Princeton vs. Amherst: Which College is Right for You?

July 15, 2023
By AdmissionSight
Four students from different races talking and looking at a tablet held by a male student.

Princeton vs. Amherst: Which College is Right for You?

Deciding on the right college can be a daunting task, especially when you have to choose between two top-tier institutions like, Princeton and Amherst. In this article, we will explore the differences between Princeton vs. Amherst to help you make an informed decision about which college is right for you.

Both colleges have a rich history, outstanding academic programs, and exceptional faculty. However, there are significant differences between the two universities that make each unique.

Location and Campus Features: A Comparative Study between Princeton and Amherst

Both Princeton and Amherst are located in heavily wooded areas, and both provide a serene environment perfect for academics. Princeton is situated in New Jersey, while Amherst is located in Massachusetts.

Princeton’s campus is a work of art. It has stunning gothic architecture, grandiose buildings, and vast expanses of green areas to explore. The campus spans over 500 acres and offers access to a huge range of sports facilities, including an Olympic-sized swimming pool, squash courts, and a golf course.

Amherst’s campus is smaller, covering 1,000 acres of land, with modern architecture and state-of-the-art facilities. It has a well-designed outdoor area that is perfect for students wishing to explore nature. Amherst also has a large collection of artworks, which are displayed throughout the campus at the Mead Art Museum.

Despite their similarities, there are some notable differences between the two campuses. Princeton has a more traditional feel, with its historic buildings and gothic architecture, while Amherst has a more modern and contemporary vibe.

Additionally, Princeton has a larger student population, with over 8,000 students, while Amherst has a smaller student body of around 1,800. However, both campuses offer a wide range of academic programs and extracurricular activities, making them both excellent choices for prospective students.

Princeton vs. Amherst: Academic Programs and Curriculum

Princeton has over thirty academic departments that offer a wide range of undergraduate programs. The college provides a strong liberal arts education program for students wishing to study fields such as math, science, and social sciences. Princeton has a strong sense of community, with a student-to-faculty ratio of 5:1.

Group of students smiling at the camera.

Amherst’s academic program is just as impressive as Princeton’s, with over forty different majors focusing on the study of the humanities and the arts. The college focuses on a strong, well-designed curriculum that provides students with a well-rounded education. Amherst also has a student-to-faculty ratio of 7:1, allowing for more individual interactions and smaller class sizes.

One of the advantages of studying at Princeton is the opportunity to participate in research projects. The college has a strong research program, with many students working alongside faculty members on various research projects. This provides students with hands-on experience and the chance to contribute to groundbreaking research in their field of study.

On the other hand, Amherst offers a unique open curriculum that allows students to design their own course of study. This means that students have more flexibility in choosing the courses they want to take and can explore a wider range of subjects.

However, this can also be a disadvantage for students who prefer a more structured curriculum and may struggle with the freedom to design their own academic path.

Princeton vs. Amherst: Admission Process

The admission process to both colleges is highly competitive, with acceptance rates for both institutions at less than 10%. In order to apply to Princeton or Amherst, you must have an outstanding academic record and extracurricular involvement. Both colleges take a holistic approach when reviewing applications and also heavily consider recommendations and essays.

Additionally, Princeton and Amherst offer need-blind admissions, meaning they do not consider an applicant’s ability to pay for tuition when making admission decisions. This allows for a diverse student body and ensures that all qualified applicants have an equal opportunity to attend these prestigious institutions.

However, it is important to note that both colleges have high tuition costs and offer financial aid packages to help offset the expenses.

Financial Aid: Comparing the Cost of Attendance at Princeton and Amherst

Both Princeton and Amherst are expensive colleges, with tuition rates that are among the highest in the nation. However, both colleges also offer generous financial aid packages to qualifying students, including need-based aid, scholarships, and grants.

Overall, the amount of aid offered to students at Amherst tends to be more significant compared to Princeton. However, it is always advisable to consult the college’s financial aid office for detailed information on financial aid opportunities.

It is important to note that the cost of attendance at a college goes beyond just tuition and fees. Other factors, such as room and board, textbooks, and personal expenses, can also add up. At both Princeton and Amherst, the cost of room and board is similar, but the cost of textbooks and personal expenses may vary.

It is recommended that students factor in these additional costs when comparing the overall cost of attendance at each college.

Princeton vs. Amherst: Student Life

Student life on both campuses is exceptionally vibrant, with many student-led clubs and organizations that cater to a wide range of interests. Students at both institutions also enjoy a strong sense of community, with many events planned throughout the year for students to engage in.

Princeton students tend to be more athletic, with a large number of clubs and teams dedicated to various sports. On the other hand, Amherst is known for its arts and culture scene, with a thriving performing arts program. Both colleges also have Greek life, but it is more prevalent at Princeton compared to Amherst.

Harvard students talking in front of a building.

Aside from sports and arts, both Princeton and Amherst offer unique opportunities for students to engage in research and academic pursuits outside of the classroom. Princeton has a strong focus on undergraduate research, with many students working alongside faculty members on various projects.

Amherst, on the other hand, has a strong emphasis on interdisciplinary studies, with many students taking courses across different departments to explore their interests.

Additionally, both colleges have a strong commitment to community service and social justice. Many students participate in volunteer programs and activism groups, working to make a positive impact on their local and global communities. Overall, student life at Princeton and Amherst is diverse and dynamic, offering something for everyone to get involved in and explore.

Alumni Network: Which College Has a Better Track Record of Success?

Princeton’s alumni network is one of the most extensive and influential in the world, with many prominent politicians, business leaders, and scholars among its ranks. Amherst’s alumni network is smaller but still impressive, with notable alumni like entrepreneur and philanthropist Charles Pratt and novelist Jay McInerney.

However, the size of the alumni network is not the only factor that determines its success. The level of engagement and support provided by the alumni community is equally important. Princeton’s alumni network is known for its active engagement and support for current students and recent graduates.

They offer mentorship programs, career counseling, and networking events to help students and graduates succeed in their careers.

On the other hand, Amherst’s alumni network is known for its close-knit community and strong sense of loyalty. Alumni often come back to campus to participate in events and activities, and they are known to support each other in their personal and professional endeavors. This sense of community and support can be invaluable for graduates just starting their careers.

Princeton vs. Amherst: Faculty and Research Opportunities

Both Princeton and Amherst have exceptional faculty, with many professors being leaders in their fields. Students at both colleges have access to numerous research opportunities, with many projects available both on and off campus.

Princeton offers students access to a vast array of interdisciplinary research centers and institutes, while Amherst offers several unique research opportunities, including a program in summer science research. The college is also home to the Ko Festival of Performance, a popular summer festival of theater and dance.

Group of students looking at a laptop while talking.

Additionally, Princeton has a strong emphasis on undergraduate research, with many opportunities for students to work closely with faculty members on research projects. Amherst also offers a variety of research opportunities, including a program in community-based research that allows students to work with local organizations to address real-world issues.

Both colleges prioritize research as a key component of their academic programs, providing students with valuable hands-on experience and the opportunity to contribute to their respective fields.

Athletics and Sports Programs: A Comparative Analysis between Princeton and Amherst

Princeton is a D-I school, and its sports programs are among the best in the nation. The college has an outstanding track and field team and also excels at basketball, football, and swimming. Amherst, on the other hand, is a D-III school that offers fantastic athletics programs, with the college’s men’s and women’s soccer teams being highly ranked nationally.

Additionally, both Princeton and Amherst offer a wide range of intramural sports programs for students who are not on varsity teams. These programs include everything from ultimate frisbee to dodgeball and provide opportunities for students to stay active and engaged in sports outside of the classroom.

Both colleges also have state-of-the-art athletic facilities, including gyms, swimming pools, and outdoor fields, that are available for use by all students.

Campus Safety and Security: Which College Offers a Safer Environment?

Both colleges have robust security measures in place, and campus safety is a top priority for both institutions. Both campuses are safe, with a well-lit environment and 24-hour student safety escorts available.

However, College A has implemented additional safety measures, such as emergency call boxes located throughout the campus and a mobile safety app that allows students to report any suspicious activity quickly. The campus also has a dedicated team of security personnel who patrol the campus 24/7.

On the other hand, College B has a strong partnership with the local police department and has implemented a community policing program where officers regularly interact with students and faculty to build trust and promote safety. The campus also has a comprehensive emergency response plan in place, which includes regular drills and training for students and staff.

Princeton vs. Amherst: Career Services

Both colleges offer comprehensive career services to their students, focusing on connecting students with alumni networks and larger employers. Princeton’s career services center has a vast database of employers, while Amherst’s center focuses on developing a closer relationship between students and alumni networks. It is essential to consult with the college’s career services center before deciding.

Additionally, Princeton’s career services center offers a variety of workshops and events to help students develop their professional skills, such as resume writing and interview preparation. Amherst’s Center, on the other hand, provides students with access to internships and job shadowing opportunities to gain hands-on experience in their desired field.

Four students from different races talking and looking at a tablet held by a male student.

Furthermore, both colleges have strong alumni networks that can provide valuable connections and job opportunities for graduates. Princeton’s alumni network is particularly extensive, with notable alumni in various industries, including politics, finance, and technology.

Amherst’s alumni network is smaller but highly engaged, with alumni often returning to campus to mentor current students and offer career advice.

Diversity on Campus: How do Princeton and Amherst Compare in Terms of Inclusion?

Both colleges strive to create a diverse and inclusive campus atmosphere. Princeton has a diverse student body with students from all over the world, while Amherst has focused on increasing the number of low-income and first-generation college students on campus in recent years.

Additionally, Princeton and Amherst have implemented various programs and initiatives to support underrepresented students on campus.

Princeton offers a First-Generation Low-Income (FLI) program that provides academic and social support for students who are the first in their families to attend college or come from low-income backgrounds.

Amherst has a similar program called QuestBridge, which partners with low-income high schools to identify and support talented students from underrepresented backgrounds.

Princeton vs. Amherst: Extracurricular Activities

Both colleges have an impressive array of extracurricular activities, ranging from sports teams to debate clubs. However, due to the larger size of Princeton’s student body, it has a larger selection of clubs and organizations to choose from, including a robust entrepreneurial community.

On the other hand, Amherst has a strong focus on community service and social justice, with a multitude of organizations dedicated to volunteering and activism. These groups range from local community outreach programs to international humanitarian efforts.

Additionally, both colleges offer unique opportunities for students to explore their interests outside of traditional clubs and organizations.

Princeton has a renowned arts program with numerous opportunities for students to participate in theater productions, music ensembles, and visual arts exhibitions. Amherst, on the other hand, has a thriving student-run radio station and newspaper, providing students with the chance to gain hands-on experience in media and journalism.

International Students Perspective: A Comparison Between Experiences at Princeton versus Amherst

Both Princeton and Amherst offer exceptional academic programs for international students, with a focus on providing a supportive and inclusive environment that fosters a sense of community. Students from all over the world can expect to find a welcoming community on both campuses.

However, there are some differences between the experiences of international students at Princeton and Amherst. One major difference is the size of the student body. Princeton has a larger student population, which can make it more challenging for international students to connect with their peers.

Male student holding her bag in front of the entrance of a building.

On the other hand, Amherst has a smaller student body, which can create a more intimate and tight-knit community. Another difference is the location of the two campuses. Princeton is in New Jersey, close to major cities like New York and Philadelphia. This can give international students more opportunities to explore and experience American culture outside campus.

On the other hand, Amherst is located in a more rural area of Massachusetts, which can provide a quieter and more peaceful environment for studying and focusing on academics.

Conclusion: Which College is a Better Fit for You?

Both Princeton and Amherst are outstanding colleges with excellent academic programs and opportunities for students. The choice between the two ultimately boils down to personal preferences and priorities. It is important to research each college in-depth and consider what is most important to you before making a decision.

Some factors to consider when making your decision include location, campus culture, extracurricular activities, and financial aid options. If you prefer a more urban environment, Princeton may be the better choice for you, while Amherst offers a more rural setting.

Additionally, if you are interested in a strong liberal arts education, Amherst may be the better fit, while Princeton has a larger range of academic programs. It is also important to consider the campus culture and community, as well as the availability of extracurricular activities that align with your interests.

Finally, be sure to research and compare the financial aid options available at each college to ensure that you can afford the cost of attendance.


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