How to Write the Swarthmore Supplement 2018-2019

Swarthmore is a private liberal arts college in Pennsylvania. Swarthmore is also a member of the tri-college consortium, along with Bryn Mawr and Haverford. With an acceptance rate is 13 percent, Swarthmore has been continuously ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top (and for many years the top) liberal arts schools in the nation.  

In 150 to 250 words, please write about why you are interested in applying to and attending Swarthmore.

Most supplements have the “why x school” question. However, Swarthmore is not most schools. It’s a competitive school with a very, very low acceptance rate. Thus, it shouldn’t be treated like every other school. Any student writing this supplement needs to be on their A Game. Whereas there might be a little bit of room for fluff or embellishment, a casual sentence or two in another supplement, for “why Swarthmore,” there is no wiggle room.  

Begin by researching the school. Go down the rabbit hole of academics. Research the professors and the extracurricular offerings. Most importantly, get a sense of the culture. It’s really important that applicants embody the culture of this school. Swarthmore is a very niche academic and highly competitive school. Kids who go there have uber-specific interests, whether they are activists or biochem devotees. In fact, they have an unusually solid engineering program for a top liberal arts school. Basically, this is a specialized kind of place and thus, you should be, too. In this essay, your goal should be to essentially construct a Venn Diagram: Swarthmore and You. Then, use your supplement to make a good case as to why your circle and that of Swarthmore’s overlaps really nicely.


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