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Small, Selective Liberal Arts Programs at Swarthmore

Swarthmore College appears in our ranking of the 50 Most Amazing University Botanical Gardens and Arboretums in the U.S.

Ranked ninth for undergraduate teaching by the U.S. News & World Report, Swarthmore College is a nonprofit, coed Tri-College Consortium member in Greater Philadelphia that delivers 600+ courses for 52 bachelor’s degrees plus the “Design Your Own Major” option at an 8:1 student-faculty ratio. For example, the Bachelor of Arts in Sociology shapes a 32-credit, four-year curriculum headed by Dr. Farha Ghannam with opportunities to volunteer at the Lang Civic Center, earn the Bramson Prize, and utilize the $4,800 Summer Research Grant. Directed by Dr. Carr Everbach, the 32-credit Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies lets undergrads complete the James Scheuer Internship, semester in Cape Town, become Animal Allies, and contribute to the Good Food Project.

Founded in 1874, the Bachelor of Science in Engineering builds a 32-credit, ABET-accredited sequence led by Dr. Matth Zucker at Singer Hall where Garnets can conduct Computation Optics Lab projects, pledge Tau Beta Pi, intern with Microsoft, and compete on the Engineering Crum Regatta team. Chaired by Dr. Hansjakob Werlen, the 32-credit Bachelor of Arts in German Studies encourages undergrads to join Delta Phi Alpha, celebrate Oktoberfest, utilize Language Center resources, and study abroad from Munich to Bremen. Other Swarthmore degrees include the Bachelor of Arts in Statistics, Bachelor of Arts in Theater, Bachelor of Arts in Astronomy, Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, Bachelor of Arts in Interpretation Theory, and Bachelor of Arts in Ancient History.

About Swarthmore College

Swarthmore College originated in 1861 when the Society of Friends’ Joint Committee from New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore met to allocate $150,000 for a new Quaker institution. In 1863, the group decided to name the college after the 17th-century Swarthmoor Hall in England. On April 1, 1864, Swarthmore College was formally chartered by the Commonwealth with nearly 6,000 stockholders. In 1866, President Edward Parrish laid the first cornerstone to erect College Hall. In November 1869, Swarthmore admitted an inaugural coeducational class of 199. In 1873, Swarthmore students established the Delphic Literary Society. In 1906, Swarthmore College cut its Quaker ties for non-sectarian education. In 1932, Nobel Peace Prize winner Jane Addams visited Swarthmore. By 1965, the Upward Bound Program was launched to empower African-American teens.

Endowed for $1.74 billion, Swarthmore College now employs 187 full-time faculty teaching 809 male and 832 female Garnets from 48 countries on its 425-acre Delaware County campus near Scott Arboretum with 18 residence halls and 100+ clubs like the Global Health Forum. In 2019, Swarthmore won the CASE Platinum Award for Excellence in Photography. In 2016, Swarthmore accepted the IIDAA Mid-Atlantic Award for Best in Education. Swarthmore College received the 2019 NACUBO Excellence in Sustainability Award too. Forbes named Swarthmore the 25th best university and fifth top liberal arts college. On Niche, Swarthmore boasts America’s eighth most diversity, 18th hardest admission, and 25th best academics. Money magazine declared Swarthmore College the 37th top value. The Center for World University Rankings picked Swarthmore 26th for education quality.

Swarthmore College Accreditation Details

On June 27, 2019, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) Board of Trustees approved the Level II accreditation status reaffirmation of Swarthmore College through the next 2027-28 comprehensive evaluation under the 15th president, Dr. Valerie Smith, a Guggenheim Fellow who received the Princeton Award for Distinguished Teaching. Located 20 miles up Interstate 95 in Philadelphia, this superb six-state Northeast Region accreditor is recognized by the U.S. Education Department and Pennsylvania Department of Education. Further, the American Chemical Society (ACS) Committee on Professional Training has certified Swarthmore. The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) Engineering Accreditation Commission has also approved Swarthmore College since October 1, 1936.

Swarthmore College Application Requirements

Admission at Swarthmore College is classified “most selective” by Peterson’s because only 1,004 of the 9,382 Fall 2018 applicants were triumphant for tough 11 percent acceptance. First-year Garnets should exhibit academic and extra-curricular achievement with good high school standing. Four years each of English and math are strongly encouraged. The Class of 2022 reached an average unweighted GPA of 4.09. The middle 50th percentile had ACT composite scores of 31-34. Mid-range admitted SAT scores were 680-760 for reading and 700-790 for math. Minimum grades aren’t listed, but most freshmen rank in the upper quartile at graduation. The Registrar’s Office ensures transfers get credit for all previous accredited courses graded C or better. International students should achieve at least 90 TOEFL iBT or 6.0 IELTS scores for English proficiency.

Swarthmore College has set freshman deadlines of November 15th for Early Decision and January 1st for Regular Decision. Transfers can only apply for Fall enrollment until April 1st. Note the QuestBridge National College Match program has a November 1st deadline. Accordingly, complete the Swarthmore, Coalition, or Common Application online with a $60 non-refundable fee or NACAC waiver. Forward official transcripts to 500 College Avenue in Swarthmore, PA 19081. Request testing scores using SAT/TOEFL code 2821 or ACT code 3722. Submit recommended materials, such as the 250-word short-answer response, school report, guidance counselor letter, mid-year grades, teacher evaluation, and SlideRoom portfolio. Contact (610) 328-8300 or admissions@swarthmore.edu with questions.

Tuition and Financial Aid

For 2019-20, Swarthmore College is charging full-time undergrads $27,128 each semester or $54,256 annually. Bachelor’s majors pay the $400 student activities fee every year. Studying part-time costs $6,782 each course. Half-course options are priced $3,391 apiece. Living at the Greater Philly campus’ dorms like Alice Paul Hall adds $8,252 for yearly rent. Standard meal plans for Sharples Dining Hall are $7,836 extra. Swarthmore budgets $1,360 for books and $1,745 for miscellaneous expenses. Annual undergrad attendance equals about $70,744. That’s a $2,682 increase from the 2018-19 enrollment cost of $68,062. Four years of Swarthmore education comes at a $282,976 total value. Kiplinger’s only reports average undergrad loan debt of $19,338 though.

According to the NCES College Navigator, the Financial Aid Office on Parrish Hall’s 1st Floor connects 62 percent of new Swarthmore Garnets to median tuition assistance of $49,400 each for $10.81 million combined. Since 1986, the Philip Evans Scholars Program has covered full tuition plus $4,000 Opportunity Grants for outstanding undergraduates. The four-year Thomas B. McCabe Achievement Award has a January 1st deadline for incoming freshmen from Southeastern Pennsylvania or the Delmarva Peninsula. Worth $10,000, the Eugene M. Lang Scholarship selects high-achieving sophomores committed to a social responsibility project. Federal resources, such as the Pell Grant and Direct Unsubsidized Loan, require FAFSA applications coded 003370. Pennsylvanians could pursue the QuestBridge College Match Scholarship, Horatio Alger Scholarship, Postsecondary Educational Gratuity Program, PHEAA State Grant, Olivia Marquart Scholarship, Christine Eide Memorial Scholarship, and more.

Search through 36 top-notch departments for 50+ “Little Ivy” degrees placed 31st overall by The Wall Street Journal at the Swarthmore College website.