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Offering Flexibility to Students and Our Commitment to You

We realize many schools around the world have experienced disruptions and closures as a result of the public health crisis. Our regional deans are here to help. We want you to know that we will work with prospective students and applicants to ensure that they are able to apply to Swarthmore, regardless of circumstances. 

We also understand that, as a result of school disruptions, students’ high school years may look a bit different, and that’s okay. If you are no longer able to participate in traditional extra-curricular activities, part-time jobs, going to your community of faith, or engaging in internships or similar activities, we understand. If your school transitions to pass/fail or credit/no credit grading, that’s fine. If you don’t think you’re ready to take the newly designed AP exam or are concerned that IB tests have been cancelled, no worries. Simply put, take care of yourself first and don’t worry about the college admissions process for now.

For those of you ready to start the process, please see the changes we will implement for the next recruiting cycle.

Test-Optional Policies for Incoming First-Year Students in Fall 2021 and 2022

Swarthmore College is suspending the SAT/ACT testing requirement for first-year applicants for fall 2021 and fall 2022, affecting current juniors and sophomores in high school. While we will accept and review examination results if submitted to us, it is no longer a requirement for the next two years. We will re-evaluate this policy for Fall 2023 first-year applicants.

Our collective concern during this public health crisis is that students remain home and not risk their health to take standardized tests. We are also concerned about the future of testing administrations, in the United States and around the world. Depending on where one lives, some students already have limited options to take the SAT and ACT, and the worldwide pandemic may exacerbate these issues.  Therefore, to reduce anxiety associated with the college admissions process for current juniors and sophomores, we are suspending the SAT/ACT testing requirement.

Students will be able to report previous testing as part of their application process, if they wish. Until now, students could not report the results of their PSAT or PreACT. They will now be able to do so, along with results of any SAT, ACT, AP exams, or IB exams. Sharing exam results will be completely optional, and students who either did not take a test or choose not to share results with us will not be penalized.

We would also like to note that this policy will go into place for all applicants, including U.S. citizens and international students, first-year applicants and transfers, and students attending public and private schools and homeschooled applicants.

Application Fee Waiver Eligibility

We recognize that many students and families are facing financial hardship. We’d like to remind counselors, students, and families that there are numerous ways to receive an application fee waiver, including (but not limited to) the following:

  • Eligible to receive free or reduced-priced lunch in school
  • Eligible to receive a fee waiver from the College Board or ACT
  • Receiving public assistance, such as food, housing, or child care subsidies
  • Attending a community college as a transfer student

Prospective first-year and transfer students can complete SwatPass and know within 24 hours whether they are eligible for an application fee waiver. Students as young as high school freshmen can learn about their fee waiver eligibility via SwatPass. We want to ensure that the application fee does not pose an additional obstacle in the college search process.

Virtual Visit Options

We will launch virtual visit options for students, families, counselors, and advisors at community-based organizations soon. We will also be launching virtual interviews with Senior Fellows and alumni for rising seniors who wish to interview with a Swarthmore community member. We will update our website when these visit options become available. Until then, students, families, and counselors can complete an online form to request a recorded information session and/or a suite of publications.

Commitment to Financial Aid

The pandemic has wreaked havoc on family finances around the world. Please know that we remain committed to financial aid awards that we released just a few weeks ago to our admitted class. We also understand family circumstances may have changed; admitted students are encouraged to be in contact with our Financial Aid Office should they have questions or concerns. Prospective students and their families are encouraged to complete our Net Price Calculator and learn more about our need-blind policies, commitment to meeting 100% of determined financial need, and doing so with loan-free awards on our website.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does this policy extend to English language proficiency examinations for international students?

Yes. We do encourage English language proficiency exams, such as TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo, as part of our review process. Students can choose to submit exam results to us, but it is not required.

I have already submitted my exam scores to Swarthmore. Can I choose to rescind these scores?

In the application process, we will ask you - yes or no - if you would like your examination scores to be evaluated.  If you answer no, we will redact all documents, including our own records, so the Admissions Committee members cannot see your scores. 

Are homeschooled applicants still required to submit test scores?

No. This policy affects all applicants, and homeschooled applicants will have the option to submit test scores to us or not.

What will happen for current freshmen in high school, entering Swarthmore in fall 2023?

We will assess and review the results of suspending our testing requirements and make a decision about the future of testing at Swarthmore College over the next two years. Current freshmen in high school are encouraged to pursue their interests inside and outside of the classroom and not focus on standardized testing at this time.