Impressions of ………………..Swarthmore
Swarthmore is a small liberal arts colleges located along the main line in Philadelphia. It has about 1,600 undergrads. It’s part of the Tri-consortium with Haverford and Bryn Mawr, although most most “Swarthies” take all their classes at Swarthmore. They are a liberal arts college with the usual requirements.It’s has a reputation for being a competitive school-although I was not aware of that, but the tour guide disputed that. I think it’s more rigorous than competitive.
All classes are Pass/Fail the first semester. It allows students to relax and really explore what they may want to do as they adjust to college level work. They are a D-III school and about 28% of students participate in sports, although I got the sense, it was not a huge deal. Students are described as smart, quirky, collaborative, and concerned about social issues. They grow into their quirkiness as they gain confidence while there. Many of the students are major in the natural or social sciences, including pre-med. Swarthmore produces lot’s Ph. D.’s. They are in the top ten in producing Ph. D.’s even though each class is only 400 students. About 15-20% of seniors do a seminar-something akin the the tutorial system in the UK. To graduate with honors, one most defend a thesis-good training for future Ph. D.’s. 30% of students double major. Almost all students live on campus and weekends are a mix of activities on campus, going to other campus’s events and things in Philly.
Protips: Swarthmore is a great school for science majors. They would love conservative students who could handle being in a minority. They want to know not only what you did, but why you did it. They are looking for qualified pell-grant eligible and first generational students.
My impression: A small and truly rigorous school for serious academics. They are highly selective with about 10% of applicants accepted. If you love to learn and want a small school in a major town and are willing to do the work…………………..Swarthmore may be for you!