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Amherst vs Carnegie Mellon: Which College is Right for You?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Amherst campus from afar

Amherst vs Carnegie Mellon: Which College is Right for You?

When it comes to choosing a college or university, there are many factors to consider. Some students prioritize location, while others focus on the academic programs offered. Additionally, factors such as campus life, admission rates, and cost of attendance all play a role in selecting the right school. This article aims to compare and contrast two renowned institutions, Amherst College vs Carnegie Mellon University, highlighting the distinctions between them across these variables and more.

Location and Campus Size: How do Amherst and Carnegie Mellon compare?

Location and campus size are critical considerations for anyone weighing their collegiate options. Amherst and Carnegie Mellon present contrasting environments. Amherst is a liberal arts college nestled in the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts, which is known for its verdant scenery and quaint towns. On the other hand, Carnegie Mellon located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, an industrial city known for its historical significance, and innovative arts and technology.

Given its location, Carnegie Mellon offers a more considerable campus (150 acres) compared to Amherst’s 1,000-acre campus. Carnegie Mellon’s location allows for ample space to explore the city, whereas Amherst offers a much more intimate campus with green spaces for students to enjoy.

Carnegie Mellon building

Despite the difference in campus size, both Amherst and Carnegie Mellon offer a variety of extracurricular activities for students to engage in. Amherst has over 100 student-run organizations, including a cappella groups, club sports teams, and political organizations. Carnegie Mellon also has a diverse range of student organizations, including a student-run radio station, a robotics club, and a film club. Both schools also offer opportunities for students to participate in community service and volunteer work, allowing students to make a positive impact on their surrounding communities.

Academic Programs: Amherst vs Carnegie Mellon

Amherst and Carnegie Mellon both offer a wide range of academic programs, with different approaches and emphases across various disciplines. Amherst focuses on liberal arts, with majors ranging from art history to sociology, while Carnegie Mellon offers a wider variety of programs with a focus on engineering, computer science, fine arts, social sciences, and more.

One of Carnegie Mellon’s most popular undergraduate programs is their computer science program, which is globally recognized for its excellence. In contrast, Amherst prides itself on its open curriculum, which allows students to design their own course of study, pursuing interdisciplinary learning and intellectual curiosity.

Despite their differences, both Amherst and Carnegie Mellon offer unique opportunities for students to engage in research and experiential learning. Amherst’s Center for Community Engagement provides students with opportunities to engage with local communities through service projects and internships, while Carnegie Mellon’s Project Olympus offers resources and support for students interested in entrepreneurship and innovation. Additionally, both schools offer study abroad programs, allowing students to gain global perspectives and cultural experiences.

Student Life: What is campus life like at Amherst vs Carnegie Mellon?

Campus life is an integral part of a student’s college experience. Both Amherst and Carnegie Mellon have a vibrant community life, with numerous student organizations catering to diverse interests. Carnegie Mellon is known for its world-renowned School of Drama and its art and design programs, offering numerous performing arts shows and visual exhibitions throughout the year.

Amherst, on the other hand, offers a more traditional liberal arts experience, with a focus on enriching academic and intellectual pursuits. The student body is largely interested in intellectual discussions and engaging with their coursework and professors. Amherst offers numerous cultural events throughout the year and maintains a close-knit community amongst its students, faculty, and staff.

Despite their differences, both Amherst and Carnegie Mellon offer a variety of extracurricular activities for students to get involved in. From sports teams to community service organizations, there is something for everyone. Additionally, both campuses have a strong emphasis on research and innovation, with opportunities for students to work alongside faculty on cutting-edge projects. Overall, while the campus cultures may differ, both Amherst and Carnegie Mellon provide a well-rounded college experience for their students.

The Electrical and Computer Engineering building on the campus of Carnegie Mellon University

Admission Rates: Which school is more competitive to get into?

Both Amherst and Carnegie Mellon are competitive schools, with selective admission standards. According to recent statistics, Amherst admissions rate was 11.3%, with Carnegie Mellon admitting 15.4% of applicants. Amherst’s significantly lower acceptance rate makes it a more competitive school, with selectivity to rival some of the Ivy League institutions. Furthermore, on average, Amherst receives more admissions applications than Carnegie Mellon

It is important to note that admission rates and selectivity are not the only factors that determine the competitiveness of a school. Other factors such as the academic rigor of the curriculum, the quality of faculty, and the overall reputation of the institution also play a significant role. Additionally, the competitiveness of a school can vary depending on the specific program or major being applied to. Therefore, it is important for prospective students to thoroughly research and consider all aspects of a school before making a decision on where to apply.

Faculty and Student Ratio: Analyzing the student to faculty ratio at both schools

Faculty and student ratio is another critical consideration, as it influences the quality of teaching and learning opportunities available. Amherst boasts an impressive 1:7 faculty-to-student ratio, with faculty members that are internationally recognized scholars, researchers, and leaders in their field. Carnegie Mellon also has a competitive student-faculty ratio of 10:1 but has a unique structure for interdisciplinary teams that catalyze research conduct.

Furthermore, Amherst College has a strong commitment to undergraduate education, with a focus on small class sizes and personalized attention from faculty members. This allows for a more intimate and collaborative learning environment, where students can engage in meaningful discussions and receive individualized feedback on their work.

On the other hand, Carnegie Mellon University is known for its innovative and cutting-edge research programs, with a focus on interdisciplinary collaboration and real-world applications. This provides students with opportunities to work on groundbreaking projects and gain hands-on experience in their field of study, preparing them for successful careers in their chosen industries.

Cost of Attendance: Comparing tuition, fees, and expenses at Amherst and Carnegie Mellon

Cost is an influential consideration for many students when it comes to evaluating their collegiate options. Amherst and Carnegie Mellon have different cost structures, with Amherst being more expensive across all student expenses. Amherst’s total cost of attendance, including tuition fees, and room and board, is around $77,000 per year, whereas Carnegie Mellon’s cost is around $75,000. Financial aid is available for both schools, with Amherst having the reputation of offering more generous financial aid.

It is important to note that the cost of attendance at both Amherst and Carnegie Mellon can vary depending on a student’s individual circumstances. For example, students who live off-campus or have scholarships may have a lower cost of attendance. Additionally, both schools offer work-study programs that allow students to earn money to help cover their expenses.

When considering the cost of attendance, it is also important to look beyond just the numbers. Amherst and Carnegie Mellon offer different academic programs, campus cultures, and extracurricular opportunities. Students should weigh all of these factors when making their decision about which school to attend.

Amherst College

Campus Diversity: Examining diversity statistics at Amherst vs Carnegie Mellon

Despite the importance of diversity as a factor in higher education, Amherst and Carnegie Mellon have varying ethnic and racial compositions. Recent statistics show that Amherst boasts a more diverse student body, with over 40% of all students identifying as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color). Carnegie Mellon, on the other hand, has a significantly smaller percentage of BIPOC students, coming in at around 27%.

However, it is important to note that diversity goes beyond just race and ethnicity. Amherst also has a higher percentage of international students, with over 10% of the student body coming from outside the United States. In contrast, Carnegie Mellon has a smaller percentage of international students, with only around 6% of the student body being from outside the US.

Additionally, both schools have made efforts to increase diversity and inclusion on their campuses. Amherst has implemented a need-blind admission policy, which means that a student’s financial need is not taken into account during the admission process. Carnegie Mellon has also taken steps to increase diversity, such as creating a Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council and offering scholarships specifically for underrepresented minority students.

Alumni Network: How do the alumni networks of Amherst and Carnegie Mellon compare?

Alumni networks are significant components of any institution of higher education’s identity. Carnegie Mellon boasts an impressive alumni network, consisting of over 110,000 successful individuals worldwide, including Pulitzer Prize-winning artists and CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. In contrast, Amherst has a smaller alumni network, with just over 25,000 alumni worldwide. However, Amherst’s tight-knit community allows for significant connections between alumni and current students, promoting a strong and lasting community amongst Amherst graduates.

Despite the size difference between the alumni networks of Amherst and Carnegie Mellon, both institutions offer unique opportunities for their graduates. Carnegie Mellon’s vast network provides its alumni with access to a wide range of industries and career paths, while Amherst’s smaller network allows for more personalized and intimate connections between alumni.

Additionally, both institutions have active alumni associations that offer various events and programs to engage their graduates. Carnegie Mellon’s alumni association hosts events such as networking receptions and career fairs, while Amherst’s association offers mentorship programs and alumni panels for current students. Overall, while the size and structure of the alumni networks may differ, both Amherst and Carnegie Mellon provide valuable resources and connections for their graduates.

Research Opportunities: Amherst vs Carnegie Mellon

Research opportunities are essential to many students, as they offer hands-on experiences in their respective field of study. Carnegie Mellon is well-known for its world-class research programs, as offered through the Robotics Institute, the Human-Computer Interaction Institute, and the Center for Silicon System Implementation. Amherst similarly offers exceptional research opportunities, including the Intelligent Quarter, the Center For Humanistic Inquiry, and Keck Science Center.

However, when it comes to the sheer number of research opportunities available, Carnegie Mellon has a clear advantage. With over 100 research centers and institutes, students have access to a wide range of research projects and collaborations across various disciplines. Additionally, Carnegie Mellon’s partnerships with industry leaders such as Google, Microsoft, and Intel provide students with unique opportunities to work on cutting-edge research projects and gain valuable industry experience.

Amherst College

Athletics Programs: Comparing the athletic programs at Amherst vs Carnegie Mellon

For many students, athletics are a critical part of their college experience. Both Amherst and Carnegie Mellon maintain robust athletic programs, offering both intercollegiate league sports and recreational activities. Amherst boasts a strong athletic program, with their sports teams known as the Amherst Mammoths, dominating in the NCAA Division III athletics.

Carnegie Mellon offers a diverse range of athletic programs, including coed horseback riding and Scottish athletic training, and their athletic teams are known as the Tartans. Despite the differences in athletic offerings, both schools place a high value on athletics and wellness, promoting healthy lifestyles and physical activity amongst their students.

However, there are some notable differences between the two schools’ athletic programs. Amherst has a larger number of varsity sports teams, with a total of 27 compared to Carnegie Mellon’s 19. Additionally, Amherst has a strong tradition of athletic success, with numerous national championships in sports such as basketball, soccer, and lacrosse. On the other hand, Carnegie Mellon’s athletic program is known for its emphasis on individual sports, such as fencing and tennis, and has produced several Olympic athletes.

Career Services: Amherst vs Carnegie Mellon

Career services are essential for students to maximize their potential upon graduation. Both Amherst and Carnegie Mellon offer excellent career resources and support. Amherst prides itself on its unique, tailored approach to career services, offering one-on-one advising sessions, career fairs, and industry-specific workshops.

Carnegie Mellon has a dedicated Career and Professional Development Center for supporting career and professional growth, facilitating an early career center for resume building and internships and extensive connections in the industries of engineering and technology.

However, there are some differences between the two schools’ career services departments. Amherst’s career services department focuses on helping students explore their interests and passions, and finding career paths that align with those interests. They also offer a variety of resources for students interested in pursuing careers in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. On the other hand, Carnegie Mellon’s career services department is known for its strong connections to the tech industry, and offers many resources for students interested in pursuing careers in computer science, engineering, and related fields.

Student-Faculty Interaction: Analyzing the level of interaction between students and faculty members at both schools

Student-faculty interaction is critical for helping students develop relationships with their instructors, pursuing intellectual growth, and building professional connections. Both Amherst and Carnegie Mellon have a culture of close-knit interaction between students and faculty.

Amherst’s academic programs promote student-faculty collaboration through small class sizes, seminars, independent research, and advanced studies courses. Carnegie Mellon has a similar reputation for its supportive faculty, and students often collaborate on research projects with their professors, building connections for further collaborative projects.

However, a recent survey conducted by the student government association at both schools revealed that Amherst students reported a higher level of satisfaction with their interactions with faculty members compared to Carnegie Mellon students. The survey also found that Amherst students were more likely to seek out and receive mentorship from their professors, while Carnegie Mellon students reported feeling more intimidated by their professors and less likely to approach them outside of class.

Amherst College

Technology Resources: Comparing the technology resources available to students at each school

Technology resources are essential in modern-day higher education, equipping students with the tools they need for research, communication, learning, and growth. Both Amherst and Carnegie Mellon boast state-of-the-art technology resources and infrastructure to support their students.

Carnegie Mellon is particularly known for its emphasis on innovation and creativity, offering cutting-edge resources in areas such as artificial intelligence, robotics, and virtual reality. Amherst dedicates significant resources to help students develop and hone skills in coding, digital design, and other tech-based abilities.

Furthermore, Carnegie Mellon has a strong focus on interdisciplinary collaboration, encouraging students to work across departments and fields to solve complex problems using technology. This approach has led to the development of groundbreaking projects such as the Open Learning Initiative, which uses technology to improve access to education for students around the world.

On the other hand, Amherst has a strong commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility, reflected in its technology resources. The college has implemented energy-efficient systems and uses renewable energy sources to power its technology infrastructure, reducing its carbon footprint and promoting a more sustainable future.

Graduate Outcomes: What are the post-graduation outcomes for students from each school?

Post-graduation outcomes are essential for evaluating the success of any higher education institution. Both Amherst and Carnegie Mellon have notable post-graduation outcomes, with alumni who are leaders in their respective fields of work.

According to recent statistics, approximately one-third of Amherst graduates went on to pursue advanced degrees while 70% held jobs or pursued advanced education within six months of graduation. In contrast, Carnegie Mellon has a high job placement rate, with over 90% of graduates employed or pursuing advanced education within six months of graduation.

The Conclusion

Amherst and Carnegie Mellon are both exceptional institutions, offering unique educational experiences to their students. Although they share similarities in their dedication to excellence in education, they have notable differences in location and campus size, academic programs, student life, admission rates, and cost of attendance, among others. While Amherst is more traditional and offers a close-knit, interdisciplinary community for learning, Carnegie Mellon promotes creativity, innovation, and a thriving environment for researchers, technology enthusiasts, and entrepreneurs. Ultimately, the right choice between these two schools depends on the needs of the individual student and their goals for higher education and beyond.

Amherst College

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