UCLA and Amherst: A Look at the Differences Between the Two Universities

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Young woman smiling at the camera while in front of the computer.

UCLA and Amherst: A Look at the Differences Between the Two Universities

When it comes to selecting a university, it’s essential to choose one that fits your academic interests, lifestyle, and personality. UCLA and Amherst are two schools that attract students the world over. Both are known for their excellence, but they differ in many ways.

In this article, we’ll be comparing and contrasting various aspects of these two universities, including location, campus environment, housing, and academic programs, among others.

Location and Campus Environment: How UCLA and Amherst Compare

One of the primary differences between UCLA and Amherst is their location and campus environment. While UCLA is located in bustling Los Angeles, California, Amherst is situated in a small, picturesque town in Massachusetts.

UCLA’s campus is vast, urban, and diverse, while Amherst’s campus is comparatively smaller and more rural. While both universities have beautiful campuses, the atmosphere and location are vastly different.

Another notable difference between the two universities is the climate. UCLA enjoys a warm, Mediterranean climate with mild winters and hot summers, while Amherst experiences a colder, more temperate climate with snowy winters and mild summers. This can greatly impact the types of activities and events that take place on campus, as well as the overall lifestyle of students.

Academic Programs Offered at UCLA and Amherst: A Comprehensive Comparison

When it comes to academics, both universities offer excellent programs with a wide variety of majors and courses. UCLA offers over 125 majors, while Amherst offers about 1,000 courses across 38 majors.

Group of students smiling and talking to each other.

One significant difference between these two universities is that UCLA is far more extensive than Amherst. The sheer size of the university means that there are more opportunities to specialize in a particular field or take a broader range of courses. While Amherst has a smaller student body, they make up for it by offering individualized attention and close faculty relationships.

Another difference between UCLA and Amherst is the approach to education. UCLA is a research university, which means that professors are actively engaged in research and often incorporate their findings into their teaching.

Amherst, on the other hand, is a liberal arts college that emphasizes a broad-based education. Students are encouraged to explore a variety of subjects and develop critical thinking skills. While both approaches have their benefits, it’s important to consider which one aligns with your academic goals and learning style.

Cost of Attendance: How Much Does it Cost to Attend UCLA and Amherst?

The cost of attendance is another major difference between the two universities. UCLA is a public university, which means that in-state tuition is relatively affordable, while out-of-state tuition can be quite expensive.

On the other hand, Amherst is a private university, which typically means higher tuition costs. Additionally, Amherst has generous financial aid packages, while UCLA has less financial aid available.

It is important to note that the cost of attendance goes beyond just tuition fees. At UCLA, students also have to consider the cost of living in Los Angeles, which can be quite high. On the other hand, Amherst is located in a small town in Massachusetts, which may offer a more affordable cost of living for students.

Furthermore, both universities offer various scholarships and grants to help students cover the cost of attendance. UCLA has a scholarship program for incoming freshmen, while Amherst offers need-based financial aid to all students.

It is important for prospective students to research and compare the different financial aid options available at each university to make an informed decision about which institution is the best fit for them.

Student Life at UCLA and Amherst: A Comparison of Campus Activities and Clubs

Both UCLA and Amherst offer an exciting and diverse student life experience. UCLA has more than 1,000 student organizations on campus, including student government and Greek life. On the other hand, Amherst has over 100 student-run organizations, including clubs, teams, and societies.

Multiracial students talking while walking.

Despite the difference in the number of student organizations, both UCLA and Amherst offer a wide range of activities and clubs for students to get involved in.

At UCLA, students can participate in sports clubs, cultural organizations, and academic clubs. Amherst, on the other hand, has a strong focus on community service and offers many volunteer opportunities for students.

Additionally, both universities have a vibrant arts scene. UCLA has its own performing arts venue, the Royce Hall, which hosts concerts, plays, and dance performances.

Amherst has a student-run theater group, the Amherst College Theater and Dance Department, which produces several shows each year. Both universities also have art galleries and museums on campus, showcasing the work of students and professional artists.

Housing Options at UCLA and Amherst: Which University Offers Better Accommodation?

Housing is another critical factor when it comes to choosing a university. While both universities offer on-campus housing options, UCLA has a more extensive range of options.

The university offers different types of dormitories, apartments, suites, and residential colleges. Comparatively, Amherst’s housing options are less diverse, but they make up for it by offering comfortable on-campus housing that fosters community-building and student interaction.

Additionally, UCLA has a unique housing option called the “Living Learning Communities,” which are themed communities that allow students to live with others who share similar interests or academic goals. These communities provide students with a supportive environment that encourages academic success and personal growth.

On the other hand, Amherst offers a limited number of off-campus housing options for upperclassmen. This allows students to experience living off-campus while still being close to the university. However, finding off-campus housing can be challenging, and students may need to rely on public transportation to get to campus.

Admission Requirements: A Look at What It Takes to Get Into UCLA and Amherst

Admission requirements for UCLA and Amherst differ, with UCLA placing more emphasis on standardized test scores than Amherst. Both universities require an application, transcripts, essays, and recommendations.

Close up of students smiling at the camera.

However, there are some additional requirements that differ between the two universities. UCLA requires applicants to submit two SAT Subject Test scores, while Amherst does not have this requirement.

On the other hand, Amherst requires applicants to submit a graded writing sample, which is not required by UCLA. It is important for prospective students to carefully review the admission requirements for each university and ensure that they meet all of the necessary criteria.

Faculty Comparison: Which University Has More Experienced Professors?

While both universities have knowledgeable and experienced professors committed to research and teaching, UCLA may have more well-known professors due to its size and location. In contrast, Amherst has a reputation for small class sizes and close relationships with faculty.

It is important to note that the level of experience and expertise among professors can vary greatly within each university. Factors such as department, field of study, and individual accomplishments can all play a role in determining the level of experience of a professor.

Therefore, it is recommended that students research and compare the specific professors within their intended field of study at each university before making a decision.

Alumni Network Comparison: Which University Has a Stronger Network of Graduates?

Both universities boast a strong alumni network, with successful graduates in various fields. UCLA’s size and location often mean that its graduates may be better positioned for opportunities in entertainment or large corporations.

business students brainstorming

In contrast, Amherst’s close relationships between students and faculty and their reputation for academic excellence means their graduates often thrive in law, medicine, government, and academia.

However, it’s important to note that the strength of an alumni network also depends on the individual’s field of interest and location. For example, if someone is interested in pursuing a career in technology, they may find that UCLA’s network is more beneficial due to its proximity to Silicon Valley.

On the other hand, if someone is interested in politics, Amherst’s network may provide more connections in Washington D.C. and other political hubs. Ultimately, the strength of an alumni network is subjective and depends on the individual’s goals and aspirations.

Diversity on Campus: A Comparison of Student Body Composition at UCLA vs Amherst

UCLA is more diverse than Amherst when it comes to student body composition. UCLA has a higher percentage of underrepresented minorities, while Amherst has a higher percentage of students from New England. Both universities make significant efforts to create a welcoming and inclusive environment for all students.

At UCLA, the student body is made up of students from all 50 states and over 100 countries. This creates a vibrant and diverse community where students can learn from each other’s experiences and perspectives. In contrast, Amherst has a smaller student body and a higher percentage of students from the Northeast region of the United States.

Despite these differences, both universities have implemented programs and initiatives to promote diversity and inclusion on campus. UCLA has a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion office that provides resources and support for underrepresented students, while Amherst has a Center for Diversity and Student Leadership that offers programming and events to celebrate diversity and promote cultural understanding.

Internship Opportunities: Which University Offers Better Career Prospects for Students?

Given their different locations and types of academic programs, both universities offer unique internship opportunities to their students. At UCLA, students have access to internships in various industries in LA, while Amherst offers unique opportunities in Boston and New York City, which are both accessible by bus or train.

However, the type of academic program a student is enrolled in can also play a significant role in the availability of internship opportunities.

a business woman looking at the camera while her colleagues are at her back

For example, UCLA’s film and entertainment program offers exclusive internships with major studios and production companies, while Amherst’s liberal arts program provides opportunities in fields such as publishing and non-profit organizations.

Additionally, the size of the university can also impact the availability of internships. UCLA, being a larger university, has a wider network of alumni and industry connections, which can lead to more internship opportunities for its students.

On the other hand, Amherst’s smaller size allows for more personalized attention and guidance from faculty and staff in securing internships.

Sustainability Efforts on Campus: Which University is More Environmentally Conscious?

Both universities have made significant efforts to reduce their carbon footprint and promote sustainability on campus. UCLA has a Sustainability Action Plan that covers more than 50 sustainability-related goals, while Amherst has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions over the years and offers various programs related to sustainability awareness and education.

In addition to these efforts, UCLA has implemented a bike-sharing program on campus, encouraging students and faculty to use sustainable transportation options. The university has also installed solar panels on several buildings, reducing its reliance on non-renewable energy sources.

Amherst, on the other hand, has a student-led sustainability committee that works on various projects, such as reducing food waste in the dining halls and promoting composting. The university also has a community garden where students can grow their own produce and learn about sustainable agriculture practices.


UCLA and Amherst may have some significant differences. Ultimately, the final decision on which university to attend boils down to personal preference, academic interests, and lifestyle.

It is important for prospective students to thoroughly research and compare universities before making a decision. This can include visiting campuses, attending information sessions, speaking with current students and alumni, and reviewing academic and financial aid information.

By taking the time to gather all relevant information, students can make an informed decision that will set them on the path toward a successful and fulfilling college experience.

Segue to AdmissionSight

At AdmissionSight, we firmly uphold the conviction that every student is entitled to the chance to pursue their dreams at their preferred college. Our mission is to equip you with the expert advice and unwavering support you need to secure a place at the schools you aspire to attend.

Don’t let your future hinge on uncertainty. Reach out to AdmissionSight today to arrange a complimentary consultation and embark on the journey toward realizing your dreams. With our expert mentorship and steadfast support, the sky’s the limit.

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