Swarthmore College

2014 Quick Stats
500 College Avenue

Swarthmore, PA 19081

Phone: (610) 328-8000
2013-2014 Tuition
tuition and fees
male /
Jan. 1
application deadline

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U.S. News Rankings

Ranking score and category
U.S. News rank Category Name
#3 Overall Score: 94 out of 100. National Liberal Arts Colleges

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Swarthmore College is a private institution that was founded in 1864. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 1,552, its setting is suburban, and the campus size is 425 acres. It utilizes a semester-based academic calendar. Swarthmore College's ranking in the 2014 edition of Best Colleges is National Liberal Arts Colleges, 3. Its tuition and fees are $44,718 (2013-14).

Swarthmore College is located just 11 miles southwest of Philadelphia-far enough away to have a 425-acre campus that is designated as an arboretum. The school was founded by the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), but has no religious affiliation today. Almost half of students study abroad, and Swarthmore offers programs in more than 100 locations. The school also has more than 100 organizations students can get involved in on campus. Swarthmore has 22 NCAA Division III varsity sports teams cheered on by mascot Phineas the Phoenix. The school only has two fraternities and no sororities, as they were abolished in the 1930s. Although only freshmen are required to live on campus, about 95 percent of students continue to live on campus.

Swarthmore College is part of the Tri-College Consortium with Bryn Mawr and Haverford. Students can take courses from these colleges. Unlike other liberal arts colleges, Swarthmore also offers a B.S. in engineering. Swarthmore has many unique traditions, including the Crum Regatta, where students race homemade boats down Crum Creek; and Worthstock, the school’s take on Woodstock, featuring outdoor live music, dancing and food. Notable alumni include Nancy Roman, NASA’s first Chief of Astronomy in the Office of Space Science and "mother of the Hubble telescope;" former Massachusetts Governor and presidential candidate Michael Dukakis; and Robert Zoellick, former president of the World Bank.

School mission and unique qualities (as provided by the school):

Swarthmore College, a highly selective college of liberal arts and engineering, celebrates the life of the mind. Since its founding in 1864, Swarthmore has given students the knowledge, insight, skills, and experience to become leaders for the common good. The College is private, yet open to all regardless of financial need; and decidedly global in outlook, drawing students from around the world and all 50 states. 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, lies in the quality and passion of its faculty. 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. The College's Honors program features small groups of dedicated and accomplished students working closely with faculty; an emphasis on independent learning; students entering into a dialogue with peers and teachers; and an examination at the end of two years study by outside scholars. Swarthmore's idyllic, 425-acre arboretum campus features rolling lawns, a creek, wooded hills, and hiking trails, and is located just 11 miles from Philadelphia.

General Information

School type private, coed college
Year founded 1864
Religious affiliation N/A
Academic calendar semester
Setting suburban
2012 Endowment $1,498,775,000


When applying to Swarthmore College, it's important to note the application deadline is January 1, and the early decision deadline is November 15. Scores for either the ACT or SAT test are due January 1. The application fee at Swarthmore College is $60. It is most selective, with an acceptance rate of 14.2 percent.

For more information about the tests, essays, interviews, and admissions process, visit the Applying to College knowledge center.

Selectivity most selective
Fall 2012 acceptance rate 14.2%
Application deadline January 1
SAT/ACT scores must be received by January 1

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Academic Life

The student-faculty ratio at Swarthmore College is 8:1, and the school has 72 percent of its classes with fewer than 20 students. The most popular majors at Swarthmore College include: Social Sciences; Biological and Biomedical Sciences; English Language and Literature/Letters; Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics; and Visual and Performing Arts. The average freshman retention rate, an indicator of student satisfaction, is 96.8 percent.

Class sizes
Class sizes
Student-faculty ratio 8:1
4-year graduation rate 86%
Five most popular majors for 2012 graduates
Social Sciences 36%
Biological and Biomedical Sciences 16%
English Language and Literature/Letters 8%
Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics 7%
Visual and Performing Arts 7%

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Student Life

Swarthmore College has a total undergraduate enrollment of 1,552, with a gender distribution of 48.6 percent male students and 51.4 percent female students. At this school, 93 percent of the students live in college-owned, -operated, or -affiliated housing and 7 percent of students live off campus. Swarthmore College is part of the NCAA III athletic conference.

Total enrollment 1,552
Student gender distribution
Student gender distribution
Undergraduate men who are members of a fraternity
Undergraduate men who are members of a fraternity
Undergraduate women who are members of a sorority N/A
Collegiate athletic association NCAA III

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Campus Info & Services

Swarthmore College offers a number of student services including nonremedial tutoring, women's center, placement service, health service, and health insurance. Swarthmore College also offers campus safety and security services like 24-hour foot and vehicle patrols, late night transport/escort service, lighted pathways/sidewalks, and controlled dormitory access (key, security card, etc). Of the students at Swarthmore College, 8 percent have cars on campus. Alcohol is permitted for students of legal age at Swarthmore College.

Students who have cars on campus 8%
Health insurance offered Yes

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Paying for School

At Swarthmore College, 51.4 percent of full-time undergraduates receive some kind of need-based financial aid and the average need-based scholarship or grant award is $37,651.

Paying for college doesn't have to be difficult or devastating. Go to the Paying for College knowledge center to get advice on raising cash and reducing costs.

Tuition and fees $44,718 (2013-14)
Room and board $13,152 (2013-14)
Financial aid statistics
Financial aid statistics

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* Overview details based on 2012 data

College Rankings

Best Liberal Arts Colleges - Narrow your search with the U.S. News rankings of Liberal Arts Colleges, schools that emphasize undergrad liberal arts education.

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