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University of Rochester vs Amherst: Which College is Right for You?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Two student walking in the campus.

University of Rochester vs Amherst: Which College is Right for You?

Choosing the right college can be daunting, but with so many great options out there, how do you know which one is right for you? In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the University of Rochester vs Amherst College to help you make an informed decision. From location and campus life to academics and acceptance rates, we’ll cover everything you need to know to decide between these two institutions.

Location: A Comparison of the University of Rochester vs Amherst

When it comes to location, both the University of Rochester and Amherst College have their respective advantages. Rochester is located in upstate New York, a region known for its natural beauty, four distinct seasons, and small-town charm. The city of Rochester is home to a thriving arts and cultural scene, with numerous museums, theaters, and galleries to explore.

On the other hand, Amherst is located in western Massachusetts, nestled between the rolling hills of the Berkshires and the lively college town of Northampton. Amherst boasts a rich intellectual and cultural scene, with a variety of festivals and events throughout the year, as well as access to some of the best hiking and skiing in New England.

Additionally, the University of Rochester is situated near the beautiful Finger Lakes region, which is known for its stunning lakes, waterfalls, and wineries. Students can take advantage of the many outdoor activities available in the area, such as hiking, boating, and fishing.

Amherst, on the other hand, is located just a short drive from the historic city of Boston, which offers endless opportunities for exploration and entertainment. From world-class museums and theaters to professional sports teams and renowned restaurants, Boston has something for everyone.

Campus Life: University of Rochester vs Amherst

When it comes to campus life, both the University of Rochester and Amherst College offer a vibrant and engaging experience. Rochester’s campus is known for its unique architectural design, with buildings ranging from traditional Gothic to cutting-edge modern. The university is home to more than 200 student clubs and organizations, as well as a thriving performing arts scene and numerous Division III sports teams.

Group of students standing on a room.

Amherst College is renowned for its intimate and tight-knit community, with a student body of just over 1,800. The campus features a variety of historic and modern buildings, as well as a range of clubs and organizations, from academic and cultural groups to sports and recreation.

However, there are some notable differences between the two campuses. Rochester is located in a mid-sized city, which offers students access to a range of cultural and entertainment options, as well as internship and job opportunities. Amherst, on the other hand, is situated in a small town, which provides a more peaceful and secluded environment for students to focus on their studies.

Additionally, Amherst has a strong emphasis on undergraduate research, with many students working closely with faculty members on cutting-edge projects. Rochester also has a strong research focus, but with a larger student body, it may be more challenging for students to secure research opportunities.

Academic Programs: University of Rochester vs Amherst

Both the University of Rochester and Amherst College offer a wide variety of academic programs, ranging from the humanities and social sciences to the natural sciences and engineering. Rochester is known for its strong programs in business, engineering, and music, as well as its highly regarded medical center.

Amherst, meanwhile, is known for its strong liberal arts curriculum, with a focus on fostering critical thinking and intellectual rigor. The college offers majors in more than 40 fields, with particular strength in the humanities and social sciences.

Despite their differences, both Rochester and Amherst offer unique opportunities for students to pursue their academic interests. Rochester’s Simon Business School is consistently ranked among the top business schools in the country, offering students a rigorous and practical education in business management. Additionally, the university’s Eastman School of Music is one of the most prestigious music schools in the world, with a faculty that includes Grammy Award-winning musicians and composers.

Amherst, on the other hand, offers students a highly personalized education, with a student-to-faculty ratio of 7:1. This allows for close collaboration between students and professors and a more intimate learning environment. The college also offers several unique programs, such as the Center for Community Engagement, which allows students to engage with local communities and work on projects that have a positive impact on society.

Acceptance Rates: University of Rochester vs Amherst

When it comes to acceptance rates, both the University of Rochester and Amherst College are highly selective institutions. According to U.S. News & World Report, Rochester had an acceptance rate of 41%, while Amherst had an acceptance rate of just 9%. However, it’s worth noting that both schools look beyond test scores and grades and consider a range of factors, including extracurricular activities, essays, and letters of recommendation.

Group of students talking to a teacher in a library.

Another important factor to consider when comparing the selectivity of these two schools is their respective applicant pools. Amherst College, for example, received over 10,000 applications for the class of 2024, while the University of Rochester received just over 20,000. This means that while Amherst’s acceptance rate may be lower, they are also receiving a much larger number of applications.

It’s also worth noting that both schools have rigorous academic standards and expect their students to excel in their coursework. While the admissions process may be competitive, once accepted, students at both institutions have access to top-notch resources and opportunities to succeed academically and professionally.

Cost of Attendance: A Comparison of Rochester and Amherst

Tuition and fees are a major consideration when choosing a college, and both the University of Rochester and Amherst College are among the most expensive colleges in the country. According to the colleges’ websites, Rochester’s total cost of attendance for the 2021-2022 academic year is $78,590, while Amherst’s total cost of attendance is $78,500. However, both colleges offer generous financial aid and scholarship packages to eligible students, so it’s important to factor in your financial situation when considering the cost.

In addition to tuition and fees, there are other costs to consider when attending college. Room and board, textbooks, and personal expenses can add up quickly. At Rochester, the estimated cost of room and board for the 2021-2022 academic year is $16,930, while at Amherst it is $16,660. Textbooks and personal expenses are not included in these estimates, so it’s important to budget for these additional costs as well.

It’s also worth noting that both Rochester and Amherst offer work-study programs, which allow students to earn money to help cover their expenses while attending college. These programs provide students with part-time jobs on campus, and the earnings can be used to pay for things like textbooks, personal expenses, and even tuition and fees. Work-study programs can be a great way to gain work experience and reduce the amount of student loan debt you may need to take on.

Student to Faculty Ratio: How it Impacts Your Education

The student-to-faculty ratio is an important factor to consider when choosing a college, as it can impact the quality of your education and the level of personal attention you receive from faculty members. At Rochester, the student-to-faculty ratio is 10:1, while at Amherst it is even lower, at 8:1. This means that students at both colleges have ample opportunities to connect with their professors and receive individualized attention and support.

However, it is important to note that a low student-to-faculty ratio does not necessarily guarantee a better education. Other factors such as the quality of faculty, curriculum, and resources also play a significant role in shaping your college experience. It is important to research and consider all aspects of a college before making a decision.

Extracurricular Activities: What Each School Has to Offer

Extracurricular activities can play a major role in your college experience, and both the University of Rochester and Amherst College offer a wide variety of clubs, organizations, and activities for students to get involved in. Rochester is home to more than 200 clubs and organizations, including academic, cultural, and athletic groups, as well as fraternities and sororities. Amherst, meanwhile, has more than 100 student organizations, ranging from political and social justice groups to music and performance groups.

Group of students walking on the school campus.

At the University of Rochester, students can participate in several unique extracurricular activities, such as the Quidditch team, which is based on the sport from the Harry Potter series, or the Bhangra dance team, which performs traditional Punjabi dance. Additionally, Rochester has a strong focus on community service, with many clubs dedicated to volunteering and making a positive impact in the local area.

Amherst College also offers a range of opportunities for students to get involved outside of the classroom. The school has a strong emphasis on sustainability, with several clubs dedicated to environmental activism and education. Amherst also has a thriving arts scene, with a variety of student-run theater productions and Cappella groups. Overall, both Rochester and Amherst provide ample opportunities for students to explore their interests and passions outside of academics.

Alumni Network: Which College Offers Better Career Opportunities?

The alumni network of a college can play a critical role in your career development and post-college success. Both the University of Rochester and Amherst College have strong alumni networks, with graduates who have gone on to successful careers in a variety of fields. According to LinkedIn, some of the top employers of Rochester graduates include Amazon, Microsoft, and JPMorgan Chase, while some of the top employers of Amherst graduates include Google, Goldman Sachs, and Harvard University.

However, it’s important to note that the strength of an alumni network goes beyond just the number of successful graduates. It also includes the level of engagement and support provided by alumni to current students and recent graduates. At the University of Rochester, the alumni network offers mentorship programs, networking events, and career counseling services to help students and recent graduates navigate the job market. Amherst College also has a strong alumni network, with a dedicated career center that provides job search resources and connects students with alumni in their desired fields.

Sports and Athletics: A Look at Rochester vs Amherst Teams

If sports and athletics are important to you, both the University of Rochester and Amherst College offer a range of options. Rochester is a Division III school and competes in the University Athletic Association, with teams in sports such as basketball, soccer, and swimming. Amherst is also a Division III school, and is a member of the New England Small College Athletic Conference, with teams in sports such as soccer, lacrosse, and field hockey.

However, the two schools differ in their approach to athletics. While Rochester emphasizes a balance between academics and athletics, Amherst places a greater emphasis on academics and has a stricter policy on recruiting athletes. This means that while Rochester may have more competitive teams, Amherst athletes are often more academically accomplished.

Additionally, both schools offer a variety of intramural and club sports for students who may not want to compete at the varsity level. Rochester has options such as ultimate frisbee, volleyball, and flag football, while Amherst offers sports like rugby, squash, and ultimate frisbee. These opportunities allow students to stay active and involved in sports without the commitment and pressure of varsity athletics.

Diversity on Campus: Comparing the Student Body Makeup

Diversity is an increasingly important consideration when choosing a college, and it’s worth noting that both the University of Rochester and Amherst College are committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive environment. At Rochester, more than 25% of students are international, and the student body represents all 50 states and more than 120 countries. At Amherst, more than 35% of students are students of color, and the college has a strong commitment to promoting diversity and social justice on campus.

a group of student walking outside in park

In addition to the demographic makeup of the student body, both Rochester and Amherst offer a variety of programs and resources to support diversity and inclusion. Rochester has a Multicultural Center for Academic Success, which provides academic and social support for underrepresented students, as well as several student organizations, focused on diversity and cultural awareness. Amherst has a similar center, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, which offers programming and resources to support students from diverse backgrounds, as well as several affinity groups and cultural organizations on campus.

Housing and Residence Life: What to Expect at Both Colleges

Where you live on campus can have a major impact on your college experience, and both the University of Rochester and Amherst College offer a range of housing options. Rochester offers traditional dormitories, as well as suite-style and apartment-style living options. Amherst has a variety of housing options, including traditional dormitories, theme houses, and social houses.

Additionally, both colleges have a strong emphasis on creating a sense of community within their housing options. Rochester has a Residential Life program that offers events and activities for students living on campus, such as movie nights and game tournaments. Amherst has a House System, where students are assigned to a specific house and participate in house events and traditions throughout the year. Both colleges also have Resident Advisors (RAs) who live in the dorms and are available to assist students with any issues or concerns they may have.

Faculty Profiles: Get to Know the Professors at Rochester and Amherst

The quality of faculty can make or break your college experience, and both the University of Rochester and Amherst College have highly regarded faculty members. Rochester has a faculty of more than 1,200, with a student-to-faculty ratio of 10:1. Amherst, meanwhile, has a faculty of more than 200, with a student-to-faculty ratio of just 8:1. Both colleges boast faculty members who are experts in their fields, committed to teaching and mentorship, and dedicated to fostering a love of learning in their students.

At the University of Rochester, the faculty is known for their research and innovation. Many professors are actively involved in cutting-edge research in fields such as medicine, engineering, and social sciences. This provides students with unique opportunities to work alongside their professors and gain hands-on experience in their respective fields.

Similarly, at Amherst College, the faculty is known for their dedication to interdisciplinary studies. Professors often collaborate across departments to create courses that integrate multiple fields of study. This approach to education encourages students to think critically and creatively and prepares them for a rapidly changing job market that values versatility and adaptability.

Research Opportunities: Which College Offers More Resources?

For students interested in pursuing research and scholarship, both the University of Rochester and Amherst College offer a range of resources and opportunities. Rochester has a strong tradition of research and innovation, with numerous research centers and institutes across a variety of disciplines. Amherst, meanwhile, offers students the opportunity to engage in independent research projects, as well as access to a range of research resources and funding opportunities.

Four students talking in a table.

Additionally, the University of Rochester has a strong emphasis on interdisciplinary research, with many opportunities for students to collaborate across different fields of study. This allows for a more holistic research approach and can lead to innovative solutions to complex problems.

On the other hand, Amherst College has a smaller student body, which can lead to more personalized attention and mentorship opportunities for students interested in research. The college also has a strong focus on undergraduate research, with many faculty members actively involving students in their research projects.

Admissions Process: Tips for Getting Accepted to Rochester or Amherst

Finally, if you’re considering applying to either the University of Rochester or Amherst College, there are a few tips to keep in mind. First and foremost, make sure to do your research and learn as much as you can about each school before you apply. Be sure to highlight your unique achievements and experiences in your application, and show how they align with the values and mission of the college. Finally, don’t be afraid to reach out to current students or admissions staff for advice and guidance throughout the process.

One important factor to consider when choosing between the University of Rochester and Amherst College is the location. The University of Rochester is located in Rochester, New York, which is a mid-sized city with a vibrant arts and culture scene. Amherst College, on the other hand, is located in Amherst, Massachusetts, which is a small town with a strong focus on education and intellectual pursuits. Think about what kind of environment you thrive in and which location would be a better fit for you.

Another important consideration is the academic programs offered at each school. The University of Rochester is known for its strong programs in engineering, business, and the sciences, while Amherst College is known for its rigorous liberal arts curriculum. Take a look at the course offerings and faculty at each school to see which one aligns more closely with your academic interests and goals.

Ultimately, choosing between the University of Rochester and Amherst College comes down to your individual preferences and priorities. Both institutions offer a world-class education and a rich college experience, so take the time to carefully consider your options and make the choice that’s right for you. Good luck!

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