The college admissions process is rough for everyone. I applied to Swarthmore through Early Decision I, so thankfully, by mid-December, I already knew which school I would end up calling home for the next four years. However, applying through Early Decision meant that I had five whole months while my other friends went through their own college application processes to question my decision. Yes, I applied to Swarthmore through Early Decision because I knew it was the best school for me: a small liberal arts school with strong programs in Education and Linguistics, which is what I want to major in. (In fact, through all my research, I found that Swat is actually one of the only liberal arts colleges with majors in both of these fields!) I applied to Swarthmore because I knew that it had the strong academics which I desired and because I had heard nothing but great things about it. Most of all, I applied to Swarthmore because I had fallen in love with it and couldn’t imagine going to school anywhere else.
All of that being said, as an indecisive person, after getting over the initial shock and excitement over getting into Swarthmore, I spent many days wondering if I had made the right decision (even though I was about 87% sure I did). What if the academics were too hard? What if high school hadn’t prepared me enough for Swarthmore-level classes? Coming from a fairly large high school, what if Swarthmore felt too small? What if I didn’t like the people at Swarthmore? What if I don’t find extracurriculars I love at Swarthmore? What if I could have been happier somewhere else?
These doubts persisted throughout the spring of my high school senior year, even though I knew I couldn’t really change my decision. When I got a letter in March inviting me to Swatstruck, Swarthmore’s admitted students event, I was really nervous to go because I knew that this event would solidify my thoughts of the school in one way or the other.
When I finally arrived at Swatstruck, there were so many things to do: attending lectures by professors, observing classes, watching performances by various groups on campus, meeting new people, learning about the different clubs on campus, and so much more. I did a bit of everything they had to offer. The first day I focused more on exploring the non-academic side of Swarthmore and found myself mildly impressed with the clubs and extracurriculars on campus, but my mind hadn’t been blown. There was still a bit of doubt lingering in my mind. The second day, though, when I focused on the academic side of Swarthmore, suddenly all of the doubts in my mind disappeared. I went to a lecture on math, a subject I’m not very fond of, and found myself fascinated by everything the professor was saying. I observed a Japanese class and a Classics class, in both of which I was impressed by the level of intensity in each class, but also the intimate feel of the small class sizes.
Finally, I visited the academic fair, where I got to talk to professors from all sorts of different departments. Meeting and getting to know these professors is what made me really fall back in love with Swarthmore. Every professor I talked to was friendly, sincere, and seemed like they really wanted to get to know you (which felt like quite a change from high school). Everyone that I talked to was clearly passionate about what they were teaching, and they seemed eager to have the opportunity to pass on this knowledge to me as well. These were professors that I knew that I would be excited to learn from, professors I knew wouldn’t bore me to death, and professors who seemed like real, authentic people. I wanted to learn from these people, and when I realized that was when I truly became confident in my decision to become a Swattie.
So, whether you have been sitting on your acceptance to Swarthmore since mid-December or you are still trying to decide between multiple schools, my advice is this: if you have the ability to, go to Swatstruck. You may think you know Swarthmore, but you won’t really know it until you experience it for yourself, so take a chance and explore the school a little bit. You won’t regret it.