. We want to be certain you have the information you need!


Eligibility

Q: Who should apply to participate in A2A weekend?
Access to Amherst is available to all prospective students, but the selection committee prioritizes inviting students from traditionally under-represented groups, such as African-American, Hispanic/Latinx American, Native American, and Asian-American backgrounds, as well as first-generation to college students. The selection committee will also prioritize inviting students from families with limited financial resources, regardless of cultural or racial background. The above-mentioned are priorities, but are not meant to imply any exclusivity regarding the program or the selection process. If you have an interest in attending, we encourage you to apply!

Q: How do I apply to participate in A2A?
First, you must submit an online application form, which is available through the main A2A webpage each May. The application includes an essay prompt and the email address of a recommender. Second, you must also upload a scanned copy of your high school transcript through your junior year (unofficial transcripts are acceptable), a graded academic paper, as well as a list of your senior year courses. Your application is not considered complete until we have received all of these materials. All material must be received by the deadline stated on the application.

Q: Why do I need to submit my transcript?
You must submit your transcript to show the Admission Office what you have accomplished during your high school career. Your transcript allows us to get an accurate picture of what courses you have taken, how much you have challenged yourself academically, and how well you have succeeded in your studies so far.

Q: What is the cost of applying to A2A?
The A2A online application is completely free!

Q:What is the cost of participating in A2A?
Participation in A2A is completely free! Additionally, a fee waiver for Amherst's $65 admission application fee is provided to all students invited to participate in A2A. Some students who apply to A2A will also receive a waiver for the $65 application fee to encourage their applications to Amherst, regardless of whether they are invited to participate in A2A.


Application and Selection Processes

Q: When will I hear regarding my selection for A2A?
We typically notify all applicants two weeks after the application deadline.

Q: Does being selected to participate in A2A mean that I am guaranteed admission to Amherst?
An invitation to participate in A2A is a sign that Amherst is interested in you, but by no means assures admission to the College. In the past, approximately 75% of A2A attendees (who create an extremely competitive pool) subsequently apply for admission to the College. Of those who apply, typically half are admitted.

Q: Does not being selected for A2A mean that I wouldn’t be admitted to Amherst?
No! The A2A application and selection process is extremely competitive. Many qualified students are not selected to attend the program, simply because of space limitations.

Q: What are the benefits of being an A2A applicant who then decides to apply for admission to Amherst?
In addition to the possibility of participating in A2A, submitting an A2A application offers a few other benefits, as well.

  • A fee waiver for Amherst's $65 admission application fee is provided to all students invited to participate in A2A. Some students who apply to A2A will also receive a waiver for the $65 application fee to encourage their applications to Amherst, regardless of whether they are invited to participate in A2A.
  • A2A applicants who eventually decide to apply for admission to Amherst College will have the option of using their A2A application essay in satisfaction of Amherst's Writing Supplement requirement.

Q: What is the short essay prompt, and how long should my response be?
Your response to the following essay prompt should be no more than 350 words: 

“I came here for many of the same reasons you did... I came because of [Amherst’s] commitment to a student body that reflects the rich diversity of the country, indeed the world. I came, as you did, to contribute in some way to making Amherst even better, and to figuring out what it might mean, here as elsewhere, to take full advantage of the diversity you represent.” —President Biddy MartinCommencement Speech

In what ways would your background, experiences, and values contribute to Amherst?

Q: How should I submit my short essay?
The online application allows you to upload a document in response to the application prompt. If your essay is not ready to be uploaded at the time you submit your application, you may upload it later through your Application Status Portal (login information provided after you submit an application). Please note that, should you eventually decide to apply for admission to Amherst College, you will have the option of using this A2A application essay in satisfaction of Amherst's Writing Supplement requirement for your admission application to Amherst.

Q: How should I submit my transcript?
You should upload a copy of your transcript while completing the application, or on your Application Status Portal (login information provided after you submit an application). You can also send a copy of your transcript by email to admissionprograms@amherst.edu. Documents should be sent in the following formats: PDF, Microsoft Office Word Document, or TIFF.  If you are unable to upload or email a copy of your transcript to our office, please fax it to 413-542-2040. If none of these options work, please call our admission office at 413-542-2328 to discuss other options.

Q: How should I submit a letter of recommendation?
The online application contains a section for you to input the name and email address of your recommender. We will email your recommender with submission instructions for their letter. If, at the time that you submit your application, you are not able to complete this section of the application, you may input this information on your Application Status Portal (login information provided after you submit an application).

Q: What kind of academic writing sample should I submit?
Submit a graded paper from your junior 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. If you do not have the ability to upload a paper and include the evaluator's comments or grade, you should submit the paper in its final draft.

Q: What if my transcript doesn't have final grades for 11th grade?
A: You can submit a transcript that contains all of the grades that you have access to now, but your application will be incomplete until we receive final grades from your junior year. You should submit your full transcript through the end of junior year by the deadline of September 1, 2020. If you're not able to access your full transcript, you may submit a report card for the marking period, semester, or trimester that is not reflected on your transcript.

Q: What if I don't have an official list of senior classes? 
You should upload a document with a list of classes you intend to take in your senior year. Do your best to be as accurate as possible but we understand that not everyone will have an official list available by the deadline. 

Q: Who can I talk to if I want to learn more about Amherst or A2A?
Our fantastic Diversity Outreach Interns! These current Amherst students help the Office of Admission plan the program. You can get to know them by checking out the Diversity Outreach Interns webpage!


Programming

Q: In light of COVID-19, will A2A participants be able to visit campus? 
At Amherst, the safety of our community and visitors is our highest priority, so we’ve moved our programming to online platforms. We’re sad that we won’t be able to welcome you to campus in person, but we’re looking forward to welcoming you virtually!

Q: What will we be doing during A2A?
There will be special programming for students selected to participate in A2A, including sessions with admission deans and financial aid deans, a faculty panel, and opportunities to interact with current Amherst College students, faculty, and staff. Plus, you’ll also get to know other A2A participants from across the country!

Q: What if I don't have reliable internet access?
Not all participants will have reliable internet access or cell phone service, so although many of the sessions will be interactive, many of the sessions will be recorded for participants to access at a later time. We will make every effort to assess student needs and provide resources to students when they register.

Q: What if I'm not in the Eastern Standard time zone?
If you are selected to participate in A2A, your registration form will ask for your current time zone and scheduling conflicts so that we can ensure that our activities and events are most convenient for you.