Amherst College is located in Massachusetts, within the city that shares its own name.
The quaint town of under 40,000 residents is a quick jaunt from the big city areas of Boston and New York City, so students have the best of both worlds.
Amherst’s reputation is predicated upon its reputation as a top-tier writing college.
In two centuries, the faculty and alumni networks have included literary greats like poets Robert Frost and Richard Wilbur and novelists Dan Brown and David Foster Wallace.
There are more than 200 organizations for students to join, and Amherst boasts an impressive athletics department.
The school has clenched 76 Division III titles and 11 team championships in its history – its athletics program is actually the oldest in the United States!
Students opt to attend Amherst for its intimate, diverse learning environment and opportunities to study abroad.
The school maintains a 7:1 student-to-faculty ratio with an average class size of 19 members. 84% of classes house fewer than 30 students at any given time.
More than 45% of Amherst students choose to study abroad at some point in their four years of college.
There are many reasons to attend Amherst College, and getting in is much easier as an early decision applicant than a regular decision one.
In what follows, we discuss the early decision acceptance rate, along with important deadlines and decision dates.
We’ll take you through step-by-step instructions for applying to Amherst and get honest about what it means to be deferred.
Spoiler alert: deferred students are still in the running for acceptance at Amherst!
Amherst College Early Decision Acceptance Rate
Amherst College accepted 24.3% of early decision applicants in its most recent admissions cycle.
Out of 878 Early Decision candidates, 213 were admitted.
While 24.3% is undoubtedly a competitive acceptance rate, it is considerably less so than the overall acceptance rate of 8.7%.
13,999 first-time, first-year students (including early decision applicants) applied, and only 1,224 were admitted.
The odds of getting into Amherst are much more favorable to early decision/action applicants as opposed to regular decision applicants.
It takes a solid academic record and application materials to enter Amherst. 92% of recently admitted students finished in the top 10% of their graduating high school classes.
While Amherst College maintains an optional standardized testing policy, many early decision and regular decision applicants choose to submit their SAT and ACT scores.
In the past admission cycle, 35% of enrolled students submitted SAT scores, while 31% submitted ACT scores.
Enrolled students scoring between the 25th and 75th percentiles obtained a 720-780 on the SAT Evidence-based Reading & Writing section, a 720-790 on the SAT Math section, and a 32-35 on the ACT Composite.
These score ranges are high and can certainly enhance the competitiveness of one’s application.
Amherst College Early Decision Decision Date
Early decision applicants to Amherst College can expect an admission notification by December 15.
Fewer applicants in this cycle mean that admissions officers can devote more time to thoroughly reviewing each application.
Each application is ready by a minimum of two academic deans prior to moving to the admission committee for final review.
What is the admission committee evaluating during this time?
To start, they’re examining the secondary school transcript as well as teacher and guidance counselor recommendations.
They are also paying attention to the candidate’s quality of writing, as evidenced throughout the essays, writing supplement, standardized test scores, and other materials.
Far and away, the most “weight” goes to the academic transcript and the level of rigor apparent through the list of completed courses.
Admissions officers want to see that applicants have not only pursued advanced level classes but that they have excelled within these more demanding academic environments.
If you have high grades in AP, IB, or Dual-Credit courses, that looks impressive to admissions officers. In many instances, applicants can even forego introductory-level classes at Amherst if they score very high on AP/IB examinations.
Amherst does not require specific courses for admission; however, they share that the most successful applicants have completed at least four credits each in English Language Arts, mathematics, science, social studies, and a foreign language.
Once the Amherst College Office of Admissions has reduced the pool of applicants based on academics, they then focus on accomplishments, recommendations, and writing quality to make further distinctions among candidates.
Amherst College Early Decision Deadline
November 1 is the deadline to apply for Early Decision at Amherst College – this date is two months earlier than the Regular Decision application deadline of January 3.
You know that the acceptance rates are less competitive, and that’s partly because Early Decision applicants compete in a smaller pool.
The Office of Admissions has shared that only 10% of Amherst applicants do so through the early decision option.
When submitting your early decision application materials to Amherst College, it is important to know that you are committing to a binding option.
This means you agree not to apply as an Early Decision candidate at any other college.
Should you gain admittance to Amherst College, you are expected to withdraw any extant applications at other institutions.
That being said, applying early decision is best for students who are determined to attend Amherst College.
Make sure to complete any financial aid materials during the Early Decision application window. Typically, this means submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), College Scholarship Service (CSS) Profile, and your/your parents’ tax returns.
Amherst College remains need-blind for national and international applicants.
For the 2020-2021 admission cycle, Amherst granted more than $60 million in scholarship assistance to students, with an average financial aid package of $59,000.
Amherst College Early Decision Deferral Rate
Amherst College does not give a specific percentage of deferred students from each application cycle.
That being said, the admissions committee reports that most early decision applicants are either admitted or deferred for reconsideration within the regular decision pool.
Some early decision applicants will receive a denial notification on December 15.
A deferral is not necessarily a bad omen for one’s future at any given university.
Amherst College has a tremendous academic reputation – if your application is still in the running, then it is a competitive one.
In many cases, admissions officers desire further evidence that a tentative admit can thrive in Amherst’s academic environment.
Continue excelling in your classes (especially your core classes) and do what you can at home to paint a strong picture of yourself as a candidate.
In some circumstances, students may be offered a place on the waiting list.
Last year, 1,258 were offered a spot, and 788 accepted a position.
Unfortunately, no students were admitted from Amherst College’s waitlist.
It’s safe to say that it might be a good idea to shift energy toward other schools and application deadlines when offered a space on the waitlist.
Students admitted to Amherst College do have the option to defer their own matriculation for up to one year without reapplying.
After confirming their intent to enroll at Amherst, students then have until May 1 to share a written statement outlining their plans for a gap year.
Students often devote themselves to traveling, performing community service, working, or pursuing interests during this time.
How to Apply to Amherst College for Early Decision
To apply early decision to Amherst College, applicants should first complete the Common Application or the QuestBridge Application and send a non-refundable application fee of $65.
The next item of business is the Amherst Writing Supplement. Students are given three prompts and may only respond to one prompt.
Option A allows early decision applicants to respond to one of four quotes.
Option B prompts students to submit a graded paper from their junior or senior year that best reflects their writing talents and critical thinking capabilities.
Option C is reserved for those applying through Amherst’s Access to Amherst (A2A) program.
After devoting careful thought and effort to the Amherst Writing Supplement, Early Decision applicants must contact a school guidance counselor to send several items on their behalf: the school report and the secondary school transcript.
They should follow these materials up with a counselor recommendation. These items represent the rigor of a school’s curriculum, providing a context for the applicant’s achievements.
Students are also responsible for asking two teachers to submit recommendations on their behalf.
Preferably, the evaluations come from instructors in English Language Arts, mathematics, science, social studies, or foreign language courses.
Early decision applicants who choose to submit their SAT or ACT scores may self-report them or send official score copies.
Once a student is accepted to Amherst College, they will be asked for official score copies.
One essential item that early decision applicants must make sure to complete is the early decision agreement. This document binds them to enroll at Amherst College, pending acceptance.
After submitting all of these materials, others will “trickle in” after the deadline. Make sure to send the mid-year school report and transcript after the first semester grades are finalized (either in late December or early January).
All early decision applicants will eventually need to share their final transcripts once second-semester grades are recorded.