Swarthmore Opens Classes for 139th Year

Stacey Kutish

Swarthmore Opens Classes for 139th Year

by Stacey Kutish
08/28/2007

The Class of 2011 arrived on campus this week as Swarthmore prepares to open the 2007-2008 academic year, its 139th year of instruction.

Swarthmore's new first-year class comes from a record 5,242 applicants, of whom 18 percent were offered admission. James Bock '90, dean of admissions and financial aid, attributed the recent spike in applications - a 42 percent increase over three years ago - to a number of factors including Swarthmore's continued academic preeminence, generous need-based financial aid policies, and the recent wave of positive national media coverage of Swarthmore students' social-action projects, including War News Radio and the Genocide Intervention Network. />

First-year students begin to arrive and
get settled on campus.

"Many of our applicants are citing these and similar student efforts in their essays," says Bock. "They're telling us they want to attend a school that produces this kind of active leadership."

The new class includes 190 women and 176 men for a total of 366 students. Of the admitted students who come from high schools that report class rank, 23 percent were valedictorians or salutatorians, 47 percent were in the top two percent of their high school class, and 91 percent were in the top decile.

Of the domestic students in the Class of 2011, eight percent identify themselves as African American/multiracial, nine percent as Hispanic/Latina/o/multiracial, and 19 percent as Asian American/multiracial. One percent identify themselves as belonging in the category "Native American/Hawaiian/other." Eight percent of the class is made up of international students. In addition, 13 percent are the first or first generation in their family to attend college.

Forty-one states are represented in the Class of 2011, as well as the District of Columbia. Members of the new class attended high school most frequently in Pennsylvania, followed closely by New York, California, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland, Illinois, Florida, and Connecticut.

In addition, this year's incoming class includes 29 international citizens representing Canada, China, Colombia, Germany, Ghana, India, Italy, Malaysia, Nepal, Norway, Palestine, Peru, Philippines, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, United Kingdom, and Vietnam.

Fifty-nine percent of the new students attended public high schools, 27 percent private independent schools, seven percent parochial schools, and seven percent schools overseas. The most popular anticipated major among the new freshmen is engineering. Next are biology, English, political science, economics, mathematics, psychology, philosophy, and physics. As in years past, "undecided" is the biggest category.