I traveled to eastern Pennsylvania last week to attend the Summer Training Institute for the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA), where we were hosted by the wonderful folk at Swarthmore College. It was my first time to the region and I was excited to check them out, as Swarthmore’s campus is actually a nationally registered arboretum. (How many campuses can say that?)
Before I go into detail about the campus and the college community, however, the first thing I have to mention about my trip there is the tremendous accessibility that visitors to Swarthmore will find – there are at least five different (and easy!) ways to reach their campus, and the variety of transportation methods that are available right at the fingertips of the students who attend open up a host of opportunities for them.
I personally flew into the Philadelphia airport and, after visiting with friends in the area the day before the institute began, one of them drove me into campus to check into my dorm room for the week. Had I not had that visit already scheduled, however, from the airport it would have been just as easy to catch one of the SEPTA trains directly to campus (Swarthmore has a station located at the base of their famed walkway) or hop in a cab to take me the short distance to my destination. In addition, Swarthmore is in a very walkable location with nearby restaurants, shops, and malls all relatively close and easy to reach should students want to walk or bicycle to them.
Once I reached Swarthmore, I discovered it to be one of the most beautiful and academically charged campuses I’ve ever set foot on. Indeed, the school is frequently ranked highest among its liberal arts counterparts and it’s clear from the academic programs that are offered (including a full major in engineering – one of their hallmark programs and a rarity for a true liberal arts college to possess) and the culture of the students I encountered during my time there that this is a serious school for serious scholars. (Our tour guide was quick to note, however, that they have a lot of fun too – Swarthmore has NCAA Division III athletics and a top-notch arts program as well to balance out all of that studying!)
Swarthmore students (nicknamed “Swatties”) also reap the benefits of the school’s location should they wish to take classes at neighboring schools Bryn Mawr, Haverford, or the University of Pennsylvania. An exchange between the four schools allows students to customize their educational path when necessary and opens a lot of cross-campus doors for those who take the opportunity.
One negative aspect of Swarthmore if you’re an equestrian – the school doesn’t currently field an IHSA or IDA team – but if you’re just looking to continue your riding while in college, Swarthmore is very near a lot of equestrian facilities and the University of Pennsylvania does field a team, which could allow you to inspire other riders on Swarthmore’s campus to get something started.
Could Swarthmore be a good fit for your college search? I’m happy to help you in the process – don’t hesitate to contact me!