Swarthmore vs Harvey Mudd: Which College is Right for You?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

a female high school student reading her book

Swarthmore vs Harvey Mudd: Which College is Right for You?

When it comes to choosing the right college to attend, there are a lot of factors to consider. Location, academic programs, extracurricular activities, and cost are just a few of the considerations that can make the decision overwhelming. In this article, we will compare two top colleges, Swarthmore vs Harvey Mudd, and examine the various features and offerings of each to help you decide which college is right for you.

Location and Campus Features: Swarthmore vs Harvey Mudd

Swarthmore and Harvey Mudd are both highly-regarded institutions, but they differ significantly in terms of location and campus features. Swarthmore is located in a suburban area outside of Philadelphia, PA, while Harvey Mudd is situated in the college town of Claremont, CA.

Swarthmore’s campus is known for its beautiful green spaces, including a large arboretum. The college also has a number of historically significant buildings, including Parrish Hall, which dates back to 1866. Meanwhile, Harvey Mudd’s campus is modern and sleek, with state-of-the-art facilities like the Shanahan Center for Teaching and Learning. The campus also boasts a number of recreational amenities, including a pool, tennis courts, and a fitness center.

Despite being located in a suburban area, Swarthmore is only a short train ride away from Philadelphia, a bustling city with a rich history and culture. Students often take advantage of this proximity by participating in internships, attending cultural events, and exploring the city’s many museums and restaurants.

On the other hand, Harvey Mudd is located in the heart of Claremont, a small college town that is home to several other prestigious colleges and universities. This creates a tight-knit community of students who often collaborate on research projects and extracurricular activities. Additionally, the town itself offers a variety of shops, restaurants, and entertainment options for students to enjoy.

Academic Programs Offered: A Comparative Study

At Swarthmore, the academic programs are centered around the liberal arts, with majors ranging from biology to English literature. The college also has a number of interdisciplinary programs, including Asian Studies and Cognitive Science. On the other hand, Harvey Mudd’s focus is on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, with majors like Computer Science and Chemistry.

Both colleges are highly rated for their rigorous academic programs and faculty. Swarthmore is known for its small class sizes and intimate learning environment, while Harvey Mudd is recognized for its emphasis on hands-on research and collaboration among students.

In addition to their academic programs, Swarthmore and Harvey Mudd offer a variety of extracurricular activities for students to get involved in. Swarthmore has over 100 student-run clubs and organizations, including a debate team and a community service group. Harvey Mudd has a strong focus on athletics, with 10 varsity sports teams and a number of intramural sports options.

student athletes running

Another notable difference between the two colleges is their location. Swarthmore is located just outside of Philadelphia, giving students easy access to the city’s cultural offerings and job opportunities. Harvey Mudd, on the other hand, is located in Claremont, California, which is known for its warm weather and proximity to outdoor recreational activities like hiking and skiing.

Faculty and Student Ratio: Which College Fares Better?

One of the key factors in determining the quality of education is the ratio of faculty to students. Swarthmore has an 8:1 student-to-faculty ratio, which ensures that students receive individual attention from professors. Harvey Mudd, on the other hand, has a slightly higher ratio of 9:1. Despite this, both colleges make it a priority to provide their students with access to top-notch faculty and personalized attention.

It’s important to note that while the student-to-faculty ratio is a significant factor, it’s not the only one that determines the quality of education. Other factors such as the curriculum, resources, and extracurricular activities also play a crucial role in shaping a student’s college experience. Therefore, it’s essential to consider all aspects of a college before making a decision.

Admission Process and Requirements: Swarthmore vs Harvey Mudd

Both Swarthmore and Harvey Mudd are highly selective colleges, with admissions rates that hover at 8%. Swarthmore requires applicants to submit the Common Application, along with transcripts, essays, and other supporting materials. Harvey Mudd has similar requirements, with the addition of SAT II subject tests in math and science.

An answer sheet and a pencil

While both colleges place a strong emphasis on academic achievement, they also value students who are well-rounded and have demonstrated leadership and extracurricular involvement.

It is important to note that Swarthmore and Harvey Mudd have different approaches to evaluating applicants. Swarthmore takes a holistic approach, considering factors such as personal qualities, character, and potential for growth, in addition to academic achievements. Harvey Mudd, on the other hand, places a greater emphasis on academic excellence and rigor, with a focus on STEM fields.

Extracurricular Activities: Swarthmore vs Harvey Mudd

Extracurricular activities are an important part of student life, and both Swarthmore and Harvey Mudd offer a wide range of options. Swarthmore has over 120 student organizations, including clubs for community service, performing arts, and political activism. Harvey Mudd has a smaller, but still active, student body, with clubs focused on music, gaming, and other interests.

A woman listening to a podcasts on her phone.

Both colleges provide students with plenty of opportunities for leadership, as well as chances to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom to real-world situations. Swarthmore’s Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility is a hub for student-led projects that impact the community, while Harvey Mudd’s Clinic Program allows students to work on team-based projects with industry sponsors.

Additionally, Swarthmore offers a unique program called the Chester Community Fellowship, which allows students to work with community organizations in nearby Chester, PA. This program provides students with the opportunity to engage with the local community and gain valuable experience in community organizing and advocacy.

On the other hand, Harvey Mudd has a strong focus on entrepreneurship and innovation, with resources such as the Hixon Center for Sustainable Environmental Design and the Shanahan Center for Teaching and Learning. These centers provide students with access to cutting-edge technology and resources to develop their own projects and startups.

Campus Diversity: A Comparative Analysis

College campuses are becoming increasingly diverse, and both Swarthmore and Harvey Mudd are making strides to create inclusive environments. Swarthmore has a strong commitment to diversity, with over 40% of its student body made up of students of color. The college also has partnerships with community-based organizations to recruit underrepresented students.

A group of students sharing their works

Harvey Mudd has a smaller percentage of students of color but is actively working to increase diversity. The college has a number of initiatives, including a summer program that brings high school students from underrepresented groups to campus to explore STEM fields, and a program that supports first-generation college students. Both colleges have campus-wide initiatives to promote inclusion and affirmative action policies to ensure diverse student admissions.

Despite the efforts of both Swarthmore and Harvey Mudd, there is still work to be done in creating truly inclusive environments. Both colleges have faced criticism for lack of diversity among faculty and staff, and for not doing enough to support and retain underrepresented students. However, both colleges have acknowledged these issues and are actively working to address them through hiring practices, mentorship programs, and other initiatives.

Student Life and Culture: How Do These Colleges Compare?

Student life on college campuses can vary widely depending on the college, and Swarthmore and Harvey Mudd are no exception. Swarthmore has a reputation for being a relaxed and friendly community, with strong traditions like its annual Crum Regatta and Clothier Serenade. Students often describe the atmosphere as collaborative and supportive, with a focus on intellectual curiosity.

At Harvey Mudd, the atmosphere is more focused on intellectual curiosity and academic excellence. Students place a high value on their studies and take pride in the college’s rigorous academic standards. Nevertheless, there is a strong sense of camaraderie on campus, with many students participating in club sports, outdoor activities, and other events.

One notable aspect of student life at Swarthmore is the emphasis on social justice and activism. The college has a long history of student-led movements, and many students are involved in organizations that promote social change. Additionally, Swarthmore has a strong commitment to sustainability, with initiatives like its campus farm and green energy projects.

Harvey Mudd, on the other hand, is known for its strong focus on STEM fields. The college has a unique curriculum that emphasizes hands-on learning and interdisciplinary approaches to problem-solving. Many students are involved in research projects and internships, and the college has strong connections with industry leaders in fields like engineering and computer science.

Career Opportunities Post Graduation: Swarthmore vs Harvey Mudd

Both Swarthmore and Harvey Mudd graduates have impressive career prospects, with many going on to top graduate programs or successful careers in their respective fields. Swarthmore has a strong alumni network, with graduates who have gone on to work for organizations like Goldman Sachs, Microsoft, and the Peace Corps.

Harvey Mudd also has a strong track record of producing successful graduates, with alumni who have gone on to work for top technology companies like Google and Apple. The college’s career center provides resources and support for students looking to pursue internships, jobs, or further education after graduation.

On a table are justice scales and gavel while a lawyer is working with some documents.

One notable difference between the two colleges is the industries in which their graduates tend to find employment. Swarthmore graduates often pursue careers in finance, consulting, and non-profit organizations, while Harvey Mudd graduates tend to gravitate towards technology and engineering fields.

Additionally, Swarthmore offers a unique program called the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility, which provides students with opportunities to engage in community service and social justice work. This program can be a valuable asset for students interested in pursuing careers in the non-profit sector or public service.

Cost of Attendance: A Comparative Study of Tuition, Room, and Board

College can be expensive, and both Swarthmore and Harvey Mudd have high tuition costs. Swarthmore’s tuition for the academic year is $59,328, with an additional estimated $18,026 for room and board. Harvey Mudd’s tuition is similarly high, with costs of $62,817 for tuition and $19,879 for room and board.

However, both colleges are committed to providing financial aid to students who need it. Swarthmore meets 100% of the demonstrated need for domestic students, while Harvey Mudd has a similar financial aid policy. Students admitted to either college can expect to receive a combination of grants, loans, and work-study opportunities to help cover the cost of attendance.

In addition to financial aid, both Swarthmore and Harvey Mudd offer various scholarships and merit-based awards to students. Swarthmore, for example, has the McCabe Scholarship, which covers full tuition and fees for four years. Harvey Mudd offers the Mudd Merit Scholarship, which provides up to $25,000 per year to students who demonstrate exceptional academic achievement and leadership potential.

It’s also worth noting that the cost of attendance at both colleges includes more than just tuition, room, and board. Students should also budget for additional expenses such as textbooks, transportation, and personal expenses. Swarthmore estimates these costs to be around $2,000 per year, while Harvey Mudd estimates them to be around $1,500 per year.

Alumni Network and Support System: Which College Offers More?

After graduation, alumni networks can be an important resource for finding jobs, making connections, and getting involved in various industries and fields. Swarthmore has a strong network of alumni, with graduates who go on to work in a variety of fields and who are actively involved in supporting current students.

Harvey Mudd also has a robust alumni network, with graduates who are leaders in the STEM fields and who have made significant contributions to their respective industries. In addition, Harvey Mudd has a variety of programs to provide support and resources to its alumni, including career services and networking events.

However, while both colleges offer strong alumni networks and support systems, there are some differences in their approaches. Swarthmore’s alumni network is known for its emphasis on social justice and activism, with many graduates working in non-profit organizations and advocacy groups. On the other hand, Harvey Mudd’s alumni network is more focused on entrepreneurship and innovation, with many graduates starting their own companies and working in tech startups.

Campus Facilities and Resources Available at Both Colleges

Both Swarthmore and Harvey Mudd have extensive resources available for students to support their academic and personal growth. Swarthmore’s McCabe Library is a popular study destination, with over a million books and a variety of study spaces. The college also has a number of Centers and Institutes that provide resources for research and education, including the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility and the Swarthmore College Peace Collection.

Harvey Mudd likewise has extensive resources available for its students, with over 50 clubs and organizations and a variety of research centers and institutes. The Shanahan Center for Teaching and Learning is a standout facility, providing access to state-of-the-art labs and workspaces for students in STEM fields.

In addition to the resources mentioned above, Swarthmore College also offers a variety of athletic facilities for students to stay active and healthy. The college has a fitness center, a swimming pool, tennis courts, and a track and field complex. Swarthmore also has a robust outdoor program, offering opportunities for hiking, camping, and other outdoor activities.

Young women uses laptop to analyze and research agricultural crops.

Harvey Mudd College also has a strong focus on entrepreneurship and innovation. The college’s Entrepreneurial Network provides resources and support for students interested in starting their own businesses, while the Hixon Center for Sustainable Environmental Design offers opportunities for students to work on sustainability projects and initiatives.

Athletics Programs Offered by Swarthmore and Harvey Mudd

Athletics can be an important part of college life, and both Swarthmore and Harvey Mudd have a variety of athletic programs available for students. Swarthmore’s athletics program competes in NCAA Division III and has a variety of sports teams, from soccer to fencing. The college is also home to a number of wellness initiatives, including a fitness center and a healthy eating program.

Harvey Mudd’s athletics program is similarly competitive, with a focus on individual and team-based sports. Students can participate in outdoor activities like rock climbing and hiking, as well as traditional college sports like basketball and soccer.

In addition to the traditional sports offered by Swarthmore and Harvey Mudd, both colleges also have unique athletic programs. Swarthmore offers a Quidditch team, inspired by the sport in the Harry Potter series, which has gained popularity on college campuses across the country. Harvey Mudd has a robotics team that competes in national competitions, combining the physical and mental aspects of athletics.

Both colleges also prioritize the safety and well-being of their student-athletes. Swarthmore has a comprehensive concussion management program, providing education and support for athletes who may experience head injuries. Harvey Mudd has a dedicated sports medicine team, providing medical care and rehabilitation services for injured athletes.

Student Accommodation Options Available at Both Colleges

Both Swarthmore and Harvey Mudd provide a range of housing options for students, from traditional dorms to apartment-style living. Swarthmore’s residence halls are often described as cozy and welcoming, with a variety of room configurations for individual preferences. Harvey Mudd’s residence halls likewise provide a comfortable and supportive living environment, with a strong sense of community among residents.

In addition to traditional dorms and apartment-style living, both colleges also offer specialized housing options for students with specific needs or interests. Swarthmore has a number of themed housing options, such as the Language House for students interested in language immersion, and the Eco-House for students passionate about sustainability. Harvey Mudd offers a variety of living-learning communities, where students with similar academic interests can live together and participate in related activities and events.

Both colleges also prioritize accessibility and inclusivity in their housing options. Swarthmore has a number of accessible rooms and apartments for students with disabilities and works with students to provide accommodations as needed. Harvey Mudd has gender-inclusive housing options, allowing students to live with roommates of any gender identity, and also offers housing for married students and families.

Research Opportunities for Students at Swarthmore vs Harvey Mudd

Research is an important part of the academic experience at both Swarthmore and Harvey Mudd. Swarthmore’s McCabe Library provides a variety of resources for student research, including a collection of rare books and manuscripts. The college also has internship and research opportunities available in a variety of fields, including social justice and environmental studies.

At Harvey Mudd, research and hands-on learning are a significant part of the curriculum. The college’s Clinic Program pairs students with industry sponsors to work on real-world problems, while the Summer Undergraduate Research Program provides opportunities for students to conduct research and present their findings.

Additionally, both Swarthmore and Harvey Mudd offer opportunities for students to collaborate with faculty members on research projects. This allows students to gain valuable experience in their field of study and develop relationships with professors who can serve as mentors and advisors. These research collaborations can also lead to opportunities for publication and presentation at academic conferences.

Social Life on Campus: Comparing Swarthmore vs Harvey Mudd

Social life on college campuses can be an important factor in determining whether a college is a good fit. Swarthmore has a variety of events and activities available for students to enjoy, including concerts, theater productions, and other cultural events. The college also has strong traditions, like the Crum Regatta and the Clothier Serenade, that help to build a sense of community and camaraderie.

Harvey Mudd’s social scene is similarly active, with a variety of clubs and events available for students. The college places a significant emphasis on creativity and innovation, with events like the annual Harvey Mudd Lending Tree and Innovation Fair.

Additionally, Swarthmore has a thriving Greek life, with a variety of fraternities and sororities available for students to join. These organizations provide opportunities for students to build strong bonds with their peers and engage in philanthropic activities.

On the other hand, Harvey Mudd has a strong focus on outdoor activities, with many students participating in hiking, camping, and other outdoor adventures. The college also has a strong athletic program, with many students participating in sports like soccer, basketball, and volleyball.

Student Reviews and Opinions of Both Colleges

Finally, it’s worth considering what current and former students have to say about Swarthmore and Harvey Mudd. Based on reviews and surveys, Swarthmore students often describe the college as intellectually stimulating and supportive, with a focus on social justice and community involvement. Harvey Mudd students likewise praise their academic programs and collaborative learning environment, while noting the high level of rigor and challenge.

Ultimately, the choice between Swarthmore and Harvey Mudd will depend on a variety of factors, including academic interests, location preferences, and personal values. Both colleges offer strong academic programs, extensive resources, and vibrant campus communities, making them both excellent choices for students looking for a top-tier education.

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