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Amherst College

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IF you take advantage of the opportunities atPsychology
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.

Alumnus Male -- Class 2000
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Amherst provided an incredible environment for learning ofNeuroscience/Cognitive Science
Amherst provided an incredible environment for learning of all kinds: intellectual, social, emotional, artistic... Professors are incredibly dedicated to teaching, and form close relationships with students. I focused heavily on sciences, and were I to do it over, would take more advantage of the liberal arts offerings. If Amherst is your target school, I suggest that you aim to excel academically and personally, and that you engage significantly in activities that demonstrate a "social conscience". Amherst is a school that heavily weighs the importance of social action and efforts to improve the community and world. If you show similar goals through your actions, they will want you as part of their community.
Alumnus Male -- Class 2000
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Amherst offers an extraordinary opportunity for a firstHistory/Histories (art history/etc.)
Amherst offers an extraordinary opportunity for a first rate, very rigorous education of the sort that actually change a person and the way they do things. It is a very tough ,serious school with a lot of work and high competition. For people who like challenges it's terrific, if not, it can be discouraging.

The access to faculty and the detailed, personal nature of the criticism you get from them is remarkably effective and helpful, much more so than at Ivy League schools, replete as they are with teaching assistants and faculty more interested in personal advancement. Amherst professors like to teach and do a terrific job of it.

The primary criticisms is characteristic of all hyper-competitive prestige schools: narrow minded faculty, heavily liberal and doctrinaire, but that isn't unique to this school.

Amherst is also an excellent stepping stone to first rate grad schools, all of whom respect it, and know how difficult it is. If you do well at Amherst you'll go on to excellent grad/professional schools.

Criticisms you'll see here from "minority students" reflects the somewhat lower standards in the admission processs, as at many upper end schools, and the resulting diffiulty of some of the students admitted under those preference systems.

Alumnus Male -- Class 2000
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