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Discover Swarthmore Fly-In Program

Discover Swarthmore, held each fall, is our all-expenses-paid overnight fly-in program for high-achieving high school seniors. Admissions pays for all transportation, meals, and on-campus housing expenses for students selected to attend one of these programs. Participants experience Swarthmore firsthand as they attend classes, stay with current students in our residence halls, eat in the dining hall, and go to campus events. Prospective students hear from faculty, staff, alumni, and current students through a series of panel discussions and informal conversations. 

This year, we will host two programs to give students maximum flexibility in visiting our campus during the busy fall semester: Thursday, September 29 - Saturday, October 1, 2022 or Thursday, October 27 - Saturday, October 29, 2022.

All applicants to Discover Swarthmore will also receive:

  • $60 Application Fee Waiver should they choose to apply to Swarthmore for admission.
  • The option to use their Discover Swarthmore essay to replace their Swarthmore College Short Answer on their application for admission.
  • Should we hold a virtual program this fall,  Discover Swarthmore participants who are admitted to Swarthmore will be invited to our spring admitted students program, Swatlight. Assuming the resumption of on-campus visits at that time, the Admissions Office covers Swatlight participants' travel cost to campus, on-campus housing, meals and shuttle transportation between campus and the Philadelphia Airport and rail stations.

All interested rising high school seniors (U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and undocumented/DACA students attending school in the United States) are welcome to apply to Discover Swarthmore, though preference will be given to students from underrepresented groups, students who are the first in their family to attend college, and students from low-income backgrounds who might not otherwise be able to afford a trip to campus.


The nomination process for the fall 2022 program is now closed. Students do not have to be nominated in order to apply. Students who are not nominated are not at any disadvantage in our review process. 

Nominations for the Fall 2023 program will open in February 2023.


Student applications for the fall 2022 program are now closed. The application for the Fall 2023 program will open in April 2023.


Questions about the nomination and application process, or about the program itself, can be directed to

FAQs for Student Applicants

What should I expect from a virtual Discover Swarthmore program?​​​​

In the case that Discover Swarthmore is held virtually, students should expect similar programming to the in-person experience, but in a virtual setting. Participants will use online webinar tools such as Zoom and Discord to interact with, and learn from, current students, professors, alumni, admissions deans, and Financial Aid staff. The program will highlight Swarthmore while offering participants useful information that we hope will aid in their college search and experience.

​​​​​​Can I update my application with AP/IB/standardized test scores or senior course schedule? 

Any updates or changes to your application after submission can be emailed to We will make the necessary updates or additions to your application. No further information is required to apply to Discover Swarthmore beyond the Discover Swarthmore application and end-of-junior year transcript.

Who can apply to Discover Swarthmore

Discover Swarthmore is open to all interested rising high school seniors (U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and undocumented/DACA students living in the United States). However, preference will be given to students from underrepresented groups, students who are the first in their family to attend college, and students from low-income backgrounds.

You must attend high school in the U.S. or its territories in order to be eligible to apply. 

When will I get my Discover Swarthmore decision, and how will I learn about my decision?

We expect to release Discover Swarthmore decisions in August. Students will be notified via email about their decision. 

If I’m not selected for Discover Swarthmore, does that mean I’m not a good fit for Swarthmore

The application process for Discover Swarthmore is very competitive as we receive many more applications than we can admit to the program. However, just because a student is not invited to attend Discover Swarthmore does not mean they are not a good fit for Swarthmore. Many students who we could not invite to Discover Swarthmore apply for admissions and are accepted to the College. 

How do I submit my end-of-junior year transcript? 

After submitting a Discover Swarthmore application, you will receive a confirmation email within 24 hours that includes log-in credentials for your Discover Swarthmore applicant portal. Here, you’ll be able to submit your end-of-junior year transcript. This transcript should include all final high school grades between 9th and 11th. We will accept a PDF copy of an official, unofficial, or self-report high school transcript.

Do I need to submit SAT/ACT test scores on my Discover Swarthmore application?

SAT/ACT scores are not required in order to apply to Discover Swarthmore. In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Swarthmore is test-optional for the 2022-2023, 2023-2024, and 2024-2025 application cycles. Students who are unable to submit standardized test scores or who choose not to reveal their scores are not at any disadvantage in our review process.

Do Discover Swarthmore participants receive a Swarthmore College interview?

Discover Swarthmore participants are offered an interview, which is conducted by current Swarthmore seniors. Interviews are a great opportunity to learn about Swarthmore from someone who knows it well. No need to wear a fancy suit or dress or provide a resume. Just come as you are and enjoy the conversations...and bring lots of questions. Admissions interviews will be available during Discover Swarthmore for students who have not interviewed already. Interviews are not a required part of the application for admission.

FAQs for Nominators

Do students have to be nominated in order to apply?

No, students do not have to be nominated in order to apply. Further, students who are not nominated are not at any disadvantage in the selection process versus those who are nominated.

Can a parent or guardian attend Discover Swarthmore with a student?

On-campus programming for Discover Swarthmore is only open to students selected to attend. However, virtual programming is available for parents and families of Discover Swarthmore attendees.

I am a high school counselor or community-based organization advisor. Does Swarthmore offer a counselor fly-in program? 

Unfortunately, Swarthmore does not offer a counselor fly-in program. However, we do hold a College Access Summit at Swarthmore each summer that brings together area community-based organizations, high school counselors and area colleges and universities for a day of training, conversations, and panels about college access and equity. This program is limited to our region. We encourage you to visit our Information for Counselors page and take a look at our Access and Aid Guide