Boston College vs Amherst: A Comprehensive Look at Two Top Universities

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Young man using a laptop in a table.

Boston College vs Amherst: A Comprehensive Look at Two Top Universities

Are you weighing your options for higher education and considering both Boston College and Amherst? It’s no surprise why. These prestigious institutions are both highly regarded for their academic offerings, campus culture, and the success of their students. But how do these institutions compare when it comes to campus life, academic programs, and student outcomes? This comprehensive guide will provide an in-depth look at Boston College vs Amherst so that you can make an informed decision about the right university for you.

Introduction: Setting the Stage for a Comparative Analysis

Before we dive into the details of Boston College and Amherst, let’s take a moment to examine what makes these universities stand out among the rest. Both institutions offer students unique opportunities for academic and personal growth, with a focus on developing well-rounded graduates who are prepared to enter the workforce or continue their education. At the heart of each school’s mission is a dedication to excellence in scholarship, innovative research, and community engagement.

Boston College, located in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, is a Jesuit Catholic university that emphasizes the importance of service to others. The school’s commitment to social justice is evident in its curriculum, which includes courses on ethics, theology, and philosophy. Students are encouraged to participate in community service projects and volunteer work, both on and off campus.

Amherst College, on the other hand, is a small liberal arts college located in Amherst, Massachusetts. The school’s academic program is centered around a rigorous, interdisciplinary curriculum that encourages students to explore a wide range of subjects. Amherst is known for its close-knit community, where students and faculty work closely together to create a supportive and intellectually stimulating environment.

Location Matters: Boston College  vs Amherst

One of the first factors that many students consider when choosing a university is its location. Boston College and Amherst are both located in Massachusetts, but the similarities end there. Boston College has a traditional campus located just a few miles outside of Boston in Chestnut Hill. The campus is nestled in a beautiful suburban area, surrounded by a variety of shops, restaurants, and cultural attractions in nearby Boston.

a group of college students walking through a field

Amherst is located in Western Massachusetts and boasts a more rural campus. This location allows for a peaceful, quiet, and serene environment that is ideal for students seeking to focus on their studies. Despite the rural setting, Amherst is still close to many cultural centers, including Springfield, Northampton, and Hartford.

Another important aspect of the location to consider is the climate. Boston College experiences all four seasons, with cold winters and hot summers. Amherst, on the other hand, has a more temperate climate with mild winters and warm summers. This can be a deciding factor for students who prefer a certain type of weather or are sensitive to extreme temperatures.

Academic Offerings: Examining the Similarities and Differences Between Boston College vs Amherst

Both Boston College and Amherst are known for their strong academic offerings, ranging from the humanities to the sciences. Boston College offers over 80 majors and minors across their nine schools, while Amherst offers more than 38 majors. Students at both universities have the opportunity to engage in small class sizes with renowned faculty who are dedicated to their academic success.

One major difference is that Boston College is a larger institution than Amherst, with over 14,500 students enrolled compared to Amherst’s 2,000 students. This means that Boston College has more resources available to students and a wider variety of course offerings. Amherst, on the other hand, is known for its interdisciplinary approach to academics and a rigorous course load that prepares students for the toughest of graduate schools.

Another difference between Boston College and Amherst is their approach to research. Boston College is a research university with a strong emphasis on faculty research and student involvement in research projects. Amherst, on the other hand, is a liberal arts college that focuses on undergraduate education and does not have a graduate program. This means that Amherst students have more opportunities to work closely with faculty members on research projects and have a more personalized academic experience.

Student Life: What to Expect on Campus at Boston College vs Amherst

Both universities offer a wide variety of extracurricular activities, ranging from sports to clubs to volunteer work. Boston College offers over 200 clubs and organizations, as well as an extensive list of athletic programs. Amherst also offers a range of clubs and activities and an athletic program that is esteemed in the NCAA Division III.

One important aspect of student life at both universities is the focus on community service and volunteer work. Boston College and Amherst both have programs that allow students to engage in community service and give back to the community. This emphasis on hands-on learning and community engagement is a key factor in the success of graduates from both institutions.

College students sitting on the grass and doing their homework


Another notable aspect of student life at Boston College and Amherst is the strong sense of community and support. Both universities prioritize creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for all students. This is evident through the various resources and support systems available on campus, such as counseling services, academic advising, and student organizations dedicated to promoting diversity and inclusion. The sense of community at these institutions fosters a supportive and collaborative learning environment, which contributes to the overall success and well-being of students.

Admission Requirements: A Side-by-Side Comparison of Boston College vs Amherst’s Admissions Processes

Admission to both universities is highly competitive, with acceptance rates averaging around 30%. Both Boston College and Amherst require students to submit transcripts, letters of recommendation, and standardized test scores. Boston College also requires the Common Application, while Amherst has its own application process.

One key difference is that Boston College requires an essay as part of their application process, while Amherst requires two essays. While the essay requirements are different, both institutions place a significant emphasis on a student’s essay in the application process and consider it to be a key factor in the admissions decision.

Another difference between the two universities is their approach to interviews. Boston College offers optional interviews for applicants, while Amherst requires an interview as part of their application process. The interview is conducted by an admissions officer or a member of the alumni network and provides an opportunity for the applicant to showcase their personality, interests, and achievements beyond what is included in their application materials.

Financial Aid: Comparing the Costs of Attendance and Available Financial Assistance at Boston College vs Amherst

Both Boston College and Amherst are committed to making their institutions accessible to all students, regardless of their financial background. Boston College’s tuition and fees for undergraduate students total around $60,000 per year, while Amherst’s tuition and fees are approximately $58,000 per year. However, both universities offer extensive financial aid and scholarship opportunities that help offset the cost of tuition and provide students with the assistance they need to pursue their academic goals.

At Boston College, students can apply for need-based financial aid, which takes into account their family’s income and assets. The university also offers merit-based scholarships, which are awarded based on academic achievement and other factors.

Amherst, on the other hand, is need-blind in its admissions process, meaning that a student’s ability to pay is not taken into consideration when making admission decisions. The university meets 100% of demonstrated financial need for all admitted students and also offers scholarships and grants to help cover the cost of attendance.

Faculty: Analyzing the Quality of Teaching Staffs at Boston College vs Amherst

At its core, a university’s most important asset is its faculty. Both Boston College and Amherst are home to highly regarded faculty members who are experts in their fields and dedicated to their students’ success. Boston College has over 800 full-time faculty members, while Amherst has 200 full-time faculty members. Both institutions boast a student-to-faculty ratio of 12:1, ensuring that students are able to work closely with their instructors and receive the guidance they need to excel academically.

A teacher helping her students in the library

Furthermore, both Boston College and Amherst have a diverse faculty, with members from various backgrounds and experiences. This diversity allows for a range of perspectives and ideas to be shared in the classroom, enriching the learning experience for students.

Additionally, both institutions prioritize professional development for their faculty members, providing opportunities for them to continue their education and stay up-to-date on the latest research and teaching methods. This commitment to ongoing learning and growth ensures that students receive the highest quality education from knowledgeable and skilled instructors.

Alumni Networks: Understanding the Power of Connections from Boston College vs Amherst Graduates

Both Boston College and Amherst have dynamic alumni networks that provide support and mentorship to recent graduates. Boston College has over 160,000 alumni living across the globe, with many working in the fields of business, healthcare, and education. Amherst’s alumni network is equally impressive, with graduates going on to work in industries ranging from technology to law to the arts.

Both universities offer students ample opportunities to connect with alumni during their time on campus, ensuring that they are well-connected before they head out into the workforce.

Boston College’s alumni network is known for its strong sense of community and dedication to giving back. Many alumni are actively involved in philanthropic efforts, supporting various causes and initiatives. This commitment to service and social responsibility is instilled in students during their time at Boston College and is carried on throughout their lives as alumni.

Amherst’s alumni network is also known for its intellectual curiosity and passion for lifelong learning. Many graduates continue to engage with the university through events, lectures, and other educational opportunities. This dedication to intellectual growth and exploration is a hallmark of the Amherst experience and is reflected in the achievements of its alumni.

Campus Culture: Exploring the Unique Vibe of Each Institution

At both Boston College and Amherst, there is a strong sense of community and pride in the institution. Boston College is known for its student body that values a strong work ethic and dedication to academic achievement. Amherst has a strong tradition of intellectual inquiry and student activism, with a campus culture that encourages critical thinking and lively debate.

However, there are also some differences in the campus cultures of these two institutions. Boston College has a strong Catholic identity, with many students and faculty members practicing the faith. This is reflected in the campus culture, with many events and activities centered around Catholic traditions and values.

On the other hand, Amherst has a more diverse student body, with students from a wide range of backgrounds and beliefs. This diversity is celebrated on campus with events and initiatives that promote inclusivity and understanding.

Student Outcomes: Boston College  vs Amherst

One of the most important factors in choosing a university is the success of its graduates. At Boston College, recent graduates have an average starting salary of $56,000, with 91% of graduates employed or enrolled in graduate school within six months of graduation.

Amherst graduates have an average starting salary of $62,000, with 90% of graduates employed or enrolled in graduate school within six months of graduation. Both universities boast impressive job placement rates and a high proportion of graduates who go on to pursue advanced degrees in their fields of study.

Students lounging in the campus.

In addition to job placement rates and starting salaries, another important factor to consider when comparing student outcomes is the types of industries and fields that graduates are entering. At Boston College, the top industries for recent graduates include finance, healthcare, and education, while at Amherst, the top industries include consulting, technology, and finance. It’s important to research and consider these factors when making a decision about which university to attend, as they can have a significant impact on your future career prospects.

Athletics Programs: How Do Boston College and Amherst Compare in Terms of Sports Offerings?

If you’re a sports fan, you’ll be pleased to know that both Boston College and Amherst have thriving athletics programs. Boston College is a member of the NCAA Division I and boasts strong teams in football, basketball, and hockey, among other sports.

Amherst is a member of the NCAA Division III and has a strong athletic program that includes 27 varsity sports. Both institutions offer a range of recreational sports and intramural programs, ensuring that there are plenty of opportunities for students to stay active.

However, there are some differences between the two schools when it comes to sports offerings. Boston College has a larger athletics program overall, with more varsity sports teams and a larger budget for athletics. This means that they are able to offer more resources and support for their athletes, including state-of-the-art facilities and top-notch coaching staff.

On the other hand, Amherst has a strong focus on individual sports and has produced many successful athletes in sports such as track and field, cross country, and swimming. They also have a strong emphasis on sportsmanship and teamwork, which is reflected in their athletics program as a whole.

Conclusion: Summing Up Our Findings on Two Top Universities

After examining all the factors that make up campus life, academic offerings, and student outcomes, it’s clear that both Boston College and Amherst are top-notch institutions. Each institution offers unique opportunities and benefits that cater to different types of students.

Cheerful students going to school

We hope that this comprehensive guide has provided you with a detailed look at both institutions so that you can make an informed decision about which university is right for you. Whatever your choice may be, you can be sure that you’ll have an incredible academic experience that prepares you for success in your career and beyond.

It’s important to note that while both Boston College and Amherst are highly respected universities, they also have their own distinct cultures and communities. Boston College, located in the heart of Boston, offers students access to a bustling city and all it has to offer.

On the other hand, Amherst is situated in a more rural area, providing students with a quieter, more intimate campus experience. It’s important to consider not only the academic offerings and campus amenities but also the location and overall atmosphere when deciding.

If you’re set on getting into a world-class college but aren’t sure how to make it happen, we can help! AdmissionSight is a leading college entrance expert with over a decade of experience helping students just like you get into the schools of their dreams.

At AdmissionSight, we focus on offering a wide range of services, all aimed at helping students perfect their applications to catch the attention of admissions officers. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation to learn more about what we offer.

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