Satire: Amherst Celebrates 200th Year of Being Students’ Second Choice

Satire columnist Andrew Rosin ’25 pokes fun at Amherst’s prestige as it celebrates its Bicentennial through imagined interviews about the college’s role as “the nation’s most prestigious back-up school.”

This past weekend, Amherst College celebrated its 200th year of providing education to students who were not accepted into Ivy League schools. “For the past two centuries, Amherst has been committed to supporting students who wanted to go to Yale and Brown, but weren’t quite good enough,” President Biddy Martin said in her opening remarks. “Today is an opportunity to reflect on the fact that most of you didn’t want to come here originally, but didn’t have a choice at the end of the day. We’re proud to be the nation’s most prestigious back-up school.”

Students were impressed that the college could sustain itself as a perpetual back-up. “The only people who really want to come here are legacy students and athletes,” commented Jack Farley ’25. “I applied early to Yale, and then applied regular decision to Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Penn and Princeton. Only after getting rejected from all of them did I settle for Amherst.” Asked about his reaction when he was accepted into Amherst, Farley replied that he felt “a mix of disappointment and comfort in knowing that he would go to school with at least 1,000 other students who wished they went to an Ivy.”

To celebrate the occasion, Amherst distributed free merch from all of the Ivy League schools. “The giveaways were a reminder of what could have been,” commented Martin. “We didn’t want students to forget that they would be spending the day in Harvard Square if they were just a little smarter, just a little more impressive.” Students were unimpressed by the apparel: “It was a nice gesture, but I already own a Harvard sweatshirt, and a Yale t-shirt, and I wear both of them regularly,” noted Farley. “The only thing I’m missing from them is an acceptance letter.”

“Let the next 200 years be filled with wistfulness and regret,” Martin concluded. “And, no matter how prestigious Amherst is, no matter how accomplished the professors are, no matter how rigorous, engaging and enlightening you find the courses to be, never stop believing that you can get into Harvard.”