Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
Swarthmore approved 765 applications from a pool of 3,724 for a record-high acceptance rate of twenty percent in an attempt to get a jump on the competition in claiming the best students for the Class of 2012. According to Dean of Admissions Jim Bock ’90, “this is the most prematurely admitted class in history.”
When asked why Admissions made the decision to institute this policy, Bock explained “we have always known that Early Decision admission policies allow us to be more discerning and proactive in the formation of a first-rate class. All we’ve done here is admit the students eight months earlier. Bock added excitedly, “instead of only one mountain unicyclist, we now have three in the our next incoming class!”
Bock has also sent out scouts to correspond with high school seniors admitted to such schools as Harvard University and the California Institute of Technology in hopes of garnering dissatisfied students looking to transfer before they even take their first college course. “Although I oughtn’t say much at this point, I do have one very promising student who expects to find the Georgetown School of Foreign Service highly disappointing in the coming year. She hasn’t signed the papers yet, but…we do have a year.”
Responding to this idea, Registrar Martin Warner has already put in place a process to move up the process for declaring majors. While sophomore spring has long been the traditional time for this step, Warner sees advantages in forcing earlier declaration. “Jim [Bock] has had an astonishingly good idea here, and I think we ought to adapt it wherever we can. To allow departments to know how many majors they will have in any given year is extraordinary. If potential students are forced to declare a major before even applying, we can probably let the entire faculty working in Interpretation Theory go on leave for a four-year period without having to worry.”
College President Al Bloom was unavailable for comment, as he was busy writing his commencement address for the Class of 2013.