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Swarthmore / Tufts

yoheeeyoheee Registered User Posts: 14 New Member
edited June 2010 in Swarthmore College
As you can see from the thread title, I am torn between Tufts and Swarthmore. Just to give a brief background of myself, I am from Hong Kong. While I do not entirely know what I want to do in the future (I don't think many 17/18 year old does) I am interested in the following, International Relations, Environmental Policy, Engineering (pretty much only the renewable energy aspect of it).

I like Swarthmore's intellectually passionate atmosphere. I like how students engage in intellectual conversations regarding world issues/politics very casually during free times and etc. However Swarthmore comes across to me way too social science or literature based. There seems to be a lot of emphasis on writing and while I recognize that it is an important skill to have, I think I will struggle with getting a high GPA. Also, because I have a scientific interest in engineering, I would like to be involved with some research opportunities which begs me to ask the question, how available are research opportunities in Swarthmore?

As for Tufts, based on what I primarily want to do (IR, Engineering), it makes sense to go there because Tufts is very renowned for its IR and has an engineering school. It also seems to be more diverse in what the school is based on; Swarthmore seems too writing based (social science/literature) but in Tufts, it seems as if there is larger balance between tech savvies and social science majors.

I am so torn between the two, I don't know what can be a deciding factor. I would assume both colleges are not very big with sports. Both colleges have a campus but is near to the city. Both colleges seems to be similar in its social life, etc...

Anybody who can lend his/her insight to my situation?
Post edited by yoheee on
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Replies to: Swarthmore / Tufts

  • dadx3dadx3 Registered User Posts: 1,559 Senior Member
    Interesteddad will probably give you some good feedback, but several comments before he likely chimes in:

    1) While Swarthmore does provide a strong background / preparation in writing, as a Liberal Arts College should, I certainly would not say it is dominated by literature or social science. Swarthmore has a very strong science and engineering program. If you look at the majors of the graduating classes of 2007 and 2008, Swarthmore had 29% of its graduates majoring in Engineering or the Sciences (including Math), while for Tufts the percentage was 27% on average.

    2) If you are focused on achieving a high GPA, Swarthmore may not be for you. While it is certainly possible to get a 3.8 or 3.9 GPA at Swat, it is probably more difficult to achieve than at most other schools. More importantly, Swatties generally do not focus on grades and the college does not calculate an official GPA.

    3) In general, I would say that Swarthmore provides strong opportunities for undergraduate research. I'm sure the type and quantity of research opportunities varies quite a bit by academic department -- they are likely different in bio than in political science. To understand what research possibilities there are in your area of interest, you would be best advised to contact the department. I'm sure they would be happy to talk to you and tell you about the research their students are doing.
  • interesteddadinteresteddad Registered User Posts: 24,177 Senior Member
    Swarthmore's signature fields are social science, political science, economics, international relations. Notice the following rankings of undergraduate programs from Foreign Policy Magazine's reader poll and notice that there are only two schools even listed that don't have graduate programs in IR. These are the 2007 rankings, the newer ones are behind a pay wall, but the schools are all basically the same:

    Top 20 Undergraduate Programs

    1. Harvard University 48%
    2. Princeton University 46%
    3. Stanford University 30%
    4. Georgetown University 28%
    5. Columbia University 28%
    6. Yale University 23%
    7. University of Chicago 21%
    8. University of California-Berkeley 12%
    9. Dartmouth College 11%
    10. George Washington University 10%
    11. American University 10%
    12. University of Michigan 9%
    13. Tufts University 8%
    14. Swarthmore College 8%
    14. University of California-San Diego 8%
    16. Cornell University 6%
    17. Brown University 6%
    18. Williams College 5%
    19. Duke University 5%
    19. Johns Hopkins University 5%

    Here are the top schools in America in the number of future political science PhDs per 1000 graduates for a recent ten year period:
    Number of PhDs per 1000 graduates
    Academic field:Political Science and Government
    PhDs and Doctoral Degrees: ten years (1994 to 2003) from NSF database
    Number of Undergraduates: ten years (1989 to 1998) from IPEDS database				
    1		Swarthmore College		10
    2		Haverford College		8
    3		Princeton University		8
    4		Pomona College		7
    5		Harvard University		7
    6		University of Chicago		7
    7		Oberlin College		7
    8		Williams College		7
    9		Reed College		7
    10		Wesleyan University		6
    11		Bryn Mawr College		6
    12		University of the South		5
    13		Whitman College		5
    14		Amherst College		5
    15		Yale University		5
    16		College of Wooster		5
    17		Stanford University		5
    18		Georgetown University		5
    19		Claremont McKenna College		5
    20		Carleton College		5
    21		Smith College		4
    22		Middlebury College		4
    23		Franklin and Marshall College		4
    24		Tougaloo College		4
    25		Wellesley College		4
    26		Occidental College		4
    27		Brown University		4
    28		Lawrence University		4
    29		Harvey Mudd College		4
    30		US Coast Guard Academy		4
    31		Earlham College		4
    32		Kenyon College		4
    33		Knox College		4
    34		Brandeis University		4
    

    As for science, engineering, and research, Swarthmore is one of the strongest schools in the United States. For a non-tech school (MIT, etc), Swarthmore has a very high percentage of science and engineering majors -- roughly a third. Here is the same list for science and math PhDs:
    Percentage of grads getting PhDs
    Academic field: All Engineering, Hard Science, and Math
    PhDs and Doctoral Degrees: ten years (1994 to 2003) from NSF database
    Number of Undergraduates: ten years (1989 to 1998) from IPEDS database
    Formula: Total PhDs divided by Total Grads				
    				
    Note: Does not include colleges with less than 1000 graduates over the ten year period				
    1		34%	California Institute of Technology	
    2	[b]	24%	Harvey Mudd College	[/b]
    3		16%	Massachusetts Institute of Technology	
    4	[b]	10%	Reed College	[/b]
    5		9%	Rice University	
    6	[b]	8%	Swarthmore College	[/b]
    7		8%	Princeton University	
    8	[b]	7%	Carleton College	[/b]
    9		7%	New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology	
    10		7%	University of Chicago	
    11		7%	Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute	
    12		7%	Case Western Reserve University	
    13		6%	Harvard University	
    14		6%	Carnegie Mellon University	
    15		6%	Johns Hopkins University	
    16	[b]	6%	Haverford College	[/b]
    17	[b]	6%	Grinnell College	[/b]
    18		6%	Cornell University, All Campuses	
    19	[b]	5%	Kalamazoo College	[/b]
    20		5%	Stanford University	
    21		5%	Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology	
    22		5%	Yale University	
    23		5%	Cooper Union	
    24	[b]	5%	Oberlin College	[/b]
    25	[b]	5%	Lawrence University	[/b]
    26	[b]	5%	Bryn Mawr College	[/b]
    27	[b]	5%	Williams College	[/b]
    28	[b]	5%	Pomona College	[/b]
    29		4%	Colorado School of Mines	
    30	[b]	4%	Bowdoin College	[/b]
    31	[b]	4%	Earlham College	[/b]
    32		4%	Brown University	
    33		4%	University of Rochester	
    34		4%	University of California-Berkeley	
    35	[b]	4%	Wabash College	[/b]
    36		4%	Duke University	
    37		4%	Worcester Polytechnic Institute	
    38	[b]	4%	Amherst College	[/b]
    39		4%	Stevens Institute of Technology	
    40	[b]	4%	St Olaf College	[/b]
    41	[b]	4%	Hendrix College	[/b]
    42	[b]	4%	Beloit College	[/b]
    43		4%	University of Missouri, Rolla	
    44		4%	University of California-San Francisco	
    45	[b]	4%	Occidental College	[/b]
    46		4%	Alfred University, Main Campus	
    47	[b]	4%	Allegheny College	[/b]
    48	[b]	4%	Whitman College	[/b]
    49	[b]	4%	College of Wooster	[/b]
    50		4%	SUNY College of Environmental Sci & Forestry	
    51	[b]	4%	Mount Holyoke College	[/b]
    52	[b]	4%	Bates College	[/b]
    53		4%	College of William and Mary	
    54	[b]	4%	Knox College	[/b]
    55	[b]	3%	Franklin and Marshall College	[/b]
    56		3%	Georgia Institute of Technology, Main Campus	
    57		3%	Washington University	
    58		3%	Long Island University Southampton Campus	
    59	[b]	3%	Macalester College	[/b]
    60		3%	University of California-San Diego	
    61		3%	Dartmouth College	
    62	[b]	3%	Wellesley College	[/b]
    63		3%	Trinity University	
    64	[b]	3%	Juniata College	[/b]
    65	[b]	3%	Ripon College	[/b]
    66		3%	University of California-Davis	
    67		3%	Florida Institute of Technology	
    68		3%	Polytechnic University	
    69		3%	Michigan Technological University	
    70		3%	Columbia University in the City of New York	
    71		3%	Lehigh University	
    72		3%	University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign	
    73	[b]	3%	Centre College	[/b]
    74	[b]	3%	Hampshire College	[/b]
    75		3%	University of Pennsylvania	
    76	[b]	3%	Wesleyan University	[/b]
    77		3%	University of Michigan at Ann Arbor	
    78	[b]	3%	Colorado College	[/b]
    79		3%	Bucknell University	
    80	[b]	3%	Davidson College	[/b]
    81		3%	Northwestern Univ	
    82		3%	Texas Lutheran University	
    83	[b]	3%	St John's College (both campus)	[/b]
    84	[b]	3%	Furman University	[/b]
    85	[b]	3%	Hope College	[/b]
    86		2%	Clarkson University	
    87		2%	University of Virginia, Main Campus	
    88		2%	Illinois Institute of Technology	
    89		2%	Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State Univ	
    90	[b]	2%	Union College (Schenectady, NY)	[/b]
    91		2%	University of California-Santa Cruz	
    92	[b]	2%	Lafayette College	[/b]
    93		2%	Brandeis University	
    94		2%	University of Dallas	
    95	[b]	2%	Rhodes College	[/b]
    96		2%	University of Notre Dame	
    97	[b]	2%	Middlebury College	[/b]
    98		2%	University of Wisconsin-Madison	
    99	[b]	2%	Colgate University	[/b]
    100	[b]	2%	Hiram College	[/b]
    
  • konkon Registered User Posts: 8 New Member
    Writing is not overwhelmingly emphasized (but writing support is very much emphasized, there's a difference). There are distribution requirements and a W (writing) course requirement. That means 3 natural science, 3 social science, and 3 humanities courses, and interspersed among all your classes you must have 3 W-designated courses. This may seem daunting, but as an engineering/poli sci person, you only might be troubled by the humanities requirement. And even then, if you come because of the intellectual atmosphere, you're bound to find some humanities courses to your interest. Take an english and philosophy class during pass/fail first semester. I wouldn't worry about the writing requirement too much either. Many courses, like discrete math, are unexpectedly designated W courses. I personally know people who have fulfilled their writing requirement without having written more than a handful of essays.
  • interesteddadinteresteddad Registered User Posts: 24,177 Senior Member
    I don't want to knock Tufts, because it has been traditionally considered a pretty good school, a rung or two down from the very best, but a solid choice for kids who don't get into the Ivy League schools, MIT, Stanford, Williams, Swarthmore, Amherst, and so forth. Tufts benefits in prestige from being located in New England, but I don't think anyone in academic circles here would put it among the top elite schools. I, personally, view it pretty much like a top regional school, perhaps comparable to Emory or Vanderbilt.

    In terms of finanancial resources, it's not even close. Swarthmore has a larger endowment for a school with 1500 undergrads than Tufts does for the entire university with 9000 students. In terms of per student endowment:

    $745,000 Swarthmore College
    $126,000 Tufts University


    Basically, you have a three-quarter million dollar trust fund for your four years at Swarthmore and about 5% a year ($35,000 or so) is spent from your trust fund to make your undergrad experience better. That's on top of money collected from tution, donations, etc. Swarthmore spent $80,000 per student per year last year.

    The per student endowment at Tufts is obviously a fraction of that. It's even worse for undergrads, since universities always spent more on percentage basis on their grad students than on undergrads. The actual per student endowment available to you as an undergrad at Tufts would be well under $100,000. Five percent of that is $5,000 a year tops in endowment spending.

    This is always a fundamental issue. The top ranked schools in the United States have earned those rankings because they have the top per student endowments and therefore have been able to afford the best product for a long period of time. Swarthmore has one of the top per students endowments in the United States and has had for many, many decades. Now, with the economic collapse forcing all colleges to adjust their budgets, I can't stress enough the importance financial strength on the college programs of students over the next five years. Everybody is cutting. The schools in strong financial positions (and Swarthmore weathered the storm in better shape than almost any school I've seen) are able to maintain their programs with drastic increases in enrollment or reducing the size of the faculty or cutting student services in drastic ways.

    That's the way I see it.
  • yoheeeyoheee Registered User Posts: 14 New Member
    @ dadx3, thank you very much for your comments. as you predicted, interesteddad has "chimed in" and wow is he good...

    1) It is very encouraging to hear that engineering/math is still a rather predominant subject choice for students in Swarthmore. However, just because many students graduate with an engineering/math degree, does it guarantee that the engineering department is good with what it teaches? Obviously, Swarthmore being a top college would probably suggest that every department is good, but based on what I read, I rarely hear comments about how "great" the engineering department is or how "inspiring" the professors in the engineering department is compared to the department of literature or economics where I constantly hear nice things about. I also hear that there are only 8 professors in the engineering department? Anybody has an idea of how the 8 professors cope with teaching the Swarthmore Engineers who must account for at least some amount that will make the teacher:student ratio rather large?

    2) Apologies for how I phrased myself. I am not a competitive student and I often like to just mind my own business especially with grades. I guess what I was trying to say was that with myself having a disadvantage in writing, I would struggle throughout my 4 years of undergraduate college IF writing is a skill that is strongly emphasized throughout all subjects in Swarthmore.

    3) I will definitely try to find out more about the Swarthmore Engineering department. But just based on assumption, the fact that there are so few professors in the engineering department suggests that in terms of quantity not many research is going on.

    @ kon, thank you very much for your reply as well.

    What is the difference between Writing and Writing support? In fact, I am interested in all three fields - engineering, IR, humanities. At school, I already take History and Economics and am loving it, so I think I won't be having a problem with finding an interest in the humanities field. It is also nice to know that there seems to be a loophole with getting around the writing requirements.
  • yoheeeyoheee Registered User Posts: 14 New Member
    @ interesteddad, thank you very much for your reply.

    In terms of prestige, Swarthmore is nationally (in the US) recognized as an elite school up there with Harvard, M.I.T, Williams, Amherst, etc and Tufts as you as you say might have benefited from being in New England. But back here in Hong Kong, Swarthmore is rarely heard of unless as you say, he/she is in the academic circle (for US colleges) or it is a large corporate firm based on the US that's trying to employ me, and instead Tufts, like NYU, has been heard of more often (maybe because of its location in New England, i don't know). But I think anybody in the academic field would agree that Swarthmore is much better a place in terms of academia as compared to larger universities and colleges such as NYU, Tufts, UCLA, USC. Therefore, would you say that it won't be worth going to Swarthmore if, hypothetically, I am not planning to pursue a graduate degree?
  • interesteddadinteresteddad Registered User Posts: 24,177 Senior Member
    Eight professors is a lot for a department with 14 to 30 majors! Sometimes it's hard for people to understand how small Swarthmore is.

    I can't get the site to load so I can't give you a link, but go the Swarthmore website and click ENGINEERING at the left side. Look around and you'll find a link to all of the Senior "E90" projects over the last ten years. "E90" is the course number for the senior year independent design project. You can see the stuff Swat engineering students do. Two of them last year got a lot of press (national TV and magazines) for building a hydrogen fuel cell powered motorcycle.

    BTW, here's a fun list. Look at Swat's percentage of graduates getting an Engineering PhD:
    Number of PhDs per 1000 graduates
    Academic field: All Engineering
    
    PhDs and Doctoral Degrees: ten years (1994 to 2003) from NSF database
    Number of Undergraduates: ten years (1989 to 1998) from IPEDS database
    
    Note: Does not include colleges with less than 1000 graduates over the ten year period
    
    1	California Institute of Technology	10.9%
    2	Massachusetts Institute of Technology	6.5%
    3	Harvey Mudd College	5.2%
    4	Cooper Union	3.9%
    5	Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute	3.7%
    6	Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology	2.8%
    7	Carnegie Mellon University	2.8%
    8	University of Missouri, Rolla	2.6%
    9	Case Western Reserve University	2.6%
    10	Colorado School of Mines	2.6%
    11	Rice University	2.4%
    12	Alfred University, Main Campus	2.2%
    13	Georgia Institute of Technology, Main Campus	2.2%
    14	Polytechnic University	2.1%
    15	Worcester Polytechnic Institute	2.1%
    16	Johns Hopkins University	1.9%
    17	Stevens Institute of Technology	1.9%
    18	Princeton University	1.8%
    19	Michigan Technological University	1.8%
    20	Clarkson University	1.6%
    21	Lehigh University	1.5%
    22	Illinois Institute of Technology	1.5%
    23	Cornell University, All Campuses	1.5%
    24	Swarthmore College	1.3%
    25	Stanford University	1.3%
    26	Duke University	1.2%
    27	South Dakota School of Mines & Technology	1.2%
    28	Florida Institute of Technology	1.2%
    29	University of California-Berkeley	1.1%
    30	New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology	1.1%
    31	University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign	1.1%
    32	United States Military Academy	1.0%
    33	Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State Univ	1.0%
    34	Milwaukee School of Engineering	1.0%
    35	GMI Engineering and Management Institute	1.0%
    36	Drexel University	0.9%
    37	United States Air Force Academy	0.9%
    38	University of Rochester	0.9%
    39	Washington University	0.9%
    40	Lafayette College	0.9%
    41	Purdue University, Main Campus	0.9%
    42	University of Notre Dame	0.9%
    43	University of Michigan at Ann Arbor	0.8%
    44	Virginia Military Institute	0.8%
    45	Brown University	0.7%
    46	University of Tulsa	0.7%
    47	University of Virginia, Main Campus	0.7%
    48	North Carolina State University at Raleigh	0.7%
    49	Northwestern Univ	0.7%
    50	Columbia University in the City of New York	0.7%
    51	University of Pennsylvania	0.7%
    52	Christian Brothers University	0.7%
    53	United States Naval Academy	0.7%
    54	New Jersey Institute Technology	0.7%
    55	University of Dayton	0.7%
    56	Vanderbilt University	0.7%
    57	Tennessee Technological University	0.7%
    58	Pennsylvania State U, Main Campus	0.6%
    59	Iowa State University	0.6%
    60	United States Merchant Marine Academy	0.6%
    61	Union College (Schenectady, NY)	0.6%
    62	Grinnell College	0.6%
    63	Tufts University	0.6%
    64	Tulane University	0.6%
    65	University of California-San Diego	0.6%
    66	University of PR Mayaguez Campus	0.6%
    67	University of Minnesota - Twin Cities	0.6%
    68	SUNY at Buffalo	0.6%
    69	Dartmouth College	0.6%
    70	Walla Walla College	0.6%
    71	New Mexico State University, All Campuses	0.5%
    72	University of Wisconsin-Madison	0.5%
    73	University of California-Davis	0.5%
    74	Tri-State University	0.5%
    75	University of Colorado at Boulder	0.5%
    76	Clemson University	0.5%
    77	Yale University	0.5%
    78	Bucknell University	0.5%
    79	Ohio Northern University	0.5%
    80	Manhattan College	0.5%
    81	University of Tennessee at Knoxville	0.5%
    82	Trinity University	0.5%
    83	Tuskegee University	0.5%
    84	West Virginia University Institute of Technology	0.5%
    85	University of Delaware	0.5%
    86	Texas A&M University Main Campus	0.5%
    87	University of Texas at Austin	0.5%
    88	University of Florida	0.5%
    89	University of Maryland at College Park	0.5%
    90	Catholic University of America	0.4%
    91	University of Pittsburgh Main Campus	0.4%
    92	University of Cincinnati, All Campuses	0.4%
    93	Kalamazoo College	0.4%
    94	Rutgers the State Univ of NJ New Brunswick	0.4%
    95	University of California-Los Angeles	0.4%
    96	University of Bridgeport	0.4%
    97	Montana Tech of the University of Montana	0.4%
    98	Harvard University	0.4%
    99	Brigham Young University, Main Campus	0.4%
    100	Louisiana Tech University	0.4%
    

    Understand that Swarthmore is ideal for students who wish to study engineering and other things. You get an ABET-accredited BS degree in Engineering. You do specialize with yoru Engineering electives. If, however, you want to get a specialized degree like a degree in Chemical Engineering or Mechanical Engineering and view college more as professional engineering training, then you should go to a school with a full Engineering school and a range of specialized degrees. That almost certainly would rule out something like a dual major in Engineering and Political Science or Engineering and Economics.
  • interesteddadinteresteddad Registered User Posts: 24,177 Senior Member
    Yohee:

    I understand your question about "the man in the street" having heard of Tufts and only academic circles having heard of Swarthmore. I can't answer that question for you.

    I can only say that I don't believe there is a better undergraduate program in the United States than Swarthmore, that its student-centered resources dwarf those at most other schools (incuding Tufts), that you will graduate from Swarthmore with an ability to think and research and write at a very, very high level, and that there will be limitless possibilities for you with a Swarthmore education.

    I can't tell you that every employer will know of Swarthmore, only that those who know Swarthmore will know that you are really, really smart.
  • yoheeeyoheee Registered User Posts: 14 New Member
    Interesteddad,

    I get what you mean with how the future lies based on my own abilities and I too get the feeling that with a Swarthmore education, I will be a very strong candidate for any job. Although most schools promote their interdisciplinary studies and critical thinking teachings, Swarthmore seems to show for itself. I think I am not doubting Swarthmore's caliber of education at all; I know I will come out as a very accomplished intellect. I think what I am more worried about is the intensity of my studies during my 4 years of undergraduate experience. That is something I can only answer myself but the workload I hear about Swarthmore is rather frightening. I am a hardworking student but am also a slow-worker. I take my time with things because my mind does not operate quickly and I am worried I will drown in this massive pile of work. This leads me to worry that I won't enjoy my 4 years of undergraduate experience much, but will going through this (potential) misery worth it for the better of the long term future where I will be a very accomplished academic? ASSUMING I will suffer for 4 years from the massive workload in Swarthmore, I still cannot decide whether it will be worth it as it might be more beneficial for the rest of my life, which is a duration of much longer than 4 years (I hope).
  • riverguardianriverguardian Registered User Posts: 19 New Member
    "I will suffer for 4 years from the massive workload in Swarthmore, I still cannot decide whether it will be worth it as it might be more beneficial for the rest of my life, which is a duration of much longer than 4 years (I hope)."

    I think you'll find yourself enjoying your time at Swarthmore, despite the work. It's a lot, but it also depends on how much you put into it, and I think your efforts would be appreciated/rewarded much more at a smaller school where a professor can ensure that you get the resources necessary to succeed to the level you want to. I was a Japanese language tutor and an Engineering "wizard" (helper), so there's a lot of resources for peer help, and I know pretty much every department has some help structure or support.
  • nngmmnngmm Registered User Posts: 5,708 Senior Member
    yohee,
    unless someone else edits your posts, your writing is actually quite good, especially for an international student.
    If you choose Swarthmore, you will have to write some essays, and you will get help doing so. You will not be asked to write a novel or a thesis, unless you choose to ;).
    The writing skills you will acquire will help you throughout your life, no matter which career path you choose.
  • yoheeeyoheee Registered User Posts: 14 New Member
    Thank you very much for everybody who has posted here. You have all been of great help and I think I am pretty set on going to Swarthmore now. :)

    @Riverguardian,

    I think I get what you mean. As an intellectually passionate student, I think I will grow to embrace the workload - I will definitely experience times where I am drowning in a pile of work, but as a keen learner, I think I will enjoy all the work that is given to me. I also hear that students at Swarthmore is very supportive and uncompetitive, qualities that I too "possess". I like helping others and I don't like comparing grades or anything so in that aspect, I think I will be a great fit.

    @nngmm

    I write my own posts, and thank you, your comments are very encouraging! My first language is actually English but it's unnatural to me because I don't speak it at home. It's a language I've learned in school and sometimes it's awkward for me because there are too many languages in my head. And you're right, writing is definitely a skill that can only be beneficial.

    Thanks everybody!!
  • riverguardianriverguardian Registered User Posts: 19 New Member
    I think you bring up a good point there, about the uncompetitive nature of Swarthmore. I really felt that way in the Engineering department, where quite frankly I was surprised by how much coherence and support our class gave each other. A good example was our senior project, the E90, which is really a lot of work and the culmination of an Engineering education at Swarthmore. Rather than have this hyper-competitive "I won't share with you what I'm working on" nature it was more like "Wow, what are you working on?" which would inevitably lead down to a path of new approaches and ideas. No one was lax and lazy about it, it just was a lot of combined intensity without the ugliness of competitiveness. We'd have homework help sessions but it wasn't like people copying off of each other - learning for learning's sake, really. I think no one in the department would've been fully satisfied with just learning to get a grade.
  • wittyusernamewittyusername Registered User Posts: 8 New Member
    Just something to keep in mind; Swat is very VERY writing intensive. Here are some links to related items:

    Swarthmore College :: Writing Program :: Writing Program

    Down With W. Up With I. Easily Distracted

    There's the following program to help out with that, but I've heard stories of people who struggled and then transferred out to more 'regular' programs:

    http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/swarthmore/773818-writing-associates-program-swarthmore-college.html

    They are both amazing schools. Also, I'm from Asia and my friends and I went through a similar struggle. I won't push either way but Tufts is definitely better known if that matters. I for one am definitely going to grad school (or so I think) because I'm lucky enough to have found a passion early, so my decision was a different one to make.
  • dadx3dadx3 Registered User Posts: 1,559 Senior Member
    One should not think that all W courses are literature or social science. The following math courses all count as W courses:

    Discrete Mathematics
    Data Analysis and Visualization
    Introduction to Real Analysis
    Introduction to Modern Algebra

    My S is fulfilling his W requirement with at least 2 of these courses (I think).
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