Hi friends! Today, I'm going to run a blog post on some of the most frequently asked questions that I get from students that contact me over email. I hope I can answer some of the questions that you might have about life and academics at Amherst. As a last-semester senior, I can confidently say that if I had to choose a college over again, it would undoubtedly be Amherst. I have loved my time here!
Do people come into Amherst already with a major in mind?
No, in fact, many people admit that they do not have any major in mind and end up discovering what they want to specialize in during their first two years. Amherst has its student declare their majors at least by the end of their second year. I declared Spanish and Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought (LJST) during the first semester of my sophomore year. I took a few classes in each department and enjoyed my professors.
What do students do outside of class?
Our diverse student body brings a diverse array of activities, events, clubs and weekend outings. The clubs at Amherst always have a bunch of things happening on and off campus. For example, I'm part of a volunteer club called 3D that has events on campus. On the other hand, I'm also part of the equestrian team, and we ride in Granby, a town about 20 minutes away from campus. If you are interested in getting off campus, there are opportunities to do hiking, to visit a museum, to see a movie, to go to an amusement park, etc. From Monday to Thursday, students are typically studying, but once Friday night hits, our weekend begins.
Does being in a small town affect your college experience?
I went to school in Washington, D.C. and I live in the suburbs of the city in Northern Virginia. I definitely can attest to living in a traffic-filled city and having every type of food cuisine at every corner. UMass Amherst, about 30,000 students, is a fifteen-minute walk from Amherst College, and because of the massive student population, the city of Amherst and its surrounding towns do have a lot of people, shops, and places to eat. Whereas in a city everything is walkable, or at least located close by, Amherst tends to have its main shops about a thirty-minute walk away. By bus, it would be about 20 minutes because of all of the stops it has, but by car, I would say that the grocery store, shops and fast food are only a 5-minute drive. Right next to the college, we have a row of restaurants, coffee shops, a bookstore, and a CVS that is not even a five-minute walk if you live in some of the dorms right next to town. For small errands, walking in the town is totally doable. I've noticed that for me, the Amherst town and surrounding areas have enough going on that I don't find myself itching for a city. Most students do not have a car on campus, me included! We have Zip Cars for rent in one of the school's parking lots, and if you ever need a car, you can check out one of those. I do it often for equestrian practices.
How intense is the workload?
I went to a very rigorous high school where I found myself spending hours a night studying. Amherst has students that come from all different types of high schools, so we each come into Amherst with different expectations. If you got into Amherst, that means you can definitely handle the workload! I had major imposter syndrome when I arrived at Amherst up until my second year and thought that I wasn't ready for the work. Turns out, I not only like my Amherst classes a lot more than high school but also don't spend too many hours a day stressing. Since your classes are not every day (they tend to happen either twice or three times a week), you can space out your work.
I hope these questions helped. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions. Have a great day!
March 20, 2023