Amherst College '15
Majoring in Political Science and Government
Member since 11/6/2011
At Amherst College, there are no prerequisites or application processes for gaining access to a particular program of study. Once matriculated, the open-curriculum allows students may choose courses from every program without any restriction or general education requirements.
Due no small part to freshman conduct during orientation, new alcohol policies have been implemented that severely restrict public consumption. Furthermore, the Amherst College police are taking a more proactive role in curtailing underage drinking. There are not significant sanctions for being caught, but the stricter enforcement has put a damper on an already dismal party scene.
Amherst College does a phenomenal job at assembling a diverse freshman class each year. In fact, Amherst has the highest percentage of Pell grant recipients of any elite institution. The admissions process is not only need-blind, but actually prefers students from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds. Amherst active alumni and vast financial resources allow this generosity.
However, there are some issues with diversity that the institution should address. Students are quite active in shaping life at the college and are quick to point out ways to improve it. Recently, there has been increased focus on the effects of athletics on the overall student body. There is certainly a divide between athletes and the other students that is apparent in most settings here.
The academics are phenomenal and the workload is quite demanding. It can be difficult to find free time that is not detrimental to my studies, but I still manage to go out almost every weekend.
I do enjoy the social scene, but I am not sure what most students do on a given night (aside from studying / writing). I spend most weeknights finishing up class readings and attending weekly club meetings. There are always upcoming talks and panels on all sorts of fascinating topics, but the workload does not allow for much indulgence.
Nonetheless, the party scene leaves something to be desired. The "social dorms" are in a suite-style setup and often host most large social gatherings. Typically, there is alcohol and dance music playing with waaaay too many people packed into a common room. There are probably three times as many people as the Fire Marshal would permit.
I visited a number of Ivies and top LACs. Amherst College's great facilities were critical in convincing me that I'd love it here.
There can be some large snowfall, but it's not much of a problem. All the walkways are kept clear and staff lays down salt whenever snow is expected.
The first couple weeks of the academic year are on the warm side, so a fan is a good idea.
Good as Ccs Go – Solid institution. There are some issues here and there, but I expect this experience is far beyond the typical CC. The faculty have impressive credentials (Columbia, Northwestern, MIT, Michigan, N. Carolina, Williams, Georgetown, Brandeis ).
4 Year College Oriented – The college does a moderately good job in regards to transferring students to public four year institutions. However, they are lacking in the arena of finding students who only desire an associates degree, a job post graduation. I'm not sure if this will be addressed, as the bureaucracy is quite large and political (they won't even fund a veterans' prgm).
The MC alumni network is quite extensive, and provides a lot of funding for the school. There are many successful alumni, along with many who never graduated.
An Eclectic Group – The three campuses making up MC have distinctive environments. I have not taken classes at Takoma Park, but it certainly is where the vast bulk of the crime takes place. I have been active at both of the other campuses. Rockville is the largest of the three, and has the most diverse population. There is an issue with parking, as there are not ever enough spaces during peak hours, 9 - 12 pm. The Germantown campus is much more homogenous, reflective of the local population. There are less adult learners, with most students coming from local high schools. In fact, this campus could easily be mistaken for a high school considering that many of the students are under 20 years of age. The lack of friction among the students is reflected with the professors, albeit anecdotal, my experience has been that the avg. professor comes from more elite schools on the Germantown campus (i.e. Ann Arbor, Columbia, etc.)
A Pleasant Junior College – This is a great junior college as far as nationwide recognition of quality academics is concerned. The faculty is pretty great, and you can learn a lot from certain professors. The workload is not demanding at all, you will need to take honors courses for a modicum of challenge.
For those of you looking to transfer to a Maryland school, this is certainly the way to go, as MC does have many matriculation agreements locally.
To those of you going out-of-state, especially to prestigious/Ivy schools, you are really on your own. The school is not the best on addressing anything outside Maryland. I do suggest speaking with Dr. Laufe, Professor of Anthropology if you want to get into a top 20, she runs the honors program and probably has the most experience/knowledge on all three campuses.
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