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Swarthmore vs Boston University: Which College is Right for You?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

View of a student smiling at the camera.

Swarthmore vs Boston University: Which College is Right for You?

Choosing the right college is a big decision. With so many options out there, it can be difficult to decide which one is the best fit for you. Two popular choices for students are Swarthmore and Boston University. In this article, we will take a closer look at Swarthmore vs Boston University and compare various aspects to help you make the right choice!

Swarthmore vs Boston University: Location

When it comes to location, Swarthmore and Boston University are vastly different schools. Swarthmore is located in a small town in Pennsylvania, while Boston University is located in the heart of Boston. Swarthmore’s campus is characterized by its serene, wooded surroundings, while BU is situated in the middle of a bustling city.

Students who prefer a quiet, small-town feel may find Swarthmore’s location appealing. Its proximity to larger cities like Philadelphia also offers access to urban amenities while maintaining a more laid-back atmosphere. On the other hand, Boston University’s location provides students with endless opportunities for internships, networking, and professional experiences in a major metropolitan area.

Another factor to consider when it comes to location is the cost of living. Swarthmore’s small-town location may offer a more affordable cost of living compared to Boston University’s location in a major city. This can be an important consideration for students who are on a tight budget and want to minimize their expenses while in college.

Additionally, the location of a college can also impact the types of extracurricular activities available to students. Swarthmore’s location in a small town may limit the number of off-campus activities and events available to students, while Boston University’s location in a major city provides students with a wide range of cultural and entertainment options.

Swarthmore vs Boston University: Admissions Criteria

Admissions criteria vary widely between colleges, and Swarthmore and Boston University are no exception. Both schools are known for their selective admissions processes, but there are some notable differences.

Swarthmore places heavy emphasis on academic achievement and intellectual curiosity. Applicants are expected to have taken rigorous courses and achieved top grades in these classes. The school also values extracurricular activities, with a preference for students who have demonstrated leadership skills and community involvement.

Boston University, on the other hand, takes a more holistic approach to admissions. While academic achievement is important, the school also values diversity, character, and personal qualities. BU looks for students who have shown dedication to their interests and have a clear passion for their chosen field of study.

Two students talking in a desk with a laptop.

Another important factor to consider when applying to colleges is the admissions timeline. Swarthmore has an Early Decision program, which allows students to apply early and receive a decision by December. This program is binding, meaning that if accepted, the student must attend Swarthmore. Boston University also has an Early Decision program, but it is non-binding, giving students more flexibility in their decision-making process.

It is also important to note that both schools consider standardized test scores, such as the SAT or ACT, as part of their admissions process. However, Swarthmore has recently implemented a test-optional policy, allowing students to choose whether or not to submit their scores. Boston University still requires test scores but places less emphasis on them than other factors such as essays and letters of recommendation.

Swarthmore vs Boston University: Academic Programs

One of the most important factors when choosing a college is the academic programs offered. Both Swarthmore and Boston University have a wide range of majors to choose from.

Swarthmore is a liberal arts college with a strong emphasis on undergraduate research. The school offers over 40 majors across various fields including Humanities, Social Sciences, and Natural Sciences. The school is known for its rigorous academics and small class sizes, allowing for personalized attention from professors.

Boston University is a research university with a strong focus on professional programs. The school has over 250 majors, including programs in business, communication, and engineering. BU is known for its diverse student body and top-notch faculty. Students can also take advantage of the school’s numerous study-abroad opportunities and research initiatives.

It is important to note that both Swarthmore and Boston University offer interdisciplinary majors that allow students to combine multiple fields of study. Swarthmore offers a unique program called the Honors Program, which allows students to design their own major and work closely with faculty members to conduct independent research. Boston University offers a variety of dual degree programs, allowing students to earn two degrees in different fields in a shorter amount of time.

Swarthmore vs Boston University: Student Life

Student life is an important aspect of the college experience. Swarthmore and Boston University offer very different types of campus life experiences and extracurricular options.

Swarthmore has a tight-knit community and a large portion of the student body participates in clubs and organizations. The school places heavy emphasis on civic engagement and encourages students to get involved in service activities.

Boston University has a more diverse campus community and a wide range of extracurricular activities. The school has over 450 student organizations, including club sports, performing arts groups, and academic clubs. BU is also known for its Division 1 sports teams, which are a major part of campus life.

Students playing music in the school grounds.

Both Swarthmore and Boston University offer a vibrant social scene outside of academics and extracurricular activities. Swarthmore has a strong focus on community building and hosts a variety of events throughout the year, such as dances, concerts, and cultural celebrations. Boston University, located in the heart of Boston, offers students access to the city’s many cultural attractions, including museums, theaters, and restaurants. The school also hosts its own events, such as concerts, comedy shows, and film screenings, which are open to all students.

Swarthmore vs Boston University: Campus Facilities

Campus facilities can greatly impact a student’s quality of life while in college. Both Swarthmore and Boston University have excellent facilities, but they differ in certain aspects.

Swarthmore has a picturesque campus with beautiful dorms, libraries, and dining options. The school prides itself on its sustainability efforts and has made a conscious effort to reduce its carbon footprint.

Boston University has state-of-the-art facilities, including modern dorms and dining options. The school also has a wide range of recreational facilities, including a fitness center, pool, and ice rink. BU is known for its excellent dining options, which include both on-campus and off-campus dining options.

Another aspect to consider when comparing campus facilities is the availability of study spaces. Swarthmore offers a variety of study spaces, including quiet libraries and collaborative workspaces. The school also has a Writing Center, where students can receive assistance with their writing assignments. Boston University also has numerous study spaces, including a 24-hour study lounge and group study rooms. Additionally, BU has a Center for Career Development, which provides students with resources and guidance for career planning and job searching.

Faculty and Class Size: How Small Class Sizes at Swarthmore Compare to Larger Classes at Boston University

Faculty and class size are critical factors when considering colleges. Swarthmore and Boston University differ in class sizes and level of faculty engagement.

At Swarthmore, the student-to-faculty ratio is 8:1, which allows for personalized attention from professors. The school is known for its dedicated faculty who are passionate about teaching and mentoring students.

Boston University has a larger student body and class sizes can be significantly larger than those at Swarthmore. However, the school still has a high-quality faculty who are experts in their field.

Despite the larger class sizes at Boston University, the school offers a variety of resources to ensure that students receive individualized attention. For example, the university has a robust tutoring program and office hours where students can meet with professors one-on-one.

Additionally, Boston University has a diverse faculty with a range of backgrounds and experiences. This diversity allows for a unique learning experience where students can gain different perspectives and insights.

Career Opportunities: Internships, Networking, and Job Prospects After Graduation

One of the main goals of attending college is to prepare for a successful career. Swarthmore and Boston University offer unique opportunities for internships, networking, and job prospects after graduation.

Swarthmore has a strong emphasis on undergraduate research and encourages students to pursue research opportunities both on and off campus. The school also has a career center that provides students with resources for finding internships and jobs after graduation.

Boston University has a wealth of internship opportunities due to its location in a thriving city. The school has a strong alumni network and offers many networking events to help students connect with professionals in their field.

Additionally, both Swarthmore and Boston University have partnerships with various companies and organizations, providing students with access to exclusive job opportunities. These partnerships also offer students the chance to gain hands-on experience in their field of study through co-op programs and other work-study opportunities.

Alumni Success Stories: Famous Graduates From Swarthmore And Boston University

Swarthmore and Boston University are both well-regarded institutions with a long list of successful alumni. Here are just a few notable graduates:

Swarthmore’s alumni are philanthropists and authors.

Boston University’s alumni are civil rights leaders, authors, and actresses.

However, there are many other successful alumni from these universities who have made significant contributions in their respective fields. For instance, Swarthmore has produced notable figures such as Vanguard Group, a former science advisor), and theoretical physicist. Similarly, Boston University has also seen its graduates excel in various domains, including former CEO of Starbucks, actress, and Nobel Peace Prize winner.

Financial Aid and Tuition: Comparing the Costs of Attending Both Colleges

College can be expensive, and it is important to consider the cost when choosing a school. Swarthmore and Boston University have varying costs of attendance and financial aid options.

financial aid as one of the factors to consider when choosing a college

Swarthmore’s tuition and fees are around $60,000 per year, but the school is committed to providing financial aid to students who need it. The school has a need-blind admissions policy, which means that a student’s ability to pay does not affect admissions decisions.

Boston University’s tuition and fees are around $62,000 per year. The school also offers financial aid to students who need it. BU is committed to making college affordable and accessible to all students.

It is important to note that the cost of attendance goes beyond just tuition and fees. Other factors such as room and board, textbooks, and transportation should also be considered when comparing the costs of attending both colleges. Swarthmore and Boston University both offer on-campus housing options, but the cost of living in the surrounding areas may differ. Additionally, students should research the availability of scholarships and grants, as these can greatly reduce the overall cost of attendance.

Diversity and Inclusion: How Swarthmore and Boston University Embrace Diversity on Campus

Both Swarthmore and Boston University value diversity and inclusion, but they approach it in different ways.

Swarthmore is known for its commitment to diversity and inclusion. The school has a strong LGBTQ community, and it is a leader in promoting social justice on campus.

Boston University places a strong emphasis on creating a diverse and inclusive community. The school has a wide range of multicultural organizations and hosts a variety of events to celebrate diversity on campus.

Group of students huddled together to smile for the camera.

One way that Swarthmore embraces diversity is through its curriculum. The school offers courses that explore issues of race, gender, sexuality, and other forms of identity. These courses are designed to challenge students to think critically about their own identities and the world around them.

At Boston University, diversity and inclusion are also reflected in the school’s admissions process. The university actively recruits students from underrepresented backgrounds and provides support services to help them succeed academically and socially. This includes programs like the First-Year Experience, which helps students transition to college life and connect with other students who share similar backgrounds and experiences.

Study Abroad Options: Opportunities to Study Abroad at Swarthmore and Boston University

Studying abroad can be a life-changing experience, and both Swarthmore and Boston University offer excellent opportunities for students to do so.

Swarthmore has a strong international program, and over 50% of students study abroad at some point during their time at the school. The school has partnerships with over 100 universities worldwide, and students can choose from a variety of programs and destinations.

Boston University has one of the largest study-abroad programs in the country. The school has partnerships with over 100 programs in more than 30 countries. BU’s study abroad programs focus on language immersion and cultural experiences.

Aside from the academic benefits of studying abroad, students can also gain valuable life skills such as independence, adaptability, and cross-cultural communication. Swarthmore offers pre-departure and re-entry programs to help students prepare for and reflect on their study abroad experiences.

Boston University also offers a variety of study abroad scholarships and grants to help students finance their international education. The school also has a dedicated study abroad office to assist students with the application process and provide support throughout their time abroad.

Research Opportunities: Undergraduate Research Opportunities Available at Both Colleges

Research is a significant aspect of the academic experience at both Swarthmore and Boston University.

Swarthmore emphasizes undergraduate research and provides many opportunities for students to engage in research projects. The school has numerous research centers and institutes, including the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility and the Scott Arboretum.

Boston University is a research university and has a wide range of research initiatives. Undergraduates are encouraged to participate in research projects and scholarship programs to enrich their academic experience and prepare for future careers.

At Swarthmore, students can work closely with faculty members on research projects, gaining valuable mentorship and guidance. The school also offers funding opportunities for students to conduct research during the summer or academic year.

Similarly, Boston University has a strong commitment to undergraduate research and provides resources such as research grants, fellowships, and awards to support students’ research endeavors. The university also hosts an annual Undergraduate Research Symposium, where students can showcase their research findings and connect with other researchers.

Extracurricular Activities: Unique Clubs and Organizations Available at Swarthmore and Boston University

Both Swarthmore and Boston University have a vibrant extracurricular scene, with unique clubs and organizations available for students to participate in.

Swarthmore has a wide range of clubs and organizations for students to join, including 30 club sports teams and a variety of performing arts groups. The school also has a strong emphasis on community service, and there are many opportunities for students to get involved in service activities.

Boston University has over 450 student organizations, ranging from cultural groups to club sports teams. The school also has a strong emphasis on entrepreneurship, and there are numerous resources available for students interested in starting their own businesses.

Additionally, both Swarthmore and Boston University offer unique opportunities for students to engage in research and academic pursuits outside of the classroom. Swarthmore has a variety of research programs and fellowships available for students, including the President’s Sustainability Research Fellowship and the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility. Boston University also has a strong research culture, with opportunities for students to work with faculty on cutting-edge projects in fields such as engineering, medicine, and social sciences.

Campus Safety: Comparing Safety Measures on Both Campuses

Campus safety is a top priority for all colleges. Both Swarthmore and Boston University have comprehensive safety measures in place.

Swarthmore is known for its safe campus environment. The school has a 24/7 campus safety department, and there are emergency phones located throughout the campus.

Boston University also has a strong safety program in place. The school has a campus safety department and offers several safety programs for students, including a shuttle service for late-night transportation.

In conclusion, Swarthmore and Boston University are both excellent colleges with unique strengths and offerings. When making your decision, consider factors like location, academic programs, campus facilities, extracurricular activities, and career opportunities. We hope that this article has provided you with the information you need to make an informed decision about which college is the right fit for you.

It is important to note that both Swarthmore and Boston University regularly review and update their safety measures to ensure that they are effective and up-to-date. Swarthmore, for example, conducts regular safety drills and provides safety training for students, faculty, and staff. Boston University also conducts regular safety drills and has a comprehensive emergency response plan in place.

Additionally, both colleges have strong partnerships with local law enforcement agencies. Swarthmore works closely with the Swarthmore Borough Police Department, while Boston University partners with the Boston Police Department. These partnerships help to ensure that both campuses are safe and secure environments for students, faculty, and staff.

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