2 years ago
Admissions Advice

Amherst College Class of 2026 drops to 6.93% from 8% last cycle

What we know so far is that Amherst received more applications this cycle because they 100% dropped legacy admissions! Amherst like MIT and CalTech gives zero preferential treatment to legacy applicants.

This prompted more people to shoot their shot. They received 14800 applications versus 14000 last year.

The admit pool was also lower at 1025 vs 1120 which dropped the acceptance rate to 6.93%

In 2 COVID cycles, schools like Amherst, Pomona, Swarthmore are posting admit rates closer to what UPenn, Cornell and Dartmouth were. Since these schools are very small and have limited ability to grow fast, I fully expect them to get to 5% admit rates within a couple years.

The big idea here is that Liberal Arts Colleges are both prestigious and offer excellent educations, sometimes equal or better than IVYs and Elites. I think parents and consultants will re-evaluate their value and encourage their kids/clients to apply to them before they get too difficult to get into like IVYs/Elites.

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2 years ago

I agree that soon top liberal arts colleges will be just as difficult to get into as Ivy's and Elites. Many high achieving applicants overlook them because they are not as well known or branded. It's time they consider them as an alternative to Ivy's and Elites.


2 years ago

Your advice is to apply to them because they are “easier” than the Ivies at less than 7% acceptance. While easier is relative term I hardly think anyone should encourage kids to apply here. Academic performance is secondary to the class they are trying to craft with the ever evolving and likely opaque emphasis of the day. Access, diversity, and equality are admirable until admission is no longer equal or representatively diverse.

🎤2 years ago

You have a right to your opinion about not encouraging anyone to apply to Williams and similar schools. Nevertheless, I'm just reporting the weather. And the weather report shows that Ivy's, Elites, Private LACs are all facing the same problem which is extremely high demand and not enough seats to serve the all the students that want to be there. While you might think that academic performance is secondary, every admission officer at top schools would vehemently disagree with you. It still is the most important criteria. But lets be honest, top colleges have been a run like a private 3 ring circus for hundreds of years so this is nothing new. You need to audition for a part in the circus as a performer, you just can't have a 4.0 UWGPA and a 1600/36 test score and sit in the audience taking notes. Colleges expect you to engage, add something positive to the campus and be more than your gpa/test score. These days you need both.

🎤2 years ago[edited]

I do think Amherst is doing more to level the playing field than most elite colleges by eliminating the preferential legacy admission practice. I do not think any of these schools will eliminate athletic recruitment however since they've been playing League Baseball since 1859 (163 years) and Football since 1884 (138 years). 1/3 of the school plays a varsity sport and 80% does a club or intramural one. 45% of Amherst student identify as POCs, 25% qualify for PELL Grants and Amherst admits many low income /first gen students through community service orgs. like Questbridge etc. What are you saying? These schools are not trying hard enough? Or are you just venting about higher education in America? It's true our public school K-12 and many public colleges are sub-par. Who's at fault for this, the private higher education machine?

2 years ago

You may be reporting the weather but meteorology is an imperfect science. If the Ivies admit at 4% and Amherst, Williams et al, admit at 7% that may seem like a meaningful difference (or not). The Ivies at least have many more spots to fill. The top tier of liberal arts colleges 400-600 per class. A majority of those are fill in ED with athletes etc. My point is just that these are not actually a viable option.

They are all facing high demand but it is a largely self-created problem as they encourage more and more applicants to further cement their position as desirable. There may be more applicants in the mix with the rise of PELL grants, Questbridge, and the recent performance of higher ed endowments which make need blind access more prevalent. That said, the continued shrinking of acceptance causes students to apply to more schools which only exacerbates the problem.

Your characterization of schools now (and then) as circuses requiring an audition is an excellent one however. It is pretty subjective however and the criteria is shifting and not entirely logical. PELL grants should be problematic for schools as they make admissions judgements on criteria with no standing in the law such as first generation students. Those are tax dollars folks.

2 years ago

Yes higher education in America is a problem. I am not certain private higher education is to blame. The market has always found a way to address opportunity. I agree that public school funding should be blended at the state level, distributed evenly and should not allow funding outside this funnel. It would serve as a de facto tax as wealthier areas had to pay more to return their zip codes to their standard. This would also hurt private higher ed but the playing field would be a little more level.


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