On April 8 and 18, admitted Swarthmore students and their families visited campus as part of the annual SwatStruck program organized by the college’s Admissions Office. A third day of programming is planned for April 22.
SwatStruck is an annual tradition intended to allow prospective, admitted students to visit campus and learn more about the academic experiences and opportunities available at the college. This year’s SwatStruck is the first to be held in-person since the in-person programming was canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19-related concerns.
Jim Bock, the Vice President and Dean of admissions, and Yulia Korovikov, one of the SwatStruck coordinators and the Associate Dean of Admissions and Director of Recruitment, reported in an email to The Phoenix that this was an abnormally large year for SwatStruck, with 350 students — and 800 visitors in total — welcomed to campus.
“[This year was] more than our average of 320 for a traditional SwatStruck program. We had to cap registration for admitted students due to space constraints on campus, but we welcome admitted students to visit on other weekdays and Saturdays in April,” they said.
This year, 1,021 students were admitted to the college, according to Admissions Office data. These admitted students represent all fifty U.S. states and seventy-nine nations, with non-U.S. citizens representing fifty-five countries. Of these 1,021, 33% are first-generation students, and 93% ranked in the top decile of their high school class.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of these admitted students had yet to see Swarthmore’s campus in person, and SwatStruck marked many people’s first introduction to campus.
Usually, SwatStruck is an overnight experience where prospective students are assigned a Swarthmore student host to stay with and who shows them around campus. This year, SwatStruck was planned as a packed, single-day affair, spread over three different dates that prospective students could choose from. All three days were relatively the same.
“It’s a bit like Groundhog Day, but we hope we have improved a bit on each successive program. The challenge has been that 2-3 days of traditional programming has been squeezed into one eight-hour chunk,” wrote Bock and Korovikov.
While SwatStruck is not a mandatory event, those who do attend get to see and decide first hand whether Swarthmore is truly the right fit for them. SwatStruck attendees also have ample opportunities to meet other prospective students, so it can be a time to kick start making friends before coming to college in the Fall.
“Many of our students will get to know each other through the admitted student Discord, will meet up at SwatStruck, and will then share that excitement and photos from the day back on the Discord before they even get home,” wrote Bock and Korovikov.
While on campus, prospective students and their families have the option of taking part in a wide range of events and activities.
“We have organized academic, support, and student panels, in addition to open houses across campus … Students have been joining in campus events including the Office of Sustainability’s EarthFest, the Arboretum’s wreath making workshop, and the Muslim Students Association’s weekly Jummah,” wrote Bock and Korovikov.
Many Swarthmore traditions were also revived for SwatStruck this year, including the McCabe Mile on April 8, which was held outside and organized by the cross country team, and the Crum Regatta, which is being held on Friday, April 22.
“We have also kept our visitors hydrated and well fed with Federal Donuts, Wawa coffee, Philly Pretzels, and Tastykakes, in addition to Swarthmore catering from dining services. We also encourage all attendees to explore the campus on their own in the afternoon of each visit and to discover the whispering bench, amphitheater, and blooming cherry trees and lilacs in front of the Meeting House,” wrote Bock and Korovikov.
SwatStruck students were also given tours by Swarthmore tour guides, which gave prospective students the opportunity to see the campus and ask current students directly about their experience at the college.
Nora Sweeney ’24, one of the tour guides that gave SwatStruck tours, enjoyed getting to show excited SwatStruck participants around Swarthmore.
“[The students] were great. They were really engaged and had a lot of questions, which is more than my usual tours … they seemed excited to be on a tour and so it made me feel more engaged because they were excited, so I got excited,” she said.
Sofia Pelayo ’24, another Swarthmore tour guide, echoed Sweeney’s sentiments about SwatStruck tours.
“Every student I met was really excited to be here and I loved having the opportunity to meet potential future classmates,” said Pelayo.
While SwatStruck students in general seemed to enjoy their experience, Sweeney did point out that the tour on April 8 was a much larger and energetic group than the one that ran on April 18. This might have partially been because of the weather.
“Friday was a really nice day, so I think the energy was higher overall. Monday was kind of gross, but people seemed excited about it,” said Sweeney.
Sweeney also noted that it wasn’t just the prospective students getting into the SwatStruck excitement, but admissions too.
“People seemed excited about it. It’s the first SwatStruck in a while so admissions officers were really excited, and we have another one on Friday,” she said.
The tour guides themselves also enjoyed the SwatStruck experience.
“Having the opportunity to show admitted students around the school was really rewarding and it was nice to show prospective students the Swarthmore experience was fun,” said Pelayo.
For students who couldn’t attend SwatStruck in person this year, the admissions office also organized a wide variety of virtual opportunities for prospective students to participate in.
These virtual opportunities include an online student panel, special faculty seminars to watch, recorded campus tours and information sessions, a student blog, the “Ask a Swattie” form, and a link to the 2026 admitted students discord chat.
“Having robust virtual options has been great for our students and families who cannot come to campus, like many of our international students, and for keeping engagement consistent throughout the month,” wrote Bock and Korovikov.
According to Bock and Korovikov, it seemed like the bulk of excitement for SwatStruck came from the hundreds of visitors who were on Swarthmore’s campus.
“Not surprisingly, students are still incredibly interested in coming to campus! We’ve had a good amount of virtual engagement, but the record excitement for our on-campus programming is easily visible at each SwatStruck,” they wrote.
As SwatStruck is slated to come to a close on Friday, April 22, Swarthmore admissions is hailing it as a success and is hopeful that prospective students enjoyed their experience. They are also thankful to all the people who helped make the return of SwatStruck a reality.
“It has been incredibly exciting and rewarding to welcome back admitted students and their supporters to campus for the first time in over 1,000 days. It is exciting to share our community and the beauty of Swarthmore, and of course, we encourage all visiting admitted students not to miss an opportunity to get a picture in the Big Chair!” said Bock. “We want to thank all of the members of our community from EVS to dining services to the Dean’s Office and to the faculty and staff, and students in showcasing all that is unique and special about Swarthmore.”