Swarthmore College: Acceptance Rate and Admissions Statistics

Campus view of Swarthmore College at Night.
aimintang/Getty Images

Swarthmore College is a private liberal arts college with an acceptance rate of 9.5%. To apply, students can use the Common Application, the Coalition Application, or the Questbridge Application. Swarthmore has an Early Decision program that can improve admission chances for students who are sure the college is their top choice school.

A registered national arboretum, Swarthmore’s 399-acre campus is located just 11 miles from downtown Philadelphia. Students have the opportunity to take classes at neighboring Bryn MawrHaverford, and the University of Pennsylvania. The college can boast of an impressive 8-to-1 student/faculty ratio and a chapter of the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society. Swarthmore consistently ranks near top of U.S. liberal arts colleges. In athletics, the Swarthmore Garnet compete in the NCAA Division III Centennial Conference. The college fields nine men's and eleven women's varsity sports.

Considering applying to this highly selective school? Here are the Swarthmore College admissions statistics you should know.

Acceptance Rate

During the 2017-18 admissions cycle, Swarthmore College had an acceptance rate of 9.5%. This means that for every 100 students who applied, 9 students were admitted, making Swarthmore's admissions process highly competitive.

Admissions Statistics (2017-18)
Number of Applicants 10,749
Percent Admitted 9.5%
Percent Admitted Who Enrolled (Yield) 41%

SAT Scores and Requirements

Swarthmore requires that all applicants submit either SAT or ACT scores. During the 2017-18 admissions cycle, 62% of admitted students submitted SAT scores.

SAT Range (Admitted Students)
Section 25th Percentile 75th Percentile
ERW 680 760
Math 700 790
ERW=Evidence-Based Reading and Writing

This admissions data tells us that most of Swarthmore's admitted students fall within the top 20% nationally on the SAT. For the evidence-based reading and writing section, 50% of students admitted to Swarthmore scored between 680 and 760, while 25% scored below 680 and 25% scored above 760. On the math section, 50% of admitted students scored between 700 and 790, while 25% scored below 700 and 25% scored above 790. Applicants with a composite SAT score of 1550 or higher will have particularly competitive chances at Swarthmore.

Requirements

Swarthmore does not require the SAT writing section. Note that Swarthmore participates in the scorechoice program, which means that the admissions office will consider your highest score from each individual section across all SAT test dates. SAT Subject tests are not required, but Swarthmore will consider your scores if you submit them. Applicants interested in engineering are encouraged to submit SAT Math 2 Subject test scores.

ACT Scores and Requirements

Swarthmore requires that all applicants submit either SAT or ACT scores. During the 2017-18 admissions cycle, 43% of admitted students submitted ACT scores.

ACT Range (Admitted Students)
Section 25th Percentile 75th Percentile
English 33 35
Math 29 34
Composite 31 34

This admissions data tells us that most of Swarthmore's admitted students fall within the top 5% nationally on the ACT. The middle 50% of students admitted to Swarthmore received a composite ACT score between 31 and 34, while 25% scored above 34 and 25% scored below 31.

Requirements

Swarthmore College does not require the ACT writing section. Unlike many schools, Swarthmore superscores ACT results; your highest subscores from multiple ACT sittings will be considered.

GPA

Swarthmore College does not provide data about admitted students' high school GPAs.

Self-Reported GPA/SAT/ACT Graph

Swarthmore College Applicants' Self-Reported GPA/SAT/ACT Graph.
Swarthmore College Applicants' Self-Reported GPA/SAT/ACT Graph. Data courtesy of Cappex.

The admissions data in the graph is self-reported by applicants to Swarthmore College. GPAs are unweighted. Find out how you compare to accepted students, see the real-time graph, and calculate your chances of getting in with a free Cappex account.

Admissions Chances

With an acceptance rate of just over 9%, Swarthmore College is one of the country's most selective colleges. However, Swarthmore has a holistic admissions process involving other factors beyond your grades and test scores. A strong application essay and glowing letters of recommendation can strengthen your application, as can participation in meaningful extracurricular activities and a rigorous course schedule. All applicants will also need to write a supplemental short answer essay explaining their reasons for wanting to attend Swarthmore. An interview with an admissions officer is not required but is recommended, as is a campus visit and tour. Students with particularly compelling stories or achievements can still receive serious consideration even if their test scores are outside Swarthmore's average range.

If you're applying to Swarthmore College, you should consider the school a reach even if you have exceptional grades and standardized test scores. The graph above illustrates why. Many students with unweighted "A" averages and extremely high standardized test scores were still rejected by Swarthmore.