Haverford vs Amherst: Which College is Right for You?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

a woman student holding a laptop

Haverford vs Amherst: Which College is Right for You?

As you begin your college search, it’s important to consider your options carefully. Two prestigious liberal arts institutions that you may be considering are Haverford College and Amherst College. Both colleges offer exceptional academics, a vibrant campus community, and various extracurricular activities. However, each college has distinct traits and characteristics that set them apart. In this article, we’ll explore everything you need to know about Haverford vs Amherst College, in order to help you determine which one is the right fit for you.


Let’s start by taking a closer look at Amherst College. Founded in 1821, Amherst is a private liberal arts college located in western Massachusetts. The college has a total enrollment of around 1,900 students and an acceptance rate of just 7%. Amherst is known for its rigorous academic programs, including majors in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and several interdisciplinary areas of study. The college also offers opportunities for students to conduct cutting-edge research and engage in independent study projects, working closely with faculty members.

Additionally, Amherst College has a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion. The student body is made up of students from all 50 states and over 60 countries, and the college actively seeks to recruit and support students from underrepresented backgrounds. Amherst also has a need-blind admission policy, meaning that a student’s ability to pay for tuition is not a factor in the admission decision. The college offers generous financial aid packages to ensure that all admitted students can afford to attend.

Academic Programs and Majors Offered at Haverford vs. Amherst

If you’re interested in studying the liberal arts, both Haverford and Amherst are excellent choices. However, there are some differences between the two colleges in terms of their academic programs and majors. At Haverford, the curriculum is focused on the liberal arts, with a strong emphasis on interdisciplinary study. The college offers undergraduate degrees in a variety of fields, including anthropology, biology, chemistry, classics, economics, English, mathematics, physics, political science, psychology, and many more.

political science

Amherst, on the other hand, offers a similar range of majors, with a strong focus on the humanities. The college is known for its highly selective programs in English, history, and classics, as well as its pre-med and pre-law programs. Amherst also offers a unique open curriculum, which allows students to create their own courses of study and have more flexibility in choosing their classes.

One of the unique features of Haverford’s academic programs is its emphasis on experiential learning. The college offers a variety of opportunities for students to engage in hands-on learning, including internships, research projects, and community service programs. Haverford also has a strong commitment to sustainability and environmental studies, with a number of courses and programs focused on these topics.

At Amherst, students have access to a wide range of resources to support their academic pursuits. The college has a number of research centers and institutes, including the Center for Humanistic Inquiry and the Center for Russian Culture. Amherst also has a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion, with a number of programs and initiatives aimed at promoting equity and social justice on campus and beyond.

Admission Process and Requirements for Haverford and Amherst

Both Haverford and Amherst have highly competitive admissions processes. Haverford’s acceptance rate is around 14%, and Amherst’s is even lower at 7%. To apply to either college, you’ll need to submit transcripts of your academic record, standardized test scores, letters of recommendation, and a personal essay or statement. Both colleges also encourage prospective students to participate in an interview as part of the application process.

A woman shaking hands with her interviewer.

In addition to the standard application requirements, Haverford and Amherst also consider extracurricular activities and community involvement when evaluating applicants. They are looking for well-rounded individuals who have demonstrated leadership skills and a commitment to their community.

It’s important to note that both colleges have a need-blind admissions policy, meaning that they do not consider a student’s ability to pay when making admissions decisions. They are committed to providing financial aid to students who need it, and both colleges meet 100% of the demonstrated financial need for admitted students.

Student Body Profile: Diversity, Class Size, and Demographics at Haverford vs. Amherst

When it comes to student body profile, diversity, class size, and demographics are all important factors to consider. Haverford has a student body of around 1,400 students, with a roughly equal gender ratio and a high percentage of students who identify as people of color (over 40%). The college also has a relatively small student-to-faculty ratio of 9:1, which allows for more personalized attention and close relationships with professors.

At Amherst, the student body is slightly larger, with a total enrollment of around 1,900 students. The college also boasts a high level of diversity, with over 45% of students identifying as people of color. Class sizes at Amherst are also small, with an average class size of around 15 students.

Another important aspect of the student body profile at Haverford is the high level of international students. Approximately 10% of the student body comes from outside of the United States, bringing a diverse range of perspectives and experiences to the campus community. Additionally, Haverford has a strong commitment to socioeconomic diversity, with over 20% of students receiving Pell Grants.

Similarly, Amherst also prioritizes socioeconomic diversity, with over 20% of students receiving Pell Grants. The college also has a strong commitment to environmental sustainability, with initiatives such as a solar farm and a commitment to carbon neutrality. These values are reflected in the student body, with many students passionate about environmental activism and sustainability efforts.

Faculty Profile: at Haverford vs. Amherst

Faculty quality is a key factor in any college decision. Both Haverford and Amherst have highly respected faculty members, with a strong reputation for teaching excellence and research. Additionally, both colleges provide ample opportunities for students to engage in research with faculty members, carrying out independent projects and contributing to ongoing faculty research.

One key difference between the two colleges is their faculty-to-student ratio. Haverford has a smaller student body and a lower faculty-to-student ratio, which means that students may have more opportunities to interact one-on-one with faculty. At Amherst, the faculty-to-student ratio is slightly higher, but still quite small at around 7:1.

View of students being trained by a professional.

Another important aspect of faculty at both Haverford and Amherst is their commitment to diversity and inclusion. Both colleges have made efforts to recruit and retain faculty members from underrepresented groups, and have implemented programs and initiatives to support diversity and inclusion in the classroom and on campus.

Extracurricular Activities: Clubs, Sports, and Events at Haverford vs. Amherst

When it comes to extracurricular activities, both Haverford and Amherst have a strong selection of clubs, sports, and events for students to participate in. Haverford has over 145 student organizations on campus, including a variety of student-run clubs and organizations that reflect students’ wide range of interests. In terms of athletics, Haverford is part of NCAA Division III and has a range of varsity sports teams, as well as a variety of club and intramural sports.

Amherst also has a wide range of extracurricular activities, including over 170 student organizations and 66 varsity sports teams. Notably, Amherst’s rugby team is one of the best in the country and regularly competes in national championships.

Aside from clubs and sports, both Haverford and Amherst offer a variety of events for students to attend throughout the year. Haverford hosts an annual Spring Fling, which is a day-long festival featuring live music, food trucks, and games. Additionally, Haverford’s Bi-Co Theater Department puts on several productions each year, ranging from classic plays to contemporary works.

Similarly, Amherst hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including an annual Fall Festival and a Spring Concert featuring popular musical acts. Amherst’s theater department also puts on several productions each year, and the college hosts a film series featuring independent and foreign films.

Campus Resources: Libraries, Laboratories, Facilities, and Technology at Haverford vs. Amherst

Campus resources play an important role in your college experience, providing you with the opportunities and tools you need to succeed academically and personally. Both Haverford and Amherst offer extensive campus resources, including libraries, laboratories, facilities, and technology.

Haverford’s main library, the Magill Library, is an expansive facility with over half a million volumes of books and journals. The college also has a variety of research centers and interdisciplinary programs, such as the Center for Peace and Global Citizenship and the Tri-College Consortium.

campus library

At Amherst, students have access to multiple libraries on campus, including the Robert Frost Library, which houses over three million volumes of books and journals. The college also has a variety of research centers, campus museums, and interdisciplinary programs, such as the Center for Humanistic Inquiry.

In addition to the resources mentioned above, Haverford also offers state-of-the-art laboratory facilities for students pursuing science and engineering majors. The KINSC (Koshland Integrated Natural Sciences Center) is a cutting-edge facility that houses research labs, classrooms, and collaborative spaces for students and faculty.

Similarly, Amherst has a strong focus on providing students with access to advanced technology. The college has a variety of computer labs and offers free software and hardware support to students. Additionally, Amherst has a robust network infrastructure that provides high-speed internet access to all students on campus.

Living on Campus: Housing, Dining Options, and Community Life 

Living on campus is a big part of the college experience. Both Haverford and Amherst offer a variety of housing options, dining choices, and community life activities to make life on campus engaging and enjoyable.

Haverford has a mixture of traditional dorm-style housing, co-op-style housing, and apartments for upperclassmen. The college also places a strong emphasis on sustainability, with a range of eco-friendly initiatives, such as the Haverford Eco-Reps program. In terms of dining, Haverford offers a variety of options, including a vegetarian and kosher dining hall, as well as several cafes and food trucks. The college also has a strong tradition of community life, with events such as the annual Haverfest celebration and a variety of student-led performances and shows.

At Amherst, students can choose from a variety of housing options, including traditional dorm-style rooms, theme houses, and apartments for upperclassmen. Dining options at Amherst include multiple dining halls and cafes, as well as food trucks and mobile vendors. The college also has a strong tradition of community life, with events such as the annual Spring Concert and the Amherst Symphony Orchestra.

One unique aspect of living on campus at Haverford is the Honor Code, which is a student-led system that emphasizes trust, respect, and responsibility. The Honor Code allows for a more open and collaborative community, where students are encouraged to take ownership of their academic and social lives. Additionally, Haverford has a strong focus on mental health and wellness, with resources such as the Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) and the Student Health Center.

Amherst also has a strong commitment to mental health and wellness, with resources such as the Counseling Center and the Health Center. In addition, the college has a unique program called the Center for Community Engagement, which connects students with local organizations and community service opportunities. This program allows students to engage with the surrounding community and make a positive impact outside of campus.

Career Services: Internships, Job Placement Rates, Alumni Networks  Graduates

Finally, it’s important to consider career services when evaluating colleges. Both Haverford and Amherst offer extensive career services support, with a variety of resources available to help students explore career options and develop job-search skills.

Haverford’s Center for Career and Professional Advising (CCPA) offers a range of services, including workshops, individual counseling, career fairs, and employer information sessions. The college also has a strong alumni network, providing students with connections and job opportunities after graduation.

Career Opportunities

Amherst’s Career Center offers similar services, including career counseling, resume reviews, and job-search workshops. The college also has a robust alumni network, with over 23,000 alumni around the world. Additionally, Amherst has a strong track record of job placement, with an average job and graduate school placement rate of over 93% within six months of graduation.

Furthermore, both Haverford and Amherst offer a variety of internship opportunities for students to gain hands-on experience in their desired fields. Haverford’s CCPA provides students with access to a database of internship opportunities, as well as resources for finding and applying to internships. Amherst’s Career Center also offers a similar database of internship opportunities, as well as funding for students who secure unpaid internships.


In conclusion, both Haverford and Amherst are exceptional liberal arts colleges, with strong academic programs, vibrant campus communities, and extensive resources. When choosing between the two, it’s important to consider factors such as academic focus, student body profile, faculty quality, extracurricular activities, campus resources, and career services. By doing your research and carefully considering your options, you’ll be able to make an informed decision and choose the college that is the right fit for you. Good luck in your college search!

It’s worth noting that both Haverford and Amherst have unique features that set them apart from other liberal arts colleges. For example, Haverford has a strong emphasis on student self-governance and a commitment to social justice, while Amherst has a unique open curriculum that allows students to design their own course of study. These distinctive features may be important factors to consider when making your decision.


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