Amherst College: Narrative Description

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PO Box 5000
Amherst, MA 01002-5000
Tel: (413)542-2000
Admissions: (413)542-2328
Fax: (413)542-2040
E-mail: [email protected]
Web Site:


Independent, 4-year, coed. Awards bachelor's degrees. Founded 1821. Setting: 1,000-acre small town campus. Endowment: $993.4 million. Research spending 2003-04: $3.1 million. Educational spending 2003-04: $15,732 per student. Total enrollment: 1,638. Student-undergrad faculty ratio is 8:1. 5,489 applied, 21% were admitted. 87% from top 10% of their high school class, 99% from top quarter, 100% from top half. 98 National Merit Scholars, 44 valedictorians. Full-time: 1,638 students, 48% women, 52% men. Students come from 52 states and territories, 31 other countries, 87% from out-of-state, 0.2% Native American, 7% Hispanic, 9% black, 13% Asian American or Pacific Islander, 6% international, 0% 25 or older, 98% live on campus, 1% transferred in. Retention: 96% of full-time freshmen returned the following year. Academic areas with the most degrees conferred: social sciences and history; English; foreign language/literature. Calendar: semesters. Self-designed majors, honors program, independent study, double major. Off campus study at Five Colleges, Inc., Twelve College Exchange Program. Study abroad program.

Entrance Requirements:

Options: Common Application, electronic application, early admission, early decision, deferred admission. Required: essay, high school transcript, 3 recommendations, SAT and SAT Subject Tests or ACT. Entrance: most difficult. Application deadlines: 12/31, 11/15 for early decision. Notification: 4/5, 12/15 for early decision.

Costs Per Year:

Application fee: $55. Comprehensive fee: $39,524 includes full-time tuition ($30,780), mandatory fees ($584), and college room and board ($8160). College room only: $4380.

Collegiate Environment:

Orientation program. Drama-theater group, choral group, student-run newspaper, radio station. Social organizations: 100 open to all. Most popular organizations: choral groups, WAMH (campus radio station), OUTREACH (community service), literary magazines, The Amherst Student (school newspaper). Major annual events: homecoming, Casino Night, Newport Jazz. Student services: health clinic, personal-psychological counseling, women's center. Campus security: 24-hour emergency response devices and patrols, student patrols, late night transport-escort service, controlled dormitory access. 1,600 college housing spaces available; 1,550 were occupied in 2003-04. Freshmen guaranteed college housing. On-campus residence required in freshman year. Option: coed housing available. Robert Frost Library plus 5 others with 1 million books, 530,038 microform titles, 10,632 serials, 45,139 audiovisual materials, an OPAC, and a Web page. Operations spending 2003-04: $4.9 million. 182 computers available on campus for general student use. Computer purchase/lease plans available. A campuswide network can be accessed from student residence rooms and from off campus. Staffed computer lab on campus.

Community Environment:

Well-known American poets Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost and Eugene Field, and author Ray Stannard Baker (David Grayson) all lived in Amherst. Located on eastern edge of Connecticut Valley, the town has mean winter temperature of 25.2 degrees, and summer, 72 degrees. Annual rainfall is 43.8 inches. Rail and bus service is available. Free 5-college bus system connects all five institutions. Recreation provided at Mt. Sugarloaf and Mt. Tom Reservation nearby. Town has theatres, golf, tennis, fishing, and ice skating. Community opera performs annually. Nearby are the Pelham Hills, where Daniel Shays organized his rebellion; Deerfield, with its Bloody Brook, so named after a 17th-century clash between Indians and settlers; the Holyoke Range; and byways reminiscent of colonial days. Tobacco farms and apple orchards dot the Connecticut River valley, and throughout the neighboring hills are many opportunities for hiking, canoeing, and skiing amid the small villages, farms, and abandoned factories of another age. An exciting community lies in the midst of this bucolic setting. Amherst students and townspeople alike thrive on the contemporary vitality of a major academic center, since both Hampshire College and the University of Massachusetts are also located in Amherst, with Smith and Mount Holyoke Colleges nearby. The resulting concentration of students, teachers, practicing artists, and visiting speakers makes the area a hub of scholarship and creativity. It has even been said that, after Boston, the Pioneer Valley offers the richest array of cultural events in New England.

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