First-year students do not receive letter grades on their transcripts for their fall semester courses. Instead, their professors provide them with meaningful feedback on their work, and students receive “credit” or “no credit” marks on their transcript. This allows students to take intellectual risks, adjust to college-level coursework, collaborate with peers, and focus on learning for learning’s sake.
Students have the opportunity to pursue undergraduate summer research, and many apply for a $4,800 stipend so that they can devote a substantial amount of time to their project. Two-thirds of Swarthmore students participate in undergraduate research or independent creative projects.
The Swarthmore Honors Program features faculty working with small groups of committed students; an emphasis on independent research and special projects; students entering into a dialogue with peers, teachers, and examiners; a challenging program of study in major and minor or cross-disciplinary fields; and written and oral examinations given by outside experts at the end of the students’ senior year.