Class of 2017: At a Glance

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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.

First Collection for the the Class of 2017Photo by Abigail Holtzman '16
Photo by Abigail Holtzman '16

Last week, Swarthmore welcomed 389 2017-ers into the college’s 145th class. These students were selected from a pool of 6,615 applicants, at an admission rate of 14 percent. Additionally, 11 transfer students joined our community.

The minority breakdown of the incoming class is as follows:

Five percent identify as African-Americans, 14 percent as Hispanic/Latina/o, 18 percent as Asian American and eight percent as multiracial.

This year, international students make up eight percent of the total class. Some of the countries represented in this group include Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bhutan, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Great Britain, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Mexico, Nigeria, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, Romania, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe.

As for domestic students, 40 states made it to the list this year, with California the most represented.

Source: Office of Admissions


  1. 5% black is a shocker. Especially compared to 14% Latino… I’d expect those to be reasonably similar. I wonder how much lower that number would be if we didn’t have affirmative action…

    • Latin@ is a much broader category in the US than black, taking into account different histories of im/migration from Latin American countries. For example, White Cubans are Latin@ but also benefit from white privilege, as well as frequently class privilege.

      And if we didn’t have affirmative action, then the massive inequalities in access of resources and accumulation of wealth in a system that privileges whiteness (there’s a great book at McCabe about it called When Affirmative Action Was White, talking about supposedly race-neutral U.S. governmental policies that privilege white folks, if you’re interested).

  2. Wow, no Native American,Alaskan Native, or Native Hawaiian? Has Swarthmore ever made it a point to look for First Nations people?

  3. Oh, my mistake. Class of 2010 has 1% Native American/Native Hawaiian. So yes, Swarthmore has 1-4, depending on how they are rounding it.

    • Re the Class of 2010, pure dripping sarcasm. Multiculturalism isn’t so multicultural, just a different collection of hegemonies.

  4. 1) Not to beat a dead horse, but seriously? 5%? That’s either 19 or 20 black students. If 2017 is indicative of the future classes, Swat will still have less than 80 black students for the foreseeable future. That’s barely half of the goal set by students in the 60’s (I think it was the 60’s…) But seriously. There’s no way that black students aren’t applying. That means that the problem is either in the admissions department, where they are not identifying black students who could excel at Swat, or in the campus culture, leading to accepted black students to not want to come. Or both.

    2) We already have a housing problem, and 2017 is slightly bigger than 2013 was, which means that the housing problem is going to persist. Maybe Swat should focus on making sure that the students that are there can actually be happy because they’re not living in a broom closet with 3 other kids.

    • I would like to build on to your discussion point #1.

      Please also consider the “achievement gap.” Yes, I put it in quotes because it is a controversial topic. Yes, I believe it exists and is affecting the 5% that we’re talking about now and the 80 or so projected for the future.

      Thank you!

  5. Bringing up race/ethnicity in a DG comment…. always a good idea. I mean that in a non-sacrastic way 😉 Let the discussion begin!

  6. The admissions office remains committed to recruiting and admitting a racially diverse class. Please know that the census reporting changed in 2010. The U.S. Department of Education now mandates that all colleges report any student who checks two or more races as “multiracial.” Of course, we only count each student once and have always done so, but as a result of the new coding requirements, both our black and Native American numbers have dropped while our multiracial category has significantly increased. The DOE regulation also stipulates that if Hispanic is checked along with other other categories, Hispanic is the category that must be counted. This has meant an increase in our Hispanic numbers, but a decrease in other categories. This has been true for colleges and universities across the country. Please support our ongoing commitment to reaching underrepresented student populations. I welcome any and all suggestions or ideas on how to continue to create a diverse, inclusive community.

  7. This year there are 5 students or 1% of the Class of ’17 who self-identified as Native American/Alaskan Native/Native Hawaiian/ multiracial.

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