- Class: Freshman
- Gender: F
- High School: Rondout Valley High School
- Transfer Student:
Amherst is a small school that doesn't feel like it, because of its position in the five-college area (which includes UMass, Hampshire, Smith, and Mount Holyoke). Students can take classes at any of the five colleges and and a free bus service makes this a very accessible option. It's all the benefits of an intimate liberal arts education with personal attention, caring professors, and a tight-knit community, without the limiting factors that many other small institutions face. The town of Amherst is eclectic and extremely college-friendly, full of coffee shops, cheap eateries, and funky stores. In sunny weather the town green is full of picnickers, Frisbee players, and students reading or doing work. It really is that idyllic college town you see in brochures. The administration is genuinely interested in what students have to say and makes a concerted effort to be accessible and meet the needs of the student body.
The open curriculum is great for students who want to explore a little of everything and get a really well-rounded education. Intellectual curiosity is fed and encouraged, with many opportunities for students to conduct their own research and experiments on topics of their choice, or work with professors on independent projects. Professors are extremely accessible and approachable, making themselves available for office hours, one-on-one help, and even inviting students into their homes, out to dinner, or to lunch in the faculty dining hall. It's thrilling to work alongside some of the foremost scholars in their fields and actually buy the textbook written by the professor who's teaching the class. The school's general philosophy is opposed to pre-professional tracks of study, but rather aims to instill a passion for learning and and help students establish a base that will serve them well wherever they go. Be prepared to challenge your own beliefs and conceptions, though. You may find yourself with fewer answers than you began with upon entering the college, but this, to me is evidence that you've gotten the most out of your courses here.
There really is no single type of Amherst student, and I can honestly say that this is the most diverse group of people I have ever come across. The school is committed to making college affordable for students, regardless of their financial situation, and the aid office is really great about working to make the costs to students and their families manageable. The campus is very inclusive, and students hailing from all sorts of backgrounds and experiences mix and interact. Diverse perspectives make class discussions an incredible opportunity to learn from your classmates. Almost everybody you meet is passionate about something, whether it's a cause, a sport, an instrument, or an activity. The energy on campus is truly astounding. Any student who is hard-working, motivated, and willing to approach things with an open mind will fit right in. We're all a little quirky in our own ways, and this is what gives Amherst its allure.
The Best Things
The students! I have met so many facinating, intense, passionate people. That's really what makes the Amherst experience so extraordinary.
The Worst Things
rare instances of intolerance