Tufts vs Amherst: Which College is Right for You?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

A female student glancing back

Tufts vs Amherst: Which College is Right for You?

If you’re in the process of choosing a college, you may be wondering which institution is best suited to your needs, goals, and interests. Two colleges that often come up in this discussion are Tufts University and Amherst College. In this article, we’ll provide an in-depth comparison of Tufts vs Amherst across a range of dimensions, from academic offerings to campus safety to extracurricular activities. By the end of this article, you’ll have a better understanding of which college may be the best fit for you.

Location and Campus Comparison: Tufts vs Amherst

One of the first things prospective students consider is the location and general campus atmosphere of an institution. In terms of location, Tufts University is located in Somerville, Massachusetts, just outside of Boston. Tufts‘ campus is urban and consists of a series of interconnected buildings, many of which date back to the school’s founding in 1852.

In contrast, Amherst College is situated in the quaint town of Amherst, Massachusetts, surrounded by rolling hills and a rural environment. The campus at Amherst is green and leafy, with traditional Georgian architecture that dates back over two centuries. If you prefer a bustling, urban environment, then Tufts may be the better choice; if you prefer a quieter, more rural setting, then Amherst may be your best bet.

Aside from location and campus atmosphere, another important factor to consider when choosing between Tufts and Amherst is the size of the student body. Tufts has a larger student population, with over 11,000 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled. This means that there are more opportunities for extracurricular activities and a wider range of academic programs to choose from.

On the other hand, Amherst has a smaller student body, with just over 1,800 students. This creates a more intimate and close-knit community, where students have the opportunity to form strong relationships with their peers and professors.

Another aspect to consider is the academic focus of each institution. Tufts is known for its strong programs in international relations, engineering, and the health sciences. Amherst, on the other hand, has a strong liberal arts curriculum and is known for its rigorous academic standards. Both schools offer a wide range of majors and minors, but the academic focus may be a deciding factor for some students.

Academic Offerings: A Comparative Analysis of Tufts vs Amherst

When it comes to academics, both Tufts and Amherst are renowned for their rigorous and challenging curricula. Tufts offers undergraduate programs in the arts and sciences, engineering, and international relations, with over 70 majors to choose from. Amherst, on the other hand, offers a liberal arts education, with an open curriculum that allows students to explore a wide range of academic disciplines.

a female high school student looking at the camera

Although both institutions offer strong academic programs, the choice comes down to your personal preferences. If you prefer a more specialized education, Tufts may be for you, while Amherst might be a better choice for those who appreciate a broader, more liberal arts education.

It’s worth noting that both Tufts and Amherst offer a variety of opportunities for students to engage in research and independent study. Tufts has a strong emphasis on experiential learning, with programs such as the Tisch College of Civic Life and the Tufts Institute for Global Leadership.

Amherst, on the other hand, has a long-standing tradition of faculty-student collaboration, with many students working closely with professors on research projects. These opportunities can be invaluable for students looking to gain hands-on experience and make meaningful contributions to their fields of study.

Student Life at Tufts vs Amherst: A Comprehensive Review

When it comes to student life, both Tufts and Amherst offer a rich and active campus experience. Tufts boasts over 200 student organizations, from musical ensembles to academic clubs to political and social organizations. Amherst has over 100 student-run groups, including performing arts groups, academic clubs, and recreational and social organizations.

Both institutions also have a robust Greek life scene, with over 20 fraternities and sororities at each campus. If you’re looking for a strong social and extracurricular scene, both Tufts and Amherst deliver.

Aside from the numerous student organizations and Greek life, Tufts and Amherst also offer a variety of athletic opportunities for students. Tufts has 29 varsity sports teams, while Amherst has 27. Both schools also have extensive recreational sports programs, including intramural leagues and fitness classes. Whether you’re a serious athlete or just looking to stay active, there are plenty of options available.

Additionally, both Tufts and Amherst have strong traditions and events that bring the campus community together. Tufts has its annual Spring Fling concert, as well as the lighting of the “T” on the hill during the winter holidays. Amherst has its annual Spring Concert, as well as the Valentine’s Day Ball and the annual “Crocker Rave” dance party. These events provide opportunities for students to bond and create lasting memories.

Admission Rates and Requirements: Comparing Tufts vs Amherst

Of course, for many students, the admission rates and requirements are a key factor in deciding which college to attend. Tufts has an acceptance rate of around 11%, while Amherst’s acceptance rate is even lower, at 9%.

Both schools require high SAT or ACT scores and a strong GPA, and taking rigorous coursework in high school is also a must. If you’re concerned about admission rates, it’s worth noting that both Tufts and Amherst consider an applicant’s extracurricular activities, essays, and other non-academic qualities in their admission decisions.

However, there are some differences in the admission requirements between Tufts and Amherst. Tufts requires applicants to submit two teacher recommendations, while Amherst requires three. Additionally, Tufts offers an optional alumni interview, while Amherst requires an interview as part of the application process. It’s important to research and understand the specific admission requirements for each school you’re considering, to ensure you’re fully prepared for the application process.

Faculty and Research Opportunities at Tufts and Amherst: A Comparative Study

Another important factor in choosing a college is the quality of faculty and the research opportunities available. Both Tufts and Amherst boast world-class faculty members who are experts in their fields. Tufts faculty members are active in research across a wide range of areas, from political science to neuroscience, while Amherst faculty members are renowned for their expertise in the humanities and social sciences. Research opportunities are available at both institutions, with workshops, research centers, and internships that allow students to delve into cutting-edge research projects.

Three students talking to a teacher.

Furthermore, Tufts and Amherst have unique research initiatives that set them apart from each other. Tufts has a strong focus on interdisciplinary research, with centers such as the Tufts Institute for Innovation and the Tufts Institute of the Environment that bring together faculty and students from different fields to tackle complex problems. Amherst, on the other hand, has a strong emphasis on undergraduate research, with opportunities for students to work closely with faculty members on independent research projects.

In addition, both Tufts and Amherst have partnerships with other institutions and organizations that provide students with even more research opportunities. Tufts has partnerships with institutions such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Harvard School of Public Health, while Amherst has partnerships with organizations such as the Five College Consortium and the National Science Foundation.

Student Diversity at Tufts vs Amherst: Which College is More Inclusive?

Diversity is another key factor for many prospective students. Tufts and Amherst both emphasize inclusivity and diversity, with a range of initiatives and programs aimed at promoting diversity and inclusion on campus. Tufts has a multicultural center that serves as a hub for various cultural groups and offers a range of programs and events, while Amherst has a resource center that supports underrepresented students and promotes dialogue on diversity and inclusion. Both institutions have a diverse student body, with students from various backgrounds and ethnicities represented.

However, there are some differences in the way that Tufts and Amherst approach diversity. Tufts has a higher percentage of international students, with over 20% of the student body coming from outside the United States. This international presence adds to the diversity of perspectives and experiences on campus.

On the other hand, Amherst has a higher percentage of students who identify as LGBTQ+, with over 10% of the student body identifying as such. This creates a more inclusive environment for LGBTQ+ students and fosters a greater sense of community.

Athletics Programs at Tufts vs Amherst: A Comparison for Sports Enthusiasts

If you’re a sports enthusiast, both Tufts and Amherst have strong athletics programs that offer competitive opportunities for students. Tufts is a member of the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC), with varsity teams in everything from soccer and football to track and field and tennis.

Amherst is also a member of the NESCAC and offers varsity sports in a range of areas, including basketball, field hockey, and golf. Both institutions also offer intramural and club sports opportunities for students who are passionate about staying active and engaged.

However, there are some differences between the athletics programs at Tufts and Amherst. Tufts has a larger athletics program with more varsity teams and a wider range of sports offered. Amherst, on the other hand, has a strong focus on individual sports such as cross country and swimming, with a history of producing successful athletes in these areas.

Additionally, Tufts has a state-of-the-art athletic facility, the Steve Tisch Sports and Fitness Center, which includes a rock climbing wall and an indoor track, while Amherst’s facilities are more traditional but still well-maintained. Ultimately, the choice between Tufts and Amherst for sports enthusiasts may come down to personal preference and the specific sports and facilities that are most important to each individual.

Financial Aid and Scholarship Opportunities: Tufts University and Amherst

For many families, the cost of college is a major factor in deciding where to attend. Tufts and Amherst both offer financial aid and scholarships to help offset the cost of tuition and fees. Tufts is committed to meeting 100% of demonstrated need for all admitted students, with no loans required in the financial aid package.

Amherst is similarly dedicated to need-based aid, with a policy of meeting 100% of demonstrated need for all students who are admitted. If you’re concerned about financing your education, both Tufts and Amherst are committed to making college affordable for all students.

A close up look of an application paper being filled out by a female student

It’s important to note that while both Tufts and Amherst offer generous financial aid packages, there may be differences in the types of scholarships and grants available. Tufts, for example, offers a range of merit-based scholarships for students who excel academically or in extracurricular activities.

Amherst, on the other hand, has a strong commitment to diversity and offers scholarships specifically for underrepresented minority students. When considering the affordability of each college, it’s worth researching the specific financial aid options available to you and your family.

Campus Safety and Security Measures: A Comparative Assessment of Tufts vs Amherst

Campus safety is a key consideration for many prospective students. Both Tufts and Amherst have robust campus safety and security measures in place, with trained security personnel, emergency response plans, and comprehensive training programs for students and faculty.

Tufts also offers a range of safety services, including an on-campus police department, safety escorts, and a campus-wide emergency notification system. Similarly, Amherst has a dedicated campus police force and offers programs like emergency blue lights and electronic locks on residence halls to enhance security.

Despite the similarities in their safety measures, there are some notable differences between Tufts and Amherst. For example, Tufts has a larger campus and therefore has more security personnel on duty at any given time. Additionally, Tufts has a more extensive network of security cameras throughout the campus, which allows for better monitoring of potential safety threats.

On the other hand, Amherst has a more proactive approach to campus safety, with regular safety drills and training sessions for students and faculty. They also have a dedicated team of mental health professionals who work closely with campus security to identify and address potential safety concerns related to mental health issues.

Student Success Stories from Tufts vs Amherst Alumni

Finally, it’s worth noting that both Tufts and Amherst have a strong track record of producing successful alumni. From social entrepreneurs to global business leaders to Pulitzer Prize-winning authors, Tufts and Amherst alumni have made significant contributions in a range of fields. Both institutions also have active alumni networks that offer career counseling, networking opportunities, and other resources to help students succeed after graduation.

One notable Tufts alum is Hank Azaria, who is a voice actor and comedian best known for his work on The Simpsons. Azaria has won four Emmy Awards for his voice work on the show and has also appeared in numerous films and TV shows. Another successful Tufts alum is Peter Gallagher, who is an actor and singer known for his roles in films like American Beauty and TV shows like The O.C.

On the other hand, Amherst College has produced several notable alumni in the field of politics. One such alum is David Axelrod, who served as a senior advisor to President Barack Obama. Axelrod played a key role in Obama’s successful presidential campaigns in 2008 and 2012. Another successful Amherst alum is Dan Brown, who is a bestselling author known for his novels like The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons.

Campus Resources for Students at both colleges: Tufts University and Amherst

Both Tufts and Amherst offer a range of resources and support services to help students succeed academically and personally. Tufts has a comprehensive center for academic advising, as well as a writing center, a career services center, and a health center. Amherst similarly offers academic support services, along with a counseling center, a career center, and a health center. Both institutions also have a range of housing options, from traditional residence halls to on-campus apartments and suites.

a man sitting at the front row and holding a pen looking at the camera

However, there are some differences in the resources offered by the two colleges. Tufts has a dedicated international center that provides support and resources for international students, including visa and immigration assistance, cultural programming, and academic advising.

Amherst, on the other hand, has a strong focus on community engagement and offers a variety of service-learning opportunities for students to get involved in local and global communities. Additionally, Amherst has a unique resource in its Center for Teaching and Learning, which provides faculty with support and resources to enhance their teaching practices and improve student learning outcomes.

Internship Opportunities at Tufts vs Amherst

Finally, both Tufts and Amherst offer a range of internship opportunities to help students gain practical experience and make connections in their chosen fields. Tufts has an extensive internship program that connects students with employers and organizations in the Boston area and beyond. Amherst similarly offers internship opportunities, with a focus on connecting students with organizations that align with the liberal arts curriculum.

However, there are some differences in the types of internships offered by Tufts and Amherst. Tufts tends to offer more opportunities in the fields of business, engineering, and technology, while Amherst focuses more on internships in the humanities, social sciences, and non-profit sectors.

Additionally, Tufts has a larger network of alumni who can provide internship opportunities and mentorship to current students. On the other hand, Amherst has a strong partnership with the Five College Consortium, which allows students to access internships at other colleges in the area.

Comparing the Alumni Network of Tufts vs Amherst

As mentioned earlier, both Tufts and Amherst have active alumni networks that offer a range of resources and support to recent graduates. Tufts alumni are active in a range of industries, from healthcare and technology to the arts and social justice.

Amherst alumni have similarly made significant contributions in a range of fields, with notable figures including political strategist David Axelrod and writer Jonathan Franzen, among many others. Both institutions have strong networks that can help students make connections and succeed in their chosen fields.

However, there are some differences in the alumni networks of Tufts and Amherst. Tufts alumni tend to be more geographically dispersed, with a significant presence in major cities across the United States and around the world. Amherst alumni, on the other hand, tend to be more concentrated in the Northeastern United States, particularly in the New England region. This can be an important factor for students who are looking to build connections in specific geographic areas or industries.

Extracurricular Activities: Tufts vs Amherst

Finally, it’s worth taking a closer look at the extracurricular activities available at Tufts and Amherst. Both institutions offer a range of opportunities for students to get involved, from performing arts groups to community service organizations to athletic clubs.

Group of students talking in a table on a room.


Tufts also has a thriving arts scene, with a student-run gallery and exhibition space on campus. Similarly, Amherst has a range of artistic and cultural offerings, including a student-run film society and a performing arts center that hosts concerts, theater performances, and other events.


As you can see, there are many factors to consider when choosing a college, from location and academic offerings to extracurricular activities and financial aid. After reviewing the various dimensions of Tufts and Amherst, you may find that one institution is a better fit for your needs, goals, and interests.

Both Tufts and Amherst are renowned for their rigorous academic programs, vibrant campus communities, and commitment to diversity and inclusion. Ultimately, the choice comes down to your personal preferences and priorities. By considering the factors outlined in this article, you’ll be in a better position to make an informed decision about which college is right for you.

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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