Successful admission to Amherst…not a familiar place in my country!

This will be a weird post bear with me lol.

International student from a high-school in a rural area here. So in the country I come from, there’s a certain amount of pressure if you’re a very successful student (generally if you have a medal from an international science or math olympiad and\or have written scientific papers) to then go to prestigious world universities like Oxbridge, MIT or the Ivies. While applying to these and some others, I only got accepted to Amherst College, while being waitlisted at MIT.

Amherst is a wonderful school, and yet this is very hard to explain to people who haven’t ever heard of if and only have Ivies and the like on their mind. It’s hard not to feel like kind of a failure since my peers got offers from MIT or Harvard. I can only wonder what was missing in my apps, since we have a very similar extracurricular background, and also similar international awards. I personally would have liked going to an Ivy more, but I’m excited for Amherst too. I know it’s incredibly silly and privileged to feel this way, especially being accepted to Amherst, but it is what it is, I can’t help it.

I’m now wondering, should I work like hell my freshman year and try to dig my way through transfer applications to other Ivies (I only applied to HYP, since others are need-aware for internationals so I don’t even know how much of a chance I have there) or perhaps try with HYP again after my freshman year? Perhaps I should just settle with Amherst, I’m not sure how much of a fight I have left in me applying to so many schools using just Google and without a counselor. If anyone has any info about transfer acceptance rates for economically-challenged internationals to Ivies other than HYP, that would be wonderful.

Sorry for the whiny post and thanks in advance for any info you might have.

Why? What could you possibly gain?

Perhaps something to add to my application. When I said work I meant something academic, sorry for not making that clear.

Edit: if you meant what could I gain generally, I’d probably find that hard to answer. Probably just solace knowing that I’m in one of the Ivies.

At many of these schools, transfer acceptance is lower than freshman acceptance. If you already applied and were denied by a school, I would forget about it.


There’s no rational response anyone can make to something that is based on so many false premises; from the (former) title of the thread to the rabbit hole he is proposing to dig for himself, he is like the youngster who has been rescued from a raging river and all he can think to say to the EMS worker is, “I had a hat…”


So just tell people it is a top LAC. So they haven’t heard of it - why is their lack of knowledge a problem for you. I encourage you to get some backbone, honestly. Setting for Amherst?


Amherst is an amazing school. The fact that people aren’t excited for you shows their ignorance and is no reflection on your achievements.

There is very little money available for transfer students and as noted, the chance of getting into a school as a transfer that has already rejected you is basically nil.

Get excited about Amherst and forget about the schools that rejected you. There is nothing you can’t accomplish from graduating from Amherst.


So, feels.

On the one hand, you are still a teenager. On the other hand, living by feels is a very adolescent way of deciding how to live life.

Ask yourself this: why does your solace depend on whether you attend an Ivy or not? Try to really dig deep.

BTW, by per capita alumni accomplishments, the WASP LACs are on par with HYPSM.

That people where you are from don’t know that merely reflects their ignorance.


Part of the growing up process is learning that you should not plan your life around what other people think. It’s hard when your peers are attending schools you wanted to attend but remember there are thousands of students who wanted to attend Amherst and you are one of the fortunate few that extended that opportunity.

The fact that other countries have such tunnel vision regarding the Ivies is simply a reflection of good marketing and brand recognition and their lack of actual knowledge about the differences between the educational opportunities and resources of LACs and national universities. LACs are pretty much an American specialty. Educating 1800 students doesn’t work well with the publicly funded education model favored by other countries.

Bottom line is Amherst is as good as and in many instances better than the Ivies for undergrad education. If you’re interested in transferring you should take your shot. But for reference just Yale accepted 20 students out of 2000 applications.


By mainstream references, you will be attending one of the top colleges (of any type) in the nation. Forbes ranked Amherst first in this article, for example:

If you were to gain admission to another school as a transfer applicant, you would risk making a downward move. Based on the alternatives you mentioned, you certainly would risk losing Amherst’s exclusively undergraduate-focused atmosphere.


This is sad to me. Amherst is one of THE top LACs in the nation. Really, it doesn’t matter if you only got into Amherst. Goodness, there are people who are crying because they didn’t get in.

Can I just say that when you leave school, absolutely no one cares where you go to college? Time to look forward to an amazing college experience and not worry about where other people are going.


Sorry but ai find it impossible to feel badly for a student who “only” gained admission to Amherst. Wake up. You have been accepted as an international student into one of the very best LACs in the world with (what sounds like) generous financial aid. It is time to be appreciative of this amazing opportunity that so many would give almost anything for.

Amherst is every bit as good/prestigious as any Ivy level university. If people in your rural area don’t know any Amherst that it is not your problem. Anyone of importance (employers, grad schools) will know exactly how amazing Amherst is.

I absolutely would not look to transfer. Go to Amherst, be grateful for the opportunity and make the most of your four years there.


My kid went to Amherst, couldn’t be more grateful for a wonderful education. Applied to med school and was accepted to 9! Those who know are familiar with Amherst would be a fool to think it is lesser than any IVY school.


True, mostly American, though there are a handful elsewhere in the world. Yale-NUS in Singapore, ICU in Japan, among others. Bard has a tiny outpost in Berlin, and the Dutch have the university colleges. The Dutch university colleges and Yale-NUS tend to be more selective than the regular unis in those countries.

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Yep, it may be hard for people in the OP’s area to believe, but it’s not uncommon for American applicants to turn down offers to Ivies or even HYPSM to attend a top LAC.


Also, I’ve seen this enough now that I’m inured to it, but I have to say that to Americans who have gone to top schools, worked in industries many Ivy Leaguers aspire to, etc., this intense focus on a particular sports league by foreigners who clearly aren’t interested in the sports aspect is odd if not downright baffling.

By any measure you care to look at, there are as many American research unis at the Ivy level outside the Ivy athletic conference as in it (and at the undergraduate level, several more LACs).


I’m constantly baffled at how certain countries put so much prestige and pressure for their young adults to come to the US for their education. Yet these countries who push grades and treat intelligence like it’s some super power do nothing to improve their own higher education in their countries. How sad that they praise brilliant minds yet look down on a college for name recognition alone.

If you are embarrassed or think you are too good to attend Amhurst, please give up your spot to someone who wants to be there. I’m sure the universities in your country would be proud to have you.


I am sorry but this is a silly post. You are going to go to Amherst and as soon as you get there you will see that it is an amazing college and you will be surrounded by lots of people who are thrilled to be at one of the top 2 or 3 LACs in the US. You will have great opportunities at Amherst but you do need to grow up and start living your life for things that matter - or you do not really deserve your acceptance to Amherst.


Congratulations on getting into one of the best colleges in America.

While Amherst might not be as well known globally because it doesn’t spend a billion dollars on research, it and other top LACs are actually better than the top private universities in several ways:

  1. You will be in small classes all four years of your Amherst journey. At universities – even Ivies and their ilk – there are some survey courses that are quite large, with 100+ students. Those big lectures often break up into discussion or lab sections – with, say, 20ish students – weekly. Those smaller sections are often taught by graduate students, not tenured professors.

At Amherst, every class you are in will be taught by a professor with a terminal degree in that field.

  1. Professors have fewer students to serve, so it is easier to spend time with professors at Amherst than it would be at any private university.

  2. All of the students at Amherst are undergraduates, so 100% of the focus at Amherst is on its undergraduates. You aren’t competing for funds, research positions, or classroom spots in upper-level courses with grad students.

One of the drawbacks of LACs can be relatively fewer majors and classes vs. universities. But in your case, this is less of an issue because you have access to classes at the University of Massachusetts, Smith College, Hampshire College, and Mount Holyoke College. So if you see a course they offer that Amherst does not, you may take that course at that other school.

So you are actually about to get one of the best educations available in the US, at one of the very best colleges in the US.


Thank you all for the thoughtful replies. I’ve come to the realization that you are indeed right in that I shouldn’t complain or feel bad. Here are special thanks to the posters telling me to get a backbone too; it kind of especially opened my eyes haha. I really should listen only to myself while planning my life. I wish I could now change the name of the thread to success in admissions, but cc won’t let me.

I see an interesting discussion popped up about how many people only know of the Ivies and Ivies+ and yet no one of Amherst and the like. It really is a shame how university notoriety seems in this regard to be solely based on how famous a university is for sports (a lot of people here know about Duke too, for example, but only because they hear the name mentioned in basketball games).

And I apologize if I offended anyone whose goal was Amherst/went to Amherst or for any other reason. My intention was in no way to belittle it as a school - I personally find it fantastic especially after following the program of zoom seminars for accepted students. Edit: “settle with” was a terrible choice of words. I apologize for that especially.