- Class: Freshman
- Gender: M
- High School: Public
- Transfer Student: N
I feel that Amherst provides students with the ultimate college experience. A student body full of smart kids who double as top notch athletes, singers, dancers, and artists, as well as a great deal of school unity and pride, and a fun social scene. The town of Amherst is superb in that is has all of the necessary shops, pharmacies, bars, and restaurants, that are all designed for college students because there are so many in the area.
Given the small nature of the student population (1600-1700), the classes are generally small and intimate. However these are not like small high school classes, in that the professors are of an incredibly high caliber. They challenge, argue, lead, and educate in such a fashion that students want to study and do well because they are interested by the matieral and impressed by the the faculty. The faculty rewards the students' genuine interest and hard work with decent grade inflation so that it is hard to get below a B with an honest effort, although recieving an A- or above is still very impressive. Generally they is a lot of reading in the arts classes, and less reading but more class in the sciences. There are no distribution requirements, so students take classes they want to take from the very begining. Classes are not very difficult to get into, yet are still very small. Both of these attributes add to a healthy relationship between students, professors, and academic interest/achievement.
Virtually everyone is very intelligent, up-to-date with current events, and interested have intellectual conversations. At the same time virtually everyone is unexpectedly laid back, non-competitive, and takes pride in others achievements. People are into watching athletic events, partying, hanging out, and having a good time -- all while being successful academically. The ultra-nerdy kid will not do as well at Amherst as they would at a bigger but equally academic college because they will feel socially isolated. Not necessarily because they aren't interested in sports, but because the general student body is extroverted, outgoing, confident, and refreshingly eccentric. There is a relatively huge proportion of varsity athletes (about a third). They are good at sports and fun to hang with. There are many public school kids. Most of campus is on some sort of financial aid, but at the same time the kids on campus seem financially well-off. There is a good amout of racial diversity, but minorities seem to intentionally isolate themselves a bit in order to retain ethnic identity (in the dining hall, housing, parties). That being said their are never racial/sexual orientation/gender issues and students of all sorts constantly mingle.
The Best Things
The non-competitive, supportive, demanding network of students, athletes, performers, partiers, and professors.
The Worst Things
Having one dining hall -- there is no where to hide if you really needed to.