Amherst vs Georgetown: Which College is Right for You?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Amherst campus from afar

Amherst vs Georgetown: Which College is Right for You?

Are you trying to decide which university to attend? It can be a daunting task, with so many factors to consider. In this article, we’ll compare two prestigious institutions: Amherst vs Georgetown. We’ll take a comprehensive look at all aspects of these universities, giving you the information you need to make an informed decision.

Introduction to Amherst and Georgetown

Amherst is a private liberal arts college located in Amherst, Massachusetts. It was founded in 1821, and is considered one of the best liberal arts colleges in the country. Georgetown University, on the other hand, is a private research university located in Washington, D.C. It was founded in 1789, and is one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the United States.

Despite their differences in location and academic focus, both Amherst and Georgetown share a commitment to providing their students with a well-rounded education. Amherst’s open curriculum allows students to explore a wide range of subjects, while Georgetown’s emphasis on Jesuit values encourages students to engage with the world and make a positive impact on society. Both institutions also have a strong sense of community, with active student organizations and a supportive network of alumni.

View of a Georgetown University building

History of Amherst University

Amherst College was founded in 1821 by a group of Congregationalist clergymen. The college was named after the town of Amherst, which was named after Jeffery Amherst, a British general who served during the French and Indian War. Throughout its history, Amherst College has been known for its rigorous academic standards and commitment to diversity. Famous alumni include poet Robert Frost and Nobel Laureate in Physics William Shockley.

In 2020, Amherst College officially changed its name to Amherst University, reflecting its growth and expansion beyond a traditional liberal arts college. The university now offers graduate programs in fields such as computer science, neuroscience, and public health. Despite this expansion, Amherst University remains committed to its founding principles of academic excellence and inclusivity, and continues to attract top students and faculty from around the world.

History of Georgetown University

Georgetown University was founded in 1789 by John Carroll, the Archbishop of Baltimore. It is the oldest Catholic and Jesuit university in the United States. Over the years, Georgetown has become one of the most prestigious universities in the world, known for its strong academic programs and commitment to social justice. Famous alumni include former President Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Georgetown University has a rich history of social justice activism. In the 1960s, students and faculty members were actively involved in the Civil Rights Movement and protested against the Vietnam War. In the 1980s, Georgetown became a leader in the movement to divest from South Africa in protest of apartheid. Today, the university continues to prioritize social justice, with initiatives such as the Center for Social Justice Research, Teaching, and Service and the Georgetown Scholarship Program, which provides financial assistance to low-income students.

Location and Campus Comparisons

Amherst College is situated in the small town of Amherst, Massachusetts, which is located in the heart of the Pioneer Valley. The campus itself is beautiful, with a mix of traditional and modern buildings set against a backdrop of rolling hills and wooded areas. Georgetown University, on the other hand, is located in the heart of Washington, D.C. The campus is situated on a hill overlooking the Potomac River, and is known for its beautiful architecture and historic buildings.

Despite their differences in location, both Amherst College and Georgetown University offer a variety of opportunities for students to explore their surroundings. Amherst College is located near several other colleges and universities, which allows for easy access to a diverse range of academic and cultural events. Additionally, the Pioneer Valley is known for its vibrant arts scene, with numerous galleries, theaters, and music venues to explore. Georgetown University, on the other hand, is located in the heart of the nation’s capital, providing students with unparalleled access to political and cultural institutions. Students can take advantage of internships, research opportunities, and cultural events in the city, while also enjoying the historic and picturesque campus.

Georgetown University building almost covered by trees

Size and Student Population Comparisons

Amherst College has a total enrollment of around 1,800 students, making it one of the smallest liberal arts colleges in the country. Georgetown University, on the other hand, has a total enrollment of around 18,000 students, with around 7,500 undergraduate students and 10,500 graduate students. Despite their differences in size, both universities offer a vibrant and diverse student population.

One of the advantages of attending a smaller college like Amherst is the personalized attention that students receive from faculty and staff. With a low student-to-faculty ratio, students have more opportunities to interact with professors and receive individualized support. At Georgetown, the larger student population means that students may have to work harder to build relationships with faculty and staff, but they also have access to a wider range of academic programs and resources.

Another factor to consider when comparing the size and student population of these two institutions is the campus culture. At Amherst, the small size fosters a tight-knit community where students often form close bonds with their peers. Georgetown, on the other hand, has a more diverse student body with a wider range of interests and backgrounds. This can lead to a more dynamic campus culture with a variety of student organizations and events.

Admissions Criteria and Requirements: How Do They Compare?

Both Amherst College and Georgetown University have highly competitive admissions processes. Amherst College has an acceptance rate of around 13%, while Georgetown University has an acceptance rate of around 15%. Both universities place a strong emphasis on academic achievement, extracurricular activities, and personal qualities when evaluating applicants. They also both require standardized test scores, letters of recommendation, and essays as part of the application process.

However, there are some differences in the admissions criteria and requirements between the two universities. Amherst College places a greater emphasis on academic achievement, with an average GPA of admitted students being around 3.9. On the other hand, Georgetown University places a greater emphasis on extracurricular activities, with a focus on leadership and community involvement.

Additionally, Amherst College has a test-optional policy, meaning that applicants can choose not to submit standardized test scores if they feel that they do not accurately reflect their abilities. Georgetown University, on the other hand, requires all applicants to submit either SAT or ACT scores.

Academic Programs Offered at Amherst and Georgetown

Amherst College offers a wide range of majors and minors in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. They also have a unique interdisciplinary program called The Five College Consortium, which allows students to take classes at any of the five colleges in the area. Georgetown University offers a broad range of academic programs as well, with a strong emphasis on international relations, politics, and business.

Additionally, Amherst College has a strong focus on undergraduate research, providing students with opportunities to work closely with faculty members on research projects. This allows students to gain hands-on experience in their field of study and prepare for graduate school or careers in research. Georgetown University also offers research opportunities for students, with a number of research centers and institutes on campus.

Furthermore, Amherst College has a unique open curriculum, which allows students to design their own course of study and take classes in a variety of subjects. This encourages students to explore their interests and pursue a well-rounded education. Georgetown University also offers a flexible curriculum, with a variety of elective courses and interdisciplinary programs that allow students to tailor their education to their interests and career goals.

Faculty Profiles and Teaching Style Differences: Amherst vs Georgetown

Both Amherst College and Georgetown University have highly regarded faculty members who are experts in their respective fields. However, the teaching style at each university can differ. Amherst College has a strong emphasis on small, discussion-based classes where students are encouraged to think independently and critically. Georgetown University, on the other hand, utilizes a more lecture-based teaching style, but still emphasizes student participation and engagement.

Another notable difference between the two universities is the level of research involvement among faculty members. At Amherst College, professors are primarily focused on teaching and mentoring undergraduate students, with less emphasis on research. At Georgetown University, however, faculty members are often involved in cutting-edge research projects and may have less time for individualized attention with students. This difference in priorities can impact the overall academic experience for students, depending on their individual goals and interests.

View of Georgetown University

Research Opportunities for Students: Amherst vs Georgetown

Both Amherst College and Georgetown University offer extensive research opportunities for undergraduate students. Georgetown University has a strong emphasis on research in areas such as international affairs, medicine, and public policy. Amherst College offers research opportunities in a wide range of disciplines, with a particular emphasis on independent research projects, culminating in a Senior Thesis.

At Georgetown University, students have the opportunity to work with renowned faculty members who are leaders in their respective fields. The university also has several research centers and institutes that provide students with access to cutting-edge research and resources. Additionally, Georgetown offers research funding and fellowships to support student research projects.

Amherst College has a unique program called the “Research Apprenticeship Program” which allows students to work closely with faculty members on research projects. This program provides students with hands-on experience in their field of interest and helps them develop important research skills. Amherst also has several research centers and institutes, including the Center for Humanistic Inquiry and the Center for Russian Culture, which offer research opportunities for students.

Facilities, Resources, and Campus Life: Amherst vs Georgetown

Both universities have impressive facilities and resources to support their students. At Amherst College, students have access to state-of-the-art science labs, a performing arts center, and an extensive library system. Georgetown University offers similarly impressive resources, with multiple libraries, research centers, and a range of athletic facilities. Campus life at both universities is vibrant, with numerous student clubs and organizations, social events, and opportunities for community engagement.

Additionally, Amherst College has recently invested in a new wellness center, which offers a variety of health and wellness services to students, including counseling, nutrition consultations, and fitness classes. Georgetown University has also prioritized student wellness, with a comprehensive mental health program that includes counseling services, peer support groups, and stress management workshops.

Furthermore, both universities have strong sustainability initiatives. Amherst College has implemented a number of environmentally-friendly practices, such as using renewable energy sources and reducing waste through composting and recycling programs. Georgetown University has also made significant strides in sustainability, with a commitment to carbon neutrality by 2050 and a focus on sustainable transportation options, such as bike-sharing programs and electric vehicle charging stations.

Extracurricular Activities: Amherst vs Georgetown

Both Amherst College and Georgetown University offer a wide variety of extracurricular activities for students. At Amherst, students can participate in clubs and organizations related to community service, the arts, politics, and more. At Georgetown, students can get involved in clubs related to social justice, sports, music, and more. Both universities also offer ample opportunities for students interested in studying abroad or participating in internships.

Additionally, both Amherst and Georgetown have strong athletic programs, with a range of varsity and club sports available for students to participate in. Amherst is a member of the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) and offers sports such as basketball, soccer, and swimming. Georgetown is a member of the Big East Conference and offers sports such as basketball, lacrosse, and track and field. Both universities also have state-of-the-art athletic facilities, including gyms, fields, and pools, for students to use.

Amherst College

Sports Teams and Athletic Facilities: Amherst vs Georgetown

Both Amherst College and Georgetown University have highly competitive sports teams and impressive athletic facilities. Amherst College has a Division III athletic program that competes in the New England Small College Athletic Conference. Georgetown University has a Division I athletic program that competes in the Big East Conference. Both universities offer a range of sports, including basketball, soccer, tennis, and more.

However, there are some differences in the athletic facilities offered by these two universities. Amherst College has a smaller campus and therefore has fewer athletic facilities compared to Georgetown University. Georgetown University has a state-of-the-art athletic center that includes a swimming pool, indoor track, and multiple basketball courts. Amherst College, on the other hand, has a smaller gymnasium and outdoor fields for sports such as soccer and lacrosse. Despite these differences, both universities prioritize the health and well-being of their student-athletes and provide ample opportunities for them to excel in their respective sports.

Alumni Network and Career Opportunities: Amherst vs Georgetown

Both Amherst College and Georgetown University have extensive alumni networks, with graduates working in a variety of fields around the world. Amherst College has a strong reputation for preparing students for graduate school and careers in academia, while Georgetown University has a strong emphasis on preparing students for careers in international relations, politics, and business.

Amherst College’s alumni network is particularly strong in the fields of law, medicine, and education. Many graduates have gone on to attend top law and medical schools, while others have become professors at prestigious universities. The college also has a robust career center that offers resources and support for students seeking internships and job opportunities.

Georgetown University’s alumni network is known for its strong connections in government and diplomacy. Many graduates have gone on to work in the State Department, the United Nations, and other international organizations. The university also has a thriving entrepreneurship community, with many graduates starting their own businesses and ventures.

Tuition Fees, Financial Aid, Scholarship Opportunities: Amherst vs Georgetown

Despite their differences in size and location, tuition and fees at both Amherst College and Georgetown University are similar. In terms of financial aid and scholarship opportunities, both universities offer generous packages to eligible students. However, due to its smaller size, Amherst College may have more restricted financial aid options compared to Georgetown University.

It is important to note that the cost of attending a university goes beyond just tuition and fees. Students must also consider the cost of living, including housing, food, and transportation. At Amherst College, the cost of living on campus is included in the tuition and fees, while at Georgetown University, students must budget for these additional expenses.

Another factor to consider when comparing the affordability of universities is the potential return on investment. Graduates of both Amherst College and Georgetown University have high earning potential, but Georgetown University has a larger alumni network and may offer more opportunities for career advancement.

Amherst College

Student Life Comparison: Amherst vs Georgetown

Both Amherst College and Georgetown University offer a range of housing options for students, including on-campus dormitories and off-campus apartments. Dining options at both universities are diverse and cater to a wide range of dietary preferences. Social life at both universities is vibrant, with numerous events and activities happening on and off campus throughout the year.

However, there are some differences between the two universities when it comes to student life. Amherst College has a strong emphasis on community living, with most students living on campus and participating in residential life programs. Georgetown University, on the other hand, has a larger percentage of students living off campus in the surrounding neighborhoods of Washington D.C. Additionally, Georgetown University has a more active Greek life scene, with a variety of fraternities and sororities on campus.

Conclusion: Which University is Right for You?

Deciding which university to attend is an important decision that will have a profound impact on your future. After comparing Amherst College and Georgetown University, it’s clear that both institutions offer exceptional academic programs, research opportunities, and extracurricular activities. The choice ultimately comes down to personal preferences and priorities. If you’re seeking a small, liberal arts college with a strong emphasis on independent thinking and close student-faculty relationships, then Amherst may be the right choice for you. If you’re seeking a large, research university with a focus on international relations, politics, and business, then Georgetown may be the better choice. No matter which university you choose, you can be confident that both Amherst College and Georgetown University will provide a top-notch education and valuable life experiences.

It’s important to consider other factors as well, such as location and campus culture. Amherst College is located in a small town in Massachusetts, while Georgetown University is located in the heart of Washington D.C. This can greatly impact your college experience, as the surrounding area can offer unique opportunities and experiences. Additionally, the campus culture at each university may differ, with Amherst College having a strong focus on community and collaboration, while Georgetown University may have a more competitive atmosphere.

Ultimately, the decision of which university to attend should be based on a combination of factors, including academic programs, research opportunities, extracurricular activities, location, and campus culture. It’s important to do your research and visit each campus to get a better sense of what each university has to offer. With careful consideration, you can make an informed decision that will set you on the path to success.

Amherst College

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