Hi everyone! I've been fortunate enough to have been admitted to Amherst and Duke and I'm torn as to which is the best option for me. (I've also been admitted to Williams--for right now I've tentatively eliminated it because of its extremely rural location. However, I'm definitely open to hearing arguments for Williams as well.)
I've done a lot of research on CC and other websites, and I've formulated my own opinions of these schools splitting up my analysis of these into two main umbrellas: academics and campus life/ college experience.
Academically, I am pretty set on the pre-med track. I know that Amherst has a very high pre-med admission rate into medical school (around 80-90% from the research that I've done). I've also read Amherst's premed guide so I know that the school is overall quite good at preparing their students. The statistic 80-90% is extremely high so I know that many students who started off wanting to do pre-med ended up not applying by the end. Does anyone have more insight into how this "weeding out" system works at Amherst?
A potential pro for Amherst over Duke is that I would be able to have a closer relationship with professors and not have to compete with graduate students for spots in research. However, I do know that undergraduates get opportunities to be involved with research at Duke's medical center, which has an incredible amount of resources that Amherst might not be able to match, given its location in a small town. Because of Duke's location in the research triangle and hospital/medical school presence, Duke might also be able to provide more summer opportunities volunteering or shadowing or working in the medical field. How easy is it for Amherst students to get similar opportunities/how good is the school at helping students in that respect?
Another potential pro for Amherst is less of the competitive, cut-throat atmosphere that pre-med is infamous for, one that I hope to avoid as much as I can. This is just my guess though, can anyone offer any insight into the pre-med culture at Amherst and how that might compare to the culture at Duke? From what I perceive about Duke, the culture there is competitive but it also isn't close to being the worst out of larger universities.
Now moving on the (for me, slightly less important that academics) half of my analysis of these two schools: campus life/college experience. I think I prefer Duke on this one, though I will be visiting both which I hope will give me a better idea. Generally, I like the idea of a smaller school but I fear that Amherst will be too small, whereas Duke will be the perfect size. I read somewhere from an Amherst student that after four years they felt like they had met everyone and done most everything the school had to offer. However, one concern I have about Duke is the prominence of greek life and social stratification, whereas Amherst strikes me as more of a collective environment, though I could be wrong. I also like the weather at Duke better. Overall, I do give Duke a bit of an edge in this part of my analysis.
Thank you so much if you've read to this point! I appreciate any answers people can give to any of my questions, I just want as much information as possible before making my decision