How to get into Amherst College—General Information
Amherst College is a private liberal arts college located in Amherst, Massachusetts. It was founded in 1821 and has remained one of the best liberal arts colleges in the United States for over two centuries. As Amherst only serves undergraduates, its 1,970 students enjoy immense support across 42 academic departments.
What we’ll cover in this How to Get Into Amherst College guide:
- Amherst College GPA requirements
- Average Amherst SAT scores
- Amherst College total enrollment
- Details on Amherst early decision acceptance rate
- Amherst deadline
- Tips to write Amherst supplemental essays
- Amherst interview, and more.
While there’s no secret formula for how to get into Amherst College, you should strive to craft an application that shows Amherst what kind of student you would be on their campus. You should start preparing your application well before the Amherst deadline,
You probably have dozens of questions: What is the Amherst college total enrollment? What is the Amherst early decision acceptance rate? Do I meet the Amherst College GPA requirements? What should I write about in the Amherst supplemental essays? Do I have to prepare for an Amherst interview?
In our How to Get Into Amherst College guide, we’ll highlight basic facts like the Amherst College total enrollment and the Amherst deadline. We’ll also break down important stats like the Amherst Early Decision acceptance rate and the average Amherst SAT scores.
Figuring out how to get into Amherst College takes strategy. We can help. CollegeAdvisor.com’s network of 300+ Admissions Experts (and former admissions officers) includes Amherst graduates. Want to maximize your Amherst admissions odds? Create your free account or schedule a free advising consultation by calling (844) 343-6272.
How do I get into Amherst?
Wondering how to get into Amherst College? It starts with research. So, let’s discuss some facts about Amherst admissions.
The Amherst College total enrollment includes just 1,970 students. This makes Amherst a small, selective school that offers students individual attention in the classroom and beyond. If you want to be a part of this select group, you will need a strong application that showcases who you are and who you hope to become at Amherst.
Researching the Amherst application process is the first step towards making a plan for how to get into Amherst College. Amherst admissions accepts applications through the Common Application or the Coalition Application. If you decide to use the Common Application, check out CollegeAdvisor.com’s guide to the Common App for some expert tips.
How hard is it to get into Amherst College?
The Amherst College total enrollment is small compared to their applicant pool. Last year, 10,000 students wondering how to get into Amherst College submitted applications. Amherst admitted 12% of applicants, ranking it among the most selective schools in the US.
Amherst has adopted a four-year test-optional “pilot program” for the classes of 2025-2028. This means you do not need to submit Amherst SAT scores or ACT scores.
Last year, 35% of enrolled students submitted SAT scores, and 31% submitted ACT scores. The Amherst SAT scores for the Class of 2025 ranged from 1440 to 1540; all students had above 1200. Of the students who submitted ACT scores, 98% had a score of 30 or higher.
As you consider how to get into Amherst College, you might find these stats helpful. However, remember that standardized test scores do not define you, and Amherst knows that; it’s the reason they launched the test-optional program. If your test scores fall short of these numbers, don’t be discouraged—instead, use that energy to keep up your senior year fall GPA, strengthen your relationships with your recommenders, and write engaging Amherst supplemental essays.
What is the required GPA for Amherst College?
A high GPA is a key part of your “how to get into Amherst college” plan. So, what are the Amherst college GPA requirements?
While many applicants are eager to compare their transcript to the Amherst College GPA requirements, Amherst does not report the average GPA of admitted students. However, over a quarter of the Amherst Class of 2025 submitted their class rank; 91% of students were in the top 10% of their class, and 99% were in the top 25%. So, although there are no official Amherst College GPA requirements, admitted students tend to perform at the top of their class.
What does the Amherst College application look like?
So, you’re researching how to get into Amherst College. You’ve chosen to apply either through the Common Application or the Coalition Application. What’s next? It’s time to start bringing together the pieces of your application!
This process should start well before the Amherst deadline. If you are applying for Early Decision, your deadline is November 1st. If you apply for Regular Decision, you have a little more time before your application is due on January 3rd. Whichever round you choose, here are the materials you need to submit before the Amherst deadline:
- Application fee or fee waiver
- Common Application or Coalition Application
- Amherst supplemental essays
- High school transcript
- One counselor recommendation
- Two teacher recommendations (English, Math, Science, Social Studies or Foreign Language)
- SAT/ACT results (optional)
As we mentioned, SAT and ACT scores are optional for the Class of 2025-2028. When considering your options, there is no one answer to how to get into Amherst College. If you submit Amherst SAT scores or ACT scores, Amherst will “superscore” your results. This means they will evaluate the best combination of scores across all of your test dates, so be sure to submit scores from all testing dates!
If you decide not to submit Amherst SAT scores or ACT scores, Amherst will focus a bit more on your grades. Your readers will also look more closely at your personal statement, Amherst supplemental essays, and recommendations.
What extracurriculars does Amherst like?
As you plan for how to get into Amherst College, you may think you need a long list of extracurriculars to impress your readers. However, this is not how to get into Amherst College. Instead, your extracurriculars should simply reflect what you care about.
Your extracurriculars show Amherst your interests outside the classroom. The best extracurriculars will demonstrate your passions or your leadership experience. Think about quality, not quantity.
Amherst also gives you space to add additional information related to your extracurriculars. For instance, if you care deeply about the arts, you can submit an Arts Supplement. Amherst also lets you mention any research you’ve done in school or independently. You can submit a brief (we repeat: brief!) description of any research projects in the Amherst supplemental essays under “Optional Research Questions.”
What is the acceptance rate at Amherst College?
The Amherst College acceptance rate is 12%. This is an average of both the Amherst Early Decision acceptance rate and Regular Decision acceptance rate. Of the 878 students who applied to Amherst Early Decision, 213 were admitted to the class of 2025. This makes the Amherst Early Decision acceptance rate 25%.
When thinking about how to get into Amherst College, there are two things to remember about the Amherst Early Decision acceptance rate. First, two-fifths of the class of 2025 was admitted through Early Decision. That means if Amherst is your top-choice school, you should consider applying Early Decision.
However, don’t be fooled by this higher number—just because the Amherst Early Decision acceptance rate is higher does not mean it is easier to be accepted ED. Usually, the students who apply early have very strong applications, from GPA to recommendations to essays.
So, if you’re still studying hard to meet those Amherst College GPA requirements, or you just finished the first draft of your Amherst supplemental essays but haven’t had a chance to review them, don’t feel pressured to submit by the ED Amherst deadline. Instead, take your time and the strongest application you can.
Want to learn more about acceptance rates? Check out our expert guide
Does Amherst College offer interviews?
Admissions does not offer an Amherst interview as part of the application process. The Amherst interview process ended years ago, partially because the Amherst College total enrollment is much smaller than other colleges. Plus, Amherst alumni have been busy winning Nobel Prizes, starring in Westworld, and writing all 1,079 pages of Infinite Jest.
If there was something you were really hoping to share in an Amherst interview, be sure to include it in your personal statement, your extracurriculars, or your Amherst supplemental essays!
How do I write an Amherst supplemental essay?
As you consider how to get into Amherst College, remember your supplemental essays are one of the most important parts of your application. Especially since you won’t have an Amherst interview, your essays are your only chance to share who you are in your own voice.
Start your essays well ahead of the Amherst deadline. This gives you plenty of time to consider their writing supplement options and plan your essay.
Your essay should showcase what you will bring to campus. When reading essays, Amherst looks for students who embody their values. This includes having a strong perspective, taking full advantage of their curriculum opportunities, being a good community member, and giving back. A strong essay will not only answer the prompt but will also reflect these values and show how you would enrich Amherst’s student body.
Check out our Amherst Supplemental Essays guide for more tips on the Amherst supplemental essays.
How does Amherst College review applications?
Once the Amherst deadline has passed, it’s time for Admissions to review applications!
Like many top schools, Amherst uses a holistic admissions approach. Admissions views several components of your application as “Very Important”: your GPA, the rigor of your high school transcript, extracurricular activities, recommendations, your personal statement, and your Amherst supplemental essays. Because there isn’t an Amherst interview, Amherst readers look for information about your talents, character, and personal qualities.
Amherst looks at each part of your application narrative. Your reader will look for passion and continuity while keeping an eye out for inconsistencies and red flags. For example, a student who tested way above the average Amherst SAT scores may fall short of an acceptance if their Amherst supplemental essays stray off-topic and don’t answer the prompts. This is why Amherst SAT scores and ACT scores are considered, but not essential when determining admission.
In another instance, a student with freshman year grades that appears to fall below the Amherst College GPA requirements could still get in. For instance, they could write a personal statement that discusses the difficult year they had and how it affected them. A holistic application is all about balance—finding the best places to showcase your strengths and tell your story.
Things they don’t consider
There are two things Amherst does not consider when reviewing applications. First, there’s no Amherst interview. Second, Amherst does not track demonstrated interest from applicants. That means when you go to an Amherst campus tour or attend a virtual information session, you don’t get a little “check” next to your name. That being said, campus visits can still be valuable as you decide whether to apply.
Will Amherst College look at my social media?
No, Amherst will not look at your social media when considering you for admissions. It’s a reasonable question: when students are considering how to get into Amherst College or any college, there is always the concern that social media posts could affect your chances of admission.
However, just because Amherst won’t scroll through your posts doesn’t mean you should use social media recklessly. As a good rule of thumb, don’t post anything online you wouldn’t want a future professor or employer to see.
Is Amherst College a good school for me?
Before you start thinking about how to get into Amherst College, consider whether Amherst is right for you. Especially if you are unable to visit before the Amherst deadline, it may feel like a challenge to figure out if you could thrive at Amherst.
One thing to consider is the Amherst college total enrollment. Although different schools can be hard to compare, many students have a substantial preference towards smaller vs. mid-sized vs. larger schools. Because the Amherst college total enrollment is smaller than many other schools, you’ll likely experience a closer-knit community and see more familiar faces on campus than you would at a larger school.
Think beyond the Amherst SAT scores, Amherst college GPA requirements, or the Amherst Early Decision acceptance rate. Instead, try to learn what Amherst is like outside of the classroom. Admission’s Discovering Amherst and Town & Valley pages can help give you a sense of what their community has to offer.
If you are looking for more resources, check out our Amherst College page to see how we’ve graded Amherst in categories like athletics, diversity, campus, and value. If you still don’t know how to narrow down your list of colleges (or even make a list to begin with), we’ve also compiled a guide to help you start thinking about which type of college may be right for you.
Additional tips to get into Amherst College
Remember, there is no one “how to get into Amherst College” plan. Since there are no Amherst college GPA requirements and no Amherst interview to ace, how you choose to put together your application will have a large impact on your chances of admission.
No matter your background, experiences, or credentials, distilling who you are into an application is difficult for everyone. Even if the Amherst college total enrollment or Amherst Early Decision acceptance rate is daunting, remember you have total control over your application and the time and effort you choose to put into it.
Even if you are applying with a lower test score or feel like your accomplishments aren’t as impressive as those of your peers, Amherst looks for students who believe in themselves and believe they can make a difference in the world. So do your research, put in the time, and let the best version of yourself shine through.
This guide was written by Stefanie Tedards. If you want to know how to get into Amherst, we’ve got you covered. CollegeAdvisor.com’s network of 300+ Admissions Experts (and former admissions officers) includes Amherst graduates. Create your free account or schedule a free advising consultation by calling (844) 343-6272.