Swarthmore College welcomes students to our community from around the world. If you are an international student, you'll be in good company—international students make up about 13 percent of Swarthmore’s student body.
Applying to Swarthmore
If you're applying as a first-year student, our application requirements are the same regardless of your citizenship. However, if your native language isn't English, and/or if you're studying in non-English language curricula, we strongly encourage you to submit scores from the TOEFL or the IELTS.
If you are applying as a transfer student, please review our transfer application instructions.
If you are applying as a first-year international student, need-based financial aid is available. Admission to Swarthmore is need-blind for U.S. citizens, permanent residents (regardless of physical address), and undocumented or DACA-eligible students (graduating from a high school in the U.S.). Admission to Swarthmore is need-aware for other international citizens. Regardless of citizenship, if you are accepted to Swarthmore, the College will meet 100 percent of your demonstrated need with a financial aid award up to—and including—full tuition, room and board, books, supplies, and transportation. The average financial aid award for international students entering the Class of 2020 was $60,608. Swarthmore financial aid packages are made up of grants (that do not need to be repaid) and money earned from working a campus job. Our financial aid packages do not include loans. You do not need to complete a special application for financial aid because our financial awards are determined based on your financial need rather than academic merit.
It is very important that you complete the financial aid documentation we require in a timely fashion. Please review Swarthmore's financial aid applications 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 and supporting bank statements unless you are admitted to Swarthmore and plan to enroll (or unless the financial aid office specifically asks you to submit this information).
We encourage all applicants, including international students, to request an admissions interview, but interviews are not required. International applicants may interview with Swarthmore alumni or arrange an interview with InitialView. Learn more about interviews.
Authenticity of Documents and Test Scores
It is your responsibility to provide authentic documentation of all of your credentials. Your school transcripts must be original and certified with a school seal or a high-quality copy, and must be both certified and signed by the head of school and/or college adviser. Your letters of recommendation should be written on official school letterhead, and official translations should be attached to the original document. You can arrange to have your standardized scores sent directly to Swarthmore from the testing agencies. In cases where complying with such requirements would cause your family an excessive financial burden, we will accept a high-quality copy of your test results that has been certified with the school seal and signed by the head of school and/or college adviser.
Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate Credit
Credit for Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate exams is decided by individual departments at Swarthmore in consultation with the registrar. Review the details about placement and/or credit for these exams.
Our Office of International Student Services provides on-campus support specifically for international students. Other College offices also provide the same caring support that is available to all Swatties. This includes a 24-hour, 7-day-per-week staffed health center, including psychological services and access to several local hospitals. All students have access to resources for academic support, religious/spiritual guidance, etc. Each August, the College hosts a special international student orientation program shortly before the broader first-year student orientation begins.
Students enjoy a variety of activities on campus: all-campus parties, athletic events, music and artistic performances, academic conferences, movie nights, or just enjoying time with friends in a residence hall or dining hall. Swarthmore is proud to be a “cash-free campus”—that is, your annual activity fee covers all events on campus, so you don't need to carry cash to pay for them. The activity fee also covers printing and laundry.
Swarthmore’s Intercultural Center is a hub of activity for international students and others on campus. Examples of student-run international student groups at Swarthmore include: i-20 (international students), Deshi (South Asian culture), Enlace (Latinx culture), Han (Korean culture), Hapa (Asian mixed-race students), Kizuna (Japanese culture), Multi (students of multiple heritages), Munazamat al-Amal (Greater Syrian culture), the Swarthmore Asian Organization, the Swarthmore Hong Kong Student Association, the Swarthmore Chinese Society, and the Vietnamese Student Association.
In fall 2016, a major alumni gift was established to expand the Intercultural Center in a building that will also house the Interfaith Center, Religious and Spiritual Life Office, and the Office of International Students.
Swarthmore is located about 11 miles southwest of Philadelphia, the fifth-largest city in the United States. There is a train station on the edge of campus, and it’s a 25-minute ride to downtown Philadelphia on the direct commuter rail line. In addition, Philadelphia is a transportation hub for the East Coast. New York and Washington, D.C. are 2–3 hours travel time from Philadelphia. The Philadelphia International Airport is about 15 minutes away from campus by car.
International students can find part-time work opportunities on campus at places such as libraries, academic departments, or the Admissions Office. In order to work off-campus, you need employment authorization from the U.S government; once this is obtained, you can work anywhere inside the U.S. during summer or winter breaks.
The College also facilitates internship opportunities for international students, including some paid positions and others which offer living stipends. For example, the Swarthmore Foundation offers grants to students who engage in social service projects.
The Career Services Office personally assists students with their postgraduate plans, and offers a range of resources, including resume review, mock interviews, career and graduate school counseling, on-campus recruiting, and career fairs.