Student holding a sign from Orientation
Photo by Skylhur Tranqile ’18

Make yourself known. That was one piece of advice that Dean of Admission and Financial Aid Katharine Fretwell ’81 gave to the 489 newest Amherst students this fall. “This is not a passive environment,” she said. “Be prepared to participate.”  

Out of a record 9,285 applicants for the class of 2021—known as the bicentennial class, because it will graduate when the College turns 200—Amherst admitted 1,198 students, and 473 enrolled. Of the 464 applicants for transfer admission, 34 were admitted and 16 enrolled.

These new students speak more than 45 languages. They have founded bird and philosophy clubs. They have worked with veterans and Holocaust survivors, served on fire rescue squads and competed in canoe polo. 

Their average ACT composite score is 33—a record for a class at Amherst. Their SAT composite score (the “old test”) is 2232—also a record. And their average score on the redesigned SAT (first introduced with this class) is 1469.  

Amherst teachers and peers will influence their “ability to make sense of the world,” Fretwell told the class, and “will be instrumental in how you decide to live your life and contribute to the world.”