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How different are Haverford and Swarthmore?

RBase07RBase07 Posts: 989Registered User Member
edited March 2005 in Swarthmore
candid opinions are much appreciated in this topic.
Post edited by RBase07 on
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Replies to: How different are Haverford and Swarthmore?

  • interesteddadinteresteddad Posts: 23,383Registered User Senior Member
    Ways they are similar:

    1. Small liberal arts colleges with very strong academic reputations.

    2. Originally founded by the Quakers, but no longer have official religious affiliation.

    3. Coed

    4. Located in very, very nice old neighborhoods ten miles from downtown Phila.

    5. No football teams

    Ways they are different:

    1. Haverford was an all-male school until a few decades ago; Swarthmore was co-ed from the start.

    2. Swarthmore is slightly larger: 1500 versus 1200 students.

    3. Swarthmore has a considerably larger per student endowment (with all that implies).

    4. Swarthmore has more diversity (63% white versus 71% at Haverford). A slightly higher percentage of blacks, Asian-Americans, and internationals.

    5. Haverford has a wealthier student body: 61% qualify for no financial aid versus 49% at Swarthmore.

    6. Haverford has freshman dorms; Swarthmore houses freshmen with upperclassmen.

    7. Swarthmore has higher median SAT scores and is generally regarded as just slightly more selective academically.

    As far as campus culture and all that, I can give you my impressions of Swarthmore. I don't know enough about Haverford to make meaningful comparisons. By reputation, Haverford is a little more "preppy" with a bit more "partying", but I don't know if that is really true or not. By reputation, Swarthmore is one of the most academically intense schools in the country. I think that's accurate, at least in sense that an unusually high percentage of the students and faculty are very actively engaged in (and enjoy) the academic side of college.

    I can't think of much negative about either school. Even the obvious drawbacks associated with their very small sizes are offset by easy commuter rail access to downtown Phila., NYC, and Washington, DC. I'd certainly put both on my "great undergrad school" list.
  • bowtoserenitybowtoserenity Posts: 398Registered User Member
    Bothy schools have honor codes though Haverford tends to stress it a bit more and Haverford is also more "quaker-ish".
  • interesteddadinteresteddad Posts: 23,383Registered User Senior Member
    Swarthmore does not have an honor code, nor is it likely to get one any time soon. Instituting an honor code would require a two-thirds majority in a student referendum and I doubt that you find two or three percent of the students who would support such a proposal.

    The idea was last raised in 2000, with an honor code proposal presented by a member of the student council. It was greeted with widespread disapproval and quickly dropped. Essentially, the argument was that Swarthmore students are expected to behave responsibly and they generally behave responsibly without the imposition of a formal "honor code".

    Here are two student editorials on the issue that may be worth reading just because they give a glimpse into a key characteristic of Swarthmore and how strongly the students value it:

    http://www.sccs.swarthmore.edu/org/phoenix/2000/2000-11-16/opinions/10364.html

    "If I am not mistaken, the lack of an honor code has neither allowed cheating to go unpunished at Swarthmore, nor encouraged mass plagiarism by the student body. That is because Swarthmore students are generally people of great integrity. Let’s not insult ourselves with the imposition of an artificial morality. We can think for ourselves."

    http://www.sccs.swarthmore.edu/org/phoenix/2000/2000-11-16/opinions/10377.html

    "When I decided to come to Swarthmore, I also decided to accept the rules of Swarthmore College as a member of that community. As someone who mostly follows the rules, I did not expect anyone, much less fellow students, to impose more rules on me without cause. That’s one of the things I like most about Swarthmore: the college treats us as adults. For the most part, my interactions with other Swarthmore students have led me to believe that we live up to the standards of our community. We do, in fact, act like adults, and our current system treats us like adults. Our honor code doesn’t need to be signed; it is lived."
  • bowtoserenitybowtoserenity Posts: 398Registered User Member
    sorry for the confusion...
  • interesteddadinteresteddad Posts: 23,383Registered User Senior Member
    No problem! The only reason I knew is that my daughter considered the lack of an honor code to be a plus. At some of the schools she visited, they beat them over the heads with the honor code during the tour. She started to think, "what's the big deal, do all the kids here cheat, or what?"
  • mensa160mensa160 Posts: 1,224Registered User Senior Member
    When I decided to come to Swarthmore, I also decided to accept the rules of Swarthmore College as a member of that community.
    I promise to do my duty to God, to Country and to Swarthmore, to play square, and to obey the law of the pack. <The Cub Scout pledge finds a home at Swarthmore.>
  • interesteddadinteresteddad Posts: 23,383Registered User Senior Member
    No pledge to "country" at Swarthmore.

    Back in the McCarthy era, Swarthmore decided, as a matter of principle, to pull out of the federal student aid program rather than force students to sign the then mandatory anti-communist "loyalty oaths". The school made up the funding shortfall out of pocket.
  • ncephnceph Posts: 810Registered User Member
    It never would have occurred to me that some would perceive an honor code as a negative (or the lack of one a plus). Cheating is so rampant at my daughter's high school that she was elated to hear of honor codes at a number of the colleges we visited last summer. Her feeling was that an honor code might decrease or eliminate cheating at the school or might even discourage dishonest types from applying. She also associates honor codes like UVA's with Thomas Jefferson, who's one of her favorites.
    In my own experience at a college and law school with honor codes, I thought it was a good thing, and I felt that by being told our exams were unproctored because we were bound by such a code that we were being told we were trusted.
    I suppose if Swarthmore can instill the same sense of honor without a written code, that's great, and if any school can do that, Swarthmore's probably the one. But I never once felt that the presence of an honor code at my schools made me feel I was being told I wasn't trusted. Quite the contrary.
  • Private_JokerPrivate_Joker Posts: 812Registered User Member
    So, does this mean that Swarthmore HAS proctored exams?
  • northeastdadnortheastdad Posts: 39Registered User Junior Member
    My daughter visited Haverford and decided not to apply there. I was asking her why, she was having a hard time to figure out the answer herself. Then she said all lectures about honor code got into her. "It is like a cult. I like to go to college with normal kids." I guess the tour guide overdid honor code; 90% of his presentation was on honor code. She is now very happy at Swarthmore.
  • ReDbUll298ReDbUll298 Posts: 290Registered User Junior Member
    Northeastdad - does you daughter feel like all she does is study? that's the vicious rumor going on about swat, though there have been several claims against this.
  • northeastdadnortheastdad Posts: 39Registered User Junior Member
    ReDbUll298: She studies some. But does lot of other things. Going to concerts, teaching kids at a Chester church, working on campus etc. She goes to Philly almost every weekend. She has made many very very close friends. So there is a life.

    I should mention that first semester was shockingly hard for her. She took two science classes despite swat's warning. Because first semester is pass/fail she thought that is a good time to get two premed requirements away. But, with all these lab reports, she still managed to do many other things and get away on weekends.

    Classes are hard, but do not consume all the available time. If you do not enjoy challenging classes, however, Swarthmore is not for you.
  • interesteddadinteresteddad Posts: 23,383Registered User Senior Member
    She has made many very very close friends.

    That has been the number one impression I have received from my daughter about her first semester at Swarthmore.
  • ReDbUll298ReDbUll298 Posts: 290Registered User Junior Member
    thanks. that's very insightful. . i think the most important aspect of life is the building of relationships with other people.
  • Eddy_MerckxEddy_Merckx Posts: 115Registered User Junior Member
    Because first semester is pass/fail she thought that is a good time to get two premed requirements away.

    Maybe I've got this wrong, but I thought I heard that even though the first semester is pass/fail, there are shadow grades that are sent out with the transcript, or used in some other way, as part of the medical school application.
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