Take note, Joe Flueckiger, executive director of Amherst’s Dining and Hospitality Services: If you’re already planning an array of poultry dishes at Valentine Dining Hall on National Fried Chicken Sandwich Day on Nov. 9, you might consider adding birthday cake to the menu as well. That particular day is the most common birth date among the members of the class of 2027, according to Dean of Admission and Financial Aid Matthew McGann. 

“I want to make sure we have cake for dessert that night,” McGann said with a laugh during a public welcome on the first day of Orientation on Aug. 29. “It’s a big night for this group.”

While a significant number of Amherst’s newest Mammoths may have a birth date in common, their interests and backgrounds are varied. The members of the class of 2027 and this year’s transfer students bring a range of backgrounds, academic and extracurricular accomplishments and perspectives to campus–adding to an already compelling mix of students, faculty and staff that composes the College community, said McGann.

And make no mistake, he added: Each student was admitted based on their individual merits. “We selected students not because of their scores, how many AP courses they took or trophies they won,” he explained. “We chose them because of who they are–not based on any algorithm. We chose them because of what we know they will do. With the resources of Amherst, our students can equip themselves with the tools to tackle some of today’s greatest challenges, such as climate change, racism, sexism, income inequality, war, poverty and hunger, just [to name] a few. I, for one, know 100 percent that they will make a difference in this world.” 

What follows are some data points about the class of 2027 and this year’s transfer students:

  • Applicants to the class of 2027: 12,725.
  • Students admitted: 1,237–a 10% admission rate. (Notable fact: A whopping 7% of students came to Amherst via the QuestBridge application program.)
  • Enrolling first-years: 488.
  • States represented: 40, plus Washington, D.C., and the Northern Mariana Islands; New York and California are the two most represented states. 
  • Countries represented: 31, including Brazil, Burundi, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, Venezuela and Vietnam, among others.
  • Domestic students of color: 50%.
  • International students: 13%.
  • Individuals who represent the first generation in their families to attend college: 18%
  • New transfer students: 18.
  • Students receiving Amherst financial aid: 59% 
  • Average Amherst financial aid package: more than $66,000
  • Federal Pell Grant recipients: 18% 
  • Most common name: Sophia. Said McGann in his Orientation welcome remarks: “If you need help with anything during these next few days, yell out, ‘hey, Sophia!’ and chances are that someone will stop and give you a hand.” 
  • Second most common name: Matthew. (McGann hastens to add, though, that the fact that such a disproportionately large number of Matthews applied and were admitted is not at all related to the fact that he shares that name.)