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Student Reviews

Swarthmore College Reviews

Check out reviews left by other students or leave your own review. You could win a free scholarship.

  • 01/22/2011

    Reviewer is A current student here.

    12 out of 13 people found this review useful. 1 of 11

    Categories Comments
    Great for these types of students

    Intellectually curious, hard working, self-motivated, open-minded, loves challenges, values intimate settings

    Tips for prospective students

    Ask for help! Seek academic tutoring and personal advice from peers, upperclassmen, profs, and deans. Everyone is willing to help but only if they know you need it.

    Am enjoying being here

    Swat has a social life that is a leap forward for some and a step back for others. There usually is something for everyone, but going into Philly to fill in the gaps is a good idea.

    Am learning a lot

    Swarthmore is known for being one of the most academically rigorous college in the country. This is true but studying what one is truly interested in and passionate about makes the heavy reading and problem sets worth while.

  • 06/28/2011

    Reviewer is A current student here.

    12 out of 12 people found this review useful. 2 of 11

    Categories Comments
    Great for these types of students

    Quirky people who want to work hard academically but are also interested in making some kind of social change.

    Tips for prospective students

    Take advantage of everything the school offers! Create a project.

    Bang for the buck

    The school is expensive but has a big endowment, which translates to a lot of financial aid. Appealing for more aid does help if you can point out some concrete reasons--I appealed my first financial aid offer and got a better one. About half of the students here are getting some sort of assistance.

    Am enjoying being here

    Swarthmore is small and can get feel a little cramped sometimes, and often you'll find yourself with too much work to fully take advantage of all the other things going on. That aside, I love it. The people here are not only brilliant but really interesting and friendly. Everyone has a pet project. The campus is gorgeous and very walkable, dorms are quite good, and there are plenty of parties on the weekends as well as lectures, exhibits, film screenings, weird traditions, and various other get-togethers.

    Am learning a lot

    Swarthmore is one of the toughest colleges in the country, but it pays off. Aside from major intro classes like Psch 1 and Bio 1&2, class sizes are very small. Professors are brilliant and AVAILABLE--unlike profs at huge research universities, they only teach undergrad and therefore have time and patience for undergrads. DO: Take advantage of the Writing Associates, your professors and advisor, and first-year seminars. DON'T: Underestimate the amount of work you'll be doing.

  • 04/13/2010

    Reviewer is Researching this school. Reviewer has been to campus.

    9 out of 11 people found this review useful. 1 person found this inaccurate. 3 of 11

    Categories Comments
    Great for these types of students

    Anyone that can get in should go here.

    Tips for prospective students

    You need a good GPA and test scores. If you don't have that then don't even apply you have no chance. Also try to get an interview with somebody at some point because that will help a lot.

    Bang for the buck

    Sort of expensive, but they give out plenty of financial aid.

    Will enjoy being here

    The campus is beautiful, there are tons of student organizations, and you are less than 30 minutes away from Philadelphia.

    Will learn a lot

    The classrooms and teachers are wonderful. Along with people that really want to learn something. Anyone would be lucky to go here.

  • 12/25/2011

    Reviewer is A current student here.

    7 out of 7 people found this review useful. 4 of 11

    Categories Comments
    Great for these types of students

    Swarthmore in the past has had a reputation for drawing in swawkward students as they say but really the school is nicely mixed between all types of people. The thing we all have in common is we came here knowing we were going to have to do a lot of work because we wanted to learn.

    Tips for prospective students

    Swarthmore likes well-rounded people. I have friends who are fluent in 12 languages and worked for corporations in NY, or are ultimate frisbee playing, theater performers majoring in engineering, etc. Just do what you like and don't feel the need to limit yourself to one thing.

    Bang for the buck

    It is quite expensive, but I feel as though it is worth it, so long as you are willing to make it work for you.

    Am enjoying being here

    It can get a bit stressful when everyone is worried about exams but usually the campus is full of very relatively happy, diversely entertaining individuals.

    Am learning a lot

    One of things I like most about Swarthmore is that sometimes you don't even realize just how much you are learning and not just in class. Hanging around all kinds of different people with different majors and interests means you'll pick up on a lot of new things.

  • 09/18/2012

    Reviewer is A past student here.

    6 out of 6 people found this review useful. 5 of 11

    Categories Comments
    What to do for fun

    There are on-campus parties (almost nothing happens off campus, as Swarthmore is a dry town), which range from standard frat parties to pub nights to completely sober events, like SCCS video game events, or Parrish Parlor Parties (usually games and free food). The first floor of the main library or science libraries are places to socialize while still vaguely getting work done.

    Food and Dining

    There is only one dining hall, Sharples, one snack bar, and two coffee bars. The selection is not fantastic compared to many other schools, but I found it met the needs of a busy student who just wanted to be fed without worrying about cooking. Having one dining hall actually makes Sharples a great place to run into people, and catch up with busy friends over a meal.

    Dorm Life

    Dorm life is essential to the social scene at Swat, and very few people live off campus. Study breaks, hall crawls, and random social events are a key part of campus life, even for upperclassmen.

    Academic Rigor

    Of course, a college education is what you make of it, and you can get through Swarthmore with less than five-star rigor, but if you push yourself, the expectations can be very high, especially when you take your honors exams senior year.

    Tips for prospective students

    Make sure you love to learn for the sake of learning. If you're more interested in college as a means to an end, you will probably be pretty unhappy at Swarthmore.

    In three sentences

    Swarthmore is a great place to pursue your academic passions and push yourself to realize your full potential. It's not for everyone; the academics can be pretty intense, depending on your major and if you choose to enter the Honors Program, and the social scene can be subdued compared to other colleges.

  • 10/13/2011

    Reviewer is Researching this school. Reviewer has been to campus.

    4 out of 5 people found this review useful. 6 of 11

    Categories Comments
    Bang for the buck

    Swarthmore is expensive, but there is a fair amount of financial aid and they do all they can to help you. It is a great school and worth every penny.

    Will enjoy being here

    I love the people and the feel of the campus at Swarthmore. I can really see myself prospering in the type of environment Swarthmore has.

    Will learn a lot

    I felt that the academic rigor of Swarthmore is exactly the type for which I am looking. I love how Swarthmore aims to eliminate academic competition by making the first semester of freshman year all shadow grades.

  • 10/07/2009

    Reviewer is Researching this school. Reviewer has been to campus.

    2 out of 24 people found this review useful. 7 of 11

    Categories Comments
    Great for these types of students

    If you like rich, private, liberal arts colleges in Pennsylvania, than Swarthmore is for you!

    Bang for the buck

    Verry expensive!

  • 07/01/2012

    Reviewer is Accepted here and planning to attend soon. Reviewer has not been to campus.

    2 out of 5 people found this review useful. 8 of 11

    Categories Comments
    In three sentences

    Beautiful, lovely place and people

  • 06/25/2013

    Reviewer is A current student here.

    2 out of 2 people found this review useful. 9 of 11

    Categories Comments
    Great for these types of students

    Studious students, those who can manage their time well, and those who are always looking to go above and beyond.

    Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus

    Crum Creek is awesome and the Crum Regatta that happens is fun! Screw Your Roommate is a very fun and quirky tradition. The Yule Ball is a lot of fun to attend as they have snacks catered to Harry Potter themes!

    What to do for fun

    Lounge on Parrish Beach, go into the city, meet up with friends at Hobbs (the only coffee shop in town), have study parties in Parrish or McCabe!

    Tips for prospective students

    First semester will be pass/fail, but don't take classes too lightly even then! Start off your college career with a good handle on work and time management so that you're not suddenly bombarded with worries when grades start to matter! Also, definitely take the time to visit professors during office hours! They genuinely want to help you and meet with you and can offer great tips/advice.

    In three sentences

    A lovely campus that's in a quaint, small town, but also close to a large city for whenever you need to get out of the bubble. The professors and fellow students are wonderful. The academic rigor can get to be too much for some, but the professors and deans really care about you and are willing to work with you if you are struggling.

  • 06/29/2012

    Reviewer is Researching this school. Reviewer has been to campus.

    1 out of 4 people found this review useful. 10 of 11

    Categories Comments
    In three sentences

    BEAUTIFUL campus. Seems like a good community space to learn in.

  • 02/16/2014

    Reviewer is Researching this school. Reviewer has been to campus.

    1 out of 1 people found this review useful. 11 of 11

    Categories Comments
    Campus Safety

    There was an article published a little while ago about someone having $9 stolen out of their car and people were revolted. You should be fine. It's a very sheltered environment, but the cops can kind of be a pain. But I've hand friends just walk around in the middle of the night and nothing ever happens to them. Nothing really ever happens to anyone in Swarthmore.

    Greek Life

    It seems to be pretty nonexistent, even though I'm pretty sure they have one (kind of). You'll definitely encounter a lot of drunk bros, though (like I said, streakers).

    Clubs and Activities

    People seem to really enjoy sports (play quidditch, I'm serious), and there seem to be a large variety of clubs on campus. I'm sure you'll find your niche somewhere, and if you can't, people are open-minded enough you can probably start something.

    Great for these types of students

    Hippies for sure. You have to be a geek about something, or like really passionate. It can be a multiple of things, but you have to be able to really geek out about something. Students are generally nerdy and liberal. Also artsy, and sometimes painfully existential.

    Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus

    Go to the trestle (ask someone about it, it's really cool). Again the giant hammock & chair, and the amphitheater. There are also a lot of weird statues around, climbing them is kinda fun/kinda dangerous. I've encountered a lot of streakers, and you probably will too. No one in Swarthmore really cares about much.

    Bang for the buck

    It's really expensive, but you'll probably get a really good education and financial aid if you need it. Swarthmore is also kind of an expensive neighborhood (not all of it), so a lot of people there will have money, and there will be random expensive crap.

    What to do for fun

    Go to the giant hammock, the more the merrier. Also, the giant chair, at least once, even if you think it's cheesy. Join a random game of quidditch (the team is super cool and accepting). Walk down to the falls to do homework, totally beautiful and worth it. There's usually lots of stuff happening on campus, just walk around. There's a good bit to do in Swarthmore, but there's even more if you walk or take the bus into Springfield (mall, shopping center, just explore baltimore pike). There are also swings on campus!

    Food and Dining

    I hear students complain about food a lot. Mostly about their meal plans and having to skip meals. There are some cool places right next to campus (Dunkin' Donuts & Baskin Robin's, coffee/sandwich shop, Chinese, Mediterranean, pizza place, and a few other shops, there's also a small grocery store [kinda expensive] that should have the basic stuff you need), but they get kind of expensive and if you don't have the money you're stuck with on-campus dining, which I'd imagine is pretty decent but people aren't quick to praise it.

    Dorm Life

    The dorms aren't that great. I guess it depends where you stay. They look really pretty from the outside, but inside they're just okay. The walls can be kind of thin, so just don't go around shouting. People really seem to make homes out of them though, and from what I can tell you'll enjoy the people you live with.

    Academic Rigor

    Swarthmore is no doubt academically challenging, but I hear the professors are pretty cool (depending), so make sure you go to them for help. There's a lot of work, and the school can get kind of competitive amongst students, so just stay on top of things and know who's cool.

    Tips for prospective students

    Be open to new things. SEPTA will be your frienemy, take the train into Philadelphia and explore the whole city (I recommend getting a day pass and a map and just seeing all the sights). Go to the Amphitheater when it's full, and alone or with just a few friends. Take advantage of all the free opportunities around town. Get a ridiculous amount of candy from the Head Nut when you're having a bad day, or fries from Renato's. Be friendly to everyone, because everyone is friendly (given, some of them might actually be evil, watch out for that). Also, visit!!! The people I've talked to said that their visit was what made them choose Swarthmore.

    In three sentences

    Swarthmore is challenging, beautiful, and has a very suburban liberal feel. The students are really all individuals, and it seems like you could find any type of person on campus. I feel like as long as you're dedicated and passionate about something, you'll fit right in.