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Frequently Asked Questions and Answers for Families

A parent and student walk together near Worth lawn.
Q: When can I visit my student?

A: Swarthmore College campus is open to visitors and you're welcome to visit your student any time you like. We encourage families to join us during Garnet Weekend, our annual family weekend held each fall. Find more information about visiting Swarthmore. 

Q: Is there a resource like this I can share with my student?​​​​

A: The Student Handbook is available online and is an excellent resource for students. If there is anything else your student is unsure about, encourage them to set up a meeting with one of the deans or call the Student Affairs Division at 610-328-8367 for more information. 

Q: My student was unable to register for a course. Is this a widespread problem? Will it impact my student’s ability to complete a major and/or meet their graduation requirements?

A: Your student should speak to their academic adviser or a dean about their general academic goals. Deans and academic advisers are excellent resources for alternate courses and academic planning advice. Most importantly, it is highly unlikely that a student will be unable to complete a major or graduate as a result of being “lotteried out” of a particular course.

Q: Can I find out my student’s grades?

A: Federal law prohibits the College from disclosing information to you about your student’s grades, courses, disciplinary actions, and other matters. We encourage families to talk together about how students will share information about their grades and other issues. Read the College’s full statement on student records and parental notification.

Q: What should I do if I have concerns about my student?

A: While staff members may not be able to discuss your concerns in-depth due to FERPA considerations, you may contact or 610-328-8367. We can inform you and your student about resources available to support them. In the event of an emergency, please call the Public Safety emergency number at 610-328-8333.

Q: What can my student do to prepare for a career after Swarthmore? How do they find an internship?

A: Career Services provides students with counsel as they explore potential career paths. Services include career counseling and career assessments, internship and employment opportunities, micro-internships, networking with alumni, assistance with graduate school applications, and connecting students with recruiters. Career Services helps students develop strong application materials, interview skills, and the ability to network effectively in their career search as well as programs to help students navigate their post-college transition.

Q: My student reports a high fever or illness. What can I do to make sure they will be cared for? 

A:  If your student is on-campus and knows they have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19,  develops any COVID-19 related symptoms, or have tested positive or are awaiting test results for COVID-19 from an outside facility, they are required to notify the Student Health Center. View additional health information related to COVID-19.

For all other health concerns, advise your student to contact Student Health and Wellness in Worth Health Center to make an appointment. They should also contact their professors if they will miss class. The Student Health and Wellness Service does not provide individual “notes” for students to give to professors for missing class, though medical staff may encourage a student to avoid class if necessary. If your student is seriously ill, we encourage them to reach out to the Student Affairs Division for additional support. In the event of an emergency or after-hours concern, please call the Public Safety emergency number at 610-328-8333.

Q: My student is interested in studying abroad. How can they learn more about available programs and how does the College support students studying abroad?

A: The College emphasizes the importance of study abroad and encourages all students to explore possibilities for doing so as integral parts of their degree programs. Approximately 40 percent of Swarthmore students study abroad for credit during their undergraduate years.

The Global Engagement Office will help all interested students at every stage of the process: planning, study abroad, and return. To receive Swarthmore credit for study abroad, students must participate in the College’s Semester/Year Abroad Program and courses taken abroad must meet Swarthmore's academic standards. With proper planning, this condition is usually readily met. Students continue to pay Swarthmore’s comprehensive fee for tuition, room, and board. The College then pays for the tuition fees, room, and board costs, health/travel insurance, and provides a round-trip travel allowance (according to semester/year abroad guidelines). Typically, financial aid is automatically applied toward meeting study abroad fees.

Q: I’m worried that my student is lonely. How can I help them?

A: Most students encounter initial struggles with making friends and forming connections. Encourage your student to try and find a few clubs and activities outside of the classroom that can help them get to know other students, or try talking with other students in their residence hall and classes. Remind them that this is a normal part of the adjustment to college and that even the students who look as if they already have a tight friendship group often feel exactly the same way. Encourage them to speak with older students who have already gone through such experiences. The best place for them to start is with their Resident Assistants. You may also suggest that your student contact CAPS (Counseling and Psychological Services) for additional resources and support.

Q: My student reports being depressed. What can I do to help them?

A: Advise your student to reach out to CAPS (Counseling and Psychological Services)Please note that services will vary depending on the state in which your student currently resides. CAPS On-Call is available for consultation 24 hours a day, every day of the year, at 610-328-7768. The College has also partnered with Talkspace to offer students video therapy sessions and asynchronous text, audio, and video messages with a dedicated licensed therapist. 

Q: Are part-time jobs available for students?

A: Yes! The Student Employment Office (SEO) supports more than 1,200 students who work part-time for the College each year. At new student orientation in August, the student directors lead a session for the incoming class about finding a job and navigating the campus employment culture. A list of all campus job opportunities and salaries can be found on the SEO website.

The Student Payroll Office (SPO) collects all required employment paperwork (W-4, I-9, etc.) and provides information and training on how to be paid for on-campus employment. All students are paid via direct deposit into the bank account of their choice. 

Q: What should I do if my student experiences academic difficulty?

A: Advise your student to attend their professors’ office hours, talk with their academic adviser or dean, or take advantage of tutoring and support programs like Writing Associates and Student Academic Mentors. The Office of Academic Success can offer students tools and resources for success.

Q: My student has concerns related to their dorm room or roommate. What should I do?

A: Encourage your student to share their concerns with their Resident Assistant (RA) or talk with their Residential Community Coordinator, the professional staff in the Office of Student Engagement who work directly with the RAs and oversee the residence halls. Visit the Living @ Swarthmore page to learn more.

Q: Is my student allowed to bring a car to campus?

A: A limited number of student parking permits are available for seniors and other students who demonstrate an extenuating need. Students must receive a parking permit from the Student Affairs Division and Public Safety before bringing a car to campus. Generally, first-, second-, and third-year students are not eligible for on-campus parking. Parking permit applications are available from the Dean's Office and Public Safety in July for the upcoming fall term. Learn more about student parking on campus. 

Students without a parking permit may not park a car on campus in any lot at any time. Campus parking restrictions are strictly enforced. Please note that overnight street parking is not permitted in the Swarthmore borough business district, and residential streets have restrictions against overnight and extended hours parking.