Best Colleges in America 2022
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Overall Score: 76.24

Amherst College

Amherst, a traditionally top-ranked liberal arts school, has many qualities that set it apart among small elite colleges. Unlike most top schools, which dictate a variety of basic classes that lower classmen must take, Amherst has no required courses, except for a first-year seminar emphasizing writing and critical thinking. A consortium with nearby schools University of Massachusetts, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke and Smith allows students to cross-register for courses for no additional fee. The college is recognized for its commitment to teaching and close interaction between professors and students and boasts an 7:1 student-faculty ratio. Amherst is one of a small group of schools that pledge to meet 100% of every student's demonstrated financial need. Partially as a result, the majority of students – approximately 85% – graduate without student loan debt. With fewer than 2,000 students, Amherst's campus offers an intimate experience; 45% of its students also take part in study abroad programs in places like Paris, Athens and Cairo. In addition to its attractive and nearly 200-year-old campus, Amherst maintains a 500-acre wildlife sanctuary with wetlands and woodlands. Sports have always been popular on campus, especially competitions between Amherst and friendly rival Williams College. The annual football game between the two Division III schools is known as the Biggest Little Game in America, a hat tip to the "Big Game" played annually by rivals Stanford and UC Berkeley.

Costs

Est. full price 2022-2023
$81,800
% of students who get any grants
60%
Est. price for students who receive aid
$19,900
Average price for low-income students
$4,470

Admissions

Acceptance rate
12%
Median SAT/ACT score
1420/27
SAT/ACT required?
No
Undergraduate enrollment
1,840

Financial Aid

% of students with need who get grants
100%
% of need met
100%
% of students who get merit grants
N/A
Average merit grant
N/A

Student Success

Graduation rate
93%
Average time to a degree
4.1 years
Median student debt
$13,800
Early career earnings
$71,570
% earning more than a high school grad
71%

Notes: Students who get merit grants are full-time undergraduates who had no financial need and were awarded grants. Graduation rate measures degree completion within six years for both transfer students and first-time students. Early career earnings are the median earnings for both graduates and non-completers, 10 years after they first enrolled.

Sources: U.S. Department of Education, Peterson’s, Money/Witlytic calculations.

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