fbpx

Northwestern vs Swarthmore

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Female student looking at her laptop with a hand on her face.

Northwestern vs Swarthmore

Choosing a university to attend can be a daunting task. With so many options available, it can be hard to know which one is right for you. In this article, we will be comparing Northwestern University vs Swarthmore College to help you make an informed decision about where to study.

Location and Campus Size: Northwestern Vs Swarthmore

One of the first things to consider when choosing a university is the location and campus size. Northwestern University is located in Evanston, Illinois, a suburb just north of Chicago. 

The campus spans 240 acres and is home to over 21,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Swarthmore College, on the other hand, is located in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, a small town just outside of Philadelphia. The campus is much smaller, spanning only 399 acres, and is home to just over 1,600 students.

While both universities offer a beautiful campus with plenty of green space, Northwestern is much larger and located in a more urban setting. Swarthmore, on the other hand, offers a more intimate campus experience in a quaint college town.

Another important factor to consider when comparing Northwestern and Swarthmore is the surrounding area. Evanston, where Northwestern is located, is a bustling suburb with plenty of restaurants, shops, and entertainment options. 

Students have easy access to the city of Chicago, which offers even more opportunities for exploration and adventure. Swarthmore, on the other hand, is a small town with a quieter atmosphere. While there are still plenty of local restaurants and shops to enjoy, students may need to travel further to find more diverse entertainment options.

History and Background of Northwestern University

Northwestern University was founded in 1851 and has a long history of academic excellence. It is a private research university that is consistently ranked among the top universities in the United States. The university has produced numerous notable alumni, including Nobel Prize winners and Pulitzer Prize winners.

Northwestern University is located in Evanston, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. The university has a beautiful campus that spans over 240 acres and includes a variety of architectural styles, from Gothic to modern. The campus is also home to several museums, including the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art and the Dittmar Memorial Gallery.

In addition to its academic programs, Northwestern University is known for its strong athletic programs. The university has 19 varsity sports teams, known as the Wildcats, that compete in the Big Ten Conference. 

Three students talking in a bench while holding their notes.

The football team plays at Ryan Field, which has a seating capacity of over 47,000. The university also has a strong tradition of marching band and cheerleading, with the Wildcat Marching Band and the Northwestern Cheerleading Squad performing at games and events throughout the year.

History and Background of Swarthmore College

Swarthmore College was founded in 1864 as a coeducational institution. It is a private liberal arts college that is known for its rigorous academic programs and commitment to social responsibility. The college has a distinguished history of producing influential graduates, including several notable politicians and activists.

Over the years, Swarthmore College has become a leader in sustainability and environmental initiatives. In 2011, the college became the first institution of higher education in the United States to achieve carbon neutrality, and it continues to prioritize sustainability in all aspects of campus life. 

Swarthmore also has a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion, with a student body that represents a wide range of backgrounds and experiences.

Academic Programs: Northwestern Vs Swarthmore

Both Northwestern University and Swarthmore College offer a wide range of academic programs, but they differ in their focus and approach to education. Northwestern is a large research university with a diverse array of undergraduate and graduate programs. 

The university has a strong emphasis on research and provides many opportunities for students to conduct their own research alongside world-renowned faculty members.

Swarthmore, on the other hand, is a small liberal arts college that places a strong emphasis on a well-rounded education. The college has a unique honors program that allows students to design their own course of study and conduct independent research.

Additionally, Northwestern University has a strong focus on professional development and career readiness. The university offers a variety of resources and programs to help students prepare for their future careers, including internships, co-op programs, and career fairs. Swarthmore College also offers career resources and opportunities but places a greater emphasis on preparing students for graduate school and advanced academic pursuits.

Admission Requirements: How the Two Universities Differ

Admission requirements differ between Northwestern University and Swarthmore College. Northwestern accepts both the Common Application and the Coalition Application, while Swarthmore only accepts the Common Application. Both universities require standardized test scores, transcripts, and essays, but Northwestern also requires letters of recommendation.

The admission process at Northwestern is highly competitive, with an acceptance rate of around 8%. Swarthmore is also highly selective, with an acceptance rate of around 9%. However, Swarthmore places a greater emphasis on a student’s academic record and extracurricular activities rather than standardized test scores.

Female students studying in a library along with other students.

Another difference between Northwestern and Swarthmore is their approach to interviews. Northwestern offers optional interviews for applicants, while Swarthmore does not conduct interviews as part of its admission process. Additionally, Northwestern has a larger undergraduate student body, with over 8,000 students, while Swarthmore has a smaller student body of around 1,600 students. This can impact the overall campus culture and student experience at each university.

Student Body Composition at Northwestern and Swarthmore

The student bodies at Northwestern and Swarthmore differ in terms of size and diversity. Northwestern has a much larger student body, with over 21,000 undergraduate and graduate students from all 50 states and over 100 countries. Swarthmore, on the other hand, has a smaller student body of just over 1,600 students, with a greater emphasis on diversity.

Swarthmore has a long-standing commitment to diversity and has been recognized as one of the most diverse liberal arts colleges in the United States. The college actively recruits students from underrepresented backgrounds and has a number of initiatives and programs to support these students.

Despite its smaller size, Swarthmore also boasts a higher percentage of international students compared to Northwestern. In fact, over 15% of Swarthmore’s student body is made up of international students, representing over 70 countries. This diversity not only enriches the academic and social experiences of students but also contributes to a more global perspective on campus.

Faculty Size, Quality, and Research Output Comparison

Faculty size, quality, and research output differ between Northwestern and Swarthmore. Northwestern has a large and diverse faculty, with over 4,000 full-time faculty members. The university is known for its world-renowned faculty members, many of whom have won prestigious awards and honors.

Swarthmore, on the other hand, has a smaller faculty of around 200 professors, but they are no less accomplished. The college has a strong emphasis on teaching and many of its faculty members are recognized experts in their fields.

Despite the difference in faculty size, both Northwestern and Swarthmore have a strong commitment to research. 

Northwestern is a leading research institution, with over $700 million in annual research funding. The university has a wide range of research centers and institutes, covering fields such as nanotechnology, biotechnology, and social policy.

Swarthmore also has a strong research program, with opportunities for students to work closely with faculty members on research projects. The college has a number of research centers, including the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility, which supports research on issues related to social justice and community engagement.

Campus Accommodation and Student Life Comparison between Northwestern and Swarthmore

Campus accommodation and student life differ between Northwestern and Swarthmore. Northwestern has a range of on-campus housing options, including traditional dormitories, apartment-style housing, and fraternity and sorority housing. The university has over 400 student organizations and many athletic teams, making it easy for students to find their niche.

Swarthmore also offers a range of on-campus housing options, including traditional dormitories and apartments. The college has over 100 student organizations and a strong emphasis on community service, with many opportunities for students to get involved in local and global outreach initiatives.

Students lounging in the school grounds.

Despite the differences in housing options and extracurricular activities, both Northwestern and Swarthmore prioritize the well-being of their students. Northwestern has a comprehensive wellness program that includes mental health services, nutrition counseling, and fitness classes. Swarthmore has a similar program that offers counseling services, stress management workshops, and mindfulness meditation sessions.

Additionally, both universities have a diverse student body and are committed to creating an inclusive campus environment. Northwestern has a Multicultural Student Affairs office that provides support and resources for underrepresented students, while Swarthmore has a dedicated Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Development that promotes diversity and equity on campus.

Tuition Fees Comparison: Which is More Affordable?

Tuition fees differ between Northwestern and Swarthmore. Northwestern’s tuition for the 2021-22 academic year is $58,701, while Swarthmore’s tuition is $56,886. However, it is important to note that both universities offer generous financial aid packages to help students cover the cost of tuition and other expenses.

Northwestern University is located in Evanston, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. The cost of living in Evanston is relatively high compared to other college towns, which can add to the overall cost of attending Northwestern. 

On the other hand, Swarthmore College is located in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, a small town outside of Philadelphia. The cost of living in Swarthmore is generally lower than in Evanston, which may make attending Swarthmore more affordable for some students.

It is also worth considering the academic programs and resources offered by each university when comparing tuition fees. Northwestern is a larger university with a wider range of academic programs and research opportunities, while Swarthmore is a smaller liberal arts college with a focus on undergraduate education. Depending on a student’s academic interests and career goals, one university may offer more value for the cost of tuition than the other.

Scholarship Opportunities at Northwestern Vs Swarthmore

Both Northwestern and Swarthmore offer a range of scholarship opportunities to help students fund their education. Northwestern offers merit-based scholarships, need-based scholarships, and scholarships for specific academic programs. 

Swarthmore also offers a range of merit-based and need-based scholarships, as well as several scholarships for students with specific interests or backgrounds.

Northwestern’s merit-based scholarships are highly competitive and are awarded to students who have demonstrated exceptional academic achievement, leadership skills, and community involvement. 

These scholarships can cover up to full tuition and fees, and may also include a stipend for living expenses. In addition, Northwestern offers need-based scholarships to students who demonstrate financial need, as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Financial aid application forms in a table with a notebook and calculator.

Swarthmore’s scholarship opportunities include the McCabe Scholarship, which is awarded to students who have demonstrated exceptional academic achievement and leadership potential. 

The scholarship covers full tuition and fees, as well as a stipend for living expenses. Swarthmore also offers several scholarships for students with specific interests or backgrounds, such as the Lang Opportunity Scholarship, which supports students who want to pursue a project or internship related to social justice or community service.

Extracurricular Activities: Northwestern vs Swarthmore

Extracurricular activities differ between Northwestern and Swarthmore. Northwestern has a large and diverse range of extracurricular activities, including over 400 student organizations and many athletic teams. The university is particularly strong in sports, with a number of nationally recognized teams.

While Swarthmore has a smaller range of extracurricular activities, it still offers many opportunities for students to get involved in clubs, music, arts, and other activities. The college has a strong emphasis on the arts and offers many opportunities for students to participate in theater, music, and dance performances on campus.

Additionally, both Northwestern and Swarthmore offer opportunities for students to participate in community service and volunteer work. Northwestern has a Center for Civic Engagement that connects students with local organizations and provides resources for community service projects. Swarthmore has a similar program called the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility, which offers service-learning courses and connects students with community partners for volunteer work.

Campus Safety Comparison between Northwestern and Swarthmore

Campus safety is an important consideration for any student. Both Northwestern and Swarthmore have strong campus safety programs and are committed to providing a safe and secure environment for their students. 

Northwestern has its police department and offers a range of safety programs and initiatives. Swarthmore has a Campus Safety Committee that oversees all safety-related issues on campus.

Additionally, both universities have emergency alert systems in place to quickly notify students of any potential safety threats on campus. Northwestern’s emergency alert system includes text messages, emails, and phone calls to students, while Swarthmore’s system includes a siren and loudspeaker announcements in addition to text and email alerts. 

Both universities also offer self-defense classes and have security personnel patrolling the campus at all times to ensure the safety of their students.

Job Prospects for Graduates of Northwestern vs Swarthmore

Job prospects differ between Northwestern and Swarthmore. Northwestern is known for its strong alumni network and has a high job placement rate for graduates. The university has a Career Services office that offers a wide range of career counseling and job placement services to students and alumni.

Swarthmore also has a strong alumni network and places a strong emphasis on preparing students for successful careers after graduation. The college’s Career Services office offers a range of career development programs and services, including job fairs, networking events, and resume workshops.

Young student reading in a desk with other students.

However, there are some differences in the types of industries that Northwestern and Swarthmore graduates tend to enter. Northwestern has a strong focus on business and technology, with many graduates going on to work in finance, consulting, and tech companies. 

Swarthmore, on the other hand, has a strong liberal arts program and many graduates go on to work in fields such as education, non-profits, and the arts.

Another factor that can impact job prospects is location. Northwestern is located in Evanston, Illinois, which is just outside of Chicago. This gives students access to a large job market with many opportunities. Swarthmore, on the other hand, is located in a suburban area outside of Philadelphia. While there are still many job opportunities in the city, students may need to be more proactive in seeking out these opportunities.

Alumni Networks Comparison: Which is Stronger?

Both Northwestern and Swarthmore have strong alumni networks. Northwestern boasts a large and diverse network of alumni, many of whom are highly accomplished in their fields. The university has a number of alumni associations and programs to help graduates stay connected and engaged with the university.

Swarthmore also has a strong alumni network, with many graduates going on to successful careers in a range of industries. The college encourages alumni involvement and has a number of alumni events and initiatives to help graduates stay connected with each other and the college.

However, there are some differences between the two alumni networks. Northwestern’s alumni network is more focused on career development and networking opportunities. The university has a strong career services department that works closely with alumni to help them find job opportunities and advance in their careers. Additionally, Northwestern’s alumni network is more geographically diverse, with graduates living and working all over the world.

On the other hand, Swarthmore’s alumni network is more focused on community building and social connections. The college has a strong tradition of alumni involvement in campus life, with many graduates returning to campus for events and activities. Swarthmore’s alumni network is also more tightly knit, with graduates often forming close friendships and professional connections with each other.

Social Life: Northwestern vs Swarthmore

The social life at Northwestern and Swarthmore differs. Northwestern is located in a large metropolitan area, which offers a wide range of social and cultural experiences outside of the university. The university also has a vibrant social scene on campus, with many student organizations and events.

Swarthmore, on the other hand, is located in a smaller college town, which offers a more intimate and supportive community. The college has a strong emphasis on community service and social responsibility, which is reflected in its social life and student organizations.

Career Services for Students at Northwestern Vs Swarthmore

Career services for students differ between Northwestern and Swarthmore. Northwestern has a large and well-resourced Career Services office that offers a wide range of career counseling and job placement services to students and alumni.

Swarthmore also has a strong Career Services office that offers a range of career development programs and services. The college places a strong emphasis on preparing students for successful careers after graduation and provides many opportunities for students to gain hands-on experience and develop important career skills.

International Student Experience at Northwestern vs Swarthmore

International students will find a welcoming community at both Northwestern and Swarthmore. Northwestern has a large and active international student population, with over 2,500 international students from over 100 countries. 

The university offers a range of programs and services to support international students, including language classes, cultural events, and immigration services.

Group of students smiling at the camera.

Swarthmore also has a strong international student community, with around 10% of its student body coming from outside the United States. The college offers a range of support services for international students, including language classes, cultural events, and immigration counseling.

Research Opportunities: Northwestern vs Swarthmore

Undergraduate students at both Northwestern and Swarthmore have many opportunities to get involved in research. Northwestern is a large research university that places a strong emphasis on undergraduate research. The university has many research opportunities available to undergraduate students, and many students work alongside faculty members on research projects.

Swarthmore is also committed to undergraduate research and has a number of prestigious research programs available to students. The college has a strong emphasis on interdisciplinary research and encourages students to explore different fields and areas of study.

Academic Support Services Available to Students in Both Universities

Both Northwestern and Swarthmore offer a range of academic support services to help students succeed in their studies. Northwestern has a large and well-resourced Academic Support and Learning Advancement office that provides tutoring, academic coaching, and skills workshops to students.

Swarthmore also has a strong academic support program, offering tutoring, workshops, and peer mentoring to students. The college places a strong emphasis on personalized attention and individualized support, and its faculty and staff are known for their accessibility and willingness to help students.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Northwestern University and Swarthmore College are both excellent universities with their own unique strengths and weaknesses. When deciding which university to attend, it is important to consider your own personal goals, interests, and needs, as well as the qualities and characteristics of each university. 

We hope that this article has provided you with a comprehensive overview of the similarities and differences between Northwestern and Swarthmore, and has helped you make an informed decision about where to study.

If you’re set on getting into a world-class college but aren’t sure how to make it happen, we can help! AdmissionSight is a leading college entrance expert with over a decade of experience helping students just like you get into the schools of their dreams.

At AdmissionSight, we focus on offering a wide range of services, all aimed at helping students perfect their applications to catch the attention of admissions officers. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about what we offer.

Author

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign up now to receive insights on
how to navigate the college admissions process.