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Swarthmore College

Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, Pa. was founded in 1864 by the liberal Hicksite branch of the Society of Friends as an institution “under the care of Friends, at which an education may be obtained equal to that of the best institutions of learning in our county,” according to the university’s history. U.S. News & World Report’s 2012 “Best Colleges” list ranks Swarthmore 3rd in the “National Liberal Arts Colleges” category, 2nd in the “Best Undergraduate Teaching” category, and 5th in the “Best Value Schools” category. In addition, former Massachusetts Governor and presidential candidate Michael Dukakis, and Nancy Roman, NASA’s first Chief of Astronomy in the Office of Space Science, attended Swarthmore College.

Programs Offered

Swarthmore emphasizes the relationship between its students and faculty with small class sizes (an 8 to 1 student-faculty ratio) and an Honors Program based on independent evaluation of a student’s work. Swarthmore offers two degrees: a bachelor of arts, and a bachelor of science in engineering. More than 600 courses are available in more than 50 programs of study including art history, biology, black studies, chemistry, classics, cognitive science, economics, engineering, film and media studies, history, linguistics, peace and conflict studies, psychology, and public policy.

As a part of the Tri-College Consortium, students may enroll in courses at nearby Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges. Students may also cross-register for undergraduate courses at the University of Pennsylvania. The Honors Program allows for flexibility of course and project combinations, and examination. Honors candidates are evaluated by external examiners at the end of their senior year who assess the student’s overall level of Honors — Honors, High Honors, or Highest Honors — which appears on the academic record.


The Middle States Commission on Higher Education has accredited Swarthmore College since January 1921.


Swarthmore requires an application and $60 application fee, secondary school transcripts and class rank, standardized tests, essays, two teacher recommendations, and one counselor recommendation. An interview with admissions is recommended but not required. Regular decision deadline is January 1; early decision is due November 15.

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