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Founded in 1864, Swarthmore College. is a Private college. Located in Pennsylvania, which is a city setting in Pennsylvania, the campus itself is Suburban. The campus is home to 1,543 full time undergraduate students, and 0 full time graduate students.
The Swarthmore College Academic calendar runs on a Semester basis. In the school year the student to faculty ratio was 8:1. There are 217 full time instructional teachers. Degrees awarded at Swarthmore College include: Bachelor's Degree, Masters Degree, Post-master's certificate, Doctor's degree.
Admissions at are considered Most Selective, with ,16% of all applicants being admitted.
In the school year, of the students who applied to the school, only 5 of those who were admitted eventually ended up enrolling.
100% of incoming freshmen are in the top half of their high school class. 98% were in the top quarter, and 92% were in the top tenth. You can apply online.
We asked, and students answered these important questions about student life at Swarthmore College.
42 Students rated on-campus housing 3.9 stars. 26 % gave the school a 5.0.
24 Students rated off-campus housing 2.8 stars. 0 % gave the school a 5.0.
42 Students rated campus food 2.8 stars. 0 % gave the school a 5.0.
42 Students rated campus facilities 4.5 stars. 48 % gave the school a 5.0.
42 Students rated class size 4.7 stars. 71 % gave the school a 5.0.
42 Students rated school activities 4.1 stars. 38 % gave the school a 5.0.
42 Students rated local services 3.6 stars. 17 % gave the school a 5.0.
42 Students rated academics 4.5 stars. 57 % gave the school a 5.0.
12 Students rated Swarthmore College
The campus is overall pretty nice. If you are going to university to purely learn about what the world has in store for you, come to Swarthmore. Everyone here is unique in their own quirky way, and we all find cool things to love and do all the time. Just be prepared to be working academically a lot!
Swarthmore is a fantastic place. For the academically dedicated and enthusiastic student, it is the perfect home away from home. Students, teachers, faculty, and the outside Swarthmore community are extremely friendly. With a beautiful campus (we have trees for days) and easy access to Philly, Swarthmore provides a good balance.
The academics are intense, and professors are world-class. Highly respected by graduate schools. The best thing about this place, however, are the people and the environment. Everyone here is either insanely smart or extremely hard working; usually, it's some combination of the two.
Great school with amazing academics in a small setting. It's the perfect place to form close relationships with friends and have close relationships with your professors! The meal plan has improved over the years so there are more options for what to eat. All the dorms are very livable and offer the chance to form bonds with your hallmates, even if some dorms might be a little more loved than others.
The fall 2020 acceptance rate for Swarthmore College is 12%. That means, out of _____ applications received in 2020 , _____ students were offered admission. The number of males who applied was _____ vs the number of females which was _____.
We sure are weird and quirky. Swatties have a way of making things a little more eccentric than the norm...but at the same time, we're an awkward bunch. I guess the second stereotype is partially true. I mean half of the student population pays full tuition ($47,000 a year!) but then you'd only be right half of the time if you said that Swatties were rich. I find some conceited people, but only in places that I don't frequent too often. The groups I'm involved in, the classes that I've chosen are filled with wonderful, down-to-earth people.
Swarthmore students are very hard working.
At Swarthmore we love to learn. The reason why the only parties are on the weekends (and Thursday nights for Pubnite) is because every other day we're studying. Well, not to say that we exactly like to write papers and study all the time, but I'd say that academics is the number one priority for most people here.
The school size is just perfect for me. At 1400, I've seen most faces and I'll admit that it can get awkward when you semi-know someone and don't know if you should say 'hi' or not. That happens a lot by the way. But other than that, the small size really lends itself to the close-knit community we have here. That also means that alums are more likely to want to help you when they hear you go to Swat.
Swarthmore is not as well known as the Ivies. But it's a diamond in the rough. In fact, I've noticed that the people who "matter" (grad schools and people in high places) have definitely heard of Swat.
You should know that Swat is on an arboretum and is absolutely gorgeous most months of the year. We have this great spread of green grass in front of the admissions building and when it hits the 60s you'll see loads of Swatties camping out on what we call "Parrish beach." It's great! There are a lot of other great spots on campus where I study. The library's are all great (we have 3) but I especially love the music library where they have imacs with wide screens for maximum efficieny. The Crum Woods which are basically on campus is the perfect place to go for a walk in, as well as the little gardens in random areas of the campus.
The traditions at Swat are Superb. We just had "Screw your roommate" which is where you set your roommate up with a blind date and come up with a theme so they can dress up, go to dinner and try to find their other half. It's as awkward as it sounds, and more. But it's a riot that night when more than half the campus is dressed up in ridiculous costumes and having even more ridiculous conversations with their screw dates.
FOOD! I love food and Swarthmore has mediocre food, at best. It's the sad truth and I hate to admit it. But really, they need to work on making better food. Not only is it bad, but the meal plan stinks too. I'd say that this is the sole complaint of almost every student at Swat. Freshmen 1st semester get 20 meals a week and if they miss a meal, they can't redeem it later on. It's terrible. I'm surviving though...luckily we have a couple other cafes where we can use meal points.
Still, Swat is #1! I love it now and will always love it. I couldn't imagine myself anywhere else.
My classmates are a batch of self-indulgent bourgeoisie oafs with very afffluent parents who have done nothing but nurture their hedonism; therefore, it goes without saying that they are dim and distateful, vapid and shallow, but most of all, they are blindly pretentious.
Professors and students are so incredibly close here at Swarthmore. I've gone to a few professors' houses to cook and have class over dinner (Just like they said in the brochure!) They all know my name and it's not unusual for students to call professors by their first name. Some classes have even just 8 people. Good for discussion, bad for trying to pretend you did your reading. Discussion is a big part of Swarthmore classes, and it's great here because the classes are small enough so that you'll feel comfortable participating regularly. I've had some classes that were so amazing I would basically walk out the door and have my head explode with all the insight and information I gleaned from that one class. Professors here truly love the material they're teaching, even if it's Faulkner for the 80 billionth time, they literally get excited. One professor actually clapped his hands in glee once during discussion when a particularly salient point was made. The thing is, it's true, Swarthmore academics are really rigorous. I've definitely been in some dark places when finals or midterms collided together. Realize that you need to budget your time wisely or suffer the consequences. And at times, you're going to have to sacrifice your free time and extracurricular activities. And sometimes, bathing.
I'm part of The Phoenix, the only campus publication. Make sure whatever extracurricular activity you choose, you really really are passionate about it and it's not just to pad your resume. If you're not passionate about it, you're not going to make it because there's no way you can balance Swat academics with extracurricular activities without going a little insane. I really love my work at The Phoenix and I think, as it is with most other groups, you get to be really close with the groups you work in because they tend to be fairly small and personal. The Phoenix is run by like 15 people, it's not some huge conglomerate like the newspapers at Ivy Leagues. As for Social Life, the main venue to go for some dancing is Paces. It's this kind of tiny room with dim lights, sticky floors and nasty alcohol. Chances of having fun here are about 50-50 depending on the DJ, the amount of people who show up and not seeing anyone you know eating each other's faces. For such a small college, we do have some seriously cool events like TC Boyle coming to read, Margaret Cho's comedy routine or The Roots (!!!) but I do wish they came more frequently. We have music performances at Olde Club pretty often, mostly indie bands I've never heard of because I'm a big music poser and only listen to Top 40. The unfortunate thing is, a lot of events can be really poorly attended because people are busy studying or running off to their activities, which can put a damper on things. But there are always big events that everyone shows up for en masse.
What can I say other than the fact that Swat is awesome! I am madly in love with the place and the people here. I'm busy all the time but it's the best type of busy.
Make sure you visit Swarthmore, take a tour and stay over night if you can to make sure the atmosphere is right for you. Political activism is very big at Swarthmore, as is reverse cultural trends such as promoting homosexuality and race by putting it RIGHT IN YOUR FACE. I'm neither homophobic nor racist, but after a while such militant accept-us-and-everything-we-say-or-else-you're-a-terrible-person becomes grating. The liberal stance works both ways for Swarthmore, as the drug and alcohol policies are virtually non-existant. I have drank and played beer pong on main walkways as tours have navigated around us. People have smoked pot openly on the steps of Parrish, the main administrative building.
Swarthmore is not that small of a school--1400 enrolled, if I remember correctly--but after the first month or so of freshman year it will seem smaller because students self-segregate. Many Swatties don't do anything but study. Most of the crowd that goes to frats are athletes, which is good & bad, as you will probably get along with them as they are normal, but there is not exactly a ton of athletes.
Swarthmore is intense, but you can get a lot out of it if you stay focused.
The environment, the people who go there, (most of) the faculty. It's a very learning and academically oriented place, and people are very interested in knowledge for its own sake as well as for practical purposes; they're also for the most part interesting people who do interesting things. "Quirky" is the standard, lame way of describing it, I suppose.
The only thing that frustrates me about Swarthmore is the lack of well-equipped theatre spaces for student theatre on campus. We have two excellent stages, a proscenium stage and a black box, but the Main Stage (proscenium) is only available to students once a semester, and the black box is department only. However, I think the fact that something like this is my main frustration truly speaks to my good experience at the college.
The food here really sucks.
My favorite part of Swarthmore College is the trust demonstrated by the administration resulting in the freedoms the students are granted on campus. For example, the academic buildings are almost never locked, allowing students to use lecture halls for serious matters like student led initiatives or casual showings of the Super Bowl and the Oscars. This trust is a privilege, not a given which speaks to the character of the students. The students on campus and the freedoms the administration rewards the students is unique to only Swarthmore and is my favorite part about the institution.
The engineering and honors programs. They are amazing here.
A Swarthmore student answers the question, "Why Swarthmore?"
If you are looking for a school where you can slack off you should not attend Swarthmore. If you want to go to a school with a big Greek life you also should not go to Swarthmore.
how to succeed in an academically rigorous environment.
Each dorm definitely has its own personality! That said, don't worry about being stuck in the dorm of hell- the Dean of Housing is certainly aware of this, and takes it into account when you fill out the housing form each year.
Parrish Hall, the central building on campus, not only houses the administrative offices of the college, but also students on it's upper floors. These halls are separated by gender unlike all the other dorms, and tend to contain the more substance-free students on campus. The doors to Parrish Hall also close rather early into the night, so make sure you have your key at all times!
The newer Dorms, Alice Paul (built in '04) and David Kemp (built '09) Halls, definitely have the advantage of the most modern bathroom and lounge amenities! These dorms are located at the foot of campus, just off the train station, and have newer interior designs, larger windows, and wheelchair accessibility. The rooms are also much brighter, and are carpet-less and air conditioned to accommodate students with asthma and allergies. While there is a good deal of hall bonding in these dorms no matter the student, AP tends to house many a student athlete and mellow student, while DK holds kind, ambitious, and studious students.
Just north of AP and DK halls is Mertz Hall, an incredibly homey-feeling hall with a close hall life. Architecturally, it has wide stairwell landings with larger rooms for freshman doubles. These rooms even have walk-in closets, and most rooms overlook Mertz field, a large, lush green lawn on campus.
On the east side of Parrish lies Willets hall, home of the partying underclassmen. As this dorm is the most densely populated and lively of the halls, it is generally considered the most undesirable dorm for students who don't wish to be in close quarters with their comrades. While the social gatherings are frequent and inclusive to all residents, it also makes Willets' common areas and bathrooms infamous for strange smells of old pizza, drinks, and sometimes throw-up. Yet, it houses the greatest amount of first-years of any dorm, and provides a great opportunity for underclassmen to bond with their fellow classmates.
Next to Willets are the Lodges and Worth, home to upperclassmen. The Lodges are about as cozy as residences can get, with 1 first-floor triple and 1 second-floor double per cottage. Worth is also an incredibly close group of students, where, as many people state, "Willets kids go when they grow up. "
On the west side of Parrish near Sharples Dining Hall is Wharton, the other primarily-underclassmen dorm. Wharton has a lovely courtyard overlooking the outdoor tennis courts, and is divided into three sections. This dorm contains many triplets and quads, but for that reason also tends to have pretty spacious rooms. Wharton residents are incredibly laid-back and often enjoy using their courtyard for many a pre-party!
Near Wharton lie Twin Dorms Dana and Hallowell (aka Danawell), conjoined by a trailer. They hold a fair-but-not-substantial amount of first-years, but bonding still exists within the hall: the trailer provides a space for residents to hold parties, watch TV, and just get together. Doubles rooms are fairly large, but dark as the dorm is partially located in the Crum Woods.
Lastly, the most dreaded of all halls, is Mary Lyon. Located 20 minutes walking distance from campus, this dorm definitely loses appeal on the commuting front. However, it's remote location makes this dorm incredibly intimate with a the most lively hall life of all the dorms. Usually, the reputation of Mary Lyon students is the opposite of the Willets student: more typically "nerdy" and insular. Yet, recently, you can tell that the housing committee had really tried to add a diverse group of students in there to negate the stereotype. Additional perks to compensate for the isolation include much larger rooms, individual bathrooms, great weekend brunch served in the common room, and a guarantee for better on-campus housing the following year.
Apart from these, upperclassmen mostly live on partially-off-campus-houses 5 minutes away from campus with friends, such as PPR, Kyle, Woolman, and Strath Haven Apartment Complex. Here, housing really takes on a homey meaning as students make closer friendships and transition into the real world.
As you can see, there's a place for everyone, and the options get better with time.
Someone smart, liberal, and passionate; academics and also those who are slightly nerdly, but not always (and usually not) in the conventional sense
I will most definitely never forget the night of my first Yule Ball. Yes, that is what you think it is- Yule Ball is a new annual event on Swat's campus named and modeled after the holiday festivities in the Harry Potter series. While this may sound dorky, I must state in my own defense that I was highly skeptical as well, not being a crazy Harry Potter fan myself unlike most other students here. Still, when I was convinced by my friends to attend, it was well worth it! Having settled so long for a life in sweats and eating pizza, it was so refreshing to be surrounded by my peers in their holiday finest, eating gourmet Potter-themed treats and all dancing under the same roof! The Sharples Dining Hall was so well decorated with "floating candles", fog, and chandeliers that I didn't even care that we were there. Besides the good food and good company, the night was perfected by a pretty good live band and good DJ. Although this is my first year and I have many Swat traditions yet to experience, this was one unforgettable night that I will always associate with Swattie life.
Total Undergrad Enrollment
Total Grad Students
of students living on campus
All students must apply yearly for financial aid. This process starts with the FAFSA.
Though financial aid deadlines vary by school, it is a good idea to apply as soon as possible. For the upcoming school year, you can apply as early as October 1 for the FAFSA. Additional school aid will be dependent on the FAFSA results.
63% of students
attending Swarthmore College receive some sort of financial aid.
17% were awarded federal grants.
While 12% received federal loans.
Many students do also need to apply for additional private student loans.
Tuition and fees(Out of state)
Books and Supplies
Room and Board
Total On Campus
We use student reviews and the most current publicly available data on our school pages.
As such, we don't typically remove or edit college information. Sources for school statistics and data include the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System.
Portions of college data include copyrighted material, which is reproduced on this website by permission of Wintergreen Orchard House, a division of Carnegie Communications.
© 2009-2016 by Wintergreen Orchard House. All rights reserved.
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