August 25, 2014

Students carrying flags at Orientation

An internationally ranked table tennis player. A Morse Code enthusiast. The winner of a state Junior Duck Stamp art contest. A U.S. military veteran.

A Shakespearean actor of some significance. A blacksmith. Someone who wears size 16 shoes.

What do all of these people have in common? They are all new students at Amherst this fall.

“Our newest students bring a truly incredible range of talents, experiences and accomplishments to campus,” said Katie Fretwell ’81, dean of admission and financial aid. “I am very proud they have chosen Amherst as their new home and equally proud to welcome them to the Amherst community.”

According to Fretwell, Amherst received 8,479 applicants for the Class of 2018. Of that pool—the second-largest in the College's history—1,174 students were admitted and 469 enrolled. In addition, 15 students transferred to Amherst; 403 applied for admission, 33 were accepted and 15 enrolled. 

That means that less than 14 percent of first-year applicants and just 8 percent of transfer candidates were offered admission.

What follows are some fun facts about the latest batch of first-year and transfer students at Amherst. In addition, check out our 14 favorite photos from the students’ week of orientation programming.

  • They come from 31 countries, 39 states and the District of Columbia. (Six new students are from Alabama and five are from Hawaii; both are thought to be records for those states.)
  • About half of are male and half are female, preserving the College’s carefully maintained 50:50 male-female ratio.
  • 44 percent self-identify as American students of color.
  • 10 percent are non-U.S. citizens and another 7 percent are dual citizens of the U.S. and another country.
  • 15 percent are the first members of their families to attend college.
  • 60 percent are receiving financial aid from Amherst.
  • They range in age from 16 to 31 years.
  • The most common names? Katherine for the women and Samuel for the men.
  • 85 percent graduated in the top decile of their senior classes. Many are National Merit, Advanced Placement or winners of other prestigious scholarships.
  • They came from 396 secondary schools, among them public, magnet and lab schools; science and technology, leadership and Hebrew academies; language, art and environmental research institutes, and community colleges and charter schools.
  • Several were homeschooled, and 14 participated in post-graduate or gap year experiences in 12 countries on four continents. (This latter group honed skills with new languages, taught children English, encouraged civic engagement, worked with refugees and children with autism and competed in AAA ice hockey.)
  • They speak some 30 different languages and have lived in more than 50 different countries.
  • They have mentored at-risk youth; joined mission trips around the world; tutored adult English learners; founded groups to support social justice causes of every imaginable kind; supported those who have lost homes to famine, hurricane and earthquake; volunteered as firefighters and trained service dogs. 
  • They are All-American athletes and Junior Olympians accomplished in everything from tennis, squash and crew to badminton, juggling and boxing.
  • They have founded publications, conducted groundbreaking research, become Eagle scouts, published novels, served in the military and earned licenses as pilots and ham radio operators.
  • They are comedians, actors, ballroom dancers, writers, rappers, poets, drum majors, cartoonists and glassblowers.

And that’s just what they’ve done during their high school years. Stay tuned.