What is a LEAP program?

A LEAP program (Learn, Explore, Activate, and Participate) is a two and a half day immersive experience during the week of Orientation in which every incoming new student participates. Students can expect to choose from a variety of programs that include but are not limited to the areas of creative arts, social justice, and outdoor adventure. LEAP programs provide students the opportunity to meet other first-years with similar interests and grow connections with each other before classes start. 

Am I required to be in a LEAP program?

Yes, all incoming new students (first-year, transfer, and international) will be required to participate in a LEAP program during Orientation, which begin on Friday, September 1 and run through Sunday, September 3. 

What are the LEAP programs that are offered this year?

Descriptions of each LEAP program can be found in the left navigation panel of this webpage. Please be sure to carefully read each program’s offerings before making your selection (the selection process is described below).

Where do I select my LEAP program?

You will receive an email from the Office of Student Affairs in June notifying you to rank your LEAP Program in acdata.amherst.edu.

What is the cost of participating in a LEAP program?

The cost is covered entirely by Amherst College and by alumni donors.

Will I get my first or second choice LEAP program?

Students will be required to rank the LEAP programs in order of personal preference and will be placed in a LEAP program based on those rankings. We make our best effort to place students in their first or second choice for those who complete their preferences by the deadline. Tip: Be sure to rank 5 different programs in your choices. Some students in the past thought that ranking the same program over and over would mean that they would get their first choice, but that is not the case. We need all of your preferences listed in order to place you in the LEAP program.

What if I need an accommodation for a LEAP program?

Make sure to contact the Accessibility Services Office to alert the office of any accommodation you might need.


I do not know anyone participating in my LEAP Program; will I be able to make friends during my LEAP?

Absolutely! Amherst College students speak very highly of their LEAP experience. This experience is where you will meet some of your first friends at Amherst College. All of your Orientation Leaders (upperclassmen you will meet during your week of Orientation) can answer any questions you might have and many will be student leaders on your LEAP programs.

Are all LEAP programs off-campus?

Not all LEAP programs occur off-campus. For those based on-campus, many include daylong excursions in the Town of Amherst and beyond to explore local and regional sights.

What's a typical day in a LEAP program like?

There really is no typical day for a LEAP program, since all are so different in their activities and focus. However, students should expect to be busy for the entire two and a half days of the program. You will be doing a range of activities that center on building community, learning, and going outside of your comfort zone.

When will I find out about which LEAP program I am in?

Students will be notified of their assigned LEAP program in mid-August. Please keep checking your Amherst.edu email to stay up to date.

What if I have more questions or specific questions about certain LEAP programs?

If you have any questions about Orientation or LEAP programs in general email our Dean of New Students' email address at deanofnewstudents@amherst.edu

Organizers of LEAP Programs will contact students with any special directions or materials required for their individual assignment. Their individual contact information is also on the LEAP website.