Swarthmore, PA
Swarthmore College


40 Ratings

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Recent Reviews

Royce
What is your overall opinion of this school?

The best thing about Swarthmore is all of the educational opportunities at hand. If I could change one thing it would be the ...

What is your overall opinion of this school?

The best thing about Swarthmore is all of the educational opportunities at hand. If I could change one thing it would be the variety in social life - on the weekends there is one thing to do: go to paces - and if you don't drink that's out of the picture. Academically speaking, the size of Swarthmore is perfect, socially it's SMALL. When I tell people that I go to Swarthmore they are amazed - it is an amazing school after all.

Describe the students at your school.

There are two things you must know about Swatties: (1) All are geniuses in their own right and (2) they always want to know more. Most students are politically, socially, racially, economically, etc. aware and active, those that are are in the process of learning.

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

Honestly, it takes a specific type of person to come to Swat and be happy. So come and visit before you make your decision, you'll know.

What are the academics like at your school?

Academically, Swarthmore is perfect. Professor not only know you by name they actually care about you and your life. Class participation is always great, students are not competitive in the traditional sense. All Swatties do is partake in intellectual conversations outside of class, often times with professors. Education here is geared toward learning for it's own sake, we are a liberal arts college. Students are constantly working and studying, the academic requirements at Swarthmore are set fairly high, but it's manageable.

What is the stereotype of students at your school?

Swarthmore students are nerds, over analytical, and critical.

What are the most popular student activities/groups?

Extracurricular activities are diverse and well, active. Students often leave their doors open in dorms to promote a social life on the hall. Athletic events come last on the Swarthmore list of priorities. Guest speakers are frequent and informative. People work hard and play hard. There are many traditions that are alive on campus - Sager, Crunk Fest, Soul Shack, the Block Party, Parrish Takeover, etc. There are plays, musical and dance performances that happen on weekends that do not involve drinking, however they do not usually last past 11 at night. Many people go off campus to party on weekends or go into Philadelphia to hangout, go to a movie, out to dinner, etc.

Jonathan
Describe the students at your school.

Talked about this above - cohesive group of challenging students who secretly can;t stand that they aren't top of their class anymore. Kind of like thousand generals and one soldier monty python skit

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

spend some serious time here prior to coming, also get involved early to find niche in pecking order. very hierarchical.

Is the stereotype of students at your school accurate?

Every stereotype is based in some accurate moment, however, with the changing demographic, the people are changing. I see a much more mainstream class arriving each year. Having been involved with some of my classmates romantically, I can't agree holistically with the statement on looks, although there are some here who seek opportunities to make fashion statements and there is a general lack of trying to look good. Cosmetics are not worn for the most part, and standard wear is sweat_____ (shirt, pants, etc.)

What are the academics like at your school?

Tough in the sciences. Really smart students everywhere, but grading is a joke in comparison to the sciences. Hard to ace in hard sciences and engineering, but also hard to fail. in social sciences and humanities, it's easy to ace classes and professors have no respect for dead lines.

What are the most popular student activities/groups?

social life? activities? Hillary Clinton went to Haverford, we got Chelsea who was tired, and said "Oh My Gosh" before answering any questions. that sums it up

What is the stereotype of students at your school?

Take the fun out of college, very studious, funny looking - because of the ratio (more women to men) I have heard people say the following, "The odds are good - but the goods are odd" sometimes that is used for Bryn Mawr as well. We also talk about Swoggles - swat goggles. We are known for the beautiful campus, and our sports aren't known to be victorious

Jimmy
What is your overall opinion of this school?

People here are very open and receptive everyone. with a somewhat small community people get to know each other and even if ...

What is your overall opinion of this school?

People here are very open and receptive everyone. with a somewhat small community people get to know each other and even if you don't know someone you have probably seen them around somewhere. close access to philly with a train on campus. Students are called "Swatties" because of our uniqueness. there is no other place like swat. most people complain about the dining hall, but it isn't that bad, all you can eat.

Describe the students at your school.

everyone is accepted amongst the community. some groups are more outspoken than others. predominantly liberal.

Is the stereotype of students at your school accurate?

It is true that students are hard working, but we learn how to manage our time to have fun.

What are the academics like at your school?

Most Profs get to know their students. students not competitive about grades. no gpa, class rank, or honor roll. demanding work load can't fall behind. most classes are discussion based, only a few lecture classes. average class size about 15-20 or even less the high up in a department. liberal arts distribution requirement not hard to meet.

What are the most popular student activities/groups?

plenty of options for all. usually a party or movie option. people go to athletic events if they have time, but are supportive. many groups on campus.

What is the stereotype of students at your school?

Swat students are thought of to be over-extended and very ambitious. the school is very difficult with no time for a social life.

Jonathan
What is your overall opinion of this school?

We try to do too many classes and activities, and we complain about our work all the time. Just about everyone gets really st...

What is your overall opinion of this school?

We try to do too many classes and activities, and we complain about our work all the time. Just about everyone gets really stressed out pretty often, but there are plenty of people who let off steam by partying – you still find a social scene even if you not into discussing philosophy or playing D&D. People aren't usually money-power-career oriented like at the Ivies; we actually care about what we're studying. Yeah, we're overwhelmingly progressive, but people still say and do some really ignorant things that show that it is somehow possible to spend four years here and still not confront class, race, gender and sexual privilege.

Describe the students at your school.

The school makes an effort to have a diverse student body, though people tend to clump by race/sexual orientation/ religion/ language. There's plenty of opportunity to expand your social horizons, but not everyone does. The student body is, as the campus Republicans loves complaining, overwhelmingly left. Yet, if you actually make some public declaration of queer/feminist/black/Latino(a)/ class identity, it seems like a bunch of ignorant middle-class, white, hetero men always come out of the woodwork and start whining about it. The fact is, progressive or no, most Swatties are from incredibly privileged backgrounds and most don't like being confronted with this fact. Still Swatties tend to be really interesting, intelligent and, on the whole, very decent people. Most high-achieving assholes either stick to the frats and sports teams, or go to a different school.

Is the stereotype of students at your school accurate?

To a large extent, yes. I don't know any Swattie who regularly has free time or peace of mind. Conservatives are a definite minority

What are the academics like at your school?

Swarthmore is tough. Lots of reading/problem sets, tough grading, advanced material, all that stuff. We spend A LOT of time studying – maybe 3-5 hours a day on average, including class time. It's usually fulfilling, though, if you can get through it. There are some excellent professors here, who put teaching before research and who put a lot of time and effort into being interesting, helpful, available, and fair. Two of the most common conversation themes are 1) interesting/ridiculous/terrifying things that came up in class, and 2) how screwed we are thanks to the paper that is due tomorrow on that interesting/ridiculous/terrifying thing. Students are almost always cooperative, not competitive, with each other. If you want to make money, you should have gone to UPenn or somewhere, with better connections and easier classes. Our $12000 BA's usually go for getting a professorship or a subsistence wage job with some nonprofit somewhere. (Exaggerated, but surprisingly close to the mark.)

What are the most popular student activities/groups?

There are a ton of clubs and groups and they're lavishly funded. Sophomores tend to run them, since juniors and seniors are too busy. Sports aren't very big (we have no football team, thank goodness), but they are there. Social life varies widely with what kind of people you hang around with. There are drunken dance parties at Paces, tripping in the woods, board games/ roleplaying/ cult movies, religious groups, etc. – you can take your pick. Dating is similarly varied – some people don't do it, some find a new hook-up each weekend, some hang out awkwardly for weeks or months until they get up the courage to start awkwardly making out – we've got all kinds. There are no sororities and two frats, who are not a big part of campus life but still seem find a way to make trouble all the time.

What is the stereotype of students at your school?

smart, intellectual, studious; overcommitted, overachieving; awkward, geeky; stressed out; idealistic, leftist

Parker
What is your overall opinion of this school?

Swat is a great liberal arts school and it does prepare you for grad school. the school pretty much gives you the opportunit...

What is your overall opinion of this school?

Swat is a great liberal arts school and it does prepare you for grad school. the school pretty much gives you the opportunity to do whatever you want to the fullest extent. The school as an administration is pretty laid back, most mistakes are forgiven, alcohol policy is extremely lenient. But , the school is so small, Septa is getting more and more expensive. If you do not want to go to grad school, or are not into science research, careers services does a poor job connecting you to potential careers/interships/jobs/connections. The health center, while not always extremely helpful, is very convenient and they will eventually get it right. There is not a lot of school pride, though we have just created a mascot, but i would say more people were mobilized to vote than to go to even a swat haverford BBALL game.

Describe the students at your school.

I feel that there is a lot of diversity on campus whether people know it or not. I do however think that regardless of any other type of identity or factor, all swat students are extremely open-minded. If you cannot accept someone's lifestyle, whatever it may be, dont come here. There are many many cultural groups so pretty much anyone can find a type of community there are also many queer groups, a women's group, and international group (for international students) . People are generally politically aware, whether it be campus politics or global ones, but everyone also enjoys arguing his/her point.

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

just be aware this school is not the most efficient. in fact equality over efficiency is sort of a school motto. But the people are accepting and friendly, as is the staff, so if you thrive in the environment where eveyone knows your name, this is the place for you. You will def. be challenged academically socially, emotionally and in every other way. But if you keep your sanity, you will never forget the friends you make. Plus, it doesnt help to have a Wii, playstation 3, Xbox, etc in the gameroom for a break from reality. Really take advantage of all the things that swarthmore can offer you.

Is the stereotype of students at your school accurate?

To some extent, but you have to choose what you like, the best part is that you are guaranteed that you will find community in what you do choose.

What are the academics like at your school?

Academics are hard, it is not unusual to have over five hundred pages of reading a week, plus a problem set, plus a paper. You really have to prioritize. The profs are really really available outside of class, regardless of their skill as a professor. Some are good and some are bad, but SAM's and upper classmen definitely can help in this matter. I have taken classes from intro stat to classical mythology to contemporary art. the requirements are fairly easy to fulfill, even though, as a humanities major, that lab class was a pain. The learning is DEFINITELY geared toward learning, and NOT getting a job.

What are the most popular student activities/groups?

On weekends there is generally (each night) a paces party (all campus), a smaller, but equally well attended separate party, two frat parties, a movie showing, a musical, athletic, learning, lecture, eating, event. Plus any number of small gatherings of friends. I would say the frat party scene has the same people every week, but then, so do the movie showings. Thanks to large scale event, we get some pretty big name bands/people at the school including, maragret cho, the roots, ben folds, the new pornographers, state radio etccc.Students do leave their doors open, except when they are working of course. I would say that the work hard play hard saying holds really true here. The dating scene is tricky if you date within the school because it is so small, everybody usually knows everything, and rumors start. I met my closest friends on sports teams and on my dorm halls. the sports teams here are both good and bad, but the people on the teams are usually great. I try not to stay up until 2am cause i wake up anyway at like 7. but if i am i am probably back to the dorm at this point, hanging on my hall, or just recently a friends invaded my dorm room and cleaned it. ha or tried to

What is the stereotype of students at your school?

That all we do is study, That athletics are a joke, That we are all tree hugging liberals,

Reese
What is your overall opinion of this school?

Swarthmore's great. There's pressure to do well and work hard, but no real sense of competition. People are very willing to...

What is your overall opinion of this school?

Swarthmore's great. There's pressure to do well and work hard, but no real sense of competition. People are very willing to help each other out by sharing notes or study guides, editing papers, etc.

Describe the students at your school.

Everyone is extremely supportive and kind. Students here are generally really kind and quirky. The one thing that bothers me though, is that the campus is incredibly PC and hypersensitive. Is it always common for a certain group to be "personally offended" by something relatively insignificant. The campus is very liberal and will undoubtedly feel stifling to a student with conservative or even moderate political views.

Is the stereotype of students at your school accurate?

These stereotypes are only true to a certain extent. Because so many swarthmore students are so dedicated to and passionate one special thing, a lot of the students seem "nerdy." I think the standard for beauty is a little different here. Physically, people look the same as any students at any other school, but the difference is that people at Swarthmore are less concerned with superficial things like always being well-dressed or always wearing makeup. It's really nice to feel like you can go to dinner in your pjs and not worry about being judged.

What are the academics like at your school?

When I first came to Swat I was overwhelmed by the amount of work. I thought to myself, "I am going to die with all this reading." But it's really just a matter of knowing your limits and pacing yourself. You get adjusted quickly. And when everyone else is working hard around you, you feel good about getting work done. Professors are generally considerate and the small class sizes are wonderful. I have yet to have a prof who doesn't know my name by the second week of the semester.

What is the stereotype of students at your school?

A lot of people think that Swarthmore students are nerdy, socially awkward, ugly, overachievers.

What are the most popular student activities/groups?

There's always one big party every weekend. Because the school is so small, parties are very inclusive. You will never find yourself in the awkward situation of not knowing anyone at a social event. There are tons of activities for the politically active. Theater here is kind of a dud in terms of the scale of productions.

Rebecca
What is your overall opinion of this school?

I'm from California, so generally people don't react when I say I go to Swarthmore, or they ask me why I would go all the way...

What is your overall opinion of this school?

I'm from California, so generally people don't react when I say I go to Swarthmore, or they ask me why I would go all the way to Pennsylvania to attend a school that they've never heard of. I feel that the Swarthmore community, and the Swarthmore administration are very open to discussion. If there is anything I wanted to change, I feel that even if I could not actually change it, someone would be able to give me a logical reason as to why it could not be (for example, it's just too expensive to serve all-organic food at the dining hall). I think that Swarthmore has a very distinct sort of school pride. It's not a screaming, drunken, chest-painting sort of school pride, it's more of a sober, somewhat sarcastic, a little bit intellectually distant sort of school pride. We're a little bit arrogant, but we tend to take our school fairly seriously, and you'll meet a lot of people who are very dedicated to making Swarthmore the most socially sensitive, politically aware and academically stimulating place that it can be.

Describe the students at your school.

Our campus is extremely liberal, and extremely accepting of LGBT students. Actually, I have a friend from a prep school in Washington DC, and he actually feels that Swarthmore is TOO diverse. He says he wants to institute a "keep in the weird" week, in which students would act stereotypically "normal," which seems odd to me, that people would have to go out of their way to be not themselves, and thus, "normal". but whatever.

Is the stereotype of students at your school accurate?

Probably to some extent. But it's probably just as true as of other schools, and I think that most of the time the work is manageable (at least in my experience). Also, I really think that students are proud of the work that they do, and most of their complaining is just letting steam about things that they actually like, but can be very difficult. Either way, I'm having a lot of fun, and I'm learning much, much, much more (and in more meaningful ways) than I ever did in my high school classes. Doing lots of reading and writing hard papers is character-building, and can also be fun.

What is the stereotype of students at your school?

People sometimes think that Swarthmore students work all of the time, that they don't have any fun, and that they are constantly complaining about all the work that they must do.

Morgan
What is your overall opinion of this school?

Swarthmore's located 20 minutes outside of Philadelphia by train. It's in an area where there's literally dozens of other pr...

What is your overall opinion of this school?

Swarthmore's located 20 minutes outside of Philadelphia by train. It's in an area where there's literally dozens of other prestigious colleges. So, don't think that when you get here you're in some unique place in the vicinity around you. It's just another small college town surrounded by many. Honestly, I really don't like this place. I hate the student body and I wish I had never come here in the first place. I am dead serious. The administration is very welcoming, however, and they really work with you if you have problems.

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

Honestly, this school tore me down, ripped me apart, and left me for dead. Usually when you tear something down you build it up again. But not here. I came in with great hopes and dreams of the future and now all I want to be is a dreg working at an Indian Casino living at home. I am not kidding so please don't say, "This guy is just having fun with us." Not the case at all. I truly hate academics now and the scholarly profession.

Is the stereotype of students at your school accurate?

This really isn't the case. From other people I have met who attended similar colleges they seemed to be given just about as much work as I have over the last four years.

What are the academics like at your school?

They are fairly intense as I said earlier. Since the school's so damn small you always stand out in your tiny classes. Me, I just like to do my readings and assignments really well, miss class, and catch up on my sleep. I hate the idea of having to squeeze in maybe 6 hours of sleep every night so that I can do 7 hours of homework the next day with another 3 hours of class. That just sucks. I'd be a total wreck if I had to do that everday. I really need 8 or more hours but attending class all the time makes that impossible. So, I miss a lot and I lose participation points, but I still do all my work and understand the material. I just don't want to go to another 50 minute review session followed by two more classes that go over the exact same things in the readings and be burned out for four years everyday. So, if you want to be anonymous and miss class this is the wrong place. Like right now I am in a class only 1 person! It sucks. The Japanese professors are so anal about attendence too.

What is the stereotype of students at your school?

Swarthmore is claimed to be far more intensive than other liberal arts and ivy league colleges in the amount of work you have to do.

Drew
What is your overall opinion of this school?

Swarthmore is small enough that you know, whenever you meet somebody, you'll probably run into them again without putting an ...

What is your overall opinion of this school?

Swarthmore is small enough that you know, whenever you meet somebody, you'll probably run into them again without putting an effort into it. This is great for making new friends, but tricky when you want to avoid someone. At the same time, there are enough people that there will always be people you don't know. Sometimes, however, when you meet someone for the first time, you actually each know a lot about each other already. That can be awkward or entertaining, depending on your take. Just don't do anything you'll be ashamed of, and you'll be fine. The administration is exceptionally efficient and friendly. A lot of students are on first-name basis with many deans, and they really look out for us. There's not much school pride as far as sports go, but if two Swatties run into each other anywhere in the world and discover their common college, they'll be instant friends.

Is the stereotype of students at your school accurate?

They're based on reality, but of course it's more complicated than that. We have a lot of work, but it varies depending on what classes you take, how many extracurriculars you have, and how good you are at managing your time. When it does get overwhelming, professors tend to be very understanding and good about giving extensions. We aren't really unattractive; we just don't put an awful lot of effort into our looks. We put our effort into our studies, into our extracurriculars, and into our friends instead. I think that makes Swatties MORE attractive, not less; they're too passionate about other things they want to do to take time to put on make-up.

What are the academics like at your school?

Classes are small, intense, and interesting. Everyone is intelligent and most people care about the material, which leads to dynamic classroom discussions. There's a big emphasis on teaching for the professors, and they are generally eager to talk to students. Some are more helpful than others, but just about all of them want to help. It is common for a professor to invite a class to their house for dinner at the end of a semester. Students tend to be very supportive of each other, and work together a lot, whether it's working out a math problem or talking out ideas for a philosophy paper.

What is the stereotype of students at your school?

They say we have too much work; they say we are unattractive; they say we are geeks.

Ryan
What is your overall opinion of this school?

Swarthmore's campus is gorgeous. During the spring days I often find a nice tree to sit under, the cherry blossoms are partic...

What is your overall opinion of this school?

Swarthmore's campus is gorgeous. During the spring days I often find a nice tree to sit under, the cherry blossoms are particularly nice, to do work, or I people watch on "the Beach". One thing I would change about Swarthmore would be the food. Sharples grub is pretty much that, grub. I understand that it is difficult to prepare food for all of us to eat, but still the quality could be a bit better. We need nutritious meals for our ever expanding minds! Also we need a facility that serves food after 10:30pm, because most of us are awake till at least 2:00am during the week.

Describe the students at your school.

I would say that the BCC(Black Cultural Center) is pretty active. I have not felt discriminated against. I would say that attire is pretty casual, you don't have to dress up everyday if you don't want to. Some people come in dresses, some come in pajamas, it doesn't really matter. In the dining hall most people are divided by activities they are involved in. During swim season I primarily eat with the swim team because we come straight from practice. The same goes for other sports teams. There are also a lot of discussion groups that occur during meals for classes, so that is another way people divide. Students are pretty active in at least one thing. There definitely is a sort of social activist vibe that you feel when on campus, but it is not so strong as to segregate people who are active and those who choose not to be.

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

Swatties definitely are involved in a lot of activities. I am constantly amazed to find out that someone has started a new project. People here are driven to do something, but it is not a ferocious cut throat drive. Certainly people want to do well, but it is a desire to do well for personal reasons, not a desire to do well to compete against others. One thought that often occurs is that I'm amazed by what people are capable of doing because of the people that go to Swat.

Is the stereotype of students at your school accurate?

To some degree. People here definitely are quirky and therefore their interactions with others can be considered awkward. Though people can be awkward, they are nice and their awkwardness is part of their charm.

What are the academics like at your school?

I have had mixed emotions about classes. It is evident that the professors know what they are talking about, but some are not able to articulate their knowledge in an enrapturing way. The readings for class are always intriguing. The education system is supposed to be an individualistic experience, meaning it is designed to give you as much as you put in. If you want to learn you will and if you don't want to learn, then you won't. I think that goes for the same for any college.

What are the most popular student activities/groups?

Well for me swim team is pretty cool. People try to leave their dorms open, my dorm floor was pretty close this year. The students get emails about events on campus to go to. The dating scene-maybe it is just the people I hang out with, but most seem to be taken. There is also a good amount of queer couples as well as heterogeneous couples. We have two fraternity houses, but no one really lives in them. They basically serve as designated party areas.

What is the stereotype of students at your school?

Extremely nerdy, socially awkward

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