Swarthmore College


Swarthmore College is a highly selective private liberal arts college located in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, just 11 miles southwest of Philadelphia. (Nearby towns include Springfield and Media.) Founded in 1864 by prominent Quakers, Swarthmore was one of the earliest coeducational colleges in the United States.  A small undergraduate population of just over 1,500 students calls the 425-acre suburban campus home, designated as an arboretum with rolling lawns, wooded hills, a creek, and hiking trails. In addition to its liberal arts courses, Swarthmore also offers an engineering curriculum that grants a B.S. degree after four years—rare for a liberal arts college. Swarthmore College students can take courses at nearby Bryn Mawr and Haverford College through the Tri-College Consortium— there is a shuttle service between the three campuses. Students also can take undergraduate courses at UPenn. The SEPTA Media/Elwyn train provides direct service between the Swarthmore and University of Pennsylvania campuses. The downtown area, known formerly as The Borough of Swarthmore and nicknamed "The Ville" offers a variety of independently owned shops, restaurants, and services.


Stay: Inn at Swarthmore |  Breakfast: Occasionally Yours

Lunch: 320 Market Cafe  | Dinner: Tavola

Visitor Information: Swarthmore offers campus tours and information sessions most times of year. Register online for a campus visit.

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Transportation: Swarthmore is just a 30-minute drive from Philadelphia. New York and Washington, D.C. are 2-3 hours away. The nearest major airport is Philadelphia International Airport (PHL / KPHL). The easiest way to get to campus is to take the SEPTA Airport Express train from the airport to Center City Philadelphia, then transfer to the SEPTA Media/Elwyn rail line to the Swarthmore station or via one of the many taxis at the airport.  The fare will run approximately $30.00, and the trip takes about 20 minutes. Traveling by bus? The Greyhound  (Greyhound/Trailways Bus Line) Bus Station is at Filbert and 10th Streets in Philadelphia, next to the Market East/Gallery train station where you can connect to the SEPTA. The College is readily accessible from Philadelphia by train. Amtrak trains from New York and Washington arrive hourly at Philadelphia's 30th Street Station. From 30th Street Station, the SEPTA Media/Elwyn rail line takes 25 minutes to reach the Swarthmore station.

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School Traditions: Swarthmore has many unique traditions. Highlights include the Crum Regatta, a race of homemade boats down Crum Creek; and Worthstock, an event with live music, dancing, and food. During orientation, freshmen kick off their college career with First Collection, a special ceremony involving welcoming speeches, candle-lighting ceremonies, and handshaking rituals. 

Stay: Located right at the foot of campus, The Inn at Swarthmore is the most convenient and best place to stay near campus. Check for special rates, available for guests of Swarthmore based on availability. The Inn's well-known restaurant, The Broad Table Tavern, and the Swarthmore Campus & Community Store are both conveniently located in the Inn. Other popular hotels families recommend include The Courtyard by Marriott Philadelphia Springfield, Microtel Inn and Suites by Wyndham, and the Fairfield Inn and Suites Broomall/Newtown Square. Many families like to stay in Philadelphia with all the hotels and restaurants a major city has to offer. To see more of our favorite hotels and restaurants in the Philly area, visit our itineraries for UPenn and Drexel University.

On-Campus Dining: To get a glimpse of student’s daily lives dine at Swarthmore’s full-service dining hall, Sharples, open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Guests are always welcome; with well-priced rates depending on which meal you attend. Another option for a quick bite is Essie Mae’s Snack Bar, early in the day breakfast selections make way for sandwiches, salads, soups, and grill items later in the afternoon.

Coffee: On campus, Kohlberg Coffee Bar is open Monday-Friday serving locally sourced coffee, chai and organic teas, juices, and smoothies. Rushing to class many students frequent the Science Center Coffee Bar, grabbing some baked goods to go with their morning coffee fix. In Swarthmore village, everyone’s favorite gathering spot is Hobbs Coffee; it opens weekdays at 7 am, and 8 am on the weekends.

Breakfast: Right in town, and equally popular at lunchtime, Occasionally Yours is a good choice to start your day. Other students steered us towards Vicky’s Place, also in town or the Springfield Diner, less than a 10-minute drive from campus.  

Lunch: Dine in or take out at Swarthmore’s 320 Market Café, a casual dine-in marketplace with made to order sandwiches, burgers, tacos and more; known for their wildly popular pico de gallo, students have been known to put it on everything! The Swarthmore Food Co-op, referred to as the Co-op, is the third oldest food cooperative in the country. Open to all, the market is committed to supplying the community with affordable, locally sourced, sustainable food. For Chinese and Japanese fare in a no-frills setting head to Bamboo Bistro.



Casual:  Right in Swarthmore celebrate the foods of Afghanistan, Greece, and the Middle East at Aria Mediterranean Cuisine. Fill up on samosas, hummus, and other dips, have a gyro or falafel wrap, or pick from one of the larger plates of kebabs, curries or moussaka—truly an eclectic menu! In nearby Springfield, families enjoy brick oven pizzas, shrimp scampi or chicken parm at Tavola Restaurant and Bar.


A Step Up:  Mentioned above, farm to table New American, Broad Table Tavern, in the Inn at Swarthmore, is a favorite spot students reserve when they’re parents are visiting, especially easy if you are staying at the Inn. For elevated Asian fusion that has garnered chef Kazuyuki Mitsui many accolades, book a table at Azie in Media, approximately a ten-minute drive from Swarthmore. Every Monday night is Opera night at Fellini Café in Media where live singers perform opera classics, but other nights are still good to savor Italian classics at this cozy trattoria.

Local Attractions: Dawn to dusk every day with free admission; visit the Scott Arboretum right on campus. Walk the trails of Crum Woods, encompassing 220 acres of mostly forested land straddling Crum Creek, adjacent to the college. Swarthmore’s List Gallery, open Tuesday-Sunday presents four different exhibitions each year. In April and May catch the senior thesis show from Swarthmore’s art majors. Philadelphia and all its attractions are just a quick drive away. If you haven't visited the Liberty Bell since an elementary school trip, it's time for a repeat visit. And stop by the nearby National Constitution Center; an engaging, interactive and surprisingly stirring museum devoted to the U.S. Constitution.  If you a fan of Renoir, Cezanne, and Matisse you must visit the Barnes Foundation, home to one of the best collections of French Impressionists in the world. Philadelphia Art Museum is another worthy art stop. Eat your way through Reading Terminal Market, the country's oldest farmer's market with more than 80 merchants.


Hear directly from students about the excellence of a Swarthmore education

— Quotes From Campus —

Anyone applying to Swarthmore should be aware of the unique honors program the school offers which is modeled after Oxford University’s tutorial program. I was able to design my own course of study and work closely with my professors.
— Sally
Swarthmore might be small, but as part of the Quaker Consortium, a reciprocal agreement between the University of Pennsylvania, Bryn Mawr College, Haverford College, I was able to choose from more than 600 classes. The campus is beautiful and it’s so easy to travel to Philly with the train station right on campus!
— Tony





Phineas the Phoenix

School Colors

Garnet, Gray and White

Acceptance Rate


Common Application


Supplement Essays


Early Action/Decision

Early Decision


Average - 1460


Average - 33




Small - 1500 Undergraduates





Admissions Office

500 College Avenue
Swarthmore, PA 19081-1397

(p) (610) 328-8300

Sports Divisions

NCAA Division III

Greek Life


Noteworthy Alumni

James A. Michener
Michael Dukakis

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