Amherst College


Founded in 1821 as a nonsectarian institution for “the education of indigent young men of piety and talents,” Amherst College is now widely regarded as one of the premier liberal arts colleges in the nation, enrolling a diverse group of approximately 1,700 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 students of color. Since its founding, Amherst has remained one of the few truly need-blind colleges in the nation; students are admitted without regard to financial aid, and each admitted student is guaranteed financial aid equal to financial need. The college’s financial aid packages are consistently the most generous in the nation, and among its peer universities and colleges Amherst has the most economic diversity. 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 Tele-Mentoring Program

Amherst College offers a tele-mentoring program in which current students use e-mail and other technological mediums to help high-school students locate and gain acceptance to colleges and universities. The tele-mentoring program allows nearly 30 Amherst students from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds to serve as mentors to talented high school students from underserved schools across the nation. Learn more about Tele-Mentoring Program

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

The ABC Program involves Amherst students willing to make a difference in the lives of the young male members of the Amherst chapter. Amherst students assist participants with homework and general activities in preparation for college level work. The goals of ABC are to offer support and aid in any subjects being taken by the participants, to promote diversity by providing the opportunity for Amherst students to form meaningful relationships with students of different backgrounds, and vice versa. Learn more about The A Better Chance (ABC) Tutoring and Mentoring Program

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 multicultural and first-generation students to spend three days exploring the community. Students attend classes, cultural events and admission workshops during their stay. Fourteen current students work as diversity interns for the Admission Office and help organize and coordinate the Open House weekends. The diversity interns also serve as liaisons and mentors to students with diversity questions or concerns during the event. Learn more about Diversity Open House Weekends

Summer Bridge & Orientation Access to Amherst

Matriculated students from disadvantaged 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. The two three-week courses occur before first-year orientation. Approximately 20 members of the incoming class participate in each program and gain assistance transitioning between high school and college. Participants in the science program gain further assistance in 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

  • 1,792
  • 52/48
  • 17%
    First-generation college students
  • n/a
    American Indian or Alaskan Native
  • 13%
  • 12%
    Black or African American
  • 13%
  • n/a
    Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
  • 42%
  • 5%
    Two or more races
  • 5%
    Race and/or ethnicity unknown
  • 10%

Student Success

  • 98%
    First-to-second year retention
  • 94%
    Six-year graduation
  • 93%
    Six-year graduation for underrepresented minority groups
  • 100%
    Freshmen who live on campus
  • 98%
    Undergraduates who live on campus
  • 220
    Full-time faculty
  • 43
    Full-time minority faculty
  • 8:1
    Student–faculty ratio
  • Top 5 Majors

    Law, Jurisprudence & Social Thought, English, Political Science, Economics, Psychology, Biology, Neuroscience

  • Multicultural Student Clubs and Organizations

    Black Student Union, Black Men’s Group, Black Women’s Group, La Causa, Chicano Caucus, Asian Students Association, Asian Culture House, Amherst College Diversity Coalition, Pride Alliance, International Students Association, Muslim Students' Association, Hillel, Southeast Asian Students' Association


Cost of Attendance

  • $47,720
  • n/a
    In-state Tuition
  • $806
    Required Fees
  • $12,680
    Room and Board

Financial Aid

  • $48,911,396
    Total institutional scholarships/grants
  • $48,535
    Average aid package
  • $14,490
    Average student loan debt upon graduation (of those who borrow)
  • 24%
    Pell Grant recipients among freshmen
  • 62%
    Students with financial need
  • 100%
    Students awarded any financial aid
  • 99%
    Students awarded any need-based scholarship or grant aid
  • 100%
    Students whose need was fully met


Applicant Academics

  • 8,478
    # of applicants
  • 13%
  • n/a
    Average HS GPA
  • 32
    ACT Composite
  • 680—780
    SAT Critical Reading
  • 680—770
    SAT Math
  • 670—770
    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