Swarthmore, PA
Swarthmore College


40 Ratings

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Recent Reviews

Stephanie
Describe the students at your school.

they are really smart and awkward.

Describe the students at your school.

they are really smart and awkward.

What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

Talk to real students and not just tour guides, and don't pick a school just because it gives you alot of money. Those packages are really deceptive.

Brandon
Describe how your school looks to someone who's never seen it.

Swarthmore is a school of passionate people engaging each other in common endeavours. Many of them are passionate about diff...

Describe how your school looks to someone who's never seen it.

Swarthmore is a school of passionate people engaging each other in common endeavours. Many of them are passionate about different things, and often things that I am not passionate about; when I am with them, however, I become interested thanks to their enthusiasm and energy. I love that students see eachother as colleagues rather than as competitors, all striving towards their own goals and assisting eachother towards them, rather than fighting each other for 'supremacy.'

What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

When considering schools, don't worry overly much about the numbers and statistics associated with them. Especially in the upper tier of colleges (all of which have excellent academics), these differences are insignificant; no one cares if your school was 4th or 5th in Chemistry after you graduate. Instead, concentrate on finding a school that has the kind of people and the kind of atmosphere you'd like to be a part of. Visit the schools, and visit some classes if you have the chance. Talk to some students and see if they are the kind of people you'd like to be with for the next four years. Chances are, you'll find one or two schools where you feel at home almost immediately; where the people are welcoming and friendly and where you feel like you fit right in with your peers. Those are the schools you are going to want to consider, because those are the places where you'll make the truest friends and have the greatest experiences - both of which will be with you for the rest of your life.

What's the most frustrating thing about your school?

I felt pressured to constantly excel and acheive. This wasn't due to competition from my peers or anything like that. The pressure mostly came from within not to 'waste' any opportunities academically and otherwise. (The example of all my peers working their butts off probably didn't help, but I didn't feel like I would have been looked down on had I not done as much as they). I fear that too much emphasis on academics and structured activities limited the amount of time I had to appreciate the environment I was in and people I was with.

Mary
What do you brag about most when you tell your friends about your school?

The academic rigor at my school, the topics I am studying about, the campus culture, the environmental activism, the intellec...

What do you brag about most when you tell your friends about your school?

The academic rigor at my school, the topics I am studying about, the campus culture, the environmental activism, the intellectual curiosity.

What's unique about your campus?

The enthusiasm about academics, the intelligence of the students, the variety of activities and events offered.

What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

After nearly a year and a half at my present college, I've realized that there are two questions that the student needs to ask his or herself before selecting colleges. Those questions are, "What do I want to study?" and "Do I know what my true interests are?" If you know what you want to study, then pick the schools with the best programs in your field of interest, and then narrow down the schools realistically, considering your gpa, SAT scores, size preference, location, etc. Skip to the next question if you can't answer the first. If you know what your true interests are, then pick a school based on those interests. If you are like the hundreds of thousands of students who can't answer either question, don't panic. In order to make the most of your college experience, you need to select the school which will give you the most space and flexibility to find yourself, and that is going to depend on the kind of environment in which you best thrive. Speak to students at schools and gauge the range of modes of existence and lifestyles those students have. Can you see yourself there?

Aubrielle
What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

Make sure that you think long and hard about your final decision. Also, make sure that you visit the school at least once du...

What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

Make sure that you think long and hard about your final decision. Also, make sure that you visit the school at least once during a time that is not explicitly for prospective students (when the campus is 'normal'). When considering the best place for you, do not convince yourself that something that is really important to you is actually not that important. Don't tell yourself that you can live without [blank] for four years, because for years is longer than you think, and the college experience will ultimately be more stressful than you expect. Make sure you give yourself a chance to find your passion. If changing your major will require you to graduate a year late, than compensate with your experience and extracurriculars, because ultimately your major may not be as important as your experience.

What's unique about your campus?

the best thing about my school is the numerous opportunitie available to get involved in whatever you want to. Virtually everything is student run so...

What kind of person should attend this school?

People who are studious and handle pressure well. People who have a very strong support system outside of this school (socially and financially). People who intend to focus on social justice.

Adriana
Describe your favorite campus traditions.

academic excellence, engaged faculty, interesting students and socially conscious.

Describe your favorite campus traditions.

academic excellence, engaged faculty, interesting students and socially conscious.

Here's your chance: Say anything about your college!

a challenging school yet it has a warm and friendly atmosphere..

What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

visit the school and don't focus too much on rankings

Dillon
What kind of person should not attend this school?

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 ...

What kind of person should not attend this school?

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.

What's the one thing you wish someone had told you about freshman year?

How easy it is to get to Philadelphia and that you really can't get a parking spot on campus as a freshman.

What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

Parents, allow your students to look at all schools and explore financial aid options. Many great schools have wonderful financial aid programs. I was able to attend Swarthmore for less than 50% of its regular cost. Students, make sure you do your research about what you want and how schools match up with that. Also, if possible visit schools when students are there and attend the admitted students weekend.

Allison
Describe your favorite campus traditions.

The arboretum, the intellectual rigor, small student-focused community, loving and caring environment.

Describe your favorite campus traditions.

The arboretum, the intellectual rigor, small student-focused community, loving and caring environment.

What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

Rank what is most important to you, the qualities of the schools, not the schools themselves. Then rank each college within that quality, and generally it is made clear what you want!

What do you brag about most when you tell your friends about your school?

It was beautiful and intellectually challenging. Everyone was challenged to be a better person and work harder. There was rarely a dull moment--always something to debate or discuss.

Jonathan F
What is your overall opinion of this school?

Swarthmore is a school you really need to understand before choosing to come here. I've known some people who were absolutely...

What is your overall opinion of this school?

Swarthmore is a school you really need to understand before choosing to come here. I've known some people who were absolutely miserable here, and some who flourished like a mushroom in a cold dark place. It's small. Really small. There's a good chance you'll know 80% of your classmates by the time you graduate. It's not a big school with a big party scene, but if you're someone who likes to create their own social life rather than go with the masses, this is a great place for you. I think I ultimately had more fun as a result. People get drunk, but generally not too drunk. People do drugs, but it's not a dangerous thing. In general, you feel very safe doing whatever you want to do, and that's nice. It's also a great place if you want to be involved in some kind of extracurricular activity. There are tons of opportunities, and if they're not there, it's easy to start them and get the funding for it. We have a huge endowment per student, and I think they spend it really well. Sure, lots of people haven't heard of Swarthmore in the real world. But then again, most people haven't heard of anything. Unless you go to Harvard or a school with a good sports team, you're kind of fucked. The good thing is, when people HAVE heard of Swarthmore, they're usually extremely impressed. Our graduates do very well for themselves. My brother went to Brown, and I don't think his buddies are doing as well. Ultimately, you have to ask yourself what kind of college experience you want. If you want something predominantly social, something out of Animal House, don't come here. If you want an incredible, unparalleled academic experience with a very comfortable life and you have a communal spirit, this place will be wonderful.

Describe the students at your school.

Swarthmore is "diverse" in a very college-y way. There are minorities, LGBT, etc. However, the representatives of those communities don't seem to me to be that representative. I think that's because socio-economic diversity is still pretty lacking here, as everywhere else. Still, it's probably better here than at other private schools. Also, there's very little diversity of political/social thought. I'm mostly liberal, but my problem isn't that people here are liberals. It's that they are unthinkingly so: some are like the Fox News equivalent of the left. So dogmatic, not very critical in their thinking. They mostly have no clue about political issues, and only see things from a strange white-privilege-guilt lens. I think that this hurts a lot of them in the real world. However, it is nice not too have wealth thrown in your face like at some other private schools. Yes, most people here are rich. But they tend to have a humility about it. Socially speaking, I'd say that 65% of students are socially incompetent and were that way in high school, and see Swarthmore as a refuge from that. The other 35% are very competent, mature, just not into being a fratty douche at a party school. These are the people that make this school great. However, I've heard that the admissions office is making the study body much more mainstream. A lot of that has to do with athletic recruiting. Four tables: two of them are awkward kids sitting with people they kind of know, but still feel uncomfortable around, and they'll be like that they're whole lives; one table is the weird sci-fi kids; one table is a good group of friends, who will be friends for a long time.

Here's your chance: Say anything about your college!

Visit the school, but make sure you don't just stay with your host. Walk around. Find your crowd. Talk to those people. It could be a shock for you if you don't.

Is the stereotype of students at your school accurate?

Yes. Most people are nerdy, but some combine it with a great social sensibility. Unfortunately, many don't, and it hits them hard when they graduate. I could name the ten seriously attractive girls in my class. Again, though, I'm not just into pure looks, and I think most people look at it that way. It's a good place to find a wife, because the intellectual capacity of most people means you're more likely to find a "soulmate" or some other stupid term like that. However, if you're hoping to bang someone hot every weekend, you should probably go somewhere else. The party "scene" isn't there. You either get shitfaced in someone's room, or go to one of the two parties that goes on every weekend night. Pub night is alright too. The good thing is, you'll never get busted for anything. Public safety will let you do crack in your room as long as you don't bother your studying neighbor. Just don't expect any Girls Gone Wild type parties. Yes, people are weird, but the worst part is how awkward everyone is. Soooo awkward.

What are the academics like at your school?

This is by far my favorite part about Swarthmore. BY FAR. I was in the Honors programs, where you spend your last two years taking seminars that account for half of your course load each semester. The seminars are essentially graduate-level. In the end you are examined by external professors. The seminars are led by professors, but run by the students. This experience was something that you cannot really get anywhere else, and it's one of the many reasons that grad schools and professional schools love Swarthmore students. In general, classes are at Swarthmore make you think, and will give you much more depth than at other schools. The only downside would be for those interested in business or more practical things like that. Yes, it's hard, but it's not too bad. It's really what you make of it. You can take less challenging classes, and you don't have to write a thesis or do the Honors program. You can't be a moron and do well here, but I guess you can't be a moron and get in here.

What is the stereotype of students at your school?

From the inside, it's that we are nerdy but embrace it, that we're ugly, that we don't party, and that we're weird. From the outside, I guess it's pretty much the same.

What are the most popular student activities/groups?

Sports and frats exist, but they're not important. The social life is what you make of it. You can have whatever you want, but by senior year, you mostly just want to hang out with your friends and drink. The town sucks, but Philly is cool and if you have one urbane bone in your body, you'll be there at least once a month. We get good bands coming through. There are a few big parties every year, the most notable being Sager Genderfuck. It's the least progressive way of looking at sexual freedom, but it's fun nonetheless. However, if you don't like drinking, there are plenty of other dorks playing board games on a Saturday night. Dating happens more than hooking up. Mostly because students here think that once you hook up wiht someone, you're in love with them. They're a little slow in that respect. 25% of students end marrying another Swarthmore student.

Mi
Describe the students at your school.

Intense and passionate.

Describe the students at your school.

Intense and passionate.

What's unique about your campus?

How everyone is so nice, and there is little to no bureaucracy. The relationships formed with professors and other students. The campus is beautiful and the laughs plenty.

What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

It is extremely important to know yourself and what YOU want, not what other people tell you is best. Because ultimately, what other people think has no effect on the mini-roadtrips you will take, the sports games you will go to where you will try to decide whether to paint your chest in your school colors and freeze in November. Given the right environment, people bloom in college. Think about size. Do you like knowing everyone on campus or being able to be anonymous? Visit unofficially so you can see how it feels there and whether you would be comfortable there. On a more practical note, do consider money. Debt may not seem like that big of a deal to you now, but it builds up quickly, and can lead to college being less enjoyable. Sometimes it is worth it to go somewhere cheaper, or with more financial aid (though some seemingly expensive schools can give amazing financial aid). And when you get there, don't be so rigid about what you want out of the experience that you miss opportunities to experiment. Some of the most rewarding classes are unexpected, as are some of the most interesting friendships.

Steven
Describe your favorite campus traditions.

Being Liberal. When people hear the word "Swarthmore," they think "that crazy liberal school." However, while Swarthmore does...

Describe your favorite campus traditions.

Being Liberal. When people hear the word "Swarthmore," they think "that crazy liberal school." However, while Swarthmore does live up to it's reputation of being very liberal, I would never associate any negativity with that label. Swarthmore is liberal in that it accepts a very diverse student body and encourages freedom of expression. Everyone is accepted at Swarthmore for who they are. Students here aren't critical of each other's superficial differences; rather, they acknowledge that each and every student has something amazing to bring to the table, simply by virtue of being accepted to this school.

What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

VISIT THE COLLEGE. Nothing is more important than stepping onto the college's campus, talking to current students, and imagining how it would feel to spend 4 years of your life in that environment. I read dozens of articles, statistics, reviews, about one college in particular, and I was absolutely determined to go there without even visiting. But from the very minute I stepped foot on campus, all my expectations were shattered. The feel just wasn't right. By visiting colleges first, you can also learn much about yourself--things no guidebook could ever tell you. Visit the college. Period.

What do you consider the worst thing about your school? Why?

My least favorite part of Swarthmore would probably be the food. For an elite liberal arts school, Swarthmore should definitely spend more than it does on providing quality food at more affordable prices. The food is not BAD (I'd give it a 6/10), but that said, for the 2nd best liberal arts school in the country, I'd expect nothing less than an 8/10. That said, there are 4 places on campus to get food (great variety), and there are many, MANY places off campus that serve excellent and diverse cuisines.

Details

  • Enrollment
  • 1,543
  • Tuition & Fees
  • $49,104
  • Acceptance rate
  • 13%

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