Apply to Swarthmore

Randal Exon teaches in the Old Tarble studio space

Special note: You can easily add Swarthmore to your list of colleges in the Common Application.

In an effort to seek a variety of students leading to a well-rounded class, the admissions staff practices holistic and contextual admissions, carefully considering a number of criteria without a rigid emphasis on any one factor while accounting for each applicant's unique access to resources and opportunities. 

First-Year Applicants

  • Common Application or Coalition Application or Questbridge Application (Swarthmore does not have a preference among the three applications; applicants should only submit one application for admission.)
  • Swarthmore College Short Answer
    As part of the Common or Coalition applications, you will be asked to respond to the following short answer question (Questbridge applicants are asked this question on our Questbridge Conversion Form):
    • Please write about why you are interested in applying to and attending Swarthmore. (250 word limit)
  • $60 Application Fee or Fee Waiver
  • School Report
    • Guidance Counselor Recommendation
    • High School Transcript
    • Midyear Grades: If your school does not have midyear grades, please provide a midyear progress report from your teachers.
  • Standardized Test Scores (Swarthmore's Testing Policy)
  • Two Academic Subject Teacher Evaluations

Optional Materials

  • Interview: request an on-campus interview (available now) or an off-campus alumni interview (available starting in late August). Students need not have submitted their application before interviewing.
  • Art/Music/Dance/Theater/Creative Writing Supplement: We are accepting supplements exclusively through SlideRoom. SlideRoom provides instructions for submitting materials online, including a video tutorial. Please use the SlideRoom link that matches your choice of application. *Submitting additional materials is strictly optional, and is at no additional charge.
  • Financial Aid: Please visit the Financial Aid website to view instructions and deadlines for first-year applicants who plan to apply for financial aid.

Note to Applicants: Swarthmore College reserves the right to evaluate an application and make a final decision, even if all parts of the application have not been received. 

Sending Materials

  • All school documents must be submitted directly from a school official, including teacher recommendations and transcripts.  School officials can submit these documents via the Common Application, Coalition Application, Questbridge, Naviance, or Parchment/Docufide.  In rare cases, school officials can submit relevant documents via
  • Applicants who wish to submit materials for inclusion with their application should email a PDF directly to There is no need to send duplicate materials to our general admissions email.

Additional Requirements and Information

Early Decision Applicants

With your application, please also submit:

International Applicants

With your application, please also submit:

  • TOEFL or the IELTS is strongly encouraged for non-US citizens whose native language is not English and/or who are studying in non-English language curriculums

Additional information to assist with the application process for international students:

  • Please visit the Financial Aid website to view instructions and deadlines for first-year applicants living outside of the U.S. planning to apply for financial aid.
  • Please do not submit the Certificate of Finances or bank statements unless you are admitted to Swarthmore and plan to enroll.

Transfer Applicants

Required Materials

  • Common Application or Coalition Application (Swarthmore does not have a preference among the two applications; applicants should submit only one application for admission.) 
  • As part of either application, you will be asked to respond to two (2) short answer questions:

    1. Please answer one of the following short answer questions in 150 to 250 words:
      1. Describe a time or occasion in which you were your “best self” as well as a time or occasion when you were your “worst self.” Please reflect on what these experiences taught you about resilience and balance.


      2. Swarthmore students are socially aware in both a broad, global context as well as an interpersonal community context.  They approach problems with intentionality, and they often contemplate their place in the world.  Given this tendency we would like to know, “What keeps you up at night?”
    2. Swarthmore is known for its intellectual vibrancy, collaborative spirit, and commitment to civic and social responsibility.  Please elaborate on one of these aspects and what it means to you, using examples from your own life in an essay that is between 150 and 250 words.  You should also address how you anticipate your experience at Swarthmore to be different from your current institution or circumstance.
  • Additionally, transfer students must provide:
    • $60 Application Fee or Fee Waiver
    • Secondary School Final Report 
    • Official Final High School Transcript(s)
    • Transfer College Report (Common Application form) or Transfer Report (Coalition Application form) from your most recent college/university
    • Official College Transcript(s) from all colleges/universities previously attended or currently attending
    • Two Academic Evaluations:  At least one recommendation must be from a recent college instructor.
    • Transfer Mid-Term Report (Common Application form) or Curriculum Report (Coalition Application form): Required for applicants who are currently enrolled in a college/university.

Optional Materials

  • Please visit the Financial Aid website to view instructions and deadlines for transfer applicants living in the U.S. planning to apply for financial aid. Please Note: Financial Aid is not available for foreign national transfer students.
  • Standardized Test Scores
  • Alumni Interview - Swarthmore offers transfer applicants the opportunity to interview with an alumnus/a of the college in your local area. Transfer interviews will be available in early 2017 for applicants seeking to begin study at Swarthmore in Fall 2017. Students need not have submitted their application before requesting an interview.