Admitted Students ‘Swatstruck’ by Swatlight

On April 11 and 12, Swarthmore College hosted its first round of Swatlight and Swatstruck: programs allowing admitted students to explore the college and experience its community through visiting classes, eating a meal in the dining hall, and hearing from faculty, staff and students. The programs’ second round will occur on April 18 and 19. The program traditionally ends with a campus tradition, with this year being the McCabe Mile on April 12 and the Crum Regatta on April 19. 

While Swatstruck is a one-day program where the parents and families of admitted students can visit alongside the students, Swatlight offers an all-expenses-paid overnight trip for underserved students, including first generation and low-income students, and those that attend under-resourced high schools. 

Vice President and Dean of Admissions Jim Bock ’90 explained how the programming of Swatlight was specifically tailored to better support underserved students. 

“For Swatlight students, we offer financial aid appointments, engagement with affinity groups on campus, and host a panel discussion with Swat FLI students and support staff. We have tweaked the programs over the years, and Swatlight students spend a bit more time on campus to experience a day in the life of a Swarthmore student: attending class, eating a few meals in the Dining Center, and staying in a residence hall,” he said. 

Swatlight attendee Tyler Fink said the program helped him to better understand the academic environment, and allowed him to feel more confident about his college choice. 

“I’d heard about these small class sizes, but I thought it’d be around twenty people. The first class I went to was Japanese with my host and there were six people. It was a lot more different than I anticipated, but it was very cool since there was a lot of interaction between the students and the instructors,” he said. 

Fink’s host Brandon Castano ’27 views his hosting experience as being positive and potentially successful in convincing Fink to commit to Swarthmore, especially given that his housing suitemates were able to talk to Fink about different experiences as well. 

“Sometimes you’ll walk into a class, feel clueless and just lug it out. [Fink] was in two of my classes and seemed like he was able to get a good grasp of what the average Swat class is like. I missed out on Swatlight last year, so I wanted to be able to meet anyone that’s thinking about coming and hopefully convince them that it’s great here,” he stated. 

When asked how successful these programs have been in terms of influencing admitted students to commit, Bock said that there has been a higher yield compared to those who do not attend the programs.

Another Swatlight attendee, Esmeralda Duran, noticed how students here could make their voices heard through not only the small class sizes, but also through the encouragement of diversity in student clubs. 

“Something memorable was definitely having lunch with my hosts and getting to know her club [Organizing to Redefine “Asian” Activism]. What made it stand out for me is that there were Latinos in their club, which shows that such clubs are not only for the represented ethnicity, but other ethnicities could also be part of them,” she said. 

Hannah Lee ’27, who hosted Duran, said that she was motivated to be a host not only due to the financial incentive given to hosts, but also because she wanted to connect with the incoming class. 

“I, as a first year right now, didn’t have the opportunity to connect with the upperclassmen when I first came here. I got rejected for my Swarthmore fly-in. I thought ‘If I’m the upperclassman trying to reach out to first years, that’d be really cool,’” she explained. 

Bock stated that finding hosts for Swatlight has historically been difficult despite the growing student body, and a broader challenge was “transitioning the whole campus community back to in-person yield events, given the break that happened during the pandemic.” 

For a smoother hosting experience, Lee suggested having the visiting students’ schedules shared with hosts so they could get a sense of when and where the visitors are supposed to be for the program and coordinate their schedules accordingly. Regarding how Swatlight and Swatstruck could improve, Duran commented that there could be increased opportunities to connect with affinity groups or students of the same ethnicity. 

“I feel like I didn’t see a lot of Latino representation., They should have admitted students connect with affinity groups or students of our ethnicity. I feel like that’s very important [for] people of color… at a predominantly white institution,” she said. 

To make admitted students feel more welcome during their visit, Bock advises all students, ease the transition by showing students around campus, sharing their experiences, or hosting.

“If you see an admitted student or family member on campus during these events, say ‘Hello,’ pull up a chair at the Dining Center, and of course offer directions if needed. I’m sure many of you reading can recall what a big decision it was to decide where to attend college. We are all a part of these students’ journeys,” Bock said.

To make the most out of Swatlight and Swatstruck, Castano encourages visiting admitted students to connect with current students, especially those who are of your intended major. Lee advised them to look for study spaces and try to navigate where people usually study.

For current students, Bock encourages more people to be hosts. This year, the incentive for hosting a student was $15 in Garnet Cash.

“We do offer incentives to hosts– so if you’re reading this and you’d like to make Swatlight a welcoming experience for a Swatlight attendee next year, you can email We’d love your help.” 

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