I asked myself and a few fellow Swatties, “Why did you choose this school, and what is your favorite thing now that you’re here?” Here are some of the responses I received.
Me: Swarthmore’s main point of attraction for me was what I had heard about the students here. The school is known for a culture of intellectualism, curiosity, and nerdiness. Having not visited the campus, I was lucky to find that these stereotypes actually ring pretty true, and my favorite part about this place now that I am here is the student body. Everyone loves engaging in interesting discussions and all the friends I have made are both intellectual and caring. People here are genuinely compassionate and empathetic and no one is interested in petty competition over grades. We’re all just here to learn.
Shelby: I think a deciding factor was the fact that they had a Neuroscience and Cognitive Science major at an undergraduate liberal college. I wasn’t fully sure what I wanted, but I wanted to explore, and Swarthmore had such a large diversity of options as well as opportunities. The opportunity I have to do research is also one of my favorite things about Swarthmore.
Jack: I chose it because I liked the people I met during the admitted students event, and my favorite part of the school is also the people. I like how intellectual and accepting everyone is and the strong sense of community at a small school. Also, the trees.
Min: I chose Swarthmore because I wanted a small college experience and the ability to explore before having to choose my major. The other schools I was looking at were larger and less flexible. Swarthmore also has this intellectual focus that I vibed with inside and outside of class. Now that I’m here, my favorite part is probably the familial environment. I’m coming from Maryland, so I’m not far, but everything about the campus and the people on it feels like home. I was just studying abroad at the University of Edinburgh, which is an excellent school, but it’s gigantic and never felt as comfortable or nurturing as Swarthmore does.
Daniel: I chose to come to Swarthmore because of the academic experience and the culture of the college. Swatties are incredibly intelligent and motivated students who bring a diverse array of views to campus. I had the pleasure of meeting some Swatties before college because I live close to campus, and I noticed and loved their critical thinking and general passion for justice and truth. My father went to Reed and always told me how much he loved getting a liberal arts education. Now having entered the work force as a recent graduate from Swarthmore, I really appreciate the liberal arts education that Swarthmore gave me. Also, my favorite part of Swarthmore was spending time in the music library and getting a beautiful view of the Crum during study breaks.
Katherine: I chose Swarthmore because when I step onto the campus, it’s one of the few places I have visited in my life where I felt completely comfortable but also uncomfortable. The community and the individuals that define this community have helped me become a person who is capable of compassion and grit. Yes, college is HARD, it’s so hard that there will be days when you wonder exactly what made you think that it was a good idea to come here. But the reason why it’s so hard to give up at Swarthmore is because everyone is in the same boat and willing to help one another. And on nights when I’m struggling to finish up a physics or math problem set, at least one or two people will stay up just to help me finish my work. Every week I’d get emails from staff asking how I am or if there is anything they could do to help out, before even I know I need assistance. The community is by far worth its weight in gold, and no matter what struggles a student at Swarthmore faces, you can bet on a team of both friends and faculty to help you along the way.
So whether they came for the rigor, research opportunities, or trees, the students here all agree. Once you get here, the most priceless part of the Swarthmore experience truly is the community. Many of Swarthmore’s points of attraction can be found at other schools: small, intense discussion-driven classes, a beautiful campus, even a culture of intellectualism and curiosity (although you probably won’t find another school with such a high nerd density). However, it is the compassion of students, faculty, and community members at Swarthmore, the willingness to lend a hand, that truly makes the environment here something that can’t be found anywhere else.