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Application Materials & Deadlines

First-year applicants may apply to Swarthmore via the Common Application or QuestBridge Application. Swarthmore does not have a preference among any of our application options. Please submit only one application in an application year.

International students, homeschooled studentsundocumented students, and transfer students should review information specific to their situation.

Required Materials
  • Common Application or QuestBridge Application
  • Swarthmore College Short Answer
    • As part of the Common Application, you will be asked to submit no more than 250 words in response to a short answer question (QuestBridge applicants are asked the same question on our Swarthmore-QuestBridge Intent to Apply form). For the 2022-2023 admissions cycle, students will be asked to choose one of the following three questions: 
      • Swarthmore students’ worldviews are often forged by their prior experiences and exposure to ideas and values. Our students are often mentored, supported, and developed by their immediate context—in their neighborhoods, communities of faith, families, and classrooms. Reflect on what elements of your home, school, or community have shaped you or positively impacted you. How have you grown or changed because of the influence of your community?
      • We are inspired by students who are flexible in their approach to learning, who are comfortable with experimentation, and who are willing to take intellectual risks that move them out of their comfort zone. Reflect on a time that you were intellectually challenged, inspired, or took an intellectual risk—inside or outside of the classroom. How has that experience shaped you, and what questions still linger?
      • Why are you interested in applying to and attending Swarthmore?
  • $60 application fee or fee waiver*
  • School report
  • School counselor recommendation
  • High school transcript
  • Midyear grades: If your school does not have midyear grades, please provide a midyear progress report from your teachers.
  • Two academic-subject teacher recommendations/evaluations

*Eligible students for application fee waivers to Swarthmore College are determined by Swarthmore College, Common Application, NACAC, The College Board, or the ACT. All students with financial need are welcome to complete SwatPass to find out if you qualify for an application fee waiver.

Optional Materials
  • Self-reported or official standardized test scores (Swarthmore's Testing Policy).  For students applying to Swarthmore in the 2022-23, 2023-24, and 2024-25 admissions cycles, we have suspended our requirement that applicants submit SAT or ACT scores. Instead, test scores are optional. 
  • Swarthmore offers optional interviews. Please note that applicants who do not interview are not at a disadvantage.  
  • Students with especially strong backgrounds and interest in pursuing the arts at Swarthmore can share samples of their work via SlideRoom, free of charge. We accept supplements in creative writing (written or spoken word poetry and fiction), dance (performance and choreography), music (performance and composition), theater, and the visual arts. Submissions provide our Admissions Committee with examples of students’ artistic talents and are subject to faculty review. Please know, however, that we cannot guarantee all works will be evaluated.
  • Please review financial aid application instructions and deadlines for first-year applicants.
Submitting Materials

Your 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 as PDFs via email.

  • Fall Early Decision Application Deadline: November 15
    • All testing should be complete by early November. Admission decisions are released online in mid-December.
  • Winter Early Decision Application Deadline: January 4
    • All testing should be complete by mid-December. Admission decisions are released online in mid-February. 
  • Regular Decision Application Deadline: January 4
    • We strongly encourage all applicants to complete testing by mid-December, but may be able to consider scores for tests completed by early February. Admission decisions are released online in mid-March.
  • Transfer Decision Application Deadline: April 1
    • Admission decisions are released online, typically in mid-May, through the applicant portal.
Early Decision Applicants

If you will apply Early Decision, please include:

Admissions Privacy Policy

Admission applications and application credentials submitted to Swarthmore College are treated with confidentiality. As such, admissions staff members communicate directly with applicants about their application materials and admission decision. Admissions communicates primarily via email with applicants at the email address provided in their application. In limited circumstances, admissions staff may communicate with a parent/guardian, a school official, or a college access advisor.

The Admissions Office receives and processes admission applications and application credentials. The educational records of matriculating students are shared with appropriate campus departments, including Information Technology Services, the Registrar, the Dean’s Office, and faculty advisors. The Admissions Office purges the evaluative materials of all applicant records, including any notes from admissions reader review forms, interview reports, faculty and staff evaluations of supplementary materials, and all other supplementary material.  Application credentials for students who do not matriculate are also purged.


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. Swarthmore College may be required to report incidents of abuse that are disclosed in applications.