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When I talk about Swat I generally get one of two responses - where's that? Or WOW - You got in THERE! And a look of growing ...
When I talk about Swat I generally get one of two responses - where's that? Or WOW - You got in THERE! And a look of growing respect. It's quite flattering. :-) I LOVE it here. The school is tiny, and a lot of the seniors get tired of that after awhile, but it means that the profs are really available and everything is nice and flexible. The school really tried to suit itself to your needs. I love the people, too - when I got here in the Fall I was just AMAZED at how friendly and helpful people were. I stopped being shy about asking for help or directions because people were so happy to give them.
Swarthmore for the most part is a really understanding, supportive, and accepting community, whether one is gay, straight, rich, poor, US citizen, Haitian citizen, or whatever. The diversity is really wonderful, and the various ethnic groups on campus really do mix around a lot. The thing is, though, we really are INCREDIBLY liberal. Even the PROFS make Bush jokes, and the Republican student group here feels more like a support group than a political party. That said, a Republican on campus would still make friends and such, he/she'd just end up not talking politics a lot, probably.
Come to Swat! It's amazing!
Sort of. We are really liberal, and the school is different, but I love it. In my opinion Swarthmore has the coolest student body around. We are not really "normal" but that's generally because we're really smart, creative, independent people. There is lots of activism.
The academics are INTENSE - you've got to love it, or you'll be miserable. For me, really hard classes were what I wanted and I've never been happier. I should mention as well that even though I am taking Swat's equivalent of 20 credit hours, I do have enough free-time, I just have to manage my time well to get it. The school also has a lot of support systems if you need help with your paper, a lab, a language, study skills - really whatever. People are also really cooperative, here - we all want each other to do well and help each other out, rather than competing. Most of us love what we are doing and want to share it, talk about it, and explain it to other people, so we have some really fun conversations. I talk about my poly-sci class in my Christian group, my biology in my poly-sci class, whatever. In many of my classes I feel like I learn as much from my peers as from the prof. It's really wonderful. I talk to people and sound like a walking ad for the school. :-)
Social life is fun, here - there's always something to do. There are parties every weekend, and if, like me, you don't drink, no problem - there's also quieter, (or not so quiet) dry parties in various places around campus. The frats exist, but they're not the only way to have a social life. Some crazy traditions we have are the "Pterodactyl Hunt" (a really crazy game where one pretends one is a great hero and goes about slaying monsters) and Sager ("guys wear a dress, girls wear less". Those aren't the only but I'm frankly getting kinda bored with the survey.
Uber-liberal weird school with weird students, lots of activism
Although many people have not heard of Swarthmore, it is considered to be one of the top academic and activist institutions. ...
Although many people have not heard of Swarthmore, it is considered to be one of the top academic and activist institutions. I love that I can have the academic rigor and still be involved in many organizations. The size of the school is great because you can get a lot of individual attention and really get to know your professors well; it also makes it easy to find your friends, whether for eating or at a party.
There are tons of organizations for whatever group you are interested in. Many discussions are held on campus, and you can really take full advantage of the diversity presented. The students are really laid back, and it's guaranteed that you will be accepted and respected on campus. There's tons of activism on campus, and you can chose to partake in that, or just devote yourself to your studies.
I would say so.
The classes here are great. Many people come here because of the great science and engineering departments, which is rare for a liberal arts college. People here do a lot of studying, but it's easier to do since everyone else is also working very hard. You hear a lot of intellectual conversations and lectures on campus, which are always very interesting. Although everyone's smart, there is not much competition and no one really talks about their grades or scores. I feel like I will walk away from Swarthmore with a well rounded knowledge, prepared for whatever field I decide to go into.
Everyone here is very friendly and open, so you can basically hang out with whomever you want to and just chill with anyone. You have so many opportunities to join new organizations or hear interesting lectures, where you can meet new people. Some people find the size of the school to be annoying when everyone else knows about your relationships. There are lots of traditions we celebrate, and they are all awesome to participate in. Last weekend was parent's weekend, and I went with my room mate's parents to Washington D.C., where we participated in a demonstration for Darfur with other students from around the country. Basically you have the small college atmosphere with the excitement of a big city right at your doorstep.
Everyone here is thought to be very smart and from the top of their class.
I think that the best part about Swarthmore is that all of the students have different ways of being smart, which serves to e...
I think that the best part about Swarthmore is that all of the students have different ways of being smart, which serves to enhance the atmosphere of the school. If I could change anything, I would either have more than one main dining hall, or I would make the food in the one dining hall better. I think this would enhance the lives of all of the students. I think that our administration is very accessible and open to students' opinions and concerns.
I think that most Swarthmore students accept that there is diversity in race, religion, LGBT, socio-economic, and other diversity on campus; however, I think that there is a difference between accepting the existence of diversity and becoming actually comfortable and approving of the persistence of this diversity. I think that there is enough diversity on campus that no type of student would feel out of place. Half of Swarthmore's population is not on any type of financial aid. We are predominantly left-wingers. I think that what we will earn in the future is not a consideration in the job that most Swatties decide to take.
I think that just as most stereotypes go, there is a contingent of students for which this applies; however, the stereotype is not reflective nor representative of the diversity of Swarthmore students.
I think that the professor has known my name in every class that I have taken. My favorite classes thus far have been the honors seminars because the small sizes allow for greater, in-depth conversations and understanding. Students at Swarthmore definitely have intellectual conversations that are spurred by the interesting topics that come out in classes. Economics is one of the biggest departments at Swarthmore and is one of the most organized as well. I like the professors that teach in the department to the extent that they are great professors who are willing to go to lengths to divulge their knowledge to the students. I think that Swarthmore's academic requirements are pretty easy to fulfill but at the same time help to raise well-rounded, intellectually stimulated people.
I think that one of the more popular groups on campus is Rhythm and Motion, which is a dance group. Their last performance was pretty packed. Athletic events are not too popular because of the fact that all of our teams, even though we are DIII, are still pretty bad. I think that dating within Swarthmore is very different than dating in the real world. Because of the small size, people find it hard to lead independent lives from their significant others. Thus, when breakups happen, there are several mutual friends that are left in awkward situations. A Swarthmore tradition is Pub Nite, which happens every Thursday and is all you can drink for $4 for underclassmen and $3 for seniors. The profit made from these Thursday night gatherings accrues to the senior class' senior week activities, which is the week before graduation in which they do activities. We have no sororities and only two fraternities, which signifies that the greek scene at Swarthmore is pretty nonexistant.
A common stereotype about Swarthmore students is that we are awkward in social situations.
When I tell people that I go to Swarthmore they react in one of two ways: 1) They smile and ask "why would you do that to yo...
When I tell people that I go to Swarthmore they react in one of two ways: 1) They smile and ask "why would you do that to yourself?" I usually reply because I love it! 2) They get a bewildered look on their face and ask "Where is that?" And I reply in a smug manner, all the while thinking that they have no idea how smart I am and that while they are judging me, I too am judging them for not knowing about one of the top schools in the country. 3) They are surprised and ask how I like it and then go on to tell me of someone they know who has some vague amorphous connection to Swarthmore. I usually enjoy talking to these people because they understand how great the college is! Oh wait that's three reactions...
School is pretty open and accomodating. Most people are liberal or they claim to be for fear of being dragged into a 3hour debate about the merits of liberalism with an overzealous classmate! There is an increasingly vocal group of moderates/conservatives on campus and I think its a great addition to the plurality of the school community.
The Amphitheater is the best place on campus, Hands Down!
They are stereotypes and all stereotypes are grounded in some semblance of truth. To really find out, one will just have to visit and see for themselves! But for the most part we are extremely passionate and dedicated to some cause whether its a steadfast dedication to sleeping off stress or to spark political change in international politics everyone is dedicated!
Most people learn for learning's sake and to get good grades. Most of what we learn is hardly directly applicable to our lives in the general work force, unless you are considering a career in academics. The professors are really great. Most make an effort to know your name and most professors try to get to know you as an individual and not just as a student. I once had a professor ask me about one of my extra-curricular activities after they had read an article/seen my picture in the school newspaper. I had no idea that the teacher even knew my name, let alone knew who I was. That was a very comforting moment and I felt like my professor truly cared. Also most professors push you to become independent, self-motivated thinkers and that is such a valuable lesson that I will definitely use post-Swat.
Last weekend I went to a Rhythm and Motion Dance Concert on Saturday and then on Sunday I attended a professional Taiko performance. It was such a great weekend! One good thing about social life here is that every on-campus event is free and open to all students of Tri-Co. It's such a great system that upholds the campus mission of inclusion and openness.
Swarthmore is the home for nerds and socially inept individuals. Swarthmore students are all very motivated and socially aware.
Swatties work hard, but mostly they're just overcommitted everybody is highly involved in things they enjoy and things that t...
Swatties work hard, but mostly they're just overcommitted everybody is highly involved in things they enjoy and things that they think are important. The result is a student body full of exciting, motivated people.
Swarthmore students are very liberal, but most aren't in-you-face about it. Most students are intelligent and accepting.
Swarthmore's small size results in lots of small classes and interaction with professors. Seminars are widely available to freshmen and to upperclassmen, and allow in-depth study of interesting topics. In my major, I've had classes with all of the professors in the department, and am on a first-name basis with all of them.
Sports aren't a big deal at Swarthmore. We don't have a football team, and nobody knows how the soccer team or the basketball team did unless they have a friend on the team. The college administration, academic departments, and students do a good job of bringing interesting speakers to campus. Orchestra 2001 performs music by modern composers at least once per semester on campus. Virtually all campus events are free for students.
We work too hard.
When I tell people to come to Swarthmore, they first react by not knowing where the school located. I feel that it is unfort...
When I tell people to come to Swarthmore, they first react by not knowing where the school located. I feel that it is unfortunate that many people do no understand how great of a school Swarthmore is. The academic rigor is very real but it is worth it.
I feel that sometimes certain groups like the Christian group is very repressed. I just personally think that as a Christian, that this group deserves a lot more respect. Many of the individuals on the campus feel as though they know everything about Christians and they don't.
I my opinion these stereotypes are not accurate. I for one I know that I do not particularly like to write long papers. I also am not liberal. Ofcourse at this school discussing this is not always a possibility. l am also not extremely into politics. I came into this school for the great academics and did not realize how political the school was until I came.
Students love to participate at Swarthmore and the professors are very approachable. The teachers really want you, for the most part, to succeed at everything that you do.
Many of the individuals are very involved i activities. There are some that are very anti-social but those that aren't like to be involved with activities.
That we all like to write long papers. That we are all liberal and that we are all into politics.
I have a love-hate relationship at Swarthmore- most of the time that I'm here I can't wait to leave, but I always hate leavin...
I have a love-hate relationship at Swarthmore- most of the time that I'm here I can't wait to leave, but I always hate leaving. Even though life here falls into a pretty repetitive cycle, you grow to expect it and enjoy it and understand it. The ville is extremely lame, and Philadelphia is a city friendlier to those with cars since the public transport system sucks...so I could imagine a better setting for Swat. I love the small school feel though- I've always gone to small schools and even though the enviroment can get a little claustrophobic, if you stay out of trouble then its not a bad thing.
Swarthmore has an extremely vocal left wing, which I think can lead to a lot of more conservative opinions being hushed, and those who hold those opinions being made to feel like they have no place here. In that sense, I think the common perspective here, though very liberal, is also very narrow-minded in a way- people aren't always willing to consider alternative arguments and perspectives, especially when they are closer to the right.
Swarthmore's not perfect, but its good enough for me :)
Swarthmore can dish out a pretty hefty workload, and most of the students here are involved in some kind of voluntary work, but for the most part we also do the normal college student thing as well. We're not always consumed by something serious.
Most of the professors here make an effort to know who you are, and to encourage discussion. A lot of the intro classes are really big and so participation and discussion can be difficult, but the higher level seminars are small and professors begin to treat you more as colleagues than as students. Most professors are pretty good about making themselves available outside the classroom too. Students do have intellectual conversations outside of class, but not always. I think people are generally interested in talking to their friends about whatever it is they're studying, and friends are interested in listening.
As with any small school, drinking is a big thing. On weekends, the main form of entertainment is a 10 pm to 2 am party, lots of alcohol included. That's not to say that there aren't other things going on...there are often concerts, plays, lectures, movies etc., but after a certain time of day, it all comes down to the parties. The worst thing about weekend life at Swat is the lack of food...after about 10 pm, food becomes pretty much inavailable on campus. There are a few pizza delivery places around, but after about midnight delivery is pretty iffy and unreliable.
Swarthmore is a highly intensive academic environment where students do work 24/7. And when they're not doing work, they're out trying to save the world.
Swarthmore is a personality school. Some people (a lot of people) love it here, and plenty don't. Swat is one of those places...
Swarthmore is a personality school. Some people (a lot of people) love it here, and plenty don't. Swat is one of those places where, if you don't feel like you fit in, you're unlikely to find a niche. It really is a small school, and socially speaking there's very little breathing room. This creates all of the boasted-upon pluses that liberal arts colleges love, like close professor-student relationships, a feeling of intimacy, and an inability to 'fall through the cracks'. It also means that any awkwardness you may have with another person on campus is completely unavoidable. You >will< see this person in Sharples on a regular basis, have them in one of your classes and/or end up working with them on an extracurricular project (I use the plural to avoid the gendered pronouns that Swat has taught me to scorn). Swarthmore is the only place where I can imagine meeting more than one champion mountain unicyclist, where a huge banner would greet prospective students on our accepted students weekend with the words "Welcome Queer Specs!", or where students lapse into discussions about Foucault when inebriated. Swarthmore is quirky in the extreme, and I love the mix of people here. While the small size of the student body means that some interests and even ethnicities go somewhat unrepresented, the diversity of interests and experiences that Swatties bring to the table never ceases to amaze me.
Conservatives beware. Really. Swarthmore is welcoming to everyone and anyone, so long as they're not registered as a Republican. Story: the College Republicans recently experienced a resurgence in activity (all five of them) and posted flyers all over campus advertising for their meeting. The flyers proclaimed that it was okay to "come out of the closet" as conservatives. A huge controversy built up over the use of the term "coming out" by Republicans, who are, as we all know, not generally queer-friendly. There were counter-flyers. There were chalkings. There were newspaper articles. Capiche? As an Arab student, I've personally been a bit disappointed by the lack of Middle Eastern students, and I'm sure there are plenty of people here who feel a little lonely for similar reasons. As I said before, such a small student body can't sustain large populations of every ethnicity. There are a lot of token minorities. Swat makes a huge effort at maintaining diversity, and usually does a pretty decent job. Of course, we all speak English really well, have most of the same politics, and come predominantly from the suburbs, but Admissions is doing what it can.
Insofar as stereotypes are inherently inaccurate because they generalize a group of individuals, no. But as stereotypes go, they're about as accurate as they come. Although, to be honest, I was surprised at how, well, apathetic some Swatties seem to be. Not everyone is out to save the world, and there's more going on here than the stereotypes reveal - things like intramural soccer, water gun fights on Parrish beach and fireside chats with the administration.
Swat academics are tough. Really tough. Overall, they're also of excellent quality, which makes it better. I love the biology department, and the new Arabic section in the department of Modern Languages is exciting and has some really fabulous professors. The small size of the school does mean that course offerings are sometimes limited, both in topics and in timing, but at least the difficulties that these problems cause are distributed relatively fairly between the lower and upperclassmen. First year seminars are a must for freshmen, and small discussion classes are the best of what Swat has to offer. There really are no easy A's at Swat, but the natural science division is definitely more difficult as a whole. Your poli sci prof may happily hand out C's, but you're not in danger of failing. Orgo offers no such assurances. To be honest, I learn more just from talking with my fellow Swatties than I ever do in class. I'm constantly amazed at what everyone is researching, writing about, or just reading on blogs. And people here >care< about subjects that the rest of the world dismisses as merely academic or intellectual. From what I've seen, even if you manage to sleep through class, it's impossible to graduate from Swarthmore without doing some serious thinking.
Because Swat is kind of in a bubble, all of the socializing happens on campus. We can technically go to Bryn Mawr, Haverford or UPenn whenever we want, but the reality is that few people go on a regular basis. This makes Swarthmore a little incestuous. I think it's fair to say that I know about a fifth of the student body well enough to say hello to them, and almost a third by name or reputation. Swatties are generally wonderful fun to talk to, involved in at least six different extracurriculars, and prone to excessive social awkwardness. I find the people here endlessly entertaining, and I would rather be spending time with fellow Swatties than with any other group of people I can think of.
Stereotypes about Swatties are that they're constantly studying, all liberal, and on a campaign to save the world.
It really is a community---you learn too much about the personal lives of people you don't actually know that well in real li...
It really is a community---you learn too much about the personal lives of people you don't actually know that well in real life. However, it's also fairly easy to make friends. There are plenty of events that are inclusive and interesting. And if not, you can make your own fun. Academics are challenging, but there's a ton of support---tutors, clinics, etc. There isn't much of what one typically associates with "school spirit" in terms of athletics, but most Swatties are proud of their school in other ways.
Very diverse campus culturally, but not so much in terms of thought. As in, most people are militant liberals. Republicans tend to feel really out of place, even attacked, as do social conservatives. There's a niche for pretty much anyone. That's one of the things I like--that social groups aren't exclusive.
We do have a portion of people who are socially awkward and study all the time. However, most people are friendly, welcoming, and compassionate.
Hard. But it's true that students are not competitive with each other, generally. Education at Swarthmore is geared more toward learning for its own sake, but sometimes this really annoys me when there's no practical application whatsoever. Intellectual conversations are everywhere, in the dining hall, walking around campus. But the classes are so interesting. Bio 2, for example, is like a show every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
We have some crazy traditions. Pterodactyl Hunt (hitting people with foam swords), Crum Regatta (students building and racing "boats" down the creek), the rugby team streaking, etc. Very service and social action oriented organizations. It's really easy to get funding to do your own project, start your own organization, etc. There are no sororities, two non-residential frats, one of which provides most of the parties.
Study all the time, really weird (cape-wearing), socially awkward
Swarthmore has a very small student population. At times it can make the campus feel small and suffocating. But I wouldn't ...
Swarthmore has a very small student population. At times it can make the campus feel small and suffocating. But I wouldn't say this happens too often. I like the people I am around so I don't feel confined to have to spend my time with them. I love walking down the path and running into a ton of people that I know as opposed to passing mobs of strangers. It makes the social scene nice because most people know each other and there isn't very much exclusivity in student events. I would say that there really isn't a college town around. I don't usually find it necessary to leave campus because there is a lot going on. But the Tri-Co arrangement makes it easy to go to other campuses for events. Philadelphia is close and some upperclassmen enjoy going into the city. When I tell people I am going to Swarthmore, I am usually answered with an out that's nice. Where is it? or just a general response of confusion. In short, not the average man on the streeet will recognize it as an elite institution like a Princeton or Harvard, even though it is. But the people who you want to know (like future employers) hold the institution in the highest regard.
I feel that there are definitely awkward people here. But not much more so than there are in the real world. In every colelction of students there will be the socially awkward. I would say that the academic intesity of the students lends them to this stereotype. I have to admit though, on the occassions I feel myself becoming sleep deprived, I find myself more socially awkward. And there is an obvious solution here.
The academics are challenging. The professors expect quality work and effort from their students. The professors are also williing to put quality effor into their students. All of my professors know my name. I frequent their office hours as much as I need it and I have found they make great efforts to be available to help. Coming in with questions the professors are always willing to assist. In my math class last semester, I came in needing some help. My prof decided he would make me into a math major. I came in and sat down with my econ prof last semester to discuss my paper and she helped me go through the whole process. I quite frequently have conversations with my philosophy professor that extend well beyond the material to larger questions the readings evoke for me. This one-on-one attention is possible mostly by the small class sizes. I am in a history seminar of three students. My largest classes have about 40 students. This makes conversations great and the material accessible.
Sports are not a huge deal on campus, although a lot of students are involved. I live in a very social dorm. We like to drop into each others rooms for study breaks just to talk and can lose hours to good conversations, even when we don't have hours to lose. there are quite a few fun traditions at Swarthmore. We have the primal scream before finals where the deans serve the students a midnight breakfast and we all let out a primal scream before the chaos of finals begin. We have a large event called screw your roommate where you set you roommate up on a blind date, dress them up in a costume, send them to the dining hall in a costume (along with the rest of the student body) in order to find their matching mate for the night. There are a lot of these traditions these are just the first two that came to mind. Last weekend I went to a girl's night with the freshmen girls on my hall on Thursday night and then went to another hall to socialize further. On Friday i studied some, went on a run. I watched my best friend's a capella (i can't spell sorry) concert, went to a dance, discussed the war in iraq, and called it a night. On Saturday i studied in the library and on the main lawn in school where some bands were playing for peace week. I hung out with my Frisbee team, after which we attended a rhythm and motion dance concert (it's kind of a big deal on campus).
Swarthmore students are reputably awkward and inept at dealing with social situations.
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