September 2015

Dear Colleague:

I send you greetings from Swarthmore College. With another admission cycle behind us, we head into the fall energized by the remarkable group of 415 young scholars who have joined us on campus. We are also looking forward to seeing many of you at school visits, counselor breakfasts, professional conferences, or on Swarthmore’s beautiful 425 acre arboreal campus just 11 miles outside of Philadelphia. The campus is easily accessible, and Swarthmore is one of the few colleges in the country that has a train station directly at the base of campus! Please feel free to call, write, or email me ( if you have questions or comments.

Our Continued Commitment to Financial Aid and Diverse Scholars

This year, the average financial aid award to these students is $47,564 towards our asking price of $63,960. We are still offering loan-free need-based awards for all students receiving grant aid at Swarthmore. Often, the most selective schools have the most competitive need-based aid awards.  Students, particularly needy ones, should not take high priced schools off of their lists. We hope as you encourage your students to take a closer look at Swarthmore, you will know that we have a long-standing commitment to provide financial aid to all students whose potential family resources fall short of our charges. Swarthmore College will enter our tenth year as a QuestBridge partner for the academic year 2015-2016. We welcomed 36 QuestBridge Scholars to Swarthmore’s class of 2019.

This year, Swarthmore College welcomed a first-year class composed of 44% domestic students of color, plus an additional 13% non-U.S. citizens. The first-year class consists of 7% African American, 12% Hispanic/Latino/multiracial, 19% Asian American, 1 Native Hawaiian, and 6% multiracial students. Another 18% of our first-years are first generation college students, 16% are receiving Pell Grants, and 53% attended public or public selective high schools.

What's New at Swarthmore

​Swarthmore Welcomes 15th President

On July 1, Swarthmore welcomed Valerie Smith, a distinguished scholar of African-American literature and culture, as its 15th President. Prior to joining Swarthmore, Dr. Smith was the Dean of the College at Princeton University where she was the senior officer responsible for Princeton's undergraduate academic program. 

Swarthmore Announces New testing Requirements

Applicants to the Class of 2020 and beyond are required to submit either the SAT or the ACT. We do not require the optional Essay section of the SAT or the optional Writing section of the ACT. If submitted, scores from those sections will not be considered in our application review. Subject Tests are not required for admission, but will be considered if submitted. Prospective engineers are encouraged to submit the Math 2 Subject Test. Scores from the old and the new SAT will be accepted for students applying to enter in the fall of 2017. Equal consideration will be given to scores from either version of the test.

Undocumented and DACA Students

We encourage all students to apply to Swarthmore, regardless of citizenship status or national origin. This includes undocumented and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) students graduating from U.S. high schools. Undocumented and DACA students apply to Swarthmore in the same manner as all U.S. citizens and permanent residents. We evaluate context and background, so students are encouraged to share their narrative with us through the application process.  For undocumented and DACA students, Swarthmore’s admissions process is need blind. We do not take financial need or application for financial aid into account when making an admissions decision.  Swarthmore College commits to meeting 100% of admitted students’ demonstrated financial need, and our aid awards do not include a loan.

Engineering and Dance at Swarthmore

Swarthmore offers a fully accredited four-year B.S. in engineering and a B.A. in dance.  

Please let us know how we might participate in any special programs or workshops at your school or organization, and how we can continue to strengthen our relationship with you and your students. We would be delighted to host you at Swarthmore should you be able to visit the campus. All of us are eager to work with you during the coming year. Our regional deans look forward to working with you and your students, and I hope you will feel welcome to call on us!


James L. Bock '90
Vice President and Dean of Admissions