Swarthmore College Top Questions

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


The school's academic rigor is unprecedented and the coursework is often at a graduate level. There is also a tremendous emphasis on hard work, which is incredibly refreshing when more and more schools are inflating their grades and handing out A's for nothing. On another note, the majority of students are very thoughtful and tend to choose philosophical discussions over beer and football games. Most of the student body is very nerdy and frequently quirky-- even our rugby jocks (nope, there's no football here) were nerds in high school.


Very liberal/diverse in terms of race and sexual orientations. Reverse of most schools in that eccentric kids are embraced openly while athletes are somewhat marginalized by the Swattie population. That is changing though as more athletes are being admitted and the athletic programs are becoming very competitive in the Centennial League and beyond (Men's soccer went to the round of 16 at the DIII NCAA tournament).


Swarthmore's a great place but there are a lot of negatives. I think it's important to visit and try to spend the night over, and walk all around campus and talk to people and see basically what a typical day is like here. I really don't like the weather here--it's too sunny, and it's almost winter. I just really like the cloudy days back in Seattle. People here are really nice, but I find a few of them arrogant and self-righteous, and these people seem to think that they're smarter, and just superior to their friends, and that really sucks. People here should be more willing to listen to different perspectives and should get a reality check that they're still students. I really like the close interaction between students and faculty--I think it's really special to know that professors really care that you learn. I sometimes get the feeling that I'm not getting a 'world-class education,' but I think that really has to do with the fact that we're not in a big university, and a lot of people associate 'world-class education' with famous universities, and we're not a famous university. We're a small college, Swarthmore, dedicated to learning in an academic, close-knit community, where students often try to make the world a better place and have fun while they're at it. I think that's what Swarthmore's about.


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

Jonathan F

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.


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


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.


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!


I'm from the class of '04, so my impressions might be out of date. I've heard that the admissions people are increasing going after more conventional students, the types who will graduate, get well-paying jobs in established professions, donate lots of money, and help the school climb the rankings. I certainly hope not. Swatties tend to bitch and moan, as people in general do, but most of the people I know had extremely positive experiences, and are very happy that they went to Swarthmore. Sorry, I don't have much dirt.


Swarthmore is a great school, but it isn't for everyone, so I recommend visiting before deciding to come!


Dining hall food is nothing to write home about (but at least you won't be packing on the dreaded Freshman 15!), the "town" of Swarthmore (which is technically a borough) is a pitiful excuse for a college town, and you will find that you spend much of your weekends working (or rather, feeling guilty for not working).


Swarthmore is a cool place but it has its fault. Work is tough, some professors are mean/annoying, but that's life. I'd say that the appearance of Swarthmore (inside of dorms, dining hall, etc.) could use some work.


I love it here. I couldn't imagine being anywhere else


Swarthmore is a great place but it is a pressure cooker. The academics ARE really intense, far more so than at most other schools (judging by my workload compared to that of my friends at other places). But the campus is beautiful and the people are really great.


Swarthmore is a great school, in the larger scheme of elite colleges. However, there are many issues that it could improve upon.


Looking back on what I've written, I realize I at times brushed over some of the bumps and bruises of Swarthmore. There were times where I felt that "debate" was more discussion as not all sides (especially political) were fairly represented. There were many times when I was stressed beyond belief due to workload. There were times when I was frustrated with self-segregation in the cafeteria due to race, language, activity, what have you. But even with that said, Swarthmore is a pretty special place. If it were perfect, it would be boring and it wouldn't exist. It has its issues, but if you are a person who delights in thinking and questioning and being challenged, it's the place for you. The first thing that I was taught, my very first week of classes was to challenge everything, even what the teachers said. That's something important right there - that professors have weight because they are professors and so don't necessarily always treat you exaclty as equals, but you are not subservient either. They respect you and expect a lot from you. There are the "demi-gods" on campus, but they don't have to be. Now almost a year out of school, I am happy to be done and moving on to new things. But, I am glad that I had the opportunity to attend Swarthmore. On the school side, it honed my ability to think, to make connections between seemingly unrelated things, and set me up for some really great opportunities. My friends are some of the most amazing people I have ever met, even with their foibles and idisyncracies, I love them the more for it.


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.


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


swat is very unique


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.


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.


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.


Come to Swat! It's amazing!


The Amphitheater is the best place on campus, Hands Down!




Swarthmore's not perfect, but its good enough for me :)


Swarthmore students need to be less close-minded. A perfect example was the recent lecture on modesty by a woman whose name I have since forgotten. It was a controversial talk, but some people felt it was their right to blatantly disrespect her and their opinions. People need to refrain from such obscenities and respect other people's opinions just because they don't fit the general mold of a Swarthmore student's liberal mind.


I love Swarthmore, but ultimately it comes down to what you want from a college experience. If you are more interested in extracurriculars than academics, want to join a sorority/fraternity, want to go to a school where people actually attend athletic events, or want a new and different party every weekend, then Swat is not the school for you. If you really like learning and being challenged in your learning, want peers who are passionate about their beliefs and love to talk about them, and want a school with a distinct sense of community, than Swarthmore is the right place for you.


Pennsylvania weather honestly sucks. Winters are far too long but rarely snowy, which irks a Montana boy like me to know end. Rain is the eternal constant around here and the humidity is unbearable. When it's nice, take advantage. Also, thought I'd say that I didn't appreciate the arboretum until this year. As if we needed any other indication that diversity is Swarthmore College's middle name, the sight of a Japanese tree next to an evergreen is particularly smile-inducing. I don't understand biology for shit, but somehow the arboretum folks managed to grow all these trees next to each other, and for that I'm very grateful.


Nope. Nothing else.


It's a beautiful, beautiful place.


I really like it here at SWAT. the people are chill, i feel safe and secure and my academics rock. and my soccer team is amazing and we won the ECAC's this fall. I can't ask for anything more...lol just an A on my next orgo midterm would be nice... kidding! (but not really.) :)


Do not come here unless you fit the stereotypes! If you don't, just BEING here can be miserable. Trust me, I speak from (ongoing) experience.


I still don't understand why my parents keep getting called for donations to the school when I'm already basically contributing almost 50k a year. Just sayin'.


Do not come to Swarthmore if: You're a budding fashionista You're extremely conservative You need food at all hours of the night You like to go to bed early You like seeing new faces You hate nerds You dislike trees You want to make lots and lots of money You want to be anonymous You're a serious athlete


Even though there's a train station right on campus, Philadelphia is not going to be an integral part of your social life. You will go there once or twice a month, at most.




tell more trombonists to come because i'm goindg abroad and the balkan ensemble needs a replacement.


If you come to Swat, make sure you want to come to Swat. Otherwise, you're not going to enjoy it here.


I love this place. The academics can almost kill you sometimes, credit transfers can be a big tough from study abroad and such, and housing issues can loom over you, but it's a great place.


I wish the local town had more stuff to do.


We have hot girls too.


I must admit that I miss the dear little bubble known as Swarthmore College.


swarthmore will probably make you angry. i found it infuriating but i readily acknowledge i got a great education.


I love Swarthmore.


For people who are interested in social change, Swarthmore's Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility is also an awesome resource. It houses a ton of programs and resources regarding social change. Furthermore, its staff members are amazing. They have so much knowledge and experience. If I could, I would spend time just listening to their stories. Also, the administration at Swat is really good. My advisor right now is an assistant dean, and he has been incredibly helpful and encouraging these first two years. Furthermore, all of the deans are really happy to talk to students.


I think if you think Swarthmore would seem right for you, it probably is. Despite all the frustrations I had with the school at the time, I don't know that I would have felt as at home other places, and met people with whom I had so much in common (in terms of the way in which we viewed the world). The education really is that good, the people really are that smart, and you really will be a smarter person for the rest of your life because of it. Though it's also a magnet for eccentric, liberal nerdy folk, so if that sounds completely unappealing, Swat is probably not the place for you.


If you have a slightly odd taste in girls (i.e. the Girls Gone Wild chicks do nothing for you) then you will think that many Swarthmore girls are extremely cute.


What can I say other than the fact that Swat is awesome! I am madly in love with the place and the people here. I'm busy all the time but it's the best type of busy.


even though there are only 2 frats, both of them are so typical of frats and yet so different from the rest of this school's norm.