From the School

Swarthmore College, a forward-thinking institution of liberal arts and engineering, celebrates a life of creativity and purpose. With a global outlook and 8:1 student/faculty ratio, Swarthmore unlocks its students' potential to become leaders of industries and agents of change. It exudes innovation, but it also knows where it came from. Whether it's meeting the financial need of all admitted students, modeling sustainable practices, or cultivating an environment of equality, the College honors its 150-year history and Quaker roots. Swarthmore harnesses the wisdom of the past to drive the future. And at Swarthmore, the future isn’t a fuzzy or faraway concept. It starts now.

When you step onto the Swarthmore campus, you engage the world. A world of intellect and action, collaboration and connection. Where lush gardens and woods trace your journey to a class on plasma physics or international cinema. Think intellectual exploration with no limits, whether it's sharing perspectives with a classmate from another continent or listening to a Rhodes Scholar. Nights that stretch into mornings critiquing educational policy; or integrating music and art into a new performance piece; or building, with classmates, a robot that can navigate rough terrain. This is a community fueled by the free exchange of ideas. Professors will flip your viewpoint with a question, or travel with you to assess environmental damage, or help you to discover a forgotten language. The collaborative Honors program crackles with intellectual exploration, and an innovative externship program matches students with alumni from Capitol Hill to Silicon Valley. When you become a Swarthmore student, in fact, you forge connections with alumni around the world cutting-edge professionals as invested in the success of their alma mater and its graduates as they are in making a difference. The College community pushes students out of their comfort zones, urging open-mindedness and boldness. Whether it's designing their own major or starting a new club or bringing a national thought leader to campus, students forge paths they could not have imagined. At Swarthmore, exceptions are the norm.


From The School

Striving for a diverse, well-rounded class, the admissions staff carefully considers a number of criteria without a rigid emphasis on any one factor. Applicants are evaluated holistically, based on the following criteria:
High school record (as well as strength of curriculum)
Rank in class (if high school ranks)
Standardized tests (SAT with 2 SAT Subject Tests or ACT with Writing)
Extracurricular commitments
Essays (included in application)
Recommendations (two from academic teachers, one from counselor)
Interview (highly recommended but not required)


Acceptance Rate

Test Scores

SAT Reading
25th-75th percentile (enrolled students)
680 - 770
SAT Math
25th-75th percentile (enrolled students)
680 - 770
SAT Writing
25th-75th percentile (enrolled students)
675 - 770
ACT Composite
25th-75th percentile (enrolled students)
29 - 34


Early Decision
November 15

Early Decision II
January 1

January 1

Other Admission Factors


Rigor of Secondary School Record
Class Rank
Academic GPA
Application Essay

Character / Personal Qualities

Selectivity Rating


From The School

Academic Programs

The College offers more than 600 courses a year; an exceptional Honors Program; individual special majors; a program in education that leads to Pennsylvania secondary school certification; and undergraduate research opportunities in the sciences, social sciences, humanities, and engineering.

Swarthmore's Honors Program is unparalleled in the United States. It features small groups of dedicated and accomplished students working closely with faculty, with an emphasis on independent learning, and affirms the community's reputation as a place where everyone encourages one another's success. External examiners who shine in their fields, such as World Bank economists and Google software engineers, evaluate senior Honors Program students through written and oral examinations.

Majors and Degrees Offered

Swarthmore College awards two degrees, the Bachelor of Arts and the Bachelor of Science. The College offers the following courses of study:
Art and Art History
Asian Studies
Black Studies
Chemistry and Biochemistry
Cognitive Science
Comparative Literature
Computer Science
Design Your Own Major
Educational Studies
English Literature
Environmental Studies
Film and Media Studies
Gender and Sexuality Studies
Interpretation Theory
Islamic Studies
Latin American Studies
Mathematics and Statistics
Medieval Studies
Modern Languages and Literatures (including Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish)
Peace and Conflict Studies
Political Science
Sociology and Anthropology

Students Say

Swarthmore College “has a lovely campus, the people are almost unbelievably friendly, it’s a safe environment, and it’s really, really challenging academically,” and “although it’s not one of the most well-known schools, those who do know of it also know of its wonderful reputation. It’s where to go for a real education— for learning for the sake of truly learning, rather than just for grades.” Students warn that “academics here are definitely stressful, especially when you sign up for extracurricular activities that take up some more time—and almost everyone here is involved in something outside of classes, because you don’t want to just go to class, study, and sleep every day.” As a result, “Swarthmore is truly challenging. It teaches its students tough lessons not only about classes but about life, and though it may be extremely, almost unbearably difficult sometimes, it’s totally worth it.” Undergrads also note that “there are tons of resources to help you—professors, academic mentors, writing associates (who are really helpful to talk to when you have major papers), residential assistants, psychological counseling, multicultural support groups, queer/trans support groups—basically, whenever you need help with something, there’s someone you can talk to.” Swatties also love how “Swarthmore is amazingly flexible. The requirements are very limited, allowing you to explore whatever you are interested in and change your mind millions of times about your major and career path. If they don’t offer a major you want, you can design your own with ease.”

Faculty and Class Information

Total Faculty
with Terminal Degree


Most frequent class size
2 - 9
Most frequent lab / sub section size
10 - 19

Graduation Rates

Graduate in 4 years
Graduate in 5 years
Graduate in 6 years


  • Area, Ethnic, Cultural, and Gender Studies

  • African-American/Black Studies
  • Asian Studies/Civilization
  • Latin American Studies
  • Near and Middle Eastern Studies
  • Women's Studies

  • Biological and Biomedical Sciences

  • Biochemistry
  • Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Other
  • Biology/Biological Sciences, General

  • Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services

  • Computer and Information Sciences, General

  • Education

  • Education, Other

  • Engineering

  • Engineering, General

  • English Language and Literature/Letters

  • English Language and Literature, General

  • Foreign languages, literatures, and Linguistics

  • Ancient/Classical Greek Language and Literature
  • Chinese Language and Literature
  • Classics and Classical Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics, General
  • Comparative Literature
  • French Language and Literature
  • German Language and Literature
  • Japanese Language and Literature
  • Latin Language and Literature
  • Linguistics
  • Russian Language and Literature
  • Spanish Language and Literature

  • History

  • History, General

  • Mathematics and Statistics

  • Mathematics, General

  • Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies

  • Medieval and Renaissance Studies
  • Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution

  • Philosophy and Religious Studies

  • Islamic Studies
  • Philosophy
  • Religion/Religious Studies

  • Physical Sciences

  • Astronomy
  • Astrophysics
  • Chemical Physics
  • Chemistry, General
  • Physics, General

  • Psychology

  • Physiological Psychology/Psychobiology
  • Psychology, General
  • Psychology, Other

  • Social Sciences

  • Economics, General
  • Political Science and Government, General
  • Sociology and Anthropology

  • Visual and Performing Arts

  • Art History, Criticism and Conservation
  • Dance, General
  • Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts, General
  • Film/Video and Photographic Arts, Other
  • Fine/Studio Arts, General
  • Music, General



Career Services

On-Campus Job Interviews Available

Career Services

Alumni Network
Alumni Services
Interest Inventory
Opportunities at School


Prominent Alumni

Eugene Lang '38

Sandra Moore Faber '66
National Medal of Science Winner; Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics

Evan Gregory '01 and Andrew Gregory '04
Producers of Auto-Tune the News

Cynthia Leive ’88
Editor-in-chief of Glamour

John Mather '68
senior astrophysicist, NASA; 2006 Nobel Laureate

Jonathan Franzen '81
Award-winning author of Freedom and The Corrections

Antoinette Sayeh '79
Director of the African Department at the International Monetary Fund

Academic Rating

Career overview

Students Say

Swarthmore’s Career Services does its part to help students reach their fullest potential by offering a variety of useful resources. Personalized career counseling advises undergrads on their options for major selection, internships, externships, and graduate school applications. The Career Cafés engage the community on broad topics, like women in leadership or sustainable farming, that may have career implications. And, of course, a packed events calendar lets students network with alumni, attend panel discussions, and impress potential employers at recruiting consortiums. Take note of Swarthmore’s extensive externship program. It matches students with alumni volunteers for week-long job-shadowing experiences in laboratories, museums, publishing companies, labor unions, leading think-tanks, and other places where you might like to work someday. Alumni who visited reported an average starting salary of $51,000, and 49% think their work makes the world a better place.

Graduation Rates

Graduate in 4 years
Graduate in 5 years
Graduate in 6 years

Career Services

On-Campus Job Interviews Available

Career Services

Alumni Network
Alumni Services
Interest Inventory
Opportunities at School


ROI & Outcomes

Information from PayScale:

Median Starting Salary

Median Mid-Career Salary

Alumni with High Job Meaning

Return on Education (ROE) rating


From The School

Tuition, Room, Board and Fees

For 2015-2016, the College charges, including tuition, room, board, and student activity fee, amount to $61,400. The activity fee covers not only the usual student services health, library, laboratory fees, for example but admission to all social, cultural, and athletic events on campus. In addition, the College's Quaker roots manifest themselves in a cash-free campus, as the annual activity fee covers everything from digital printing and laundry to sporting events, campus movie screenings, and dance performances.

Financial Aid

Swarthmore's robust financial aid program provides all capable students access to the College. This year, Swarthmore will award over $31 million in scholarships. The average aid award for the Class of 2018 was $43,250. Swarthmore makes its admissions and financial aid decisions separately for U.S. citizens and permanent residents. That means that its doors are open to all, regardless of financial need, and without students taking on loans. Swarthmore carefully considers many factors to assess a family's ability to pay tuition and then covers the rest, up to 100 percent, as it did for half of its students in 2014-15. It also provides assistance to some international students. This comprehensive program reflects Swarthmore's commitment to maximizing access.


Application Deadlines
Notification Date
Apr 1

Required Forms

Business Farm Supp
Forms CSSProfile
Forms Divorced Parent
State Aid

Bottom Line

The cost of tuition for a year at Swarthmore is about $45,700. However, Swarthmore has staggeringly generous financial aid resources, and it will meet 100 percent of your demonstrated need without loans. The average need-based financial aid award here is more than $40,340. Don’t assume you won’t receive aid because your family is too wealthy and definitely—please!—don’t assume you can’t afford Swarthmore because your family isn’t wealthy enough.

Bang For Your Buck

Swarthmore College maintains a need-blind admission policy. Admission here is not contingent on your economic situation, and financial aid awards meet 100 percent of admitted students’ demonstrated need. Financial aid is also available for some international students. Best of all, all Swarthmore financial aid awards are loan-free (though some students choose to borrow to cover their portion). In most cases, Swarthmore students may apply their financial aid toward the cost of participation in a study abroad program. Finally, the annual activity fee covers everything from digital printing to sports matches, campus movie screenings to lectures and dance performances, making for a cash-free campus.

Financial Aid Statistics

Average Freshman Total Need-Based Gift Aid

Average Undergraduate Total Need-Based Gift Aid

Average Need-Based Loan

Average amount of loan debt per graduate

Undergraduates who have borrowed through any loan program

Average amount of each freshman scholarship/grant package

Financial aid provided to international students

Expenses per Academic Year

Required Fees
Average Cost for Books and Supplies

Tuition / Fees Vary by Year of Study
Board for Commuters
Transportation for Commuters

Available Aid

Financial Aid Methodology

Scholarships and Grants


Need-Based College/University Scholarship or Grant Aid from Institutional Funds
Need-Based Federal Pell
Need-Based Private Scholarships
Need-Based SEOG
Need-Based State Scholarships

Federal Direct Student Loan Programs
Direct PLUS Loans
Direct Subsidized Stafford Loans
Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans

Federal Family Education Loan Programs (FFEL)
College/university loans from institutional funds
Federal Perkins Loans
State Loans

Is Institutional Employment Available (other than Federal Work Study)

Direct Lender

Financial Aid Rating


From The School

With more than 100 student clubs and organizations on campus, dozens of community service groups, 22 Division III varsity athletic teams, free lectures and performances occurring daily on campus, and full course loads, Swarthmore students are in perpetual motion. Action and inclusiveness are the core value here.

Students Say

Students are “not sure if there is a typical Swattie” but suspect that “the defining feature among us is that each person is brilliant at something: maybe dance, maybe quantum physics, maybe philosophy. Each person here has at least one thing that [he or she does] extraordinarily well.” A Swattie “is [typically] liberal, involved in some kind of activism group or multicultural group, talks about classes all the time, was labeled a nerd by people in high school, and is really smart—one of those people where you just have to wonder, how do they get all their homework done and manage their extracurriculars and still have time for parties?” The campus “is very diverse racially but not in terms of thought—in other words, pretty much everyone’s liberal, you don’t get many different points of view. Multicultural and queer issues are big here, but you don’t have to be involved in that to enjoy Swarthmore. You just have to accept it."

Student Body Profile

Total Undergraduate Enrollment
Out of State

Foreign Countries Represented



51% female
49% male
87% are out of state
99% are full time
1% are part time


From The School


Swarthmore's awe-inspiring campus marks your adventure, offering opportunities for self-reflection and solace. Located 11 miles southwest of Philadelphia, the idyllic, 425-acre campus is an arboretum, replete with rolling lawns, a creek, hiking trails, and wooded hills. The reverence for nature extends to physical spaces, as well. From the solar energy labs of the Science Center to the newest residence halls with loft-style living and environmentally friendly green roofs, Swarthmore's buildings and architecture stand as a national model for entwining sustainability into the student life experience.

Campus Facilities & Equipment

Swarthmore has a dynamic array of arts spaces to enjoy or stage a performance. Avenues of exploration abound, whether it's immersing yourself in Language Resource Center technology to learn a new dialect, getting lost in the stars in the observatory, or studying or sharing samosas with friends in the Kohlberg coffee bar. The forthcoming biology, engineering, psychology (BEP) building will open new doors of discovery for students. The gleaming Matchbox facility offers a multifaceted, modern approach to wellness, recreation, and the performing arts, imbuing creativity and community.

Off-Campus Opportunities

Swarthmore belongs to the Tri-College consortium, linking it to Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges both academically and socially. Students can also take courses at the University of Pennsylvania. The College offers shuttles to the other Tri-Co schools, community service sites, local cafe's and shops, and more. There's also a train station adjacent to campus, inviting students to the rich cultural tapestry of center city Philadelphia (just 20 minutes away). Opportunities for enrichment and collaboration overflow.

Student Organizations & Activities

With more than 100 student clubs and organizations on campus, dozens of community service groups, 22 Division III varsity athletic teams, free lectures and performances occurring daily on campus, and full course loads, Swarthmore students are in perpetual motion. Action and inclusiveness are the core value here.

Students Say

The Swarthmore community is “a family of students who are engaged in academics, learning, politics, activism, and civic responsibility, with a work hard, play hard, intense mentality, who don’t get enough sleep because they’re too busy doing all they want to do in their time here, and who (this is kind of cheesy, but true) when you really think about it are really just smart students who care about the world and want to make it better.” There “is a misconception that Swarthmore students do nothing but study, [but] while we certainly do a lot of it, we still find many ways to have fun.” Not so much in hometown Swarthmore—”there isn’t a lot to do right in the area”—but “with a train station on campus, Philly is very accessible.” Additionally, “there are so many organizations and clubs on campus that you’d be pressed to find none of the activities interesting. Even then, you can start your own club, so that takes care of it.” The small size of the school means that “opportunities to participate in many different programs” are usually available. On-campus activities “are varied, and there is almost always something to do on the weekend. There are student musical performances, drama performances, movies, speakers, and comedy shows,” as well as “several parties every weekend, with and without alcohol, and a lot of pre-partying with friends.” One student sums up, “While it is tough to generalize on the life of a Swarthmore student, one word definitely applies to us all: busy. All of us are either working on extracurriculars, studying, or fighting sleep to do more work.”

Campus Life

Undergrads living on campus
Help finding off-campus housing

First-Year Students living on campus

Campus Environment

Housing Options

Disabled Student
Dorms Coed
Dorms Female
Dorms Male

Special Needs Admissions

College Entrance Tests Required

Interview Required

Special Need Services Offered

Student Activities

Registered Student Organizations
Number of Honor Societies

Number of Social Sororities
Number of Religious Organizations

12% join a fraternity
5% join a sorority


Athletic Division
Division III

Men's Sports (Garnet)
10 Sports

Cross Country
Track Field Indoor
Track Field Outdoor
Women's Sports (Garnet)
12 Sports

Cross Country
Field Hockey
Track Field Indoor
Track Field Outdoor

Student Services

Womens Center
LGBT Support Groups: Swarthmore hosts social, activist and support organizations for gay, lesbian and transgendered students. Learn more at:

Minority Support Groups: Swarthmore is a welcoming place for students of all backgrounds. We believe in creating a campus environment that benefits from the widest range of cultural, racial, and social perspectives. Learn more at:

Army ROTC Offered at cooperating institutions: Widener University
Navy ROTC Offered at cooperating institutions: University of Pennsylvania
Air Force ROTC Offered at cooperating institutions: St. Joseph's University


Swarthmore’s Quaker heritage fuels its verve for environmental stewardship. The College buys renewable energy credits for 125 percent of its electricity use and, through its Climate Action Plan, is committed to reaching carbon neutrality by 2035. All new construction is certified LEED Silver or higher, which aligns with the College’s intention to apply the highest standard of sustainable construction possible to its planned Biology, Engineering, Psychology building. Ninety-seven percent of Swarthmore students live on campus, relying on bike- and car-sharing programs and public transportation. There’s more: dining services allots nearly half of its food budget to local and organic ingredients. The College composts over 200 pounds of kitchen scraps and post-consumer waste daily and recycles vegetable oil — reducing carbon dioxide as much as planting 2,024 trees would. And the stormwater management approach deploys porous pavement, rain gardens, infiltration beds, and 31,000 square feet of green roofing to control runoff. But environmental stewardship isn’t just an over-arching ethic at Swarthmore. It’s personal. Among the student-supported efforts is the Crum Creek Monitoring project, for which they help to test chemicals and track the watershed’s vitality. Another source of pride is the Good Food project, whose community-built, organic garden stokes sustainable food practices.

School Has Formal Sustainability Committee

Sustainability-focused degree available

School employs a sustainability officer

Public GHG inventory plan

% food budget spent on local/organic food

Available Transportation Alternatives

Bike Share

Car Sharing Program

Carpool/Vanpool Matching Program

Cash-Out Parking

Condensed Work Week Option For Employees

Free Or Reduced Price Transit Passes And/Or Free Campus Shuttle

Incentives Or Programs To Encourage Employees To Live Close To Campus

Indoor And Secure Bike Storage, Shower Facilities, And Lockers For Bicycle Commuters

Reduced Parking Fees For Car And Van Poolers

School Adopted A Policy Prohibiting Idling

School Developed Bicycle Plan

School Offers A Telecommute Program For Employees

Campus Security Report

Campus Security Report

The Jeanne Clery Act requires colleges and universities to disclose their security policies, keep a public crime log, publish an annual crime report and provide timely warnings to students and campus employees about a crime posing an immediate or ongoing threat to students and campus employees.

Please visit The Princeton Review’s page on campus safety for additional resources:

The Princeton Review publishes links directly to each school's Campus Security Reports where available. Applicants can also access all school-specific campus safety information using the Campus Safety and Security Data Analysis Cutting Tool provided by the Office of Postsecondary Education of the U.S. Department of Education:

Other Information

Campus-wide Internet Network

Email and Web Access Available

% of Classrooms with Wireless Internet

Number of Computer Labs / Classrooms

Average Number of PC's per Lab

Network Access in Dorm Rooms

Network Access in Dorm Lounges

Fee for Network Use

Student Web Pages Permitted

Student Web Pages Provided

Partnerships with Technology Companies

Online Class Registration Available

Personal computer included in tuition for each student

Require Undergraduates to Own Computers

Undergraduates that Own Computers

Discounts Available with Hardware Vendors

Apple, Dell

Webcasting, Digital Audio or Video-Streaming of Courses

Webcasting, Digital Audio or Video-Streaming of Campus Radio / TV Stations

Campus Visits Contact

Jim Bock
Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid

Admissions Office
500 College Ave.
Swarthmore, PA 19081


Experience College Life

Most Popular Places On Campus
Kohlberg & Eldridge Commons Coffee Bars
Parrish Beach (the central campus lawn)
Scott Outdoor Amphitheater
Mullan Tennis & Fitness Center
Paces (student-run cafe)

Most Popular Places Off Campus
Downtown Swarthmore and nearby Media, Pa.
Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges, UPenn
King of Prussia Mall
The Swarthmore campus is served by regional rail making travel to these and other destinations easy and convenient.

Campus Tours

Campus Visiting Center
Mon-Fri year round; Sat in spring & fall
8:30am-4:30pm; 9am-noon

Campus Tours
Appointment Required: No
Dates: Year-round
Times: Varies
Average Length: 1 hour

On Campus Interview

Campus Interviews

Information Sessions

11:00, 1:00

Faculty and Coach Visits

Dates/Times Available

Contact Coach Directly

Advance Notice
2 weeks

Contact Email Address for Visit or see coach directory at

Class Visits

Dates/Times Available
Academic Year

Contact Admissions Office

Overnight Dorm Stays

Overnight Dorm Stays

Contact Admissions Office

High school seniors welcome, Sun -Thu


Types of Transportation Available to Campus
Philadelphia International Airport is approximately a 20-minute drive from campus. Taxis, rental cars, or SEPTA commuter trains are available. Amtrak trains serve Philadelphia’s 30th St. Station, and from there visitors may take the SEPTA Media/Elwyn Line to the Swarthmore station on the edge of campus. Greyhound buses serve Philadelphia from many cities. From the bus station, visitors may walk to the Market East train station and take the SEPTA Media/Elwyn Line to Swarthmore as described above.

Driving Instructions to Campus
If heading east on the Pennsylvania Tpke., take Exit 326 (Valley Forge); then, take I-76 E. (Schuylkill Expressway) 2.5 miles to I-476 S. Proceed on I-476 for 13 miles to Exit 3 (Media/Swarthmore). At the bottom of the exit ramp, turn left onto Baltimore Pike. Stay in the right lane, and in less than a quarter mile, turn right onto Rte. 320 S. At the first light, turn right to stay on Rte. 320. Proceed to the second traffic light (College Ave.) and turn right. On College Avenue take the first right onto Cedar Lane. At the next stop sign turn left onto Elm Avenue. Turn left onto Whittier Place, marked by stone pillars. Proceed to the end of Whittier Place and turn right into the DuPont parking lot. The entrance to the Admissions Office is through the archway at the back of Parrish Hall. If heading west on the Pennsylvania Tpke., take Exit 333 (Norristown) and follow signs for I-476 S. Stay on I-476 for 17 miles to Exit 3(Media/Swarthmore). Follow above directions from that point. From the New Jersey Tpke., take Exit 3 and follow signs to the Walt Whitman Bridge. After crossing the bridge, stay to the right and follow signs for I-95 S. Take I-95 S., pass the Philadelphia International Airport, and continue to Exit 7 (I-476 N./Plymouth Meeting). Take I-476 N. to Exit 3 (Media/Swarthmore). At the bottom of the exit ramp, follow the sign for Swarthmore by turning right onto Baltimore Pike. Follow above directions from that point. If heading north on I-95, take Exit 7 (I-476 N./Plymouth Meeting) and merge onto I-476 N. Take Exit 3 (Media/Swarthmore). At the bottom of the exit ramp, turn right onto Baltimore Pike. Follow above directions from that point.
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Key Stats

Acceptance Rate

Rankings & Lists