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People work had and play hard.
After almost two years, I've never had a problem with an Amherst professor. I've found them to be extremely helpful. I've been irritated with the teaching style of a visiting professor, but she wasn't asked back, and every college has visiting professors. There are no TAs. The courses are challenging but they provide you with every support you would need to succeed. So basically, they ask a lot but do everything in their power to help you have a successful experience.
For such a small school, there is a surprising amount going on whenever you want to go out. We like costumes and semi-formals and throwing surprise parties for friends. Parties are open to everyone and the hosts of the party generally provide alcohol, so it is easy to find for free whenever you would want it. Socializing without boozing up is easy too, there are always a lot of fun events on campus, and if you want to go out dancing without the drinking, just do it.
Amherst will force you to be open-minded. As with any school, there is going to be a patch of freshman year during which you are always surrounded by people, and are having an unbelievable amount of fun, yet for some reason you feel decidedly homesick and kind of lonely. During this period you might feel like there aren't enough people similar to your friends back home (regardless of your background). But Amherst students are incredibly diverse and surprising. I've found that snap judgments based on appearance are rarely true, and that everyone and anyone finds their niche. Also, if you are a friendly/outgoing person you will find that everyone is incredibly receptive to it and you will make lots of different kinds of friends with different kinds of interests.
People generally have a low-key style.
Amherst students are very confident in their ability to affect the world around them.
Sometimes it will seem like everyone around you is involved in a million things, and, often, they are. People are diverse and come to college for different reasons, and Amherst values that. It does not select a class of only philanthropists or only investment bankers or only philanthropic investment bankers. Amherst will change you in the sense that it will help you clarify your interests (because you are surrounded by diverse people). Because it gives you the social contacts/tools for success, for better or worse it will make you want to be the best. If you go in wanting to be a social worker, you will leave wanting to be a double PhD and leading intellectual in the field of social work. If your interest is in making a lot of money, your experiences will clarify that and inspire you to be the wealthiest. If your interest is helping people, your experiences will clarify that and make you want to be the most successful at doing so. If your interest is in learning a lot, your experiences will provide you with everything you could possibly need to do that.
|Feb 19 2008|| 1st Year Female --
Class 2010 |
| IF you take advantage of the opportunities at AC, this is a truly challenging school. Students tend to take on a ton of extracurriculars, and most challenge themselves academically (there is a range of course difficulty as at any college). At times I was overwhelmed, but it made me a better person to be surrounded by incredible students and supportive professors. The faculty and administration went WAY above the call of duty for me; I've been out to drinks with profs, over to their houses for dinner, they've called friends to hook me up with opportunities, etc. I felt so close to some them after my years at school that I invited three to my graduation dinner (otherwise, it was just immediate family and my boyfriend). The connections I made are also already proving valuable. Amherst is really an "ask and you shall receive" institution.|
For the most part, the facilities and dorms are phenomenal. My parents joke that I went to school at a country club. The science building itself could use a little work (they are replacing it within the next couple years) but I can't say enough good things about the professors and opportunities (to do research, etc.) in the science departments.
There are a lot of opportunities to drink. I had a wonderful time socially, but it can be difficult to balance times to de-stress with the tidal waves of school work. Overall, I liked my classmates, and was often surprised by their range of interests and talents. It certainly helps to be outgoing here, because many students are kind of shy (which could be mistaken as cold, but these students are usually VERY appreciative of invitations and genuine friendliness). I would also recommend making the extra effort to befriend 5-college students in your classes and at parties.
Not the biggest fan of the weather. The dining hall food is also relatively mediocre but improving dramatically each year (also, there is a co-op on campus that cooks its own food, and you can live there if you really aren't satisfied...)I just wanted to note that the negative comments seem to be from non-Amherst students who may have had ONE bad experience for whatever reason. I'm really happy I went to AC and proud of myself for taking a challenging route and coming out on top.
|Apr 25 2011|| Alumna Female --
Class 2000 |
| A great academic experience...a mediocre social experience. The vocal minority at Amherst that runs the social scene subscribes to the stereotypical high school social heirarchy. Exclusive social circles are often organized around sports teams and quasi-fraternities. My theory is that many Amherst students were self-hating nerds in high school who see college as a chance to reclaim something they never had in high school. There is something of a social rat-race (more among girls than guys...a disturbing number of girls develop eating disorders...I mean, really disturbing...) Fortunately, most kids outgrow this by their senior year. However, the first few years at Amherst are often very difficult and frustrating for those who either try too hard to fit on or those who choose not to buy into the social system at all...many students become depressed as freshman and sophomores. |
| Starting Job: Research Assistant, Preparedness: A+, Reputation: A |
|May 26 2005|| Alumnus Male --
Class 2000 |