From the School

Swarthmore, one of the nation's finest institutions of higher learning, is a college like no other. Private, yet open to all regardless of financial need. Global in outlook, the College draws students from around the world and all 50 states. Small, yet with the financial strength to offer students and faculty the resources needed to push their own and the world's understanding of disciplines from Arabic to plasma physics, from microbiology to dance, from engineering to art history.

Swarthmore graduates include CEO patent-holders who bring technology to underserved markets, investment bankers looking for alternative forms of energy, lawyers who become college presidents, doctors who serve in Congress, Nobel Prize winners, educators who establish schools in underserved parts of the world, and artists who use their talents to inspire and empower others. So much of what Swarthmore stands for, from its commitment to curricular breadth and rigor to its demonstrated interest in facilitating discovery and fostering social responsibility among exceptional young people, lies in the quality and passion of its faculty. Professors at Swarthmore are leading scholars and researchers in their fields, yet remain deeply committed to serving their students as outstanding teachers and mentors. A student/faculty ratio of 8:1 ensures that students have close, meaningful engagement with their professors, preparing them to translate the skills and understanding gained at Swarthmore into the mark they want to make on the world.


Acceptance Rate

Test Scores

SAT Reading
680 - 760
SAT Math
670 - 770
ACT Composite
31 - 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


From The School

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 features faculty working with small groups of dedicated and accomplished students; an emphasis on independent learning; students entering into a dialogue with peers, teachers, and examiners; a demanding program of study in major and minor fields; and an examination at the end of two years' study by outside scholars.

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
2 - 9

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


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


From The School

For 2011-2012, the College charges including tuition, room, board, and student activity fee total $53,250. 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.


Financial Aid Rating
Application Deadlines
Feb 15
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 Methodoloy

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


From The School

With more than 100 student clubs and organizations on campus, dozens of community service groups, 22 varsity athletic teams, free lectures and performances occurring daily on campus, and full academic schedules, Swarthmore students are rarely idle. The student culture encourages involvement and a strong sense of community.

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 Swathe "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

Located 11 miles southwest of Philadelphia, Swarthmore's idyllic, 425-acre campus is an arboretum, complete with rolling lawns, a creek, wooded hills, and hiking trails. From its state-of-the-art L.E.E.D. certified science center to its new residence halls with environmentally responsible design, Swarthmore's buildings and architecture stand as national models of curricular and co-curricular undergraduate facilities.

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

Quality of life rating
First-Year Students living on campus

Campus Environment
Fire safety rating

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

13% join a fraternity
6% 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.

Green Rating
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

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
Data provided by Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), STARS®, as of February, 2014.

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.
Swarthmore College campus - Image 0
Swarthmore College campus - Image 1
Swarthmore College campus - Image 2
Swarthmore College campus - Image 3
Swarthmore College campus - Image 4
Swarthmore College campus - Image 5
Swarthmore College campus - Image 6
Swarthmore College campus - Image 7
Swarthmore College campus - Image 8
Swarthmore College campus - Image 9
Swarthmore College campus - Image 10
Swarthmore College campus - Image 11
Swarthmore College campus - Image 12
Swarthmore College campus - Image 13
Swarthmore College campus - Image 14

Key Stats

Acceptance Rate
SAT Scores

Rankings & Lists