Amherst College


Founded in 1821, Amherst College is widely regarded as one of the premier liberal arts colleges in the nation, enrolling a diverse group of approximately 1,800 young men and women. Diversity, defined in its broadest sense, is fundamental to Amherst’s mission. The college enrolls students from nearly every state and from more than 50 countries, and for the past several years more than 45 percent of Amherst's students have been U.S. students of color. Amherst is one of the few truly need-blind colleges in the nation; students are admitted without regard to financial need, and each admitted student is guaranteed financial aid equal to demonstrated financial need. The college’s financial aid packages are consistently among the most generous in the nation, and among its peer universities and colleges Amherst is exceptionally economically diverse. By any measure of accessibility and quality, Amherst is consistently ranked among the top schools in the country. Its outstanding resources, dedicated faculty and rigorous academic life allow the college to enroll students with an extraordinary range of talents, interests and commitments.

Programs Supporting First-Generation College Students

Pre-College Prep & Outreach Telementoring Program

Amherst College offers a telementoring program in which current students use e-mail and other technology to help high-school students identify and apply to colleges and universities. The telementoring program matches Amherst students from low income backgrounds to serve as mentors to talented high school students from underserved schools across the nation. Learn more about Telementoring Program

Pre-College Prep & Outreach The A Better Chance (ABC) Tutoring and Mentoring Program

ABC is a national residential program that supports talented students of color from underserved school districts by increasing their access to academically rigorous independent and public schools with the goal of enhancing students’ preparation for college. Current Amherst students work with local ABC participants to provide academic tutoring in high school subjects and personal mentoring in college prep activities.

Open House, Fly-in, Visit Diversity Open House Weekends

Amherst hosts two Diversity Open House Weekends each fall in which the college funds travel for culturally diverse and first-generation students to spend three days on campus exploring the community. Students attend classes, multicultural events and admission workshops during their stay. Current Amherst students act as diversity interns, helping to organize and coordinate the Open House weekends and serving as liaisons and mentors to students from diverse backgrounds. Learn more about Diversity Open House Weekends

Summer Bridge & Orientation Access to Amherst

Matriculated students from modest economic or underrepresented backgrounds who are interested in the sciences are eligible for the Summer Science Program, while those interested in the humanities and social sciences are eligible for the Summer Humanities and Social Science Program. Both three-week programs are held prior to first-year orientation. Selected members of the incoming class participate in each program and gain assistance transitioning between high school and college. Participants in the science program also benefit by learning various approaches to math and science, while those in the humanities and social science program develop writing and study skills as well as other skills aimed at achieving success.

Student Diversity

  • 1,849
  • 50/50
  • 15%
    First-generation college students
  • <1%
    American Indian or Alaskan Native
  • 14%
  • 12%
    Black or African American
  • 14%
  • <1%
    Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
  • 43%
  • 5%
    Two or more races
  • 3%
    Race and/or ethnicity unknown
  • 9%

Student Success

  • 96%
    First-to-second year retention
  • 93%
    Six-year graduation
  • 90%
    Six-year graduation for underrepresented minority groups
  • 100%
    Freshmen who live on campus
  • 98%
    Undergraduates who live on campus
  • 209
    Full-time faculty
  • 43
    Full-time minority faculty
  • 8:1
    Student–faculty ratio
  • Top 5 Majors

    Economics, English, Mathematics, Political Science, Psychology

  • Multicultural Student Clubs and Organizations

    Black Student Union, African & Caribbean Student Union, La Causa, Asian Students Association, Asian Culture House, Pride Alliance, International Students Association, Muslim Students Association, Hillel, South Asian Students Association, Native American Students Organization


Cost of Attendance

  • $51,620
  • n/a
    In-state Tuition
  • $856
    Required Fees
  • $13,710
    Room and Board

Financial Aid

  • $50,891,149
    Total institutional scholarships/grants
  • $52,877
    Average aid package
  • $14,490
    Average student loan debt upon graduation (of those who borrow)
  • 22%
    Pell Grant recipients among freshmen
  • 52%
    Students with financial need
  • 100%
    Students with need awarded financial aid
  • 100%
    Students with need awarded need-based scholarship or grant aid
  • 100%
    Students with need whose need was fully met


Applicant Academics

  • 8,406
    # of applicants
  • 14%
  • n/a
    Average HS GPA
  • 32
    ACT Composite
  • 680—780
    SAT Critical Reading
  • 680—780
    SAT Math
  • 680—780
    SAT Writing
  • n/a
    SAT/ACT optional


  • 1/1
    Regular application closing date
  • $60
    Application Fee
  • $60
    Application Fee (online)
  • yes
    Fee waiver for applicants with financial need
  • yes
    Early decision plan
  • 11/15
    Early decision application closing date
  • n/a
    Early action plan
  • n/a
    Early action application closing date