<p>Are there any significant differences between these two schools? I have toured both and did not see much. I heard that Swarthmore has a different "environment" because it has been coed since day 1...however, no one really clarifies what they mean by this and it all seems very nebulous. I heard that swatties are harder workers. However, judging from what I saw/heard, both student bodies work equally hard (and know how to have fun). It seems that any supposed differences are simply due to a rivalry between the two nearly identical schools.</p>
<p><<however, judging="" from="" what="" i="" saw="" heard,="" both="" student="" bodies="" work="" equally="" hard="" (and="" know="" how="" to="" have="" fun).="">>
The workload is pretty similar, both student bodies do work hard. However, I have never felt the need to 'have fun' or party at Haverford while I've met a sizable amount of Bryn Mawr and 'Ford students at Swat's parties. The 'Forders I've met complain about the lack of on campus social options.
That stuff aside, Haverford and Bryn Mawr (the schools cooperate so extensively that academically you can treat them as one school) have offerings in fields where Swarthmore is relatively weak, and vice versa. The best example I can think of is art history, which is one of Bryn Mawr's strengths, and Linguistics, which is one of Swarthmore's best departments. Haverford has an archaeology program and a seperate anthropology department, unlike Swarthmore, which groups the subject with Sociology.
Both schools abandoned their Quaker affiliations but retain Quaker values. However, Haverford has an Honor Code that sets it apart from Swarthmore. I believe Swat has one too, I'm not sure, but it's not as extensive as haverford's. The honor code means unproctored exams, no RAs - in essence, students are entirely responsible for their own experience at the college.
Here's a link to Haverford' explanation of the Code: <a href="http://www.haverford.edu/hcweb/hchonor.html%5B/url%5D">http://www.haverford.edu/hcweb/hchonor.html</a>
To answer your question, yes, the two schools are similar, but there are some recognizable differences.
*This is not achat, by the way. I just haven't figured out how to switch screen names.
<p>One difference is that Swarthmore has a larger endowment than Haverford. When we visited, Swarthmore students seemed sweet but more reserved than Haverford students. My son called Haverford "Happy Land," because all the students we passed greeted us and seemed very upbeat. He didn't like that; I loved it. My daughter sat in on classes at both schools. She really enjoyed the discussions in the Haverford classes. She said the kids jumped in and considered all sides of the issues, and the professor was lively. The students at Swarthmore seemed tired, and one boy dominated the discussion. Could have been exam time, just a sleepy Monday, or the luck of the draw in selecting a class to observe. They are both superb schools, in my book.</p>
<p>Reporting for my daughter - the girl-guy ratio at Haverford is "unfavorable" - proximity to Bryn Mawr, plus small size meant too many girls in her book. Swarthmore had a small majority female. She also felt "smothered" - too touchy feely, too "supportive" to her. This came after they listed all the support groups for freshmen. Otherwise, it was (my opinion now) one of those bad timing things. She visited Swat in the morning, had an interview, her first, felt it went well, thought the campus was beautiful, and had that intense feeling of relief you get after a first interview. THen we went to Haverford, mistakenly parked in the wrong lot, had to navigate around a huge hole just dug behind admissions for a new building, interview was flat, just ended with a bad, probably unjustified impression.</p>
<p>I'm applying to both schools, and theyre pretty similar. My impressions are that Haverford is more of a school for smart, normal kids, and Swat is a school for nerds.</p>
<p>I dunno, those are my impressions. probably wrong.</p>
<p>For some reason, my S got the willies from his visit to Haverford. Maybe cuz it was a Friday morning--but it was like an empty movie set. They don't do an info session, and something about the whole place just seemed too precious to him. Swarthmore, later the same day, seemed livelier. This coulda been because we overlappd with their admitted student overnight program. I think this post and the one above go to show how subjective impressions can be.</p>