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Rural & Small-Town Students

A group of Swarthmore students carry their boat in preparation to enter in the Crum Regatta, one of Swarthmore's many campus traditions.

Swarthmore College recognizes that academic talent has no geographic boundaries. Students from small towns and rural areas contribute a vital element to our campus community. Our Small Towns at Swarthmore initiative seeks to recruit intellectually curious and socially engaged students coming from rural areas and small towns.

Our admissions staff travels widely to meet as many students as possible. While our staff cannot visit every community in person, we want our prospective students to have the resources they need. Counselors can visit our Information for Counselors page to learn more about how to virtually connect with Swarthmore, and prospective students and their families are encouraged to connect with us virtually and reach out to current students with questions. We also reach out directly to students in rural communities with email and print communications to help them learn more about Swarthmore. (Not on our list? Sign up to start receiving information from us.)

We feature interviews on our blog with current students who come from rural areas; check out Q&As with Daxon Shackelford ’22 and Thomas Callahan ’22. Our Ask a Swattie page connects prospective students with current students, including ones who can share what it’s like for a student from a rural location to live and learn at Swarthmore.

Have questions for admissions staff? Locate and email your regional dean.

Information for Counselors

We're dedicated to raising awareness about the college access needs of students from rural areas and small towns. The Wall Street Journal profiled our efforts to connect with these applicants. Inside Higher Ed 's article discussed how Swarthmore values the ways students from small towns contribute to ideological diversity on campus. A former Director of Admissions, spoke with Davin Sweeney, host of The Crush podcast. VOA News spoke with Swarthmore about the complexity of recruiting students who live outside major metropolitan and suburban areas. 

Our Swarthmore Aid & Access Guide [PDF] provides a broad overview of the many ways Swarthmore commits to college access, student support, and financial aid—and serves as a helpful resource for counselors, advisors, and community-based organizations based in small towns and rural areas. For more resources and information, please visit our Resources for Counselors page.

Are you a counselor who’s interested in a virtual visit from one of our deans?  Let us know, or visit our Information for Counselors page for more ways to connect with us.