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Where Is Amherst Located?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Knowing where Amherst College is located is important if you’re thinking about applying. It gives you a peek into the college’s vibe, local culture, and all the cool opportunities for both academic and personal growth. In short, understanding Amherst’s location can help you get a better sense if this top-tier college is right for you.

Amherst Is Located in Amherst, Massachusetts

Amherst College is located at 220 South Pleasant Street, Amherst, MA 01002, right in the heart of the lively town of Amherst, Massachusetts. Just 25 miles south, you’ll find Springfield, and a quick 8-mile trip west takes you to Northampton. If you’re up for a bit more of a journey, Boston, the state capital, is about 90 miles east.

Located in the picturesque Pioneer Valley, Amherst is surrounded by stunning landscapes and fertile farmland. The area features rolling hills, scenic rivers, and lush forests, offering plenty of outdoor adventures like hiking, biking, and kayaking. The Connecticut River, one of New England’s longest rivers, flows nearby.

How Big Is Amherst?

Amherst College’s campus spans around 1,000 acres. Key spots on campus include:

  • Johnson Chapel: This iconic building, located at Amherst and dating back to 1827, houses administrative offices and stands as a prominent landmark.
  • Frost Library: Named after the poet Robert Frost, this library offers vast collections and cozy study spaces for students.
  • Beneski Museum of Natural History: Packed with fossils, minerals, and anthropological artifacts, it’s a treasure trove for curious minds.
  • Science Center: A cutting-edge facility for biology, chemistry, physics, and more, featuring the latest labs and classrooms.
  • Merrill Science Building: Home to departments like mathematics and neuroscience, equipped with advanced research facilities.
  • Keefe Campus Center: The go-to place for student activities, offering meeting spaces, a café, and a game room.
  • Valentine Dining Hall: The main dining hub, dishing out a variety of meal options for students.
  • King Hall: Hosts the departments of philosophy and religion, complete with seminar rooms and faculty offices.
  • Converse Hall: An academic building housing various humanities departments and classrooms.

At Amherst, most students live on campus in residence halls, which range from traditional dorms to suite-style setups. The college buzzes with activities and clubs covering arts, culture, sports, and community service. Recreational facilities like a fitness center, swimming pool, and sports fields keep everyone active and healthy.

a woman looking calm breathing the air

Amherst College is also part of the Five College Consortium, which includes Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. This consortium, located in Amherst, lets students cross-register for courses at any of the member schools. The close-knit proximity of these schools fosters a collaborative academic environment and a wealth of extracurricular activities, cultural events, and resources.

What Is the Weather Like at Amherst?

Amherst experiences a humid continental climate, giving you a true taste of all four seasons. Where Amherst is located, summers are warm, with July being the hottest month, hitting highs around 80°F (27°C). Winters, on the other hand, can be quite chilly, with January temperatures often dropping to an average low of 14°F (-10°C).

The area gets about 46 inches of rain annually, and snowfall averages around 40 inches per year. So, you’ll need to be ready for everything from hot, humid summers to cold, snowy winters, as these conditions can impact your daily life and transportation.

Fall is particularly stunning, with brilliant foliage that attracts visitors from all over. It’s the perfect time for outdoor activities like hiking and apple picking, with picturesque scenery all around. Winter brings its own set of fun with snow sports like skiing and snowboarding, though heavy snowfall can sometimes mess with travel plans and require some extra planning for commuting and campus activities.

Spring and summer, where Amherst is located, are generally mild and pleasant, ideal for outdoor events and campus activities. As spring temperatures gradually rise, the blooming flowers and comfortable weather make it perfect for studying outside or joining in on sports.

Summer, while warm, typically stays manageable. The moderate summer weather also makes Amherst an appealing spot for summer programs and internships, great for students sticking around campus.

What Are the Transportation Options at Amherst?

Amherst offers several ways to get around town and travel to nearby cities, making it easy for students and residents alike.

Bus and train

The Pioneer Valley Transit Authority (PVTA) provides extensive bus services throughout where Amherst is located and the surrounding area. Students can hop on PVTA buses to travel around the Five College Consortium, including Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The bus service is super convenient and free for students, making it a popular choice for getting around locally.

If you need to travel further, Amherst is served by Peter Pan Bus Lines, which offer routes to major cities like Boston, New York, and Hartford. These intercity buses are a reliable and budget-friendly way to travel long distances without needing a car.

Additionally, the Amtrak train station in nearby Northampton provides rail service to cities across the Northeast. This includes direct routes to New York City and Washington, D.C.

Biking and driving

For local travel, many students and residents prefer to bike or walk, thanks to Amherst’s bike-friendly infrastructure and pedestrian pathways. Located in Amherst, the college actively promotes biking as a sustainable transportation option, offering plenty of bike racks and repair stations around campus.

If you prefer driving, car rentals and ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft are readily available.

What Are the Housing Options at Amherst?

Located in Amherst, Massachusetts, Amherst College offers a range of on-campus housing options designed to create a supportive and engaging living environment:

Happy students walking together.

  • Most students live on campus in one of the college’s residence halls.
  • First-year students typically reside in designated first-year dorms like South and North College, helping newcomers bond and build a community.
  • Upperclassmen can choose suite-style residences, such as the Greenway Residences, which offer more privacy and modern amenities.

Every dorm comes with common areas, study spaces, and kitchen facilities to enhance the living experience.

If you’re thinking about living off-campus, the town of Amherst has various housing options, from apartments to rental houses. Nearby apartment complexes like The Boulders and Alpine Commons cater to both students and local residents, often offering amenities such as fitness centers, swimming pools, and parking.

Living off-campus gives you more independence while keeping you close to where Amherst is located. The town’s well-connected public transportation system and bike-friendly streets make commuting to campus easy for those living off-site.

What Are the Dining Options at Amherst?

Dining at Amherst College revolves around Valentine Dining Hall, the main dining spot on campus. Valentine offers a variety of meal options to suit different dietary needs, including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free choices. The dining hall operates on a buffet system, so you can pick from a range of hot meals, salads, sandwiches, and desserts.

Besides Valentine, the Keefe Campus Center has a café for a more casual dining option, perfect for grabbing a quick bite or coffee between classes.

In the town where Amherst College is located, you’ll find plenty of dining options to match diverse tastes and budgets:

  • Local favorites like Antonio’s Pizza and the upscale 30Boltwood offer a range of cuisines.
  • International options include Judie’s Restaurant, known for its eclectic menu, and the Fresh Side, which serves Asian-inspired dishes.

What Are the Local Attractions and Activities at Amherst?

On-campus, Amherst College offers a wealth of attractions and activities to cater to a wide range of interests:

  • The Mead Art Museum, located right on Amherst campus, features an impressive collection of American, European, and Russian art, serving as a cultural hub for art lovers.
  • The Beneski Museum of Natural History, with its extensive collections of dinosaur fossils, minerals, and anthropological artifacts, is a favorite spot for science enthusiasts.

Additionally, the college regularly hosts lectures, concerts, and theater performances, ensuring a vibrant cultural and intellectual atmosphere for students.

Just a stone’s throw away, the town where Amherst College is located provides a variety of attractions and activities that cater to different lifestyles and interests:

  • For nature lovers, the Norwottuck Rail Trail offers a scenic 11-mile route perfect for biking, walking, or jogging through the picturesque Pioneer Valley. The nearby Mount Holyoke Range State Park boasts hiking trails with breathtaking views of the Connecticut River Valley, making it ideal for weekend adventures.
  • Literature and history buffs will enjoy the Emily Dickinson Museum, where you can tour the poet’s home and gardens and gain insight into her life and work.

students inside the campus

For those who prefer a more urban lifestyle, the downtown where Amherst is located has plenty to offer:

  • Amherst Cinema, an independent movie theater, screens a mix of mainstream, indie, and international films, making it a go-to spot for movie enthusiasts.
  • The town also hosts numerous festivals and events throughout the year, such as the Amherst Poetry Festival and the annual Taste of Amherst food festival.

Overview of Amherst

Originally established as a men’s college in 1821, Amherst College was named after the town where it is located, Amherst, Massachusetts. The town got its name from Lord Jeffery Amherst, a British Army officer. The college became coeducational in 1975. It has since evolved into one of the most prestigious liberal arts colleges in the United States.

With an acceptance rate of just 9%, Amherst College is incredibly selective. The college looks for students who have demonstrated outstanding academic performance, typically expecting a high school GPA around 4.1, and SAT scores between 1480 and 1550 or ACT scores between 31 and 35.

Amherst values a holistic admissions process, taking into account personal characteristics, extracurricular involvement, leadership qualities, and the ability to contribute to the campus community. Essays and recommendations also play a crucial role in the decision-making process.

What Is Amherst Known For?

What really sets Amherst apart is its Open Curriculum, which allows you to design your own academic journey without the constraints of a core curriculum. This flexibility encourages exploration across various disciplines, tailoring your education to your interests and career goals. This approach fosters a culture of intellectual curiosity and interdisciplinary learning, making Amherst a leader in liberal arts education.

Located in Amherst, Massachusetts, Amherst is also known for its:

Faculty and alumni

Amherst’s distinguished faculty and accomplished alumni are a big part of its prestige. The faculty includes renowned scholars and researchers who are dedicated to teaching and mentoring students. Notable alumni include Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President of the United States, and Emily Dickinson, one of America’s most celebrated poets.

Financial aid and accessibility

When it comes to financial aid and accessibility, Amherst College is deeply committed to making education affordable for everyone. The college practices a need-blind admission policy for domestic students. Meaning, your financial need won’t affect your admission decision. Amherst meets 100% of demonstrated financial need for all admitted students through grants and scholarships, not loans.

Athletic programs

Amherst is also known for its strong athletic programs and vibrant campus life. Competing in the NCAA Division III as part of the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC), Amherst offers a wide range of sports, including basketball, soccer, swimming, and track and field. The college’s athletic teams, known as the Mammoths, have a history of success with several national championships and strong performances across various sports.

Conclusion

Knowing where Amherst College is located is important, as the town’s vibrant community, rich cultural offerings, and stunning natural surroundings significantly enhance the college experience. This understanding helps you envision the experiences and opportunities awaiting you at Amherst. Amherst is not just a place to learn, but a place to thrive.

a female student holding her school stuff and standing in the staircase

FAQs

Is Amherst College in the Ivy League?

No, Amherst College is not part of the Ivy League. The Ivy League consists of eight private colleges in the northeastern United States, known for their long histories and prestigious reputations. Amherst is located in Amherst, Massachusetts. However, Amherst is often considered on par with these institutions in terms of academic rigor and prestige.

How prestigious is Amherst College?

Amherst College is highly prestigious, consistently ranked among the top liberal arts colleges in the United States. It is known for its rigorous academics, distinguished faculty, and a commitment to providing a well-rounded liberal arts education. According to U.S. News & World Report, Amherst College ranks #2 in National Liberal Arts Colleges.

What GPA do you need to get into Amherst?

To be competitive for admission to Amherst College, you typically need a high school GPA around 4.1. The admissions process is holistic, so while GPA is important, Amherst also considers other factors such as extracurricular activities, personal essays, and letters of recommendation.

How much is Amherst tuition?

For the 2024-2025 academic year, Amherst College’s tuition is $69,820. However, the total cost of attendance, including room, board, and fees, is approximately $90,000 per year. Located in Amherst, Massachusetts, Amherst is committed to affordability and meets 100% of demonstrated financial need for all admitted students through grants and scholarships.

What are the popular majors at Amherst?

Popular majors at Amherst College include Economics, Mathematics, Political Science, Psychology, and English. These programs are known for their rigorous coursework and the opportunities they provide for research and interdisciplinary study.

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