Apply to Swarthmore

Randal Exon teaches in the Old Tarble studio space

In an effort to seek a variety of students leading to a well-rounded class, the admissions staff carefully considers a number of criteria without a rigid emphasis on any one factor in particular. Applicants are evaluated based upon the following:

  • High School record (as well as strength of curriculum)
  • Rank in class (if high school ranks)
  • Standardized tests
  • Extracurricular commitments
  • Essays (included in application)
  • Recommendations (two from academic teachers, one from counselor)
  • Interview (highly recommended, but not required)

Application Process

Required Materials

  • Common Application
  • Swarthmore College Short Answer
    As part of the Swarthmore College Member Page, you will be asked to respond to the following short answer question:
    • 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 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 in partnership with The Common Application. SlideRoom provides instructions for submitting materials online, including a video tutorial. *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 living in the U.S. planning to apply for finacial 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. Please include your Common Application identification number in all email correspondence with the Swarthmore Admissions office.

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, 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


Additional Requirements and Information

Early Decision Applicants

With your application, please also submit:

International Applicants

With your application, please also submit:

  • A copy of the information page in your valid passport
  • TOEFL or the IELTS for non-native English speakers is highly recommended
  • Certification of Finances

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

Transfer Applicants

Required Materials

  • Common Application, which includes the following Swarthmore College Short Answers:
    As part of the Swarthmore College Member Page, you will be asked to respond to two (2) short answer questions:

A) 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?”


B) Swarthmore is known for its intellectual vibrance, 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 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:  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 finacial 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. All transfer interview requests closed March 6, 2015.