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Swarthmore vs Middlebury: Which College is Right for You?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Two students talking on a table.

Swarthmore vs Middlebury: Which College is Right for You?

Choosing where to attend college is a tough decision. There are so many factors to consider such as location, cost, academic programs, extracurricular activities, and more. Two of the most renowned liberal arts colleges in the United States are Swarthmore and Middlebury. In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at Swarthmore vs Middlebury and help you decide which one is right for you.

Swarthmore College Overview: A Detailed Look at the Campus and Student Life

Swarthmore College is located in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, a small suburban town just outside of Philadelphia. The campus is beautiful, featuring a mix of modern and historic buildings, and plenty of green space. The student body is small, with just over 1,600 undergraduates, and the student-to-faculty ratio is an impressive 8:1.

There are over 40 majors offered at Swarthmore, and the college is known for its emphasis on liberal arts education. The school also offers a variety of extracurricular activities, including over 100 student-run organizations, club sports, and a performing arts program.

a group female ballet dancers performing at a stage

Overall, Swarthmore College has a reputation for academic rigor and a tight-knit community.

One unique aspect of Swarthmore College is its commitment to sustainability. The campus has implemented numerous environmentally friendly initiatives, such as a solar field that provides 50% of the college’s electricity, a composting program, and a bike share program. Additionally, the college has a sustainability committee made up of students, faculty, and staff who work to promote sustainable practices on campus and in the surrounding community.

Middlebury College Overview: A Comprehensive Guide to the Campus and Student Life

Middlebury College is located in Middlebury, Vermont, and is known for its picturesque campus. The student body is slightly larger than Swarthmore’s, with just over 2,800 undergraduates, and the student-to-faculty ratio is 9:1.

Like Swarthmore, Middlebury values liberal arts education and offers over 50 majors. Middlebury is also known for its language programs, which include 10 language schools and study abroad opportunities in over 40 countries around the world.

Extracurricular activities are abundant at Middlebury, with a focus on outdoor recreation. The college has a ski resort, an environmental studies program, and opportunities for hiking, camping, and more.

Middlebury has a reputation for strong academics and a vibrant campus community.

Additionally, Middlebury College has a strong commitment to sustainability. The campus has implemented numerous initiatives to reduce its carbon footprint, including a biomass plant that provides heating and hot water to the campus, a solar array that generates electricity, and a composting program that diverts food waste from landfills. Middlebury also offers courses and programs focused on sustainability, such as the Environmental Studies major and the Franklin Environmental Center.

Admission Requirements: How to Get into Swarthmore vs Middlebury

Both Swarthmore and Middlebury are highly selective colleges, with acceptance rates of around 10%. To be considered for admission, students must have a strong academic record, including high grades and rigorous coursework. In addition to academic achievement, both colleges value extracurricular involvement, leadership, and community service.

Swarthmore and Middlebury both require standardized test scores from either the SAT or ACT, although they are both test-optional for the class of 2025 due to the pandemic. Both colleges also require essays, letters of recommendation, and an application fee or fee waiver.

a bunge of SAT scores written on paper and the last one of the list was encircled in red pen

Aside from the basic admission requirements, Swarthmore and Middlebury also consider other factors when evaluating applicants. Swarthmore, for instance, values intellectual curiosity and creativity, as well as a commitment to social justice and community engagement. Middlebury, on the other hand, looks for students who are passionate about the environment and sustainability, as well as those who have a global perspective and cross-cultural understanding.

It is also worth noting that both colleges have a need-blind admission policy, which means that they do not consider an applicant’s financial need when making admission decisions. However, they do have a need-based financial aid program that can cover up to 100% of the demonstrated need for admitted students.

Swarthmore vs Middlebury: Tuition Costs and Financial Aid

As with most private colleges, tuition costs at Swarthmore and Middlebury are high. In the academic year, Swarthmore’s tuition was $59,328, while Middlebury’s was $62,460. However, both colleges are committed to meeting the demonstrated financial need of students.

Swarthmore is known for its generous financial aid program, which ensures that students from all income levels are able to attend. Around 50% of Swarthmore students receive financial aid, and the college is committed to meeting 100% of the demonstrated need. Middlebury also offers need-based financial aid, although it’s not quite as generous as Swarthmore’s program.

View of post it notes placed on the table.

In addition to need-based financial aid, both Swarthmore and Middlebury offer merit-based scholarships to students who demonstrate exceptional academic achievement or other talents. Swarthmore’s McCabe Scholarship, for example, provides full tuition and a stipend for research or travel to students who show exceptional promise in the sciences. Middlebury’s scholarships include the Middlebury Fellows program, which provides funding for students to pursue internships and research projects.

Another difference between the two colleges is their approach to student loans. Swarthmore is one of the few colleges in the country that is need-blind and loan-free, meaning that they do not include loans in their financial aid packages. Middlebury, on the other hand, includes loans as part of their financial aid packages, although they cap the amount of loans that students can take out.

Swarthmore vs Middlebury: Academic Programs Comparison

Both Swarthmore and Middlebury offer a wide variety of majors, but there are some differences in their academic offerings. Swarthmore is known for its strength in the sciences and engineering, as well as its interdisciplinary programs. Middlebury, on the other hand, is known for its language programs and international studies.

The best way to determine which college offers more opportunities for your major is to explore their course catalogs and speak with faculty members and current students.

It’s also important to consider the resources and facilities available for your major at each college. Swarthmore has state-of-the-art research facilities and equipment, while Middlebury has a strong network of study-abroad programs and partnerships with international organizations. Additionally, Swarthmore has a close-knit community of scholars and researchers, while Middlebury has a vibrant and diverse student body with a strong emphasis on global citizenship.

Extracurricular Activities: Exploring the Campus Life Beyond the Classroom at Swarthmore vs Middlebury

Swarthmore and Middlebury both offer a wide variety of extracurricular activities, allowing students to explore their interests and passions. Swarthmore has a strong focus on student activism and social justice, with organizations dedicated to sustainability, LGBTQ+ issues, and more. Middlebury, on the other hand, is known for its outdoor recreation opportunities, including skiing, hiking, and camping.

No matter what your interests are, both Swarthmore and Middlebury offer plenty of opportunities to get involved on campus.

Additionally, both Swarthmore and Middlebury have a thriving arts scene. Swarthmore has a student-run theater group, a capella group, and a dance company. Middlebury has a renowned music program, with opportunities to participate in orchestras, bands, and choirs. Both schools also have art galleries and opportunities for students to showcase their own artwork.

Swarthmore vs Middlebury: Student Diversity Comparison

Both Swarthmore and Middlebury have made strides in recent years to increase diversity on their campuses. At Swarthmore, around 40% of students identify as students of color, while Middlebury’s student body is slightly less diverse, with around 25% of students identifying as students of color.

Group of students talking while smiling at each other.

Both colleges are committed to creating inclusive environments that celebrate diversity and foster dialogue and understanding among students from all backgrounds.

However, it’s important to note that diversity goes beyond just racial and ethnic backgrounds. Both colleges also prioritize diversity in terms of socioeconomic status, gender identity, sexual orientation, and more. Swarthmore has implemented programs to support first-generation and low-income students, while Middlebury has a strong LGBTQ+ community and resources for students with disabilities.

Location Comparison: What are the Pros and Cons of Attending Swarthmore or Middlebury?

The locations of Swarthmore and Middlebury are very different. Swarthmore is located in a suburban area just outside of Philadelphia, while Middlebury is situated in a rural town in Vermont. Some students may prefer the hustle and bustle of a big city like Philadelphia, while others may enjoy the quiet and natural beauty of Vermont. Additionally, the weather in Vermont can be harsh in the winter, whereas Swarthmore’s climate is more moderate.

It’s important to consider location when deciding where to attend college, as it can have a big impact on your overall experience.

Another factor to consider when comparing the locations of Swarthmore and Middlebury is the accessibility to nearby cities and attractions. Swarthmore’s location just outside of Philadelphia provides easy access to a major city with a variety of cultural and entertainment options. On the other hand, Middlebury’s rural location may limit opportunities for off-campus activities and travel.

However, Middlebury’s location also offers unique opportunities for outdoor recreation, such as hiking, skiing, and snowboarding. The surrounding natural beauty of Vermont can provide a peaceful and inspiring environment for academic pursuits.

Career Services Comparison: Finding Job Opportunities After Graduating from Swarthmore or Middlebury

Both Swarthmore and Middlebury have strong career services programs, focused on helping students explore career paths and find job opportunities after graduation. Swarthmore’s career services program offers individual advising, job and internship fairs, and networking events. Middlebury’s career services program, on the other hand, offers extensive resources for exploring career paths, including a database of alumni who have pursued various career paths.

No matter which college you choose, you’ll be supported in your post-college endeavors.

However, there are some differences between the two programs. Swarthmore’s career services program has a strong focus on connecting students with employers in the Philadelphia area, while Middlebury’s program has a more global focus, with resources for finding international job opportunities and connecting with alumni around the world.

Additionally, Middlebury’s career services program offers a unique program called “MiddCORE,” which is a four-week summer program that helps students develop skills in innovation, leadership, and entrepreneurship. This program has been highly successful in helping students launch their own businesses or pursue careers in startups.

Alumni Network Analysis: How Strong is the Alumni Community of Swarthmore and Middlebury Colleges?

The alumni networks at both Swarthmore and Middlebury are strong and supportive. Swarthmore’s alumni network is particularly active, with many alumni events and opportunities for networking. Middlebury’s alumni network is also strong, with many alumni working in fields like finance, consulting, and the arts.

Both colleges have loyal alumni who are committed to supporting current students and recent graduates in their career and life goals.

Furthermore, Swarthmore’s alumni network has a strong presence in the non-profit sector, with many alumni working for organizations such as Teach for America and the Peace Corps. Middlebury’s alumni network, on the other hand, has a strong international presence, with many alumni working and living abroad.

Both colleges also have active alumni mentorship programs, where alumni can connect with current students and recent graduates to provide guidance and support in their career paths. These mentorship programs have been highly successful in helping students and graduates navigate the job market and make valuable connections in their fields.

Final Verdict: Which College is Right for You? A Comprehensive Summary of Pros and Cons of Swarthmore and Middlebury

Choosing between Swarthmore and Middlebury ultimately comes down to personal preferences and priorities. Swarthmore is known for its academic rigor and strong sense of community, while Middlebury offers a more diverse range of extracurricular activities and a stunning campus setting. Consider your academic and career goals, the type of environment you thrive in, and the location and climate that you prefer when deciding which college is right for you.

Whichever college you choose, know that you’ll be joining a community of passionate and driven individuals who are committed to making the most of their college experiences.

One factor to consider when choosing between Swarthmore and Middlebury is the size of the student body. Swarthmore has a smaller student body, which can lead to a more intimate and personalized learning experience. Middlebury, on the other hand, has a larger student body, which can provide more opportunities for networking and socializing.

Another important consideration is the availability of resources and support systems. Swarthmore has a strong emphasis on academic support, with resources such as peer tutoring and writing centers. Middlebury, on the other hand, offers a wide range of support services for students, including counseling and health services, career advising, and disability services.

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