Ways to Help Your Student
The College strives to offer significant support and resources to students, but we know that navigating the various offices on campus and the services they offer can be overwhelming. Below are the offices and resources you and your student may find most valuable for academic success, physical and mental health, and community and residential life. We also encourage you to direct your student to the online Student Handbook.
Interim Dean of Students Jim Terhune is the chief student affairs officer, and he and his colleagues provide programs and advising that support students in their academic success, personal development, social life, and the creation of a rich campus experience. An open-door policy exists throughout the Dean’s Office, and each staff member is available to students for advice and consultation, interpretation of College policy, and appropriate referrals.
Deans are assigned to work with students throughout their four years at Swarthmore. Class deans are available for academic and personal advising and support and serve as a student’s first point of contact for information, advice, and referrals.
First-years: Dean Karen Henry '87
Sophomores: Dean Thomas Alexander
Juniors: Dean Dion Lewis
Seniors: Dean Michelle Ray
We welcome information from parents that might be helpful in supporting your child. However, please note that, in accordance with the law and our Parental Notification Policy, there are types of information that we are only able to share after consent is received from your student.
The Office of Academic Affairs coordinates advising for students and directs students to learning resources and other services on campus. The associate dean for academic affairs oversees programs focused on graduate and fellowship advising, disability services support, and health careers and pre-law advising. The Office of Academic Affairs also coordinates the Sophomore Plan process, in which students apply for majors, minors, and make plans for their junior and senior years.
The registrar is responsible for all academic records. He is available to answer students’ questions about graduation requirements, majors, enrollment in classes, and credit transfers from other schools. The registrar works with faculty in establishing the class and exam schedules and advises faculty committees regarding academic policies.
Within limits, students may cross-register for courses offered at Bryn Mawr College, Haverford College, or the University of Pennsylvania without paying extra tuition. There is a shuttle bus service between Swarthmore, Bryn Mawr, and Haverford colleges; students attending classes at Penn take the train (limited travel funding is available from the Dean’s Office) or provide their own transportation.
Writing Associates (WAs) and Speaking Associates (SPAs) operate not as tutors but as collaborating readers, writers, speakers, and listeners. They work closely with students across the disciplines through the Course WA Program and the Writing Center, helping their peers discover more effective ways of communicating. The WA Program also offers one-on-one mentoring through the Writing Associates Mentor (WAM) program, workshops, write-ins, and other events throughout the year.
Physical and Mental Health
The Student Health and Wellness Service provides educational resources to the student body about alcohol and other drugs. Any students who need counseling or support in order to confront challenges presented by alcohol and other drugs may contact Student Health and Wellness for assistance.
CAPS offers counseling, psychotherapy, psychiatric consultation, and psychoeducational programming. An after-hours (24/7/365), on-call emergency service is available to all students via Proto-call (610-328-7768). CAPS is staffed by professional and preprofessional psychology, social work, and psychiatry clinicians. Student contacts with CAPS are confidential under Commonwealth of Pennsylvania statutes.
Student Health and Wellness Service (SHWS) is available 24 hours a day, to consult with students either in person or over the phone, seven days a week when the College is in session. Services include telephone triage and support for urgent care after hours, general medical care, reproductive health, sexually transmitted infection screening, travel medicine, allergy shots, and referrals to specialists in our area. Care is provided by our certified team of nurse practitioners, registered nurses, and physicians from the Crozer-Keystone Health Care System. When the center is closed, over breaks and summer months, medical resources can be found on the Health Center website.
Health Center policy states information will not be shared with those not participating in the care of a student, including professors and parents, without the explicit permission of the student. Health services staff encourage students to contact parents when they are hospitalized or their medical condition becomes prolonged or requires special testing. In the case of a life-threatening emergency, information will be shared with parents or those listed as emergency contacts on the student’s medical file.
All students must be covered by a health insurance plan that meets the minimum requirements established by the College. The College offers a health insurance plan students may purchase if they have no health insurance. If your health insurance status changes, notify student health services immediately. Enrollment to the College health plan must be done within 31 days of the loss of other coverage.
Swarthmore College welcomes students with disabilities to participate fully in all aspects of College life. This office’s mission is to ensure that students with physical, medical, learning, or psychological disabilities are provided with equal access to all College programs, activities, and services. Our policy is consistent with relevant governmental statutes and regulations, including those pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act, Title IX of the Federal Education Amendments of 1972, and Section 504 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The coordinator advises students about the College’s policy, procedures, and resources and oversees College compliance with agreed-upon, reasonable accommodations. The coordinator also assists in the daily provision of supports and accommodations for the academic needs of individual students.
Community and Residential Life
Swarthmore College is a residential campus committed to sustainability; therefore parking for student cars is extremely limited. A limited number of student parking permits are available for seniors and other students who demonstrate an extenuating need. Contact the Dean's Office for more information.
The Associate Dean for Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Development engages all students in helping to cultivate a diverse and inclusive environment. The Associate Dean collaborates with colleagues in the Provost’s Office, Human Resources, and the Dean’s Office, including the Black Cultural Center, Intercultural Center, Interfaith Center, LGBTQ+, and Women’s Resource Center to help foster dialogue, collaboration, and education among students, faculty, and staff.
The Associate Dean also works across campus to facilitate conversations on the definition, recognition, and/or introduction of diversity initiatives, policies, or programs that address the academic, student, and administrative communities.
The International Student Center provides information on matters of particular concern to international students including navigating the U.S. government immigration policies, employment, taxation, insurance, English usage, and American customs.
The office of student engagement supports residential life, student activities, Greek life, and student organization leadership.
New students are assigned rooms based on roommate questionnaire responses and, as such, building and room preferences cannot always be honored. First-year and second-year students are usually placed in doubles, triples, or quads. All residence hall rooms are non-smoking.
Residence hall rooms are equipped with a closet, desk, chair, drawers, bed frame, and mattress. Some, but not all, rooms also contain a bookshelf. Mattresses require extra-long twin-size sheets. Halogen lamps, hot plates, cooking equipment, irons, toasters, heaters, or appliances with open heating elements are not permitted for fire-safety reasons and will be removed from residence hall rooms. Waste baskets must be made of metal. The refrigerator size limit for the rooms is 24 inches high, 18 inches deep and 18 inches wide. Energy-star-rated refrigerators are required. No pets are allowed. Residence halls are equipped with washers, dryers, and vacuum cleaners. Efficiency kitchens are also available in residence halls, where snacks and light meals may be prepared with a College-provided microwave.
Resident assistants (RAs) are juniors and seniors who serve as peer mentors and advisers. They are available to provide general information and advice and to make appropriate referrals as needed. Resident assistants are responsible for security, fire protection, and general safety within residence halls, and they function as liaisons between students, environmental services, facilities, and the Dean’s Office. In addition, the RAs help organize social life on the halls and in the residential buildings.
The director of student conduct provides leadership and coordination of all aspects of student conduct. He or she serves as the primary hearing officer for all allegations of minor misconduct and coordinator of and adviser to the College Judiciary Committee and external adjudicator, providing oversight for the review of college student conduct policies and procedures.
Swarthmore College is committed to establishing and maintaining a community dedicated to equality and free from all forms of discrimination and harassment. The College seeks to create an environment in which the greatest academic potential of students and professional potential of employees may be realized. In order to create and maintain such an environment, the College recognizes that all who work and learn at the College are responsible for ensuring that the community is free from discrimination based on sex or gender, including sexual harassment, sexual assault, other forms of sexual misconduct, stalking, and intimate-partner violence. These behaviors threaten our learning, living, and work environments and will not be tolerated.
The College Sexual Assault and Harassment Policy prohibits all forms of sexual misconduct committed against Swarthmore community members of any gender, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation. This policy prohibits a broad continuum of behaviors, including sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, physical assault, bullying, intimidation and retaliation, and stalking.