The University of Massachusetts, Amherst is one of the nation’s leading research universities — ranked 26th — but going there is also like being enrolled in four more prestigious colleges.
That’s because UMass Amherst is a member of the Five College Consortium, along with Smith, Mt. Holyoke, Hampshire College, and the 2nd best liberal arts college in America, Amherst College.
That means you can choose from over 6,000 courses at any of those schools for no extra cost.
Even better, UMass Amherst has New England’s best honors college and ranks 4th nationally in research grants to their students.
There aren’t many universities offering their students as diverse an education, whether you’re looking for stellar research opportunities or a vibrant liberal arts education.
UMass Amherst Admissions Fast Facts
Average GPA: 3.90
Acceptance Rate: 59%
Average SAT: 1296
Average ACT: 28.3
If UMass Amherst sounds like the place for you, keep reading to learn what you need to be a competitive applicant!
More About UMass Amherst SAT Scores
UMass generally expects applicants’ SAT scores to be in the top quarter of results nationally, fitting with their high admissions criteria.
There’s no minimum SAT score, but since 84% of accepted students submitted SAT scores in 2017 it’s a good idea to send yours in if you scored highly, and applicants are required to submit the ACT or the SAT.
Here’s a breakdown of UMass Amherst SAT Scores:
|25th Percentile||50th Percentile||75th Percentile|
|UMass Amherst SAT Scores||1190||1296||1340|
The average score of admitted applicants in 2018 was a 1296, and the middle 50% of scores fell between 1190 and 1340. That means 25% of those admitted scored below 1190, and another 25% had above 1340.
It’s a good idea to aim for a 1340 or higher, landing you in the top quarter of applicants and really increasing your chances.
More About UMass Amherst ACT Scores
The average ACT in 2018 was a 28.3, which is in the 90th percentile of ACT scores nationally — that means only 10% of test-takers got a higher result.
Here’s a breakdown of UMass Amherst ACT Scores:
|25th Percentile||50th Percentile||75th Percentile|
|UMass Amherst ACT Scores||26||28||31|
50% of admitted students scored between a 26 and a 31, meaning anything under a 26 is a below average score and higher than 31 is above average.
One-quarter of students scored lower than the average range, which means a low test score doesn’t mean you won’t be admitted as long as you have an otherwise strong application. That said, getting a 28.3 or higher — a score in the top quartile of applicants — can really boost your chances of getting in.
More About UMass Amherst Average GPA
The average GPA of admitted applicants in 2018 was a 3.90, which means you should be mostly an A student, with one or two Bs but no Cs, to be competitive.
If your school offers IB, AP, or Dual Enrollment classes and adjusts your grades accordingly, your GPA can end up being much more competitive.
Enrolling in those courses also demonstrates your willingness to take on a challenging, college preparatory course load.
UMass Amherst Acceptance Rate
UMass Amherst admissions are selective, with a 59% acceptance rate in 2018. For comparison, the average acceptance rate nationally is only about 65.5%, so we’re not talking a huge difference in competition.
That said, if you look at admissions statistics over the last few years, average test scores of admitted students are growing while the number of students admitted is falling. Like a lot of schools, it’s only going to get more difficult to get in.
Check out this thorough breakdown of admissions percentages by major, if you’re really interested in the fine details or have a specific program in mind.
UMass Amherst Freshman Profile
If you’re thinking of applying to college, you probably want to know what your classmates will be like, right?
UMass gives us a lot of demographic info on their recent classes, so we can get a pretty good picture of who chooses to enroll.
Here are some of the highlights:
- 21,969 total undergraduate enrollment
- 23% out-of-state
- 5,010 students in the 2018 freshman class
- 31.8% ALANA (African-American, Latino, Asian, Hawaiian/Pacific Islander and Native American)
- 518 international students admitted in 2018
- 76.5% six-year graduation rate (that’s 20% higher than the national average!)
We can see from these numbers UMass Amherst admissions are remarkably diverse, even for a state university, and most of the students who enroll there choose to stick around to finish their degrees.
Other Admissions Requirements
Probably the most important thing to know is you can only apply to UMass Amherst using the Common Application, which means you can submit everything from transcripts to essay questions using UMass Amherst’s page on that site.
Here’s a list of the essential application materials:
- A completed Common Application, with the UMass Amherst supplementary questions
- An official high school transcript
- SAT and/or ACT score report from the testing agency
- An $80 application fee
- A Letter of Recommendation
- International students from non-English speaking countries should report a minimum internet-based TOEFL score of 80 or an IELTS score of 6.5, with a minimum score of 6.0 in each subject area
If you’re applying to the Architecture, Art, Dance, or Music programs you’re also permitted to submit a portfolio or arrange an audition — check your department’s page on the UMass Amherst website to learn more.
What’s the Five College Consortium?
It’s a collaborative agreement among five colleges in western Massachusetts, including some of America’s best liberal arts schools, to share resources like libraries and facilities, as well allowing students of any one college to enroll in classes at any of the member schools for free.
Does UMass use the Common App?
Yes, and only the Common App, so you’ll be able to do everything you need to submit your application from their website.
What are the important deadlines?
For freshman applicants, that’s January 15 for regular admission and November 5 for Early Action, and you’ll have until May 1 to accept or decline admission.
If you end up getting your application in late, the admissions office will consider admitting you for the Spring semester.
Does UMass Amherst have Early Action?
Yes! Early Action is a nonbinding program for students who want to apply and receive their admissions decision earlier than the traditional decision timeline.
The program has its own FAQ page with all the information you’ll need on the admissions timeline.
Can I transfer to UMass Amherst?
Yes, and transfers make up a big part of each year’s incoming class. You have until March 1 to apply for the Fall Semester and October 1 to apply for spring admission.
Does UMass Amherst accept AP credit?
They do! Like most colleges, how much credit, if any, you can expect to receive depends on the specific test and your scores.
How to Get Into UMass Amherst
As anyone will tell you, there isn’t one thing alone that will get you into the college of your dreams. Here’s an excerpt from the UMass website:
“We seek to admit students who will contribute fully to campus life. No specific grade point average, test score, or other qualification by itself ensures admission.”
That means they’re evaluating each student holistically, including not only your test scores but your personality, achievement, and community involvement.
Here’s a selection of some of the criteria they value, according to UMass’s admissions webpage explaining their admissions standards:
- Record of Achievement
- Personal Qualities
- Co-curricular Involvement
- Standardized Tests
- Writing Ability
- Life Context
It’s pretty rare that a college tells you exactly what they look for in an applicant, so we strongly recommend reading the admissions decision page thoroughly.
That said, here’s a checklist with the minimum qualifications you should have in those categories to feel confident about getting in.
UMass Amherst Admissions Checklist:
- A 1296 on the SAT or higher
- An ACT score of at least 28.3
- A 3.90 GPA
- High grades in AP, IB, or other challenging, college-prep courses
- Strong, thoughtful responses to the supplementary essay questions
Good luck, and happy studying! 🙂
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About Molly Kiefer
Molly completed her undergraduate degree in Philosophy at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon. She has been tutoring the SAT, GRE, and LSAT since 2014, and loves supporting her students as they work towards their academic goals. When she’s not tutoring or blogging, Molly takes long walks, makes art, and studies ethics. Molly currently lives in Northern California with her cat, who is more popular on Instagram than she is.
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