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Haverford College

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  • Statistics

    Haverford, PA
    Most Selective
    Acceptance Rate:
    25 %
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  • Summary

    A top ten liberal arts college without much of an ego, Haverford provides four years of sensitivity training to a small pool of bright, quirky, socially aware students.

    Its motto roughly translates to “not more learning; better learning,” which reflects how engaged students are with their educations. In the spirit of egalitarianism and, perhaps, contrarianism, Haverford is completely frat-free, which is not to say students don’t enjoy their alcohol. They also unwind by attending the many free and open campus events, including concerts, improv shows, film screenings, open mikes, and dances, or by going into Philly (the city is 10 miles away and easily accessible by a commuter rail). When students want more academic or social options than they can get from their 1,100 fellow ‘Fords, they can

    cross-register to take classes across the street at Bryn Mawr, once their sister school, and with which they share a newspaper and some mutual hostility; at Swarthmore, a slightly larger top tier college a shuttle ride away; or at the University of Pennsylvania. Haverford is also known for its unique honor code, administrated and overseen by the students themselves, which governs most aspects of campus life. Students at Haverford take their academic lives seriously and themselves less so—they have to, since anytime they tell people where they go to college, they have to be ready to correct those who respond, “You mean Harvard?”

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  • Additional Info

    Founded in 1833, Haverford is the oldest Quaker college or university in the nation. Originally single-sex, the school has had a unique relationship with Bryn Mawr, its sister school about a mile down the road, since it was founded in 1885. Haverford was men-only until 1980, at which point it also expanded its undergraduate population. Today women are the majority there.

    With only 1,100 students, the school is still small even by liberal arts standards, and its size is very much a part of its character. The Bi-College Consortium of Haverford and Bryn Mawr continues to ensure that students can take classes, engage in social activities, and eat on either campus, and the Tri-College Consortium that includes the younger but still venerable Swarthmore College twenty minutes away affords many of those same privileges as well.

    Although the school is no longer officially Quaker, the influence of the Society of Friends can be seen on campus in the strict, student-run Honor Code, created in 1896, as well as on the administration’s attitude towards dealing with problems and making decisions by “consensus.”

    Haverford’s 400-acre campus, located about ten miles outside Philadelphia, is lush, peaceful, and green. Because it is an arboretum, labels accompany the hundreds of different kinds of trees students see as they cross the quads or walk the school’s official 2.25-mile-long Nature Trail. Some of the Gothic buildings date back to the 19th century, and the others—including a new athletics center and new science center—were built to look good alongside them.

    The school, like many small liberal arts colleges, does not have an official student union. Students, freed by the moderate Mid-Atlantic weather, often hang out outside by the huge picturesque duck pond or on Founder’s Green. They also meet up at the bustling Lunt Café in the basement of the Lunt dorm or at the Center for Peace and Global Citizenship (CPGC) Café.

    Haverford students enjoy access to Bryn Mawr’s campus in addition to their own--but the immediate area, a wealthy Main Line suburb, leaves something to be desired. It caters mostly to its upscale residents, though the town does also offer some stores and restaurants geared towards college students, as well as a small movie theater. A light-rail train that stops right near campus is an easy way into Philly and vibrant South Street, although ’Fords complain that it isn’t cheap. Students with cars can take advantage of the immense King of Prussia Mall.

    At “Screw,” the Screw-Your-Roommate Dance, students set their roommates up on blind dates.

    On Pinwheel Day, a bi-co holiday in celebration of early spring, both Haverford and Bryn Mawr’s campuses are decked out in pinwheels.

    Haverfest is an annual springtime carnival that features a moonbounce, carnival games, music, drinks, and food.

    Students try to get their name in the Crime Blotter at least once before graduation.

    Every incoming class has a tree planted for them in the Arboretum.

    Nicholson Baker (1979) wrote the novels Vox and The Mezzanine.

    Dave Barry (1969) is a Pulitzer Prize-winning humorist.

    Chevy Chase (attended) was a cast member on the inaugural season of Saturday Night Live.

    J. Howard Marshall (1924) was a Texas oil magnate who married Anna Nicole Smith fourteen months before his death.

    Judd Nelson (attended) is an actor most famous for his roles in St. Elmo’s Fire and The Breakfast Club.

    Haverford is a Division III school with no football team. The student body tends to place more emphasis on off-beat club and intramural sports such as juggling, table tennis, and kayaking. Cricket has recently become popular. More traditional sports on campus include rugby, soccer, volleyball, ice hockey, crew, and golf.

    The Men’s Outdoor Track and Field and Cross-Country teams have won fourteen Centennial Conference Championships in a row, and the Men’s Team finished second in the 2007 NCAA National Cross Country Championship. Women’s Volleyball has also been successful of late, winning the Centennial Conference two years in a row, as has Fencing—the team was undefeated in 2007 and won its third championship.

    Track captain and Haverford alum Philip Noel-Baker (1908) went on to lead Great Britain's 1924 Olympic team upon which the movie Chariots of Fire is based. He was awarded the 1959 Nobel peace prize.

    In 1997, senior Karl Paranya ran a mile in 3:57.6, making him the first and only Division III athlete to break the four-minute barrier.

    Every ’Ford must sign onto the Honor Code, which is reevaluated and ratified again every year.

    98 percent of Haverford students live on campus near the Dining Center, most of them in singles (even the freshmen).

    Gummere Hall: a coed first-year residence hall with single rooms grouped in four-person suites.

    Barclay Hall: a coed first-year residence hall with singles, doubles, and three-person suites.

    Haverford College Apartments (HCA): a residence hall that is coed by floor but not by apartment, with four freshmen per each two-bedroom apartment. Each apartment has a kitchen with a stove and refrigerator.

    Cadbury House: a substance-free quiet dorm.

    Reid House: the Black Cultural Center, which doubles as a dorm.

    Casa Hispanica: the Hispanic center, which also doubles as a dorm.

    All buildings come with laundry facilities and high-speed internet, and there are no residential advisers. Instead, ’Fords bond with their hallmates and their Customs Person the first week of freshman year.