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Is it a warm friendly atmosphere at Amherst?


Replies to: Is it a warm friendly atmosphere at Amherst?

  • mythmommythmom Registered User Posts: 8,305 Senior Member
    Nah, as I said, the fault was mind. Though we shouldn't even be talking to each other as mothers of Amherst and Williams students. (LOL.)

    I didn't start to frequent threads until all was settled. I don't know what that means. I guess I was very absorbed in college process with two kids, and now it's over but the habit remains.

    However, no offence remains. It's all good.
  • FarmFreshFarmFresh Registered User Posts: 45 Junior Member
    I don't go to Amherst so maybe I shouldn't post here. Still, I'm not sure you can expect students at a school to post about what doesn't work for them, so here goes.

    The open curriculum attracts a lot of people to Amherst. My cousin who goes there has had a lot of trouble with it. He says he is always overcome with indecision when picking classes and then has something like "buyer's remorse." He says that a liberal arts education should be broad but now he also thinks it should also be deep and that an education should have some coherence. He feels that he just floundered around and superficially dipped into too many things that sounded interesting, ending up feeling a little insecure about the things he's taken outside his major (he's a senior) and his grades in some of his "far flung adventures" have been terrible because he never caught on in those classes. Advising systems have helped but he acknowledges that an open curriculum was not a good fit for him.

    I think curriculum structure is a really important aspect of "fit." I know I didn't like Columbia because the curriculum was too structured for me. In the same way, I wouldn't be comfortable with the highly structured curriculum my friend has at West Point. I'm at a school with broad distributional requirements that don't feel like a burden to me. Amherst's open curriculum probably would have fitted me much better than it does my cousin.

    Everybody's different.

    P.S. My cousin generally has very good things to say about other aspects of Amherst.
  • tetrisfantetrisfan Registered User Posts: 11,791 Senior Member
    Well, there is a sense of responsibility required of one when attending a school with an open curriculum...
  • unregisteredunregistered Registered User Posts: 1,180 Senior Member
    My advisor encouraged me to still take courses in a variety of fields, and most people do that. It's great to have the option. Amherst students should be mature enough to handle an open curriculum, and thrive with it. And most do.
  • Curious KidCurious Kid Registered User Posts: 405 Member
    exactly, I think the Open Curriculum at Amherst is a great idea~ if you really wanna take the variety of classes similar to that of a college with distribution requirements, you can certainly do that! The only difference here is that at places like Amherst and Smith, you get to CHOOSE whether you want to do this or not, say if you hate maths/science/quantitative reasoning, you can forget about all these and just pick the classes that interest you! it's entirely your own pick, so grab the opportunity and don't feel lost!!
  • KamikazewaveKamikazewave Registered User Posts: 874 Member
    When I meant the people were genuinely nice and helpful, even to some lost prefrosh who lost his luggage and needed to go to town to buy some clothes.

    They even offered to let me use their clothes but I had no underwear haha.

    The people are great.
  • TxTx87TxTx87 Registered User Posts: 41 Junior Member
    The comments here have made me feel a lot better about Amherst. I've heard from some students and even teachers that it has somewhat of reputation of having preppy, snooty kids...

    So I'm wondering is the atmosphere at Amherst similar to that of Haverford or Swarthmore? They seem to embrace their "friendly nerds" image. Is Amherst like that, or are there a lot of jocks and kids who love to party here?
  • GA2012MOMGA2012MOM Registered User Posts: 5,440 Senior Member
    edited June 2014
    TxTx87, my D was at Diversity weekend, and the visit could not have been more positive. She found the kids there to be the opposite, not snooty at all! She has many of them on facebook now, and speaks very highly of them. My D is a jock, and she roomed with students in her sport. When I asked her on her return if she was sad to leave, she replied "When I left Amherst, I felt like I was going on vacation, as if this was my home." She found her fit! Mom is happy! Oh, and she does "embrace her nerdiness."
    Post edited by CCadmin_Elisabeth on
  • TxTx87TxTx87 Registered User Posts: 41 Junior Member
    Thanks for the prompt response GA2012MOM. I'm glad to hear that Amherst suited your D well.
    It's not so much that I'm nerdish as it is that I'm painfully unathletic. So I'm also wondering if there are a decent number of students here who do not play a sport (even an IM) but still manage to fit in. When I visited the campus, I didn't find anyone to be snooty, but I'm glad that you confirmed this.
  • slipper1234slipper1234 Registered User Posts: 9,084 Senior Member
    I completely disagree that Amherst is warmer than Dartmouth. Both are incredibly warm, tightknit, schools.
  • GA2012MOMGA2012MOM Registered User Posts: 5,440 Senior Member
    edited June 2014
    TxTx87, I'm not sure about the "jock" factor. She asked on her DIVOH application to be mateched with someone from her sport, so she could have something in common, but definately was NOT the reason or highlight of her stay. While passionate about her sport, she would be on the fringe of making the Amherst team. Her enthusiasm for Amherst came from the entire package, not just one thing.
    Post edited by CCadmin_Elisabeth on
  • lmpwlmpw Registered User Posts: 617 Member
    My daughter is a first year student at Amherst. She also attended the Diversity Open House last year and was instantly sold on Amherst. She is not an athlete. While some of her friends are athletes, most are not. She's into writing and is involved with the college's newspaper and a literary group. Amherst is a place for students of all types of interest and I don't have any sense that athletes dominate on campus.
  • ejr1ejr1 Registered User Posts: 1,128 Senior Member
    D is now a jr. doing Study Abroad and the least athletic person I know! We tried everything when she was a child, and finally bowling worked for her for awhile. She won't touch it anymore. She loves Amherst and many of her friends are overseas this year, as well, and they are visiting each other and havinga terrific experience. One of her friends is into journalism, another into volunteerism, D is into Quiz Bowl, so there are many, many, opportunities there for everyone. As for snobs. Yes, there are some - aren't there everywhere? I went to a small college in a farming community, and we had our snobs, too, even though 99.9% of us were poor. Some people will always think they are better than others. Do they affect D's experience? No. Her friends are a mix of rich, middle class and poor, and no one cares. They care about the person - period. I have visited often, and met the nicest kids around there. Everyone was helpful.
  • isa087isa087 Registered User Posts: 113 Junior Member
    i want to know how to open curriculum promotes learning...
    much freedom but lacks the environment to spur you work hard??
  • fhimas88888888fhimas88888888 Registered User Posts: 1,871 Senior Member
    ^ Seriously? People don't go to Amherst SIMPLY to get the open curriculum so they can take 'chemistry in society'-like classes all 4 years. Amherst kids (and most kids at top colleges/universities) don't really need extra incentive to work as most of them are working because 1) they love it or 2) they hope to get a really great job which will not come by taking slacker classes (which I'm not even sure exist on the whole).
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