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Freshman Survey

in Around Campus/Around Higher Education/News by

What follows is a breakdown of data collected from 59 members of the Class of 2019. The Phoenix’s survey was posted to the Swarthmore 2019 class page during the month of August. While only 14% percent of the class responded, and this is by no means a representative sample of the greater class of 2019, it is an interesting lens into the self-reported social, economic, and academic characteristics of those that participated in the survey. The Phoenix did not adjust the data for self-selection bias.

Financially, first-years respondents reported coming from a diverse array of economic backgrounds. 31% of respondents declared their family income as less than $63,960 – the sticker price of attending Swarthmore this year – and about 66% of respondents have a family income of over $75,000.

61% of first-years report receiving financial aid. About 75% are content with the price of their tuition, while about 22% feel they need more aid. 73% of those who feel they need more financial aid have family incomes ranging between $75,001 and $250,000. Two respondents who were dissatisfied with their package have a family income under $40,000, and one had a family income between $250,001 and $400,000.

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A little over a quarter of respondents attended a non-parochial private school, and a similar ratio had to apply and be selected to attend their secondary school. About 66% of all respondents attended a public school. On average, first-years earned a 4.00 high school GPA, yet about 44% admit to having cheated on homework, and about 15% have cheated on tests.

First-years earned high scores on national standardized tests. Nearly all reported ACT scores of at least a 30 out of 36, and most scored at least a 2100 out of 2400 on the SAT. On average, respondents took the SAT or ACT just under three times.

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Slightly fewer than 14% of students paid for a private college admissions counselor. All but one of the eight students who hired a counselor attended public school. Half who paid for a counselor had an income between $125,001 – $250,000, while only two had incomes below $75,001.

About 58% of respondents applied to Swarthmore early decision. All respondents whose families earned over $400,000 applied to Swarthmore through the early decision application process.

Respondents interested in Greek Life also tended to come from wealthier backgrounds. 60% of those who expect to join a fraternity or sorority had family incomes over $250,000. However, about 70% of all respondents are not interested in joining Greek life.

With regard to participation in the Swarthmore social scene, a majority of respondents indicated that they intend to consume alcohol at school. 39% expect to almost never drink. Almost 63% of respondents have never used marijuana recreationally, and about 60% do not expect to at school.

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72% of respondents are single upon entering Swarthmore, but half hope to be in a committed romantic relationship at some point during their first year. About 64% have been in a committed relationship before. In terms of intimacy, 53% report having been sexually active before arriving at Swarthmore. 43% of females and 68% of males have had sex before.

Amongst the incoming class, most respondents did not indicate a religious affiliation. Less than 5% of first-year described themselves as “very religious,” while about 56%  claimed to be “not very religious.” Queer students in particular did not express religious interest, with 88% identifying as “not very religious” or not affiliated with any religion. Judaism and branches of Christianity are the most popular among students who do observe a religion.

Ultimately, if these responses are any indication, the class of 2019 represents diverse economic and social backgrounds, and appears to be ready to become fully-integrated members of the college community.

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