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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. We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic to determine whether or not our Discover Swarthmore program will be held in-person or virtually for the fall of 2021.

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 supplemental essay on their application for admission.
  • Participants in Discover Swarthmore 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. 


Counselor nominations for the Fall 2021 programs are now being accepted.

Any student nominated for Discover Swarthmore will receive:

  • $60 Application Fee Waiver should they choose to apply for admission to Swarthmore.
  • Access to pre-recorded Admissions Officer-led workshops in order to support students in their college search and application process.

Keep in mind, students do not have to be nominated in order to apply to Discover Swarthmore.


Student applications for the Fall 2021 programs are now being accepted. To be considered for this fall's programs, rising high school seniors must submit a Discover Swarthmore application by July 7, 2021, as well as their high school transcript by July 14, 2021. 


We have compiled some frequently asked questions below that we receive from nominators and from applicants. Questions about the nomination and application process, or about the program itself, not addressed by the FAQ can be directed to

FAQs for Student Applicants

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 through the 2021-2022 admissions cycle. 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

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. The summer 2020 College Access Summit was cancelled due to COVID-19. We encourage you to visit our Information for Counselors page and take a look at our Access and Aid Guide