Welcome to Swat! As you attend admitted student events, go to the activities fair, and explore campus, we at The Phoenix want to impart on you some of our insights about the College to help you in your deliberative process. Each member of the editorial board has experienced good and bad parts of Swarthmore.
You will of course find that Swarthmore is an academically challenging institution. But you will also find that academic support is not far from reach. It comes in a variety of forms — office hours, TA sessions, the writing center, and tutors — and utilizing these resources will be imperative to reaching your full potential here. The college boasts a collaborative academic environment, and for the most part, this is true. But success at this school also sometimes requires late-night individual study sessions on McCabe second.
Swat is a small school. After you meet someone once, you are guaranteed to see them every day for the rest of your Swat career, unless you make an effort to avoid Sharples. This is a fact.
You develop the feeling that you know almost everyone, which creates a strong sense of community. You can chat with someone you met in class that week while in the fish taco bar line, and then meet up to have a meal with someone else that you have been trying to get to know. Of course, you will have awkward moments when you run into an ex while waiting at the coffee bar line or when you gossip about someone who’s two feet away. But that’s what the Swat Swivel is for, and these awkward moments are worth the sense of community that our small size brings.
While you’re visiting, you might hear current students give their opinions on the food here. While options are limited due to our small population and other factors, you will develop favorite Sharples bars that you will ardently defend, even when popular opinion is against you. And on popular opinion — you will enter Swarthmore with around eighteen years of life experiences, a set of closely held opinions, and your own perspective on the world. You may believe things that people on campus disagree with. No one has exactly the same opinion, and you should devote time and energy into hearing other people’s perspectives and considering other points of view. You should also evaluate, and continue to reevaluate your most dearly held values and beliefs. Interrogate them, and then hold on to them deeply.
You will learn so many new things here. You will, of course, learn them in classes, but you will also learn them at guest lectures, panels, from your fellow students, and from Donny at Sharples. You might take classes that you are terrible at, and can pass/fail them. But know it’s also okay to have a grade on your transcript that you aren’t particularly proud of. Or better yet, have a grade on your transcript that you are proud of even though it is worse than you would have liked because you worked your butt off for the grade, no matter what it was. And, if you are still worried about your transcript, you can take solace in knowing that you can take up to eight classes here on a pass/fail system, including all four of your classes in your first semester.
Swatties love to boast about our critical thinking abilities, and a favorite pasttime of ours is to use those touted skills to criticize our institution. As much as we like to complain about Swarthmore, us Swatties are very proud to go here, and we would love to see you join us. Enjoy Swatstruck, and we’re looking forward to seeing you again in the fall!