Choose Williams. Amherst raised their tuition 4% during Covid; Williams dropped theirs by 15%. Amherst financial aid are really unfriendly and stingy. At least at Bowdoin they're nice and at least Williams is reasonable. If you have a choice, choose Williams or Bowdoin.
I've very much enjoyed my time here. People talk about the "Amherst Bubble," which is in some ways true, but in a good way. Amherst and the surrounding areas are very much college and education driven. Including all 5 area colleges/universities, there are over 30,000 students here, so the feel of the town is very academic. The College itself is in a "bubble" in that everyone lives on campus all 4 years, there are no "commuter" students, everything is for the most part walking distance, etc. and everything tends to revolve around academics. The student body here is truly amazing, I think there are only a handful of colleges that can match it.
It's an amazing place, they only take the very top students (for example, average ACT score for acceptance was 33 this year, which is top 1%), so the student body is very bright. But in addition, admissions does a good job of admitting well rounded students.
The school is also very wealthy (the endowment is over $1 million per student), so everything is well funded.
Amherst was a transformational experience. The professors are for the most part the best, the curriculum is challenging and rewarding. The sciences are very strong, I am currently in med school and the number of people from Amherst who get into top medical schools (Harvard, Johns Hopkins, etc) is impressive.
Amherst has taken a while to grow on me, but overall I love my friends, my professors, the campus, and the opportunities it has afforded me. The campus is beautiful, there are many ways to get involved, and it is easy to make friends because there are so few students and everyone shares the same dining hall. Students say they don't like the food, but I personally like the dining hall food; I've been to bad college dining halls, and this one doesn't qualify.
At the end of the day when you graduate, you have that Amherst name on your resume. The alumni connections are ridiculous amazing and the academics are above average. The social scene is definitely struggling, especially since the socials were torn down, but if you have a good set of friends you'll be okay. The food isn't the best at Val and there are limited choices outside of the school because we're in a small town. Overall I like the small town, close knit vibe of the school. If you don't like the idea of being in a small school you could escape to near by umass amherst to take some classes, I guess.
Amherst has been everything that I had hoped for, and more. I've loved my years here and will miss the school, town, professors and all the people I've met here. Most seniors feel the same way, excited to either enter the real world or start graduate school, but sad to leave Amherst behind.
My love for Amherst College stems from the fact that it is an institution that trusts
its students so profoundly, giving them the freedom to design their own curriculum, explore the
depths of their interests and intellect, and become architects of their own education. Moreover,
diversity lies not just in the race, thought, and creed of the students but in the courses offered. A
prospective English major, the range and rigor of the English department at Amherst, that has
crafted such fertile minds including the likes of David Foster Wallace, beckons me.
A great place to study. The academics are serious, for sure. But the amount of academic growth that you'll see in your four years here is amazing. Very strong alumni network with alums in the highest levels of government, business and academia. A wide range of very interesting people here.
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