Academic Planning

Dear Class of 2021 and Transfers:

Welcome to Swarthmore College Academics! I look forward to meeting you during Orientation, which begins on Tuesday, August 29 and continues through Sunday, September 3, 2017. The information in this section is dedicated to helping you think about and plan your first semester of courses at Swarthmore. It also contains information to help you think about how your first semester fits with and will support your full academic experience. At first glance it might seem overwhelming to balance your interests, goals, and college requirements with the range and number of options available. Our goal in this section is to scaffold you through all of your choices to an intellectually satisfying first semester.

As you embark on your first academic decisions at Swarthmore, we need you to begin by completing one more set of forms, submit scores, and, in some cases, take one or more placement exams. You can do this by logging back in to:

New Student Forms

Once you log in, you will see these new forms. Ideally, we'd like you to have these completed by August 1, but definitely by August 15. Below is a brief description of each:

Language Placement Exams: This section provides links to the online, adaptive placement exams for Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish. If after reading the guidelines there, you determine that you need to take one of these exams, please complete the exam before August 15. Students seeking advanced placement in Arabic should indicate their interest in meeting with the Arabic section during orientation.

Math/Stat Placement Exams: This form will initially guide you through the process of determining which or which parts of our math/stat placement exams you will need to take. If it is determined that you need to take a math/stat placement exam, we need you to complete and return the exam before August 15. If that is not possible, you should still complete the relevant parts of the exam before arriving to campus and bring the exam with you. Please note: If you either did not take a Calculus AP or Higher Level IB exam OR you did but did not score highly enough, you should consider taking the appropriate placement exam as mandatory.

Chemistry Preparedness: All first year students who plan to take a Chemistry course during their time at Swarthmore should participate in our online placement process. You will not be allowed to register for a Chemistry course unless you complete this process. The purpose of this online placement process is so that we can help students register in the most appropriate course.

Computer Science Placement: The CS placement exam is only necessary for students who think that they may place out of our introductory course (CPSC 21) and start with either one of our two intermediate-level courses (CPSC 31 or 35) instead. Students who want to start with CPSC 21 do not need to take the CS placement exam. After taking the CS placement exam, the student should sign-up for an individual meeting with a CS faculty member to discuss the appropriate placement into CS. The placement exam and the individual meeting must be completed prior to registering for either CPSC 31 or 35.

Other Placement Exams: There are several on-campus placement exams, and meetings for those interested in particular disciplines. We need to know which placement exams you need to take so that we can schedule them. Please complete this form by August 15.

AP and IB Scores: All AP scores received from the College Board will be uploaded during the month of July, and IB scores will be uploaded as they are received. Near the end of July, please check this section and if you see that there are scores missing, please contact the registrar's office by email using the link provided there.

Travel Form: This form asks for and provides some basic information about your travel. Tri-College Summer Institute participants should arrive on August 22. International students should plan to arrive in time for international student orientation on August 25. The rest of you we will see on Move-in Day, August 29. (Fall athletes should plan to arrive according to the schedule set by their coaches.) One note of clarification: ONLY fill out the Travel portion IF you will be here other than August 29.  Students who will arrive on Move-in Day need not fill out the arrival form.

Placement Portfolio Review for studio art class: ARTT 002 FYS: Drawing to Find Out:  All studio art classes have a prerequisite of either ARTT 001 Foundation Drawing or ARTT 002 FYS: Drawing to Find Out. If you are interested in taking ARTT 002 FYS: Drawing to Find Out, you must demonstrate through a portfolio review that you have had enough prior experience in studio to participate in the seminar.  Space is limited to 10. If interested please come by the Art Office, Beardsley 215, on Wednesday, August 30 to sign up for a time to meet with Professor Grider on the following day, Thursday, August 31. You will be expected to arrive with a portfolio - actual work or digital file.  Logan Grider, Associate Professor of Studio Art.

Greek and Latin Placement: the Classics Department does not give placement exams, but will discuss with you your background in the language and suggest an appropriate course. See Professor Grace Ledbetter, Trotter Hall 112, Thursday, August 31 between 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m., or Friday, September 1 between 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.

Piano and Voice Lessons (free):  New students who enroll in our course MUSI 002B: Reading and Making Music: the Basics of Notation are eligible for free weekly private lessons in piano or voice. There are no prerequisites. The course will meet MWF 10:30-11:20, and the instructor is James Blasina.

When you have completed these last forms, submitted scores, and applicable exams, please review the additional information in this section on Choosing Courses (Part I), Requirements, Academic Advisers, and Choosing Courses (Part II).  Remember, too, that once you arrive on campus there will be Resident Assistants (RAs), Student Academic Mentors (SAMs), Diversity Peer Advisers (DPAs), Deans, Academic Advisers, and others available to help you.

Best wishes for a terrific start to your first semester at Swarthmore!


Tomoko Sakomura
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs

update as of July 10, 2017