Amherst Acceptance Rate: 9%

February 11, 2022
By AdmissionSight

Amherst Acceptance Rate: 9%

Shortcuts to sections offered for Amherst prospective students:

Successful Applicant Profile

  • Demographics
  • Majors
  • SAT/ACT Scores

Entry Requirements

  • Tuition
  • Scholarships
  • Checklist of Application Requirements
  • Application Deadlines

What Should You Expect?

  • Student life
  • Academics offered
  • Athletics offered
  • Notable alumni

Located in Amherst, Massachusetts, and founded in 1821, Amherst College is widely considered to be one of the most competitive and prestigious liberal arts colleges in the United States. Originally established as a men’s college, Amherst became coeducational in 1975 and currently is home to nearly 2,000 undergraduate students, who have the choice to choose from 38 major programs in an open curriculum.

If your high school student is interested in potentially attending Amherst, then you will absolutely want to know about the Amherst acceptance rate as you start to prepare your college applications.

Frontal view of Amherst College building but with tall trees blocking some of the view.

For high school students who are interested in applying to Amherst College, it is important to know what the Amherst acceptance rate is. As of last year, the acceptance rate at Amherst is approximately 9%.

This near-single-numeral acceptance rate puts Amherst amongst many of the most competitive schools in the country. Still, because the Amherst acceptance rate is about 10%, top high school students should feel quite confident about their chance of getting in!

The truth is that if getting into Amherst College is your dream, it is going to be your responsibility as a high school student to do everything that you can in order to increase your chances of beating the odds of the Amherst acceptance rate and getting in. One very important thing to keep in mind when it comes to applying to any top school is that the 9% Amherst acceptance rate is not across all high school students.

Instead, that acceptance rate is amongst some of the top high school students in their classes. Without a doubt, the undergraduate student body at Amherst College is an incredibly elite group. That’s probably why some Amherst graduates have gone on to do such great things.

Here at AdmissionSight, we believe that students have the best chances of getting into the schools of their dreams if they know how to prepare as best as possible. We have the tools and experience necessary to help you achieve your college goals! Let’s break them all down together.

First off, every single student should know about the average GPAs and standardized test scores than students who get into Amherst College achieve. When it comes to the grade point average of high schoolers who get into Amherst, the average GPA comes out to 4.07.

When it comes to the average SAT score, high school students who get into Amherst earn an average score of 1480 out of 1600. For the ACT, the average score of accepted high schoolers is a 33 out of 36!

But getting into Amherst College or any other top school for that matter is based on much more than just earning top grades and standardized test scores. There is so much that goes into it.

With that being said, with those raw numbers out of the way (for now), let’s get into how you can make the very most out of your application to Amherst College.

Successful Application Profile

Last year, there were just under 10,000 high school applicants who wanted to get into Amherst. In the end, less than 500 first-year students ended up attending Amherst out of the 1,198 that got in.

One thing that is very important for high schoolers to keep in mind is that the retention rate at Amherst is amongst the highest rate in the country at 97%. That means that the vast majority of students who end up attending Amherst truly love it and stay past the freshman year of their undergraduate education.

Without a doubt, the fact that Amherst is a smaller school means that space is quite limited. It is one of the primary reasons why the school is so competitive in the first place!

If you already see yourself walking the halls and campus grounds at Amherst College, and are very interested in getting into this school, here are the kinds of students that you will be living and learning alongside during your undergraduate years at Amherst.

Demographics: Who Studies at Amherst?

In this day and age, it is considered highly important that colleges and universities offer their students the opportunity to widen their experiences and gain great experiences by living and learning alongside students who are from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds.

Overall, Amherst is one of the most diverse liberal arts colleges in the United States and is ranked as the 12th most diverse school out of 2,475 total schools.

College students walking between classes on the campus grounds.

Amherst is ranked highly above average in terms of ethnic, gender, and geographic diversity.

When it comes to ethnic diversity, here is a quick breakdown of the major groups at Amherst.

  • 43.8% of students at Amherst are white
  • 14.3% of students at Amherst are Asian
  • 12.7% of students at Amherst are Hispanic/Latino
  • 11.4% of students at Amherst are African American
  • 9.2% of students at Amherst are Non-Resident Alien

When it comes to gender diversity, Amherst is very strong, with young men and women splitting up the student body by nearly half exactly. The student body is currently 50.1% female to 49.9% male.

When it comes to international students, Amherst was ranked as the 528th most popular school for international students out of 1,288 total schools that were evaluated. While the number of undergraduates at Amherst is quite low, under 200 total students, the percentage of international students compared to the entire student body is nearly 10 percent.

When it comes to the countries that are homes to many of the international students at Amherst, here are some of the most popular:

  • Kenya
  • Mongolia
  • Pakistan
  • Singapore

Most popular majors at Amherst

If you are a high school student who is interested in applying to, and eventually attending Amherst College, one thing that you absolutely want to keep in mind is what kinds of majors and programs are popular at Amherst.

After all, if you have a career path in mind during college, you will want to make sure that the programs or majors that are offered are well-funded, well-taught, and generally well-ranked.

The most popular majors at Amherst College include Mathematics, General; Econometrics and Quantitative Economics; English Language and Literature, General; Research and Experimental Psychology, Other; and Political Science and Government, General.

As a liberal arts school, it should not come as a surprise in any way that it has some of the top language and literature and political science programs in the country.

For that reason, Amherst has long been considered a great school for youngsters who are interested in attending law school or pursuing a career in politics.

What are the average SAT/ACT scores of students who are admitted to Amherst?

As you now know, the Amherst acceptance rate is just over 10%, putting amongst many of the most competitive schools in the country. However, the mere fact that it is not below 10% should give top students quite a lot of confidence when it comes to getting in.

One of the very first steps to getting into Amherst, or any other top school for that matter, is to earn great standardized test scores and get a great grade point average (GPA) throughout your high school years.

When it comes to the SAT, students who get into Amherst College get an average score of 1480, which is incredibly high.

The 25th percentile New SAT score is 1420, and the 75th percentile New SAT score is 1530. In other words, 1420 on the New SAT places you below average, while 1530 will move you up to above average.

When it comes to the ACT, the average score that students who get into Amherst earn is a 33 out of 36. The 25th percentile score is also quite impressive at 31, while the 75th percentile score is 34. While Amherst College does not have a specific minimum ACT score requirement, scoring less than a 31 will likely dramatically impede your ability to get in.

When it comes to the average grade point average of high schoolers who get into Amherst, the average GPA is 4.07. As you most likely have noticed, the 4.07 GPA is above an unweighted GPA of 4.0.

That means that students who get into Amherst are going to want to make sure that they are taking weighted courses throughout their high school years. Honors course and/or AP courses (and their related AP exams) are highly recommended considering the Amherst acceptance rate.

Entry Requirements

The long and exciting journey from high school to attending Amherst College technically begins in your freshman year of high school (or even before). However, the specific journey to getting into Amherst arguably finally truly beings when you are preparing to fill out and send in your application.

As you prepare to apply, you need to consider major factors for every school. Some of the most important to keep in mind include how much it will cost to attend, what you need to send in and when you need to send your application in by in order to qualify.

Here is some basic information about all of these and more!

How much does it cost to attend Amherst?

If you know anything about the college and university landscape, you probably know that schools are incredibly expensive. Even public schools for in-state students cost many thousands of dollars per year.

The same can absolutely be said for Amherst, which has a total cost of attendance that is comparable to the most expensive schools in the United States. Below is a breakdown of the prices that students can expect to face when the enroll in Amherst and move onto the school’s campus.

Breakdown of cost for admissions

As you can see, the expenses are quite high. For that reason, if you are dedicated to attending Amherst, you should do yourself the favor of finding out what, if any, financial aid opportunities are available to you.

Here is a quick breakdown of the financial aid options at Amherst.

Financial aid at Amherst

Last school year, Amherst College provided most that $57 million in scholarship aid to students. The average amount of financial aid given to students who received was an incredibly high $58,000.

Amherst is committed to helping its students graduate debt-free so that they do not have to deal with the heavy financial burden of student loan debt.

In fact, in their loans, Amherst has made it a point to replace all loans with scholarship grants. This makes Amherst one of the few colleges and universities in the United States that do not require students to take on student loans in order to pay for their undergrad educations.

Applying to Amherst

As you begin filling out your college applications, you want to make sure that you are aware of the specific requirements of every school. While the requirements are often similar, they are rarely exactly the same. Here is the list of requirements for Amherst that comes directly from the school’s site.

  • Common Application, Coalition Application or QuestBridge Application
  • Amherst College Writing Supplement
  • $65 Application Fee (non-refundable) or Fee Waiver (requested through Common Application, Coalition Application, or Amherst’s Quick Pass).
  • School Report
  • Secondary School Transcript
  • Counselor Recommendation (College Counselor / Guidance Counselor)
  • Two Teacher Recommendations (English, Maths, Science, Social Studies or Foreign Language
  • Optional Standardized Test Results for the SAT or ACT (either self-reported or official scores).
  • Early Decision Agreement (for ED applicants)
  • First marking period grades from the senior year (for ED applicants
  • Mid-Year School Report Form (as soon as first trimester/first semester grades are available)
  • Mid-Year Transcript (as soon as first trimester/first semester grades are available)
  • TOEFL or IELTS results (if needed for International Student Applicants): We do not accept self-reported test scores for TOEFL or IELTS; only official score reports are permitted for these tests. Please see our International Students Applicants page for additional information on acceptable versions of TOEFL and IELTS testing.

Application dates

Just like you need to keep the application requirements in mind, you also have to keep important application dates in mind as well. There are two different ways to apply to Amherst, the first is Early Decision and the second is Regular Decision.

  • Early Decision applications are due on Nov. 16.
  • Regularly Decision applications are due on Jan. 4.

If you are highly determined to attend Amherst and it is your preferred school overall, you will want to highly consider applying through Early Decision. Typically, about 10 percent of the applicants choose the binding Early Decision option, which essentially states that you will attend Amherst if you are accepted to the school.

What Students Can Expect

One of the best ways to get a good idea about what student life is really like at a school is to see what current students have to say about the schools. Thanks to one site, students at Amherst are able to publish reviews of their school. Here are some of the best that we at AdmissionSight found.

Two walkways going to two Amherst College buildings.

“Great atmosphere to learn in – professors genuinely care about their students,” one wrote. “The students are very friendly and the environment is generally collaborative. Lots of connections to be made with diverse people from all sorts of backgrounds.”

“I have loved my time at Amherst,” another wrote. “Professors go above and beyond to help their students, something that happens because of the small size of the school. Most classes don’t have TAs, which means office hours and review sessions are held directly with the professors.

Upper-level classes can have fewer than 30 people, which I have found to be a great environment for challenging yourself and growing academically. As a liberal arts college, Amherst also teaches you HOW to think, rather than just what to think. The school is also very helpful with outside opportunities.

The alumni network is incredibly supportive, especially for mentoring or networking. I was able to receive funding from the school for my unpaid summer internship, and they also provide research funds for many students. Since there are no graduate students at Amherst, all lab, research, and work opportunities with professors can start early on in your academic career.”

What academics are offered at Amherst?

In all, Amherst offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in 40 major arts, sciences, social sciences, and humanities programs. One of the many benefits of attending a smaller school is that the rigidness of much larger schools often does not apply. In fact, students at Amherst are able to carry more than one major and even create their own interdisciplinary major.

What athletics are offered at Amherst?

Amherst participates in the NCAA’s Division III, the Eastern College Athletic Conference, and the New England Small College Athletic Conference.

Rugby players tackling during game on the stadium.

When it comes to club teams, Amherst offers ultimate frisbee, soccer, crew, rugby, water polo, equestrian, mountain biking’s, fencing, sailing, and skiing.

Famous Amherst alumni

As is the case with many of the most prestigious schools in the country, Amherst has been home to some of the most famous men and women across many industries. Here are some of the most influential Amherst alumni.

  • Teller, comedian and television producer
  • Joseph Stiglitz, scientist, and author
  • Calvin Coolidge, 30th POTUS
  • Drew Pinsky, producer, physician
  • Charles Hamilton Houston, lawyer
  • Emily Dickinson, poet
  • David O. Russel, screenwriter
  • David Foster Wallace, writer

If you hope to one day see your name on that admissions list, the first step is getting into Amherst. While you may be intimidated by the Amherst acceptance rate, you should feel confident knowing that AdmissionSight can help you increase your chances of acceptance. Here, we know how to help students maximize their strengths in order to help them get into the school of their dreams.



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