Swarthmore College is a private, nonsectarian, liberal arts and engineering institution. Located in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania just 11 miles southwest of Philadelphia, the school sits on a 425-acre campus featuring rolling lawns, a creek, wooded hills, hiking trails, and the beautiful Scott Arboretum. Established in 1864 by members of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), many of Swarthmore’s early founders were prominent in the abolitionist and women’s rights movements and the school has been co-educational since its inception. Swarthmore College’s mission is to help its students “realize their full intellectual and personal potential combined with a deep sense of ethical and social concern.”
Academic ProgramsSwarthmore College is committed to providing students with curricular breadth and rigor as well as facilitating discovery and fostering civic engagement. Offering over 40 areas of study and 600 courses, students also have the option of designing their own major. Swarthmore is a member of the Tri-College Consortium along with Bryan Mawr and Haverford Colleges, opening up an even greater realm of options for the undergraduate student.
Over 60% of students participate in Undergraduate Research or Independent Creative Projects – opportunities for such projects are available in humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, engineering division, and social action projects. Swarthmore also offers an Honors Program, emphasizing independent learning and dialogue. Approximately one-third of students pursue a degree through the honors program, one of the hallmarks of which is the small seminary-style classes where each student is given the opportunity to speak and lead in discussions. This collaborative approach is intended to foster an environment in which students are able to freely to share research results, workshop papers, and continue discussions even after class meetings end.
Student LifeSwarthmore College has a total enrollment of over 1,500, split nearly fifty-fifty between male and female students. A highly residential college, 93% of students choose to live on-campus in one of 17 residence halls and over 100 student-lead clubs and organizations exist, creating an active and vibrant community. Swarthmore also encourages and helps to facilitate student leadership and service opportunities. More than 60% of students volunteer their time and a wide range of opportunities exist for giving back to the college, the broader community, and to each other.
As an NCAA Division III school, athletics play an important role in student-life. Swarthmore sponsors over 20 varsity sports teams for men and women and 40% of students compete in either intercollegiate or club sports. Football was controversially eliminated in 2000, but Swarthmore’s most popular varsity sports include track and field, men’s and women’s lacrosse, baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, soccer, and swimming.