In what many are calling a revolutionary move, and others sheer lunacy, Swarthmore College has decided to turn down every one of its applicants this year, instead re-admitting the Class of 2019 for a second straight year.
“We’ve been under a lot of pressure lately to become the most elite of the elite and this seemed the perfect way to achieve that goal,” said Dean of Admissions Jim Bock, himself a Swarthmore graduate from the Class of 1990. “In my day you would never have seen this. I was surprised to be admitted the first time, let alone twice. We just weren’t competing on the same level back then. These kids are really smart.”
One sharp critic of this year’s surprise announcement is Professor of All That is Happy and Paradoxical Barry Schwartz. Schwartz has been advocating a lottery approach to college admissions for many years, rather then the painstaking review of credentials that goes on now. “This is just a clever way to move up in the US News rankings by becoming more selective,” Schwartz said. “I do like the Class of 2019, though, so I’m glad that Swarthmore will welcome them back as first-year/sophomores next year.”
“We really appreciate that this will lower the faculty/student ratio from 8:1. Ultimately, we’d like to aim for a 1:1 ratio where students can feel, essentially “home-schooled” on our campus, with more individual attention than they were accustomed to even in elementary school,” said Provost Tom Stephenson. “Besides, a lot of our alumni think we’ve gotten too big, so why not listen to them for a change—maybe they’ll donate more if we do.”
“I just think this is what the millennials need,” said Dean of Students Liz Braun. “We’ve been working really hard to make sure our campus is one where students know they’re wanted, and feel good about every single aspect of their experience every single day, so why not let this class feel special twice?”
Perhaps no one is more excited about the plan than Vice President for Finance and Administration Greg Brown, who has been struggling with a variety of space problems including overcrowded dining halls, residence halls, and even having enough work out room at the popular Matchbox. “Having 420 fewer students on campus next year will help us solve multiple problems. Among other things, we can start converting classrooms into coffee bars almost immediately. The demand for coffee programming is at an all time high.”
When asked what she thought of the plan, President Valerie Smith, who we caught up with in Topeka, Kan., at an Alumni/Newly Admitted (Again) event, said, “I need to keep a closer eye on my senior staff, sometimes they really make peculiar decisions.”