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From the Dean

Fall 2019

Jim Bock, Swarthmore Class of 1990Dear 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 441 young scholars (418 first-years and 23 transfers) 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 arboretum 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 right at the edge 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 for first-years is $56,326 toward our asking price of $70,744. We still offer loan-free need-based awards for all students receiving grant aid at Swarthmore. Often, the most selective schools provide the largest need-based aid awards. Students, particularly those from low-income backgrounds, should not remove high-priced schools from their lists before taking a closer look at financial aid policies. We hope you encourage your students to learn more about Swarthmore, and remind them 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 enters our 14th year as a QuestBridge partner for the 2019-2020 academic year. We enrolled 65 QuestBridge-affiliated students in Swarthmore’s Class of 2023. We also continue to read applications from all undocumented and DACA students on a need-blind basis for both first-year and transfer admission.  

This year Swarthmore College welcomed a first-year class composed of 46 percent domestic students of color, plus an additional 15 percent non-U.S. citizens, including undocumented/DACA students. The first-year class consists of 8 percent African American, 14 percent Hispanic/Latino/multiracial, 15 percent Asian American, 8 percent multiracial, and 3 Native American/Hawaiian students. Twenty-two percent of our first-years are first generation college students, and 20 percent receive Pell Grants.

Engineering and Dance at Swarthmore

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

What’s New at Swarthmore

We are committed to increasing access and removing barriers for underserved students. We continue to allow all applicants to self-report their test scores for admissions. Also, we are expanding our rural outreach, and you may learn more about these efforts in a podcast featuring our Senior Associate Dean and Director of Strategic Initiatives Andrew Moe. The Swarthmore Admissions Office hosted its third annual College Access Summit in June, bringing together more than 60 counselors and advisors from Mid-Atlantic high schools, colleges and universities, and community-based organizations to exchange perspectives and develop solutions to broaden access to college for underserved students. 

The 2018-2019 academic year was one of the best all-around years in the history of Swarthmore College Athletics, with the men’s basketball team reaching the National Championship game for the first time and seven teams receiving a national ranking. The seven teams in 2018-19 with their highest rankings after the season began include: No. 2 men's basketball, No. 4 baseball, No. 12 women's soccer, No. 14 men's swimming, No. 15 women's tennis, No. 19 men's tennis, and No. 22 volleyball. Please see the full story and inspiring photos on the Swarthmore Athletics website

Admissions offices often use more carbon than other college departments. For the third year, we will pull back a bit in our travel and put that money toward sustainability efforts and Swarthmore’s Carbon Charge. We still value high school visits to meet prospective students and to engage with counselors, but we hope you agree that our choice is a step in the right direction to reduce our carbon footprint.

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 relationships with you and your students. If your travels bring you to our suburban Philadelphia campus, we would be delighted to meet with you. Our regional deans look forward to working with you and your students.


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