Swarthmore, PA
Swarthmore College


40 Ratings

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Recent Reviews

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

A narrated view of academic buildings on campus

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

A narrated view of academic buildings on campus

Describe the dorms.

The courtyard outside and the rooms within Wharton, a mostly-upperclassmen dorm.

Describe the best and worst parts of the social scene on campus.

A crowd gathered for a party outside Olde Club, a music/dance space.

Tell us about the food and dining options.

Students eat lunch on the grass outside Sharpels, the dining hall

Is the stereotype of students at your school accurate?

A Swarthmore student discusses stereotypes of the campus.

Is the stereotype of students at your school accurate?

A Swarthmore student discusses stereotypes of the campus.

Is the stereotype of students at your school accurate?

A Swarthmore student discusses stereotypes of the campus.

Is the stereotype of students at your school accurate?

A Swarthmore student discusses stereotypes of the campus.

Is the stereotype of students at your school accurate?

A Swarthmore student discusses stereotypes of the campus.

Why did you decide to go to this school?

A Swarthmore student answers the question, "Why Swarthmore?"

Why did you decide to go to this school?

A Swarthmore student answers the question, "Why Swarthmore?"

Why did you decide to go to this school?

A Swarthmore student answers the question, "Why Swarthmore?"

Why did you decide to go to this school?

A Swarthmore student answers the question, "Why Swarthmore?"

Is the stereotype of students at your school accurate?

A Swarthmore student discusses stereotypes of the campus.

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

Swarthmore is really small so we have a really intimate community.

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

Swarthmore is really small so we have a really intimate community.

What's unique about your campus?

I have formed really strong relationships with my professors and my fellow students. We all love to learn and will go beyond what is required for our courses just for fun. I have had so many amazing discussions. Swarthmore is filled with awesome people.

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

When I stepped onto Swarthmore's campus I knew immediately that it was the right school for me. The people were interesting and people that I wanted to spend the next 4 years of my life with. I think you need to really think about what you want and then go look at schools. A school will "click."

Alyosha
Describe the students at your school.

My classmates are bright, idealistic, open-minded, hyper-intellectual, feel-good, hyper-sensitive scholars.

Describe the students at your school.

My classmates are bright, idealistic, open-minded, hyper-intellectual, feel-good, hyper-sensitive scholars.

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

I chose Swarthmore after many campus visits and overnight stays at a host of different institutions. This, for me, was the best way to go about the college selection process because it allowed me to find my "fit" in the most organic, natural way possible. Given how prominently one's 'college experience' figures into the grand arch that is one's life, the veritable existential crisis one goes through when choosing a school cannot be understated. Under such circumstances it is hard to "follow your heart" or "go with your instincts," especially when it seems that statistics are screaming the obvious superiority of school X over schools A,B, and C. With all that said, though, I think that finding one's fit is the best way to go. Discovering and choosing a school that really speaks to you, strikes a chord with you, or just has a "je ne sais quoi" appeal to it, and then going with that inclination, paves the way for a college experience in which you are engaged daily, and in a substantive way--not just by the classroom experience, but by the much more important stuff that goes on outside the classroom as well.

What's the most frustrating thing about your school?

The most frustrating thing is actually a double-edged sword. While I previously rated Swarthmore's size as "Just Right," truly one of its greatest strengths, in fact, I know that it can also be Swarthmore's biggest weakness. There are times when you just have to get off campus, just to get away from it all and be in a place where you don't know everyone and everything so intensely. At such times, Swarthmore's greatest strength--a close-knit community of friendly and caring people--seems to be a bit suffocating.

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

It is an open and comfortable community that is also very academically rigourous.

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

It is an open and comfortable community that is also very academically rigourous.

Describe the students at your school.

They are unique but awesome.

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

Visiting the college is super important. I reccomend spending the night and sitting in on classes. By visiting you can get a good sense of the atmosphere on campus and how you would fit into that atmosphere. Remember that college isn't only about carrer prep but also about finding out who you are and what would make you happy in terms of a carrer and a life style. You are not going to be the same when you come to school as you are when you graduate, you won't even be the same after your first semester, so be sure to find some place that you will be happy despite these changes.

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

Look around a lot. Try different kinds of schools, even if you think you know what you want, and do overnight visits. While y...

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

Look around a lot. Try different kinds of schools, even if you think you know what you want, and do overnight visits. While you're on the visit, see what people do with their time, what they're interested in, how they feel about their school. Don't go somewhere because it's where your parents want you to go, or because you have friends already going there; go somewhere where you like the people, where you think you'll fit in. Don't compromise on academics if that's what's important to you, but then again, don't go based solely on reputation about academics, either -- you may well get a better academic experience at a small, less well-known school than at a "brand-name" school. Look at the course book, sit in on classes. Even if you're absolutely sure you want to do a certain major or kind of major, pick a school where you won't be stuck interacting only with people doing the same thing: exposure to people with different interests is key. In the end, trust your gut -- it's ultimately about finding a place that feels right to you.

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

The fact that the vast majority of people hold the same political views, many come from similar backgrounds (mostly predominantly-white suburbs and affluent public schools or good private schools), and that there is far too much self-segregation for my tastes.

What's unique about your campus?

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.

Dustin
Describe your favorite campus traditions.

Much the same answer as what I said above, really. It's highly academic and allows rigorous, small-group engagement with iss...

Describe your favorite campus traditions.

Much the same answer as what I said above, really. It's highly academic and allows rigorous, small-group engagement with issues, some of which matter and some of which might not. The honors program is the epitome of this, with its small seminars (never larger than 12) and its external examinations at the end of the senior year. It's a rough thing, but you can never get as much out of academics as you do when you read a lot and talk about it a lot with just a few people. Also, we've a big tension grid.

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

Swarthmore's academic culture suffuses EVERYTHING it does, from the arts to the late-night conversations to the fact that we're nearly constantly working. I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world, but it's a very rigorous way of doing things. However, I think there's a degree to which it also maturely recognizes that academics aren't everything: this includes its socio-political engagement, the fun that the professors and students have together, and just the Romantic beauty of the campus itself, which is a nationally recognized arboretum.

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

The advice that I would give to parents worrying about how their children do in choosing a college and, maybe even more so, how they handle their new life once they're there, is the same as I'd give to the students themselves, which is to say that these things have a way of working out. There's no such thing as a perfect fit, and while it's understandable to worry, people have a way of making their way wherever they go, especially those who have the initiative to be going to college in the first place. There will always be problems with any school, so as long as you can commit to a decision and go into it without too much trepidation, there's likely little to fear. Of course, for parents this means staying out of the decision as much as possible - guidance is all well and good, but this is a decision that children need to make for themselves in order to make it. Conversely, for students, know that your parents have been around longer than you, and that some things they say might just help in your decision.

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

Swarthmore is a beautiful ,liberal space, where lots of opinions and opportunities are afforded to those who weren't able to ...

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

Swarthmore is a beautiful ,liberal space, where lots of opinions and opportunities are afforded to those who weren't able to have them before.

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

Please think about the fact that the school you attend will take your money and your time for the next four years. Anything that makes you the least bit uncomfortable during a visit, will make you hate your school after 4 years.

What kind of person should not attend this school?

Someone who is very inflexible, close-minded, or needs a very practical degree.

Arch
Is the stereotype of students at your school accurate?

It is true for much of the school, but definitely not all. There is still a very sizable crowd that parties, slacks off, and ...

Is the stereotype of students at your school accurate?

It is true for much of the school, but definitely not all. There is still a very sizable crowd that parties, slacks off, and looks ok.

What is the stereotype of students at your school?

That they are all ugly and nerdy and just work all the time.

Political Junkie Junior
What is your overall opinion of this school?

There is a lot of money in the student activities account, which is run by students and flows towards student groups to host ...

What is your overall opinion of this school?

There is a lot of money in the student activities account, which is run by students and flows towards student groups to host activities and parties on campus, so there is always a lot going on that is open to everybody. I think the relatively small size of Swarthmore is great, in that it keeps everybody wanting to be a good, honorable person (you can't hide behind anonymity here), and yet it is large enough that there is always somebody new and interesting to meet. Since it is a small college, the alumni network is very tight-knit, and there really is a strong bond amongst the community. The administration is very lenient and rarely is there any sort of authoritative presence or punishment (read: underage drinking is very normal and not a big deal. The administration trusts the students to act like responsible adults, and for the most part everybody just has a good time and no harm is done). Professors and students generally have an enormous amount of respect for each other, which creates an atmosphere in which learning is comfortable and people are proud of being here.

Describe the students at your school.

Swarthmore's student body is very accepting and tolerant, to the extent that it welcomes and embraces diversity. Although students are in general pretty liberal, conservative guest lecturers are often invited to campus to stimulate discussions and make sure that students can understand both sides of an issue. Albeit a very accepting and diverse community, I think that people who care too much about their looks (e.g. girls who wear high heels every day or people with fake tans) may feel a bit out of place here, since the emphasis is really on the quality of one's character.

Is the stereotype of students at your school accurate?

Swarthmore is a place where some students work really hard on their school work, but others get by just fine without putting too much effort into it. People put their time and effort into whatever is important to them, and for some people this has a more activist or extracurricular focus. Overall, most people do work hard during the week, but there are so many fun activities and parties on the weekends, that you can't resist going out to have some fun on the weekends. Swatties do kind of fill the stereotype of being awkward nerds, but definitely not in an unattractive way! In fact, some peoples' awkward characteristics are what make them so very human and lovable. Most Swatties enjoy finding out what their friends are interested in and asking them questions about it. I learn so much from my peers from day to day... They are fascinating people.

What are the academics like at your school?

Academics at Swarthmore are absolutely awesome. All of my professors, past and present, know my name and ask me how my life is progressing every time that they see me. Professors really seem to enjoy getting to know their students in smaller classes, and their enthusiasm about the course material is infectious and really motivates students to get as much out of the course as possible. Class participation is usually very good (except for some 8:30am classes, but for the most part I steer clear of those), and students are good about setting up study groups outside of the classroom to study together for exams. A lot of times students will leave a class still talking about the material, as it is often presented in a very engaging way. I would say that students are conscious of doing well in a course, but that they are not so much competitive with their peers. Since it is a liberal arts college, the education is geared more towards learning for its own sake (and learning how to learn and finding out what interests you most), and not towards getting a job. For these sort of practical life skills, seek out extracurricular clubs that get you more involved in the real world.

What are the most popular student activities/groups?

Many students participate in sports and clubs on campus. I'm a member of the ultimate frisbee team, which is a very laid pack sport that runs itself (without a coach), whose practices are pretty optional, and who value having a good time and feeling physically satisfied more than achieving any certain results. There are a number of guest speakers who come to campus, and they are always fascinating. The dating scene is fully functional here. I, myself, find many opportunities to ask a cute boy to go on a walk with me around our beautiful campus and get to know them a little better. Philadelphia is a short train ride away, so people sometimes go on adventures into the city.

What is the stereotype of students at your school?

Swarthmore has the stereotype of being a place where the students have to work really hard. Swatties are stereotyped as awkward, unattractive nerds.

Kyle
What is your overall opinion of this school?

Swarthmore will prepare you for an ever changing world. Professors have extremely high expectations from each student and pu...

What is your overall opinion of this school?

Swarthmore will prepare you for an ever changing world. Professors have extremely high expectations from each student and push their students to think in ways that they never would have before. Swarthmore is a highly tolerant educational experience that brings together students from every walk of life. Although the conservative voice is rather small on campus, and there tends to be a bias against it, Swarthmore is very tolerant. The one thing I would change is students' rather limited scope for varying thought. Swat students tend to find it difficult to think outside of their liberal mind frame. Thought diversity has been a topic of conversation in the past year, and is something that has been challenged due to the revitalization of the College Republicans on campus. Being a conservative student on a very liberal campus, my positions have been challenged, but I have learned a great deal from that. One advantage I have had in being conservative at Swarthmore is that I have had the chance to be challenged and also learn outside of normal comfort zone.

Describe the students at your school.

Swarthmore students come from all walks of life, which provides a culturing dynamic on campus. Most students could probably be described as hippies, hence the liberal nature of the campus. Overall, appearance is not the most prized thing on campus, which can be reflected in students' rather sloppy attire; but a Swarthmore education is about learning from within rather than experiencing through aesthetics.

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

Although Swarthmore is not the most accepting place for conservative thought, I would highly recommend that conservative students come to Swarthmore. Conservatives have the unique advantage over liberal students by being challenged not just academically, but also socially and politically. Swarthmore can also be referred to as a bubble...students tend to get so wrapped up in Swat life that they forget that there is an outside world. Luckily enough, there is a train at the bottom of campus that takes you directly into Philly (25 minute ride). The Swarthmore Ville also isn't the most appealing college town. Nothing is open late, the grocery store is expensive, and there aren't many restaurants. The college has been working on improving college/student relations, and recently a Dunkin Donuts was added. Also, Fall of '08, a BYOB restaurant is opening. Although the Ville is improving, it still has a long way to go. My favorite Chinese food ever, is in the Ville though, Cheng Hing!

Is the stereotype of students at your school accurate?

Swarthmore has been coeducational since its incorporation in 1864; Swarthmore is very liberal; students work very hard but can also let loose, work does tend to overshadow platy though.

What are the academics like at your school?

Most all professors are extremely interested in their students. They expect a lot out of each student, which can translate into rather copious amounts of work. The greatest educational experience happens outside of the classroom, though, by interacting with such a talented, intellectual, and engaging student body.

What is the stereotype of students at your school?

an all girls college in upstate New York; very liberal; students only do work and never have fun

What are the most popular student activities/groups?

There are two fraternities, Delta Upsilon and Phi Psi. DU is the more closed frat, while Phi Psi is pretty open (a drinking club if you will). Weekends are typically pretty lively, with plenty of dancing. Swarthmore parties aren't like typical college "house parties" where only a select few party together. Swarthmore, being a Quaker college, encourages socializing together, which usually means large open parties for all to attend. Swarthmore is also a part of the Tri-College Consortium with Haverford and Bryn Mawr...a bus load of Bryn Mawr girls usually unload every weekend.

Details

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

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