SWARTHMORE, PA: This college is in a beautiful town, just outside of Philadelphia. The campus has small buildings set on rolling lawns or the edge of woods. It seems more like a summer camp or a small community than a college.
Because Swarthmore is so small (only 1100 students), the college town is nonexistent (or if it exists, I didn’t see it). But the students have Philadelphia (the fifth largest American city) nearby.
The dorms were small but nice. Every dorm is co-ed, but the rooms aren’t. There was not much choice regarding what or where to eat, but the cafeteria looked very good, and the tour guide told us the food was pretty good.
The tour was really nice. The guide took us into two or three of the dorm buildings as well as the library, the music building, the student union, and a few of the academic buildings. She told us a little about the academics, but the emphasis of the tour was on non-academics.
My general impression of Swarthmore College was that it was very small and sleepy. We took a 10 o’clock tour, but I didn’t see any students, other than the guide, until about 10: 30, and in total, I saw maybe 50 students. In the buildings, we only saw a total of three or four classes going on. Swarthmore seemed kind of lazy and apathetic on the day I was there, but I’ve heard that the students work very hard and the academics are extremely challenging.
Reviewed in 1990