Swarthmore College

Swarthmore, PA

Get to know Swarthmore College

School Profile

Suburban campus setting

1,699 undergraduate students

454 first-year students

Students hail from 49 U.S. states and 78 countries


7% applicants admitted

94% in top 10% of HS class

SAT EBRW middle 50%: 730-770

SAT M middle 50%: 750-790 

ACT middle 50%: 33-35

34% first generation to college

22% affiliated with QuestBridge

32% worked with a community-based organization 


40+ programs of study, including design own special major

Student-to-faculty ratio 8:1

66% participate in undergraduate research or independent creative projects

Introduction to Swarthmore College

Swarthmore College offers liberal arts and engineering programs within a community that values different viewpoints, identities, and histories. Since its founding in 1864, Swarthmore has given students the knowledge, insight, skills, and experience to become leaders for the common good. Swatties collaborate, rather than compete; they like to dive deep and then put their ideas to work. The idyllic, 425-acre arboretum campus features rolling lawns, a creek, wooded hills, and hiking trails. Swarthmore is located just 11 miles from Philadelphia, with a train station at the foot of campus. 

Students choose from more than 600 different courses with over 40 programs of study, ranging from peace & conflict studies to an ABET-accredited engineering program. In addition, students may cross-register for classes at Bryn Mawr College, Haverford College, and the University of Pennsylvania. Celebrating its 100th year, Swarthmore’s self-selected Honors Program is distinctive: it features small seminar classes that explore specific topics with remarkable collaboration between students and faculty, and culminates in examinations conducted by external experts in their fields. 

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 (Swarthmore's version of pass/fail). Class ranks or GPAs are not published. This allows students to take intellectual risks, adjust to college-level coursework, collaborate with peers, and focus on learning for learning’s sake. An emphasis is placed on independent research and special projects. Students frequently enter into dialogue with peers, teachers, and external experts. 

Swarthmore offers a wide range of resources for budding entrepreneurs and students who are passionate about public service. The Center for Innovation and Leadership provides tools for students to develop and implement their ideas while building entrepreneurship and leadership skills. Swarthmore’s Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility supports students who engage in impactful work beyond their academic pursuits. Swarthmore also has extensive pre-professional advising is available for students who are interested in pursuing the health sciences and legal professions.

Incoming students join a vibrant and collaborative campus community that embraces the knowledge that living among people with diverse backgrounds challenges assumptions and increases shared understanding. Students who are from underrepresentedlow income, and first-generation-to-college backgrounds can connect with their peers (as well as faculty and staff) through programs offered through the Dean’s Office at the Intercultural CenterBlack Cultural Center, and other spaces on campus. 

Swarthmore also ensures that college is affordable and accessible to all with loan-free financial aid that meets 100% of a student’s determined need. There are also no hidden fees — students never pay extra for things like events, printing, laundry, lab classes, and sports. Furthermore, every student receives an annual $750 allowance for textbooks and required course materials. Students have the opportunity to pursue undergraduate summer research, and many apply for a $5,500 stipend so that they can devote a substantial amount of time to their project. 

During the last five years, 79% of Swarthmore applicants were admitted to medical school, compared to a national average of 42%. 87% of Swarthmore applicants to law school were accepted, compared to a national average of 72%.

Approximately 40% of students study abroad and receive their financial aid award as if they were studying on campus.

Explore Swarthmore College through photos

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