Swarthmore Acceptance Rate: 8%

February 10, 2022
By AdmissionSight

Swarthmore Acceptance Rate: 8%

Shortcuts to sections offered for Swarthmore prospective students and Swarthmore Acceptance Rate:

Successful Applicant Profile

  • Demographics
  • Majors
  • SAT/ACT Scores

Entry Requirements

  • Tuition
  • Scholarships
  • Checklist of Application Requirements
  • Application Deadlines

What Should You Expect?

  • Student life
  • Academics offered
  • Athletics offered
  • Notable alumni

Located in the little Pennsylvania town of Swarthmore, Swarthmore College is a private liberal arts college that was first founded in 1869. Currently, over 1,600 students call the schools a 425-acre campus home. Swarthmore was one of the earliest coeducational colleges in the United States and was first created under the care of Quakers with the goal of being one of the top learning institutions in the country.

Since then, Swarthmore has dropped its religious affiliation, but it is still one of the top small schools in the country. That fact is readily seen by the fact that the Swarthmore acceptance rate is approximately 8%.

Swarthmore College's very attractive park-like campus with stone Gothic style buildings.

For high school students who are interested in applying to Swarthmore College, it is important for you to know exactly what the Swarthmore acceptance rate is. The 8% acceptance rate puts Swarthmore on par with some of the most competitive schools in the United States such as Ivy League or Ivy plus universities.

The truth is that if getting into Swarthmore is your dream, it is going to be your number one responsibility as a high school student to do everything that you are able to do in order to beat the odds of the Swarthmore acceptance rate.

One of the very best ways to improve your chance of getting into any top schools is to be as best prepared as possible. That means not only performing your best throughout your high school years but also making sure that you know everything there is to know about applying to the specific schools of your choosing.

Here at AdmissionSight, we make it our goal to help each and every high school student that we work with. That means helping high schools overcome any weakness that may exist on their application profile and making sure to highlight all of the great strengths that they do have.

We pride ourselves on having the tools and experience necessary to help all high schoolers achieve their college dreams. If Swarthmore is your dream, you have absolutely come to the right place.

Let’s break down everything there is to know about the Swarthmore acceptance rate together.

First off, one thing you should absolutely know about every school you apply to is the basic expectations that they have for their students when it comes to grading point averages and standardized test scores.

When it comes to the average GPA, students who are interested in attending Swarthmore College are going to want to earn a 4.05 weighted GPA or higher in order to feel comfortable about their chances of beating the odds of the Swarthmore acceptance rate.

As for the SAT, the average score that high schoolers who get into Swarthmore get is 1470 out of the perfect 1600. Finally, for the ACT, the average score that students who get into this school earn is a 32 out of 36.

But getting into Swarthmore College, or any other fantastic school for that matter is based on much more than just your ability to earn top grades and standardized test scores. There is far more that goes into it.

With those raw numbers out of the way (until a little bit later on), let’s start by breaking down how you can make the most out of your application to Swarthmore.

Successful Application Profile

In recent years, the number of high school students who have applied to Swarthmore has been around 10,000. Of that group, less than 1,000 ends up getting accepted and even fewer end up going. Swarthmore prides itself on being a small school that offers all of its students a tight-knit community.

For that reason, it is very important for students to make sure that they are comfortable within the community at Swarthmore’s campus.

A big part of that has to do with the diversity within a certain community. As it turns out, Swarthmore has one of the highest ratings possible based on the highly reputable site CollegeFactual.

In fact, Swarthmore scores a 99 out of 100 overall diversity score. Here is a breakdown of the students that call Swarthmore home for their undergraduate education:

  • 40.3% of students at Swarthmore College are white
  • 16.6% of students at Swarthmore College are Asian
  • 12.9% of students at Swarthmore College are Non-Resident Alien
  • 12.2% of students at Swarthmore College are Hispanic or Latino
  • 7.4% of students at Swarthmore College are African American

From this quick breakdown, it is quite clear just how wonderful and diverse the community at Swarthmore is. No matter what cultural and ethnic background you come from, you will be sure that you will be both be able to find lots of people like you, and lots of people who are very different from you on campus.

This will only help you become a more well-rounded individual who is better prepared for the real world that awaits you after you graduate from school!

In terms of gender diversity, women barely outweigh men at Swarthmore. 50.4% of students are women at Swarthmore to 49.6% men.

Inside a classroom, a teacher discussing in front of several students who are listening attentively.

Beyond that, Swarthmore also has great diversity when it comes to where countries people call home. Swarthmore has been ranked as the 129th most popular school for international students out of 1,240 total schools that were evaluated. Some of the countries that have the most students learning on Swarthmore’s campus include:

  • China
  • South Korea
  • India

Overall, 13 per cent of the student body of Swarthmore is made up of international students. Given the fact that there are less than 2,000 total students at the school, you will undoubtedly get your chance to learn with and befriend young men and women from countries all over the world.

Most popular majors at Swarthmore

If you are a high school studying who is interested in attending any school, you should make sure that the kinds of majors and programs that you are potentially interested in majoring in are not only offered but held in high regard at a specific school.

After all, if you have a career path in mind during college, you will want to make sure that the programs or majors that are offered are well-funded, well-taught, and generally well-ranked.

The most popular majors at Swarthmore College include Social Sciences; Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services; Biological and Biomedical Sciences; Engineering; and Mathematics and Statistics.

What are the average SAT/ACT scores of students admitted to Swarthmore?

As you already know the Swarthmore acceptance rate is just under 10%, putting it amongst many of the most competitive schools in the United States. One of the best ways to improve your chances of getting into any school despite their very competitive acceptance rates is to make sure that you are getting great grades and scoring top scores in either the SAT or ACT.

When it comes to the average GPA of students who get into Swarthmore, the 4.05 average is a huge sign that every student who gets in is at the very top of their high school classes. With a GPA of 4.05, Swarthmore requires you to be at the top of your class.

You’ll need nearly straight A’s in all your classes to compete with other applicants. You should also have taken plenty of AP or Honors classes to show your ability to excel in academic challenges.

Moving onto the average SAT score of 1470, it is a highly impressive score and also proves that every student who is accepted into the school is quite impressive and intelligent. Diving a bit deeper, the 25th percentile New SAT score is 1380, and the 75th percentile SAT score is 1550.

In other words, a score of 1380 places you below average, while 1550 will move you up to above average. There’s no absolute SAT requirement at Swarthmore, but you will absolutely want to score at least 1380 to have a chance at getting in.

Finally, the average ACT score for students who get into Swarthmore is 32. The 25th percentile ACT score is 31, and the 75th percentile ACT score is 34 considering the Swarthmore acceptance rate.

Scores of 31 on the ACT and 1380 on the SAT are quite high for a below-average score, and if you are worried about your test-taking ability, you may want to consider working with a tutor in order to increase your chances of earning a great score and improving your chances of getting into highly competitive schools such as Swarthmore.

Entry Requirements

As a high schooler, there is a lot of information that you are going to want to get about the schools that you are interested in going to. Some of the most important information includes how much a year of school is going to cost, what your financial aid opportunities are, what you need to apply, and when you need to apply.

Here is an overview of all that information so that you can get a great idea of what to expect in regard to Swarthmore.

How much does Swarthmore cost?

Much like many of the most competitive and prestigious schools in the United States, Swarthmore is quite pricey when it comes to both the tuition and the other related costs of attendance.  Here is a breakdown of the costs:

Breakdown of cost for admissions and acceptance rates.

Financial aid opportunities at Swarthmore

Given the high price of attendance to Swarthmore, it should not come as a shock that a large amount of the student body ends up receiving some form of financial aid.

The average amount of aid that is awarded to students is above $52,000 and approximately 56% of students at Swarthmore received some form of aid.

On its official site, Swarthmore proudly states that 100% of students who need aid to attend Swarthmore get the financial aid they need.

Application requirements for Swarthmore

As you begin filling out your college applications, make sure that you are keeping track of all of the specific application requirements for every school.

Make sure that you have the material on hand so that you can begin and complete your application easily. When it comes to what you will need out of your Swarthmore application, here is the checklist that the school provides interested students.

  1. Common Application or Coalition Application or QuestBridge Application
  2. Swarthmore College Short Answer
    • As part of the Common or Coalition Application, you will be asked to submit no more than 250 words in response to a short answer question (QuestBridge applicants are asked the same question on our QuestBridge Conversion Form). For the 2020-2021 admissions cycle, students will be asked to choose one of the following three questions:
      • Swarthmore students’ worldviews are often forged by their prior experiences and exposure to ideas and values. Our students are often mentored, supported, and developed by their immediate context—in their neighbourhoods, communities of faith, families, and classrooms. Reflect on what elements of your home, school, or community have shaped you or positively impacted you. How have you grown or changed because of the influence of your community?
      • We are inspired by students who are flexible in their approach to learning, who are comfortable with experimentation, and who are willing to take intellectual risks that move them out of their comfort zone. Reflect on a time that you were intellectually challenged, inspired, or took an intellectual risk—inside or outside of the classroom. How has that experience shaped you, and what questions still linger?
      • Why are you interested in applying to and attending Swarthmore?
  3. $60 application fee or fee waiver*
  4. School report
  5. School counselor recommendation
  6. High school transcript
  7. Midyear grades: If your school does not have midyear grades, please provide a midyear progress report from your teachers.
  8. Two academic-subject teacher recommendations/evaluations

Application deadline

Just like it is important to know exactly what you need to send into each college, it is also just as important to make sure that you know when the deadlines are.

For first-year students, there are three different ways that students can apply to Swarthmore.

  • The deadline for Fall Early Decision students is Nov. 15
  • The deadline for Winter Early Decision students is Jan. 1
  • The deadline for Regular Decision students is Jan. 1

Make sure that you get your application in on time regardless of how you want to apply to Swarthmore and every other school you are interested in attending.

What to Expect

One of the very best ways for students to get a good idea of a school that they are interested in attending is to see what students are saying about the school. Thanks to Niche.com, we at AdmissionSight have gathered some of the best reviews regarding Swarthmore.

Varied beautiful flowers on the lawn in front of a Swarthmore College building.

“Swarthmore College offers a great number of academic opportunities, and has a remarkably beautiful campus,” one student said. “Students are passionate and driven to succeed in a collaborative environment and will be challenged to think in new ways. The train station on campus makes it easy to travel, as well as explore Philly.”

“Swarthmore has some of the best people on earth, seriously. Almost everyone I meet has something unique to share,” another said. Students are driven and passionate, but very down-to-earth and approachable, same with professors.

Although the party scene is not massive, there is always something to do that’s open to the whole campus and not exclusive, which I think is very unique. Students do have to be prepared for rigorous academics, but I think most would agree that academics are very rewarding and uncompetitive. At the end of the day, Swarthmore has given me more friends than I ever could have asked for.”


One of the primary reasons why students end up going to small schools like Swarthmore is because they are looking for a smaller classroom environment where they can engage in every single class they are a part of.

At Swarthmore, the student-to-faculty ratio is an incredibly impressive 8:1. Beyond that 73.6% of their classes have fewer than 20 students. 23.5% of the classes offered at Swarthmore have between 20 and 49 students. Just 3% of the classes at Swarthmore have 50 or more students.


Swarthmore competes in the NCAA Division III in 22 different sports. Varsity teams include badminton, baseball, basketball, cross country, field hockey, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, track and field, and volleyball.

Group of female softball players sitting on a bench while smiling.

Swarthmore also offers a number of club sports including rugby, ultimate frisbee, volleyball, fencing, and squash.

Famous alumni

As is the case with many of the most prestigious schools in the country, Swarthmore has been home to some of the most famous men and women across many industries. Here are some of the most influential Swarthmore alumni.

  • Sally Ride, astronaut
  • Alice Stokes Paul, author
  • Richard Pillard, physician
  • Jonathan Franzen, essay writer
  • Diane di Prima, poet

If you hope to one day see your name on that admissions list, the first step is getting into Swarthmore. While you may be intimidated by the Swarthmore acceptance rate, you should feel confident knowing that AdmissionSight can help you increase your chances of acceptance. Here, we know how to help students maximize their strengths in order to help them get into the school of their dreams.



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