Swarthmore Acceptance Rate: Admissions Statistics

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Swarthmore Acceptance Rate: Admissions Statistics

Swarthmore College is known for its rigorous academic programs and highly selective admissions process. With an acceptance rate of just 6.7%, gaining admission to Swarthmore is no easy feat.

What is Swarthmore’s Acceptance Rate?

Now, let’s focus on the crucial aspect that many aspiring students, and their families, are eager to learn about: Swarthmore’s acceptance rate. With an acceptance rate of only 6.7%, Swarthmore is one of the most selective colleges in the United States.

Each year, thousands of talented students worldwide apply to Swarthmore, vying for a limited number of spots in the incoming class. The highly competitive nature of the application process means that most applicants receive a rejection letter.

However, it is important to note that Swarthmore’s low acceptance rate does not reflect the quality or potential of the applicants. On the contrary, it speaks to the exceptional caliber of students applying to Swarthmore. The college attracts some of the brightest minds in the world, individuals who have demonstrated outstanding academic achievements, leadership skills, and a genuine passion for learning.

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

When reviewing applications, the admissions committee at Swarthmore takes a holistic approach, considering academic achievements, personal qualities, extracurricular involvement, and unique experiences. They seek to build a diverse and dynamic community of students who will contribute to the intellectual and social fabric of the college.

While the acceptance rate may seem daunting, it is important for prospective students to remember that Swarthmore is not just looking for students with perfect grades or standardized test scores. The college values individuals who have shown resilience, creativity, and a commitment to positively impacting their communities.

For those who are determined to pursue their education at Swarthmore, it is crucial to put together a strong application that showcases their unique strengths and aspirations. This includes crafting a compelling personal statement, securing strong letters of recommendation, and highlighting meaningful extracurricular activities.

Despite the competitive nature of the application process, Swarthmore is committed to making education accessible to all students, regardless of their financial circumstances. The college offers a generous financial aid program, ensuring that admitted students can afford to attend without the burden of excessive student loans.

While Swarthmore’s acceptance rate may be low, it is a testament to the college’s commitment to academic excellence and the pursuit of knowledge. The students fortunate enough to be accepted into Swarthmore join a vibrant and intellectually stimulating community, where they will be challenged and supported to reach their full potential.

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

Swarthmore College Early Action and Early Decision Acceptance Rates

Swarthmore College offers both Early Decision (ED) and Regular Decision (RD) application options. The Early Decision deadline is typically in early November, and about 34% of applicants choose this binding option. Early Decision applicants are admitted, deferred for reconsideration with the Regular Decision, or denied at the ED stage.

The Early Decision (ED) acceptance rates for Swarthmore College for the last 5 years are as follows:

Class ED
2027 23.7%
2026 no data
2025 23.7%
2024 no data
2023 no data

Trends in Swarthmore’s Acceptance Rates

The acceptance rate at Swarthmore has fluctuated slightly over the years but remains consistently low. This trend has garnered significant attention and sparked discussions among prospective students, parents, and educational experts. Many wonder what factors contribute to Swarthmore’s low acceptance rate and what it means for aspiring students.

Year Applicants Admittees Acceptance Rate
2022-2023 14,287 969 6.7%
2021-2022 13,012 1,021 7.8%
2020-2021 13,012 1,014 7.8%
2019-2020 14,700 1,023 6.9%
2018-2019 14,287 969 6.7%

It is important to remember that a low acceptance rate does not necessarily indicate a decline in the quality of applicants or a decrease in opportunities for prospective students. On the contrary, Swarthmore’s low acceptance rate reflects the college’s commitment to assembling a diverse and talented student body.

The rigorous evaluation process at Swarthmore ensures that those admitted possess exceptional academic abilities and a genuine desire to contribute to the Swarthmore community. Admissions officers carefully review each application, considering academic achievements, extracurricular involvements, personal essays, and recommendation letters. They seek students who excel academically and demonstrate a passion for learning, leadership potential, and a commitment to positively impacting their communities.

Furthermore, Swarthmore’s commitment to diversity plays a significant role in shaping its low acceptance rate. The college strives to create an inclusive and vibrant campus environment where students from various backgrounds can learn from one another and engage in meaningful dialogue. By maintaining a low acceptance rate, Swarthmore ensures that the student body represents various perspectives, cultures, and experiences.

While the low acceptance rate may seem daunting to some prospective students, it is essential to approach the admissions process with a balanced perspective. Swarthmore values academic achievements, personal growth, intellectual curiosity, and a genuine passion for learning. Applicants who align with the college’s mission and values have a higher chance of being admitted, regardless of the acceptance rate.

As Swarthmore continues to attract top-tier applicants worldwide, the college remains committed to providing a transformative educational experience. The low Swarthmore acceptance rate is a testament to Swarthmore’s reputation as a highly selective institution that fosters intellectual curiosity, critical thinking, and a strong sense of community.

Swarthmore Admissions Statistics

Regarding Swarthmore College, the admissions process is not just about numbers. While the overall acceptance rate may be daunting, it is essential to remember that admission to Swarthmore is not solely based on numerical figures. The admissions committee takes a holistic approach when evaluating applicants, considering various factors beyond grades and test scores.

The diversity statistics of Swarthmore College’s enrollees are as follows:

  • Racial Diversity: Swarthmore College has a very high racial diversity, with 58% of students being minorities or people of color (BIPOC). The ethnic breakdown of the student body is as follows:
    • White: 42%
    • Black: 6%
    • Hispanic: 13%
    • Asian: 17%
    • Two or more races: 8%
    • International: 11%
  • Gender Diversity: Swarthmore College has a balanced gender distribution, with 50% male and 50% female students.
  • Geographic Diversity: The student body is predominantly composed of out-of-state students, with 75% coming from outside the state and 17% being international students.
  • Socioeconomic Diversity: Approximately 20% of students at Swarthmore can be considered low-income, as indicated by their receipt of Federal Pell Grant Aid.
  • Age Diversity: Most students at Swarthmore fall into the traditional college student age category of 18-21, with 90.93% of students in this range.

At Swarthmore, they believe that a student’s potential cannot be measured solely by their academic achievements. Personal qualities such as intellectual curiosity, leadership potential, and extracurricular involvement are equally vital to academic achievement. Swarthmore seeks to admit students who will thrive academically and actively contribute to the campus community.

When evaluating applicants, the admissions committee at Swarthmore looks for students who excel in the classroom and demonstrate a passion for learning outside of it. They value intellectual curiosity and seek students who are eager to explore new ideas and engage in meaningful discussions.

Leadership potential is another important aspect that Swarthmore considers during the admissions process. They are interested in students who have shown leadership skills and have the potential to make a positive impact on their communities. Whether leading a club, organizing community service projects, or taking initiative in the classroom, Swarthmore values students who can inspire and motivate others.

Extracurricular involvement is also highly regarded at Swarthmore. They believe that a well-rounded student is one who not only excels academically but also actively participates in activities outside of the classroom. Whether it is through sports, arts, community service, or any other passion, Swarthmore seeks students who are engaged and committed to their interests.

While the admissions statistics may seem intimidating, it is important to remember that Swarthmore College looks beyond the numbers. They strive to create a diverse and dynamic community of students who will excel academically and contribute to the campus in unique and meaningful ways. So, if you are considering applying to Swarthmore, remember to showcase your personal qualities, intellectual curiosity, leadership potential, and extracurricular involvement in your application.

Young diverse friendly girls handshaking

SAT/ACT Scores for Swarthmore Admits

In addition to evaluating an applicant’s academic record and personal qualities, Swarthmore also considers standardized test scores such as the SAT or ACT. While no specific score guarantees admission, it is essential to aim for scores that meet or exceed the average scores of admitted students.

When it comes to standardized test scores, Swarthmore College takes a holistic approach. The admissions committee understands that these scores are just one piece of the puzzle and that a student’s academic record and personal qualities are equally important. However, strong SAT or ACT scores can enhance applicants’ admission chances.

Swarthmore College’s SAT and ACT score ranges for admitted students are as follows:

  • SAT: The middle 50% of admitted students scored between 1455 and 1540 on the SAT. The 25th percentile for SAT scores is 1455, and the 75th percentile is 1540.
  • ACT: The middle 50% of admitted students scored between 32 and 35 on the ACT.

It’s important to note that Swarthmore College has adopted a test-optional policy, and students who either did not take a test or choose not to share results will not be penalized in the admissions process. Test scores are considered if submitted, but they are optional, and students can suppress their scores from their application.

It’s important to remember that standardized test scores are just one part of the admissions process at Swarthmore College. The admissions committee carefully reviews an applicant’s entire profile, considering factors such as extracurricular activities, letters of recommendation, and personal essays. Swarthmore College seeks students who excel academically and demonstrate a passion for learning, leadership potential, and a commitment to making a positive impact in their communities.

So, while having an idea of the average scores of admitted students is helpful, it’s equally important to focus on developing a well-rounded profile that showcases your unique strengths and qualities. Swarthmore College values diversity and seeks students from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences, so don’t be discouraged if your scores fall slightly below the average. Your application will be evaluated comprehensively, and your unique qualities will be considered.

What is Swarthmore Looking for?

Understanding what Swarthmore looks for in an applicant can help prospective students tailor their applications to stand out. The college seeks individuals who demonstrate a genuine passion for learning, a deep intellectual curiosity, and a strong commitment to making a positive impact in their communities.

Regarding a genuine passion for learning, Swarthmore College is looking for students who have a thirst for knowledge that goes beyond the classroom. They want applicants who are not only interested in their chosen field of study but also have a genuine love for learning in general. Whether it’s through extracurricular activities, independent research projects, or a voracious appetite for reading, Swarthmore wants students who are constantly seeking to expand their intellectual horizons.

Deep intellectual curiosity is another trait that Swarthmore values in its applicants. They want students who are not satisfied with surface-level knowledge but instead have a burning desire to delve deeper into their chosen subjects. Swarthmore believes that intellectual curiosity is the driving force behind meaningful academic exploration and wants to see evidence of this curiosity in the applications they receive.

In addition to a passion for learning and intellectual curiosity, Swarthmore College also places a strong emphasis on a commitment to making a positive impact in communities. They want applicants who have demonstrated a genuine desire to use their knowledge and skills to contribute to the betterment of society. This can be through community service, activism, or any other form of engagement that shows a dedication to making a difference.

Furthermore, Swarthmore values applicants who exhibit independent thinking, creativity, resilience, and a willingness to challenge themselves academically. They want students who are not afraid to think outside the box, take risks, and push the boundaries of their own knowledge. Swarthmore believes that true intellectual growth happens when students are willing to step out of their comfort zones and embrace new challenges.

Through the application essays, interviews, and letters of recommendation, candidates can showcase these qualities and align themselves with the values and mission of Swarthmore College. The application process at Swarthmore is designed to give students the chance to demonstrate their unique strengths and how they align with the college’s core values. It is not just about grades and test scores, but about showing who you are and how you will contribute to the Swarthmore community.

How hard is it to get into Swarthmore?

Gauging the difficulty level to gain admission to Swarthmore can be challenging, as it ultimately depends on the specific pool of applicants each year. While the low acceptance rate indicates that the competition is fierce, it is important to remember that Swarthmore values more than just academic excellence.

Swarthmore seeks individuals who are not only academically gifted but also demonstrate a genuine passion for learning and personal growth. The admissions committee looks for applicants who will contribute to the diverse fabric of the campus community and make a lasting impact during their time at the college.

When considering the difficulty of gaining admission to Swarthmore, it is essential to understand the holistic nature of the admissions process. While academic achievements are significant, the college values extracurricular involvement, community service, leadership qualities, and unique life experiences. Swarthmore aims to create a well-rounded student body that represents a wide range of backgrounds, perspectives, and talents.

Applicants to Swarthmore should approach the admissions process with dedication, determination, and authenticity. It is crucial to showcase not only academic accomplishments but also personal growth, intellectual curiosity, and a genuine passion for making a difference in the world. The college seeks students who are not only capable of excelling in their chosen fields but also eager to engage in interdisciplinary exploration, critical thinking, and collaborative problem-solving.

Furthermore, Swarthmore values diversity and actively seeks to create an inclusive campus environment. The college encourages applicants from underrepresented backgrounds to share their unique experiences and perspectives, as this contributes to the richness of the community. Swarthmore believes in the power of diversity to foster innovation, creativity, and a deeper understanding of complex global issues.

While the admissions process may seem daunting, it is important to remember that Swarthmore is not solely focused on selecting the most accomplished individuals. The college seeks students who thrive in its rigorous academic environment and actively contribute to the campus community. This means that even if an applicant’s academic profile may not perfectly align with the college’s average statistics, they still have a chance to be admitted if they can demonstrate their potential to make a meaningful impact.

While gaining admission to Swarthmore College is undoubtedly challenging, it is a process that goes beyond mere numbers and statistics. Aspiring students should highlight their unique qualities, experiences, and dedication to learning in their applications. Swarthmore seeks individuals who will not only excel academically but also contribute to the vibrant and diverse community that defines the college. The rewards of a Swarthmore education are immeasurable for those fortunate enough to secure a place in this exceptional academic community.

woman packing books for her dorms

Swarthmore Popular Programs

Swarthmore College offers a wide range of programs across various disciplines. Here are some of the popular academic areas at Swarthmore:

  1. Engineering: Swarthmore has a strong engineering program, emphasizing a broad-based education in engineering sciences combined with a solid foundation in the liberal arts. The college offers majors in various engineering disciplines.
  2. Economics: Swarthmore’s Economics department provides students with a comprehensive understanding of economic principles, policies, and theories. Students engage in rigorous coursework and have opportunities for research.
  3. Biology: The Biology department at Swarthmore offers a range of courses exploring the principles of biology, from molecular and cellular biology to ecology and evolution.
  4. Political Science: Swarthmore’s Political Science department covers various topics, including political theory, international relations, comparative politics, and American politics.
  5. Psychology: The Psychology program delves into the scientific study of behavior and mental processes. Students explore various subfields within psychology, including clinical, cognitive, developmental, and social psychology.
  6. Computer Science: Swarthmore’s Computer Science department provides students with a strong foundation in computer science principles, programming, and problem-solving. The program includes both theoretical and practical components.
  7. English Literature: The English Literature department offers a rich exploration of literature from various time periods, genres, and cultural contexts. Students analyze and interpret literary works through critical thinking and writing.
  8. Mathematics and Statistics: Swarthmore has a robust Mathematics and Statistics program covering various mathematical concepts. Students can explore pure mathematics, applied mathematics, and statistics.
  9. Environmental Studies: The Environmental Studies program at Swarthmore integrates insights from the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities to address environmental challenges. Students engage in interdisciplinary coursework and research.
  10. History: The History department provides students with an in-depth understanding of historical events, societies, and cultures. Courses cover a broad range of regions and time periods.
  11. Philosophy: Swarthmore’s Philosophy program explores fundamental questions about existence, knowledge, morality, and reality. Students develop critical thinking and analytical skills.
  12. Art and Art History: The Art and Art History department offers courses in studio art and art history. Students can explore various artistic mediums and gain an understanding of art’s historical and cultural contexts.

It’s important to note that Swarthmore College follows a liberal arts education model, emphasizing a broad and interdisciplinary approach to learning. Students often have the flexibility to explore courses beyond their major, fostering a well-rounded educational experience. As academic offerings may evolve, it’s recommended to check the latest information on Swarthmore College’s official website or contact the college directly for the most up-to-date details on programs and majors.

How to know which major is for you

Choosing a major can be a significant decision that impacts your academic and career path. Here are some steps to help you determine which major is the right fit for you:

  1. Self-Reflection:
    • Reflect on your interests, passions, and hobbies. Consider what subjects you enjoy studying and find intellectually stimulating. Think about activities that make you lose track of time or topics you enjoy discussing with others.
  2. Strengths and Skills:
    • Identify your strengths and skills. What are you naturally good at? Your strengths and skills can guide you toward majors that align with your abilities and talents.
  3. Career Exploration:
    • Explore potential careers associated with different majors. Research job prospects, industries, and the skills required for various professions. Consider talking to professionals in fields you find interesting.
  4. Take Introductory Courses:
    • Enroll in introductory courses in different disciplines. Many universities allow students to explore a variety of subjects before declaring a major. Intro courses can provide a taste of what each major entails.
  5. Talk to Academic Advisors:
    • Schedule meetings with academic advisors or career counselors. They can provide guidance, discuss your academic interests, and help you explore majors that align with your goals.
  6. Networking and Informational Interviews:
    • Connect with professionals in different fields through networking events or informational interviews. Gain insights into their career paths, daily responsibilities, and the educational background required for their roles.
  7. Internships and Volunteering:
    • Participate in internships or volunteer opportunities related to different fields. Practical experience can provide valuable insights into the day-to-day aspects of various professions.
  8. Consider Interdisciplinary Options:
    • Explore interdisciplinary majors that combine multiple fields of study. These programs may allow you to integrate your interests and pursue a unique academic path.
  9. Evaluate Coursework and Requirements:
    • Review the coursework and requirements for potential majors. Consider whether the classes are engaging and whether the major aligns with your long-term goals.
  10. Seek Guidance from Mentors:
    • Seek advice from mentors, teachers, or professionals in your network. They may share their experiences, offer insights, and provide valuable advice on choosing a major.
  11. Personal Values and Goals:
    • Consider your values and long-term goals. What kind of impact do you want to make in your career? Choose a major that aligns with your values and contributes to your life goals.
  12. Be Open to Change:
    • Keep in mind that it’s okay to change majors. Your interests and goals may evolve as you gain exposure to different subjects and experiences.

Prospective students must explore the complete list of majors offered at Swarthmore and consider their interests and career goals when choosing a major. Additionally, students often have the flexibility to pursue interdisciplinary studies and customize their academic paths.

Swarthmore Admission Requirements

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

Swarthmore College’s admission requirements include the following:

  1. Application Form:
    • Swarthmore accepts the Common Application, Coalition Application, and QuestBridge Application. Applicants must choose one of these platforms to submit their application.
  2. Standardized Test Scores:
    • Swarthmore College has adopted a test-optional policy, meaning that submitting standardized test scores (SAT or ACT) is not required. Applicants can choose whether or not to submit test scores, and this decision won’t impact the admission process.
  3. High School Transcript:
    • Applicants must submit their high school transcripts, showcasing their academic performance and coursework throughout high school.
  4. Letters of Recommendation:
    • Swarthmore typically requires two letters of recommendation from teachers who have taught the applicant in core academic subjects.
  5. Essays:
    • Applicants must submit essays as part of the application. These essays allow applicants to showcase their writing skills and provide insights into their personality, experiences, and aspirations.
  6. Interview (Optional):
    • While interviews are optional, Swarthmore College encourages applicants to participate in an interview, either with an admissions representative or an alumni interviewer. The interview allows applicants to discuss their interests, experiences, and reasons for applying to Swarthmore.
  7. Extracurricular Activities:
    • Applicants are asked to provide information about their extracurricular activities, including involvement in clubs, sports, community service, or other pursuits.
  8. Portfolio (for Arts Applicants):
    • If applying as an art major, students may be required to submit a portfolio showcasing their artistic work. This is relevant for those interested in studio art, music, theater, or other creative disciplines.
  9. Optional Supplementary Materials:
    • Applicants can submit additional materials that showcase special talents, achievements, or interests. This can include research papers, art portfolios, or other relevant materials.
  10. Application Fee Waiver:
    • Swarthmore College provides application fee waivers for eligible students who may face financial barriers. Fee waiver requests are typically submitted through the chosen application platform.

It’s essential to review the specific requirements outlined on the official Swarthmore College admissions website, as these requirements may be subject to change. Additionally, contacting the admissions office with any specific questions or concerns is advisable for the most accurate and current information.

Key Application Deadlines for Swarthmore

Swarthmore College has different application deadlines depending on the program and admission cycle. Here are the key application deadlines for Swarthmore:

  • Fall Early Decision: November 15
  • Winter Early Decision: January 4
  • Regular Decision: January 4
  • Transfer: April 1

Swarthmore College has different application deadlines for study abroad programs, summer programs, and financial aid applications. For example, the application deadline for summer 2024 programs is February 13, 2024, and the deadline for financial aid applications is February 15, 2024. It’s important to check the specific deadlines for the program you want to apply to, as they may vary.

Tuition Costs at Swarthmore for 2023-2024

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

The tuition costs at Swarthmore College for the 2023-2024 academic year are as follows:

  • Tuition & Fees: The undergraduate estimated tuition & fees for the academic year 2023-2024 is $62,791, representing a 5.8% increase compared to the previous year. This includes tuition, fees, room and board, and other expenses.
  • Tuition: Swarthmore College’s tuition for the 2023-2024 academic year is $61,992.
  • Total Cost: The total cost, including tuition, fees, room and board, books and supplies, and other expenses, is estimated to be $80,008. However, the net price, after aid and scholarship funds are deducted, is approximately $19,131 for the average student receiving need-based aid.
  • Cost Breakdown: The total charges for the 2023–2024 academic year are as follows:
    • Tuition: $61,992
    • Housing: $9,578
    • Food: $9,386
    • Student activities fee: $420
    • Total: $81,376

Swarthmore College’s tuition and fees align with its reputation as a prestigious and selective institution, and the college is committed to providing need-based scholarship aid to a significant percentage of its students.

When evaluating tuition costs at Swarthmore College, several factors come into play. Here are key considerations that prospective students and their families should take into account:

  1. Tuition and Fees: The 2023-2024 academic year at Swarthmore College is $61,992. Additional fees, such as the student activities fee ($420), should also be considered.
  2. Housing: The cost of housing at Swarthmore College varies depending on the type of accommodation and meal plan chosen. For the 2023-2024 academic year, the housing charge is $9,578.
  3. Food: The estimated cost for food is $9,386 per year. This cost may vary depending on the student’s dietary preferences and dining choices.
  4. Books and Supplies: The estimated cost for books and supplies is $760 per year.
  5. Personal Expenses: Additional personal expenses should be considered, such as transportation, personal items, and entertainment.
  6. Total Cost: The total cost for the 2023-2024 academic year at Swarthmore College, including tuition, fees, housing, food, and other expenses, is estimated to be $81,376.
  7. Net Price: The net price, after aid and scholarship funds are deducted, is approximately $19,131 for the average student receiving need-based aid.
  8. Financial Aid: Swarthmore College offers financial aid, including scholarships and grants, to help cover the costs. The average financial aid award is $57,720, with 51% of students receiving financial aid and an average aid package of $64,615.

It’s essential to consider these factors when evaluating the tuition costs at Swarthmore College and to explore available financial aid options to help cover the expenses.

Swarthmore Scholarships

Swarthmore College is committed to meeting 100% of the demonstrated financial need for admitted students, and it follows a need-based financial aid policy rather than offering merit-based scholarships. Here are key aspects of Swarthmore’s financial aid program:

  1. Need-Based Financial Aid:
    • Swarthmore College focuses on providing need-based financial aid to admitted students. Financial aid packages are determined by evaluating the demonstrated financial need of each student and their family.
  2. No Merit-Based Scholarships:
    • Swarthmore does not offer merit-based scholarships. Admissions decisions are made without considering an applicant’s ability to pay, and financial aid is awarded based on demonstrated financial need.
  3. Accessibility and Affordability:
    • Swarthmore is dedicated to making its education accessible and affordable to all admitted students, regardless of their financial background. The goal is to ensure that financial considerations do not hinder qualified students from attending.
  4. Application Process:
    • To be considered for financial aid at Swarthmore, applicants must complete the necessary financial aid application forms. This often includes the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the CSS Profile. International students may have additional requirements.
  5. Work-Study Opportunities:
    • Financial aid packages at Swarthmore may include work-study opportunities. Work-study allows students to gain valuable work experience while contributing to covering their educational expenses.
  6. Grant-Based Aid:
    • Swarthmore’s financial aid packages typically consist of grants and scholarships, which do not need to be repaid. This approach helps reduce the financial burden on students and their families.
  7. International Student Aid:
    • Swarthmore is committed to meeting the full demonstrated financial need of admitted international students. The college works to make Swarthmore accessible to qualified students worldwide.
  8. Financial Aid Office Support:
    • The Financial Aid Office at Swarthmore is available to assist students and their families throughout the financial aid application process. Prospective students are encouraged to reach out with any questions or concerns about financing their education.

It’s important for applicants to Swarthmore College to familiarize themselves with the specific financial aid policies, application procedures, and deadlines outlined by the college. Additionally, contacting the Financial Aid Office can provide personalized guidance and assistance regarding financial aid options and requirements.

a female student checking the college she wants

Student Life at Swarthmore

Swarthmore College offers a vibrant and diverse student life experience. Here are some key aspects of student life at Swarthmore:

  • Campus Life: Swarthmore provides a holistic range of services to help students get the most from their experience, including academic advising, career services, counseling and psychological services, and dean’s office support.
  • Culture & Diversity: The college fosters an environment where students listen deeply and share experiences with those who have different viewpoints, identities, and histories. The diversity of perspectives represented by the students contributes to a strong community.
  • Clubs & Activities: Swarthmore offers over 100 student-run clubs and organizations, covering various interests from academic and cultural to recreational and athletic. This includes everything from sketch comedy and rugby to various community-based organizations.
  • Leadership & Engagement Opportunities: There is a wide range of opportunities for students to serve the college, the broader community, and one another. Students play a significant role in college governance, holding positions on numerous standing committees.
  • Surrounded by Natural Beauty: Swarthmore’s 425-acre campus is home to the renowned Scott Arboretum, which boasts robust gardens that provide a beautiful and serene environment for students.
  • Diversity of the Student Body: Swarthmore’s admitted students represent a diverse range of backgrounds, with a significant percentage being among the first generation in their family to attend college and affiliated with various community-based organizations. The admitted students represent six continents, 86 nations, and 50 U.S. states as well as the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
  • Housing and Food: Swarthmore offers on-campus housing for students, with most undergraduates living on campus. The college also provides dining options, with a campus food grade of C+.
  • Student Opinions: According to student reviews, the overall dorm quality is rated as great by 66% of students, and 83% of students say the dorms’ social atmosphere is great. Additionally, 82% of freshmen are required to live on campus, and 95% of undergraduates live in college housing.
  • Greek Life: A small percentage of students participate in Greek life, with 11% of men in fraternities and 5% of women in sororities. Student opinions indicate that Greek life has a pretty low-key effect on the social scene.
  • Campus Community: Based on student responses, 37% of students love everything about the school and have a lot of campus pride, while 53% like everything about the school but wish some things were different. The campus community is described as diverse and vibrant.

Overall, Swarthmore College offers a rich and inclusive student life experience, with a strong emphasis on diversity, community engagement, and a supportive campus environment.

Academics at Swarthmore

Swarthmore College is known for its rigorous academic environment and diverse range of programs. The college offers a wide array of academic departments and programs, including but not limited to:

  • Art & Art History
  • Asian Studies
  • Biology
  • Black Studies
  • Chemistry & Biochemistry
  • Classics
  • Cognitive Science
  • Comparative Literature
  • Computer Science
  • Economics
  • Educational Studies
  • Engineering
  • English Literature
  • Environmental Studies
  • Film & Media Studies
  • Gender & Sexuality Studies
  • History
  • Mathematics & Statistics
  • Music & Dance
  • Peace & Conflict Studies
  • Philosophy
  • Physics & Astronomy
  • Political Science
  • Psychology
  • Religion
  • Sociology & Anthropology
  • Theater
  • and more.

Swarthmore College is known for its intense intellectual environment and is one of the top producers of students who go on to pursue doctorates. The college offers a primarily in-person residential learning experience and is committed to providing a diverse and talented student body with a collaborative, residential liberal arts education.

Clubs and Extracurricular Activities

Swarthmore College offers a diverse range of clubs and extracurricular activities that cater to various interests and passions. While the availability of clubs may evolve, here are some examples of clubs and activities that have been part of the Swarthmore community:

  1. Swarthmore College Democrats and Republicans:
    • These political clubs provide platforms for students interested in Democratic and Republican ideologies. They organize events, discussions, and activities related to politics.
  2. Worthstock:
    • Worthstock is Swarthmore’s annual music and arts festival. It features live performances, art installations, and a vibrant celebration of the arts on campus.
  3. SASS (Swarthmore African Student Society):
    • SASS promotes awareness and appreciation of African cultures. The organization hosts cultural events, discussions, and activities that celebrate the diversity of the African continent.
  4. Squirm:
    • Swarthmore Queer Union (Squirm) is an LGBTQ+ advocacy group that provides a supportive space for LGBTQ+ students. The group organizes events, discussions, and initiatives to foster inclusivity.
  5. Amnesty International:
    • Swarthmore’s chapter of Amnesty International focuses on human rights advocacy. Members engage in campaigns, events, and discussions to raise awareness and promote human rights causes.
  6. Swarthmore Asian Organization (SAO):
    • SAO is dedicated to celebrating and exploring Asian cultures. The organization hosts cultural events, discussions, and activities that showcase the rich diversity of Asia.
  7. Swarthmore College Orchestra:
    • The college orchestra provides opportunities for students with a passion for music to come together and perform. It is open to musicians of various skill levels.
  8. Engineers Without Borders:
    • This club focuses on engineering projects with a humanitarian impact. Members collaborate on projects aimed at addressing global challenges and making a positive difference.
  9. Women in Computer Science:
    • This group supports women pursuing computer science and related fields. It organizes events, workshops, and discussions to encourage and empower women in the field.
  10. Swarthmore College Democrats of America (SCDA):
    • SCDA is a political organization affiliated with the National College Democrats of America. It engages in political discussions, campaigns, and events to promote Democratic values.
  11. Roots:
    • Roots is a dance group that explores various dance styles and cultural expressions. It provides a space for students to share their passion for dance and perform on campus.
  12. Swarthmore College Peace Coalition:
    • This group is focused on peace and social justice issues. Members participate in discussions, awareness campaigns, and events aimed at promoting a culture of peace.

It’s important to note that the availability of clubs and extracurricular activities may change over time, and new organizations may be established based on student interests. Students are encouraged to explore the offerings at Swarthmore College and, if they don’t find a club that aligns with their interests, they can often initiate the creation of a new one.

Notable Swarthmore Alumni

Swarthmore College has produced a notable and accomplished group of alumni across various fields. Here are some notable Swarthmore alumni:

  1. James Michener (Class of 1929):
    • A prolific author, Michener wrote numerous best-selling books, including “Tales of the South Pacific,” for which he won the Pulitzer Prize. His works often explored historical and cultural themes.
  2. Kenneth Arrow (Class of 1940):
    • An influential economist and Nobel laureate, Arrow made significant contributions to the field of economics, particularly in the areas of social choice theory and general equilibrium analysis.
  3. Linda Buck (Class of 1975):
    • A neurobiologist and Nobel laureate, Buck made groundbreaking contributions to the understanding of the sense of smell. She shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2004.
  4. David Baltimore (Class of 1960):
    • A virologist and Nobel laureate, Baltimore made significant contributions to the understanding of viruses, including the discovery of reverse transcriptase. He received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1975.
  5. Sylvia Earle (Class of 1955):
    • An oceanographer and explorer, Earle is known for her pioneering research on marine ecosystems. She has been a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence and a Time magazine “Hero for the Planet.”
  6. Barbara Ehrenreich (Class of 1963):
    • A prominent author and social critic, Ehrenreich is known for her works on social issues and inequality. Her notable books include “Nickel and Dimed” and “Bright-Sided.”
  7. Eugene Lang (Class of 1938):
    • An entrepreneur and philanthropist, Lang is best known for founding the “I Have a Dream” Foundation, which provides educational support and resources to underserved youth.
  8. Ezra Klein (Class of 2005):
    • A journalist, political commentator, and co-founder of Vox Media, Klein is known for his contributions to political analysis and commentary. He has been involved in various media platforms.
  9. Sarah Koenig (Class of 1990):
    • A journalist and the creator of the groundbreaking podcast “Serial,” Koenig has been a prominent figure in the world of investigative journalism and storytelling.
  10. Christopher Browning (Class of 1968):
    • A historian specializing in the Holocaust, Browning is known for his extensive research and writings on Nazi Germany and the Final Solution.
  11. Rebecca Chopp (Class of 1974):
    • An academic and theologian, Chopp has served as a college president and is known for her contributions to the fields of religious studies and theology.
  12. Gioia Timpanelli (Class of 1958):
    • An author and storyteller, Timpanelli is recognized for her work in preserving and sharing oral traditions and folktales.

These individuals represent just a small fraction of the accomplished Swarthmore alumni. The college takes pride in the achievements of its graduates, spanning diverse fields such as literature, science, economics, journalism, and social activism.

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Swarthmore College’s acceptance rate of 6.7% is a significant indicator of the college’s exclusivity. While gaining admission is undoubtedly challenging, the rewards of a Swarthmore education are well worth the effort. Aspiring students should focus on highlighting their unique qualities and dedication to learning in their applications in order to increase their chances of joining this exceptional academic community.

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