Information for Counselors

Fall 2017

Dear 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 406 young scholars (393 first-years and 13 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 residential liberal arts colleges in the country that has a train station directly at the base 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 $52,137 towards our total costs of $65,774. We are still offering loan-free need-based awards for all students receiving grant aid at Swarthmore. Often, the most selective schools have the most competitive need-based aid awards. Students, particularly ones from low-income backgrounds, should not take high-priced schools off of their lists. We hope you encourage your students to take a closer look at 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 will enter our twelfth year as a QuestBridge partner for the academic year 2017-2018. We enrolled 52 QuestBridge affiliated students to Swarthmore’s Class of 2021.

This year Swarthmore College welcomed a first-year class composed of 41% domestic students of color, plus an additional 14% non-U.S. citizens, including undocumented/DACA students and 25% of the Class represents 43 different countries. The first-year class consists of 7% African American, 11% Hispanic/Latino/multiracial, 16% Asian American, 1 Native American, and 7% multiracial students. Another 19% of our first-years are first generation college students, and 21% are receiving Pell Grants.

Engineering and Dance at Swarthmore

In addition to over 40 majors and programs, Swarthmore offers a fully accredited four-year B.S. in engineering and a B.A. in dance.

What’s New at Swarthmore

Swarthmore completed its second year of Committee Based Evaluation or CBE, where teams of two admissions deans review each application before moving on for further consideration in the committee process, ensuring our commitment to a holistic review of each and every applicant. The process was featured in the Idea Lab of The Chronicle of Higher Education, in a story titled, “Working Smarter, Not Harder, in Admissions,” 3-12-17, by Eric Hoover. Swarthmore was the first liberal arts college to implement CBE, and we believe this process better serves our office and our prospective students in an ever more competitive admissions landscape. Please let us know if you have any questions.

The Swarthmore Admissions Office hosted its first College Access Summit in June, bringing together more than 50 counselors and advisors from Mid-Atlantic high schools, colleges and universities, and community-based organizations to exchange perspectives and develop solutions to increase access to College for underserved students.

The International Sustainable Campus Network (ISCN) recently named Swarthmore a winner of its 2017 Sustainable Campus Excellence Award, in recognition of the College’s leadership among other college and universities on the issue of carbon pricing. The College’s carbon charge effort took first place in the Innovative Collaboration category, which highlights excellent sustainability-focused projects that align with the institution’s core education and research mission. Admissions offices are one of the biggest users of carbon at colleges; we have pulled back a bit in our travel and put that money towards sustainability.  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 relationship with you and your students. We would be delighted to host you at Swarthmore if you can visit campus. All of us are eager to work with you during the coming year. Our regional deans look forward to working with you and your students, and I hope you will feel welcome to call on us!


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