The serene environment of Swarthmore is the perfect place to challenge one’s self, and obtain the highest academic achievements. Many of the students in the college are ambitious, and seek terminal degrees in various fields.
Swarthmore is considered one of the “Little Ivies”, a colloquial term for smaller colleges with ample academic prowess that rivals the Ivy League universities. Swarthmore provides each student the opportunity to design their own major by choosing from more than 40 courses. Swarthmore belongs to the Tri-College Consortium along with other colleges, namely Bryn Mawr and Haverford. Students at Swarthmore can also opt for cross-enrollment with the University of Pennsylvania, which is beneficial for widening the range of learning resources, such as libraries.
Swarthmore College may have derived its name from Swarthmoor Hall in Cumbria, England, which was relevant in the Quaker movement at the time of the school’s founding. This liberal arts college has been around since 1864 when it was initially established by a group of Quakers who attended the Friends meetings in Philadelphia, New York and Baltimore. The first president of Swarthmore was Edward Parrish. A prominent landmark in the college, Parrish Hall, was named in his honor. This hall houses several key services in the college, such as the admissions and housing departments as well as the financial aid office.
One committee member, Lucretia Mott, pushed for the co-educational system in the school so as not to limit the benefits of academic excellence that can be attained by matriculation in Swarthmore to men only. Swarthmore became non-sectarian in 1933, and removed its affiliation to any religious group.
This college was active in sports since the 1900s, and teams from Swarthmore have played Princeton, Columbia, and other schools. In 1920, the school’s academic programs were put into perspective with the turnover of presidency to Frank Aydelotte, a Rhodes Scholar. It was at this time that the Honors program was established.
Students will enjoy a countryside backdrop to their studies, and can explore their natural surroundings freely. The campus includes the Scott Arboretum, and features well-maintained lawns and hills for hiking. The relaxing atmosphere offsets the rigorous course schedules that most Swarthmore students undertake; a significant portion of the student population is in the Honors Program.
The student-professor dialogue in Swarthmore is dynamic and open. The faculty members are mostly holders of terminal degrees and are accessible as resource persons for students needing advice on their academic courses. With sufficient training and mentoring backing them, Swarthmore students are eager to get involved in volunteer work.
Most students live on campus and occasionally venture out to the nearby towns to buy supplies and enjoy time away from school in local restaurants. However, many don’t bother to venture far, as there are enough parties, concerts and other events to attend on campus. Most of these parties and concerts are free to attend for Swarthmore students.
Artsy students are perfectly at home in this town. Because Swarthmore is the hometown of renowned painter Benjamin West, many Swarthmore shops are artistic and quaint, and these also serve as a great inspiration for creative students that like to explore the town when they’re not studying for exams.
Swarthmore’s generous financial aid program has helped many talented students graduate with flying colors, regardless of their initial financial difficulties. Approximately two-thirds of the student body receive financial aid in the form of scholarships, grants and work opportunities. How much a student receives is dependent upon several factors, including the family’s ability or inability to pay for the student’s school fees. The Swarthmore financial aid system takes into account the student’s desire to graduate without debt.