Many graduates of Amherst would tell high school seniors this: if you’ve always wanted to excel in your chosen career path and still have the most fun you can have in college, Amherst is the school for you.
Amherst is a mainstay in all the top college lists floating around the internet, and in any checklist meant for the high school audience, e.g., students and guidance counselors. What makes this college one of the top picks of high school seniors with the highest credentials is its generous financial aid system, devoted faculty members, and excellent academic and athletic programs. Needless to say, the students accepted into this college have a wide range of skills and talents.
Amherst boasts of a distinguished roster of alumni, including Pulitzer Prize winners and political leaders. One particular alumnus, Joseph Hardy Neesima, established his own school in Japan, the Doshisha University, one of the destinations of Amherst’s study abroad program.
Amherst is a member of the Five College Consortium, Incorporated, a group of geographically linked schools formally connected together for academic purposes. Students from one school can go to the other schools via a bus system. This group of schools (Smith, Amherst, Mount Holyoke and Hampshire, along with the University of Massachusetts) was established in 1965 and students of all five colleges can easily go to the different campuses to attend class and use the library resources.
Amherst College was an expansion of the secondary school, Amherst Academy. Amherst College was established in 1821 by a former president of Williams College, Zephaniah Swift Moore, and fifteen students, after a lengthy debate on whether or not to transfer Williams College, which was under extreme financial pressure at that time, from Williamstown to Amherst. Williams College remained and Amherst became a separate institution. This part of Amherst’s history has resulted in a friendly rivalry between the two colleges.
Amherst was a male-exclusive college until 1975.
Amherst takes pride in its open curriculum, which permits a talented student to chart his or her own specialized course, with the guidance of a faculty member. The vast array of subjects to study can allow a student to take on more than one major, and include courses offered on other campuses such as those in the Five College Consortium.
Nearly all of the students live on-campus, in close-knit communities made up of residence halls. With this living arrangement, college students can avoid the long commute and walk directly to their classes. A notable plus to this living condition is that any student at Amherst can enjoy the wonderful facility called the Valentine Hall, a common dining room that offers a wide array of menus. There are sections for vegetarians, for those that wish to create their own plates, for traditional eaters that want a set menu for lunch or dinner, and for those that are allergic to certain food types. It’s safe to say that any college student has access to nutritious food during their stay in Amherst.
Many successful applicants would claim that Amherst was their choice because of academic and athletic reasons, but many more will choose the college to benefit from the outstanding facilities in the music department. Amherst got its reputation as a “singing college” because of the talented singers and musicians that hone their craft in the music department.
Amherst is one of the oldest colleges in the country that has developed a viable form of scholarship and grant programs for low income students; a charity fund. Over the years, the financial aid program expanded to cover more financial needs and a greater number of financially needy students. The exemplary alumni participation rate gives Amherst the capacity to offer generous financial aid to deserving students. Over sixty percent of the students receive financial aid in the form of scholarships. The average amount awarded through a financial aid package is over $40,000.