Swarthmore College Top Questions

Is the stereotype of students at your school accurate?


For the most part, yes. You can definitely see a bit of these stereotypes in most people here. I don't consider myself a hippie, but they are here if you look long enough. Students here tend to be very smart and take their work very seriously. Some people here are very social, and some aren't. I think that compared to the students at my high school, students here are on average less social. That partly has to do with having to do a lot of work and that also has to do with the fact that many people here probably never really partied or drank or got out much. I can definitely imagine most people here not being popular in high school. Although there are some who probably were popular--it's not that easy to generalize. There are a lot of liberals here, and a lot of people who claim to be liberals but really don't know what they're talking about.

Jonathan F

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


A Swarthmore student discusses stereotypes of the campus.


A Swarthmore student discusses stereotypes of the campus.


A Swarthmore student discusses stereotypes of the campus.


A Swarthmore student discusses stereotypes of the campus.


A Swarthmore student discusses stereotypes of the campus.


A Swarthmore student discusses stereotypes of the campus.


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.

Political Junkie Junior

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.


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.


For the most part


Pretty accurate, as stereotypes go. Least so when it comes to being no fun, but it is true that Swatties aren't generally into the "play hard" type of partying.


Pretty much, but none of them are in a negative way. There is no competition between students, people compete with themselves as much as they want. There is a lot of work, but it is always manageable. We generally have nerdy interests or are on the intellectual side. We're also liberal, which makes for a more accepting community.


I have found the work and workload to be challenging, but doable. Professors, upperclassmen, etc. are all really good at helping out if you are struggling. People here are unique and interesting, but I like that. Most people have things they are really excited and passionate about. I will say, we are not the most attractive bunch though.


These stereotypes do come from somewhere- Swarthmore students do work really hard and are a little insecure about going to a school that no one has heard of. On the other hand, Swatties do have parties and fun. In fact, Bryn Mawr and Haverford students are far more likely to come to Swarthmore for parties than Swarthmore students are to go to Bryn Mawr or Haverford for their parties.


While it may be true that Swatties are somewhat less adept at social interactions, these stereotypes are largely false. Swatties definitely do know how to let loose and have fun, and the student body is generally friendly and endearing in their quirkiness.


To some extent. I would say that a good group of people here weren't the social butterflies in high school but there are definitely people here that socialize with ease and are fun to hang out with. It's all about what kind of people you want to surround yourself with. I would agree with the fact that everyone here is serious about their work. Some, of course, are more intense than others. However, everyone has an inner-nerd inside of them, or else they probably wouldn't be here.


For some people yes, but many students are very social and "normal". Swarthmore is hard, but there is still a lot of room to have fun and do amazing things outside of your classes.






The school is very rigorous, more so then 98% of the schools where my friends go, but the students here definitely find time to socialize.


Most of us do study a lot, yes. Before you find out where your true interests lie that's mostly because the amount of readings and the length of papers you're assigned to write require you to. Later however, when you find your major and everything, you want to work that much and actually stay up because that book actually is really interesting.


Many swarthmore students don't have great social skills. However, for the most part people are nice. Swarthmore requires a lot of work.


People think that everyone who goes to Swarthmore is a total nerd-- which is probably true. I think everyone who goes here is a nerd at heart but there are a lot of cool and fun people too. If your conception of beauty is what you see in Glamour or GQ, then you're not going to like what you see at Swarthmore. That's not to say that we don't have good looking people here-- it's just that they're beautiful in a non-fake tanned kind of way. Oh, and the stereotype about everyone being incredibly intelligent? Definitely true.


I mean..we do work all the time. And we do talk about doing work all the time. But we still make time to have fun. It's more just hanging out with close friends though


There are a lot of ugly, awkward nerds on campus and a lot of loud superlefty liberals. But there are also a lot of socially apt nerds and less loud moderates. Beautiful people are few and far between, and everyone is a little bit awkward and nerdy, and most people are left of center, so I'd say the stereotypes are exaggerations based on truth.


They are true in different degrees and ways for different people. It is very easy to absorb these stereotypes too.


To the first - Swarthmore is in an interesting place. It is academically intense and students do spend a lot of time in the library, but that is sort of the person that is drawn to the place. For as much as we complain about our work, we really do love it and we enjoy doing it. So for those who don't like learning, yea, Swarthmore is way too intense. But if you can geek out over simple things or are just interesting in thinking and learning and answering questions, then Swarthmore is the place for you. And, while the stereotype may be based in reality, you have chosen it because you enjoy it (somewhere down there). As for fun, I spent much of my time at Sharples laughing hysterically with friends or getting involved in random scrapes. It's not the stereotypical "frat and going out to bars fun" (there are two frats if you want something like that), but it's a quirky sort of fun. You'll find it climbing roofs, skinny dipping in the crum, in late night conversations, in Sharples marathons, in the Parlors, or pulling campus wide social experiements.


I don't know what the workload is at other colleges, but I think most Swatties find their workload a little stressful, but definitely manageable. We've come to this school to be intellectually challenged, and the pressure we feel is usually self-imposed. As to being hippies, both our college as an institution and the individuals that comprise it really value social and ethical responsibility. There are students doing amazing things for people all over the world, from Sudan to Ecuador, with the support of the college and other students of course.




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.)


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


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


I would say so.


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.


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!




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.


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.


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.


We do have a portion of people who are socially awkward and study all the time. However, most people are friendly, welcoming, and compassionate.


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.