<p>I know this is a bit off-beat, but what do people see as the differences between Haverford and Swarthmore? How does the atmosphere differ, what type of students go to each, etc?</p>

<p>Caveat, we visited Swarthmore and Haverford in the summer, when very few students were present. Caveat, these are opinions formed with little hard data, impressions mostly.</p>

<p>Haverford - intimate, very touchy-feely, almost claustrophobic in the layers of "help" for freshmen, most people take classes at Bryn Mawr and vice versa (more overlap than with Swat and Penn) so there is some feeling of a womens' school (as if the ratio was more like 60:40 women to men (great for the guys). Honor code does infuse life. Slightly preppier, slightly wealthier (just slightly). Kids very cheerful, friendly to each other</p>

<p>Swarthmore more intellectual, more serious, yet quirkier in a geeky way, more urban student body, slightly less wealthy, more tired, 50:50 ratio. I got the impression, perhaps unfair, that at Swat there is a group of people who do nothing but study, and not necessarily for the fun of it, and another group, equally intelligent, who are more balanced, whereas at Haverford a big majority would be balanced, with not enough of the "all studiers" to influence campus life. </p>

<p>DD felt "smothered" at Haverford.</p>

<p>Both were medium to low on the dorm scale.</p>

<p>I don't know all that much about Haverford, so I would defer to Cangel's visit observations.</p>

<p>Certainly, there are more similarities than differences: both ex-Quaker schools, both located in close-in very nice suburbs of Phila. Both with rail access to downtown Phila. Both are incredibly small. Both co-ed. Both have dropped their football programs. So, when we talk about differences, we are talking about subtle shades of gray comparing schools that are located in a very narrow range on the overall continuum of US schools.</p>

<p>Now, some differences:</p>

<p>Swarthmore is one of the smallest colleges in the United States with 1500 students. Haverford is even smaller with 1200.</p>

<p>Swarthmore has been co-ed since it was founded and, by rule, it's Board of Managers has always been required to be half women/half men. Haverford was an all-male college that went co-ed along with all the other men's colleges in the 60s and 70s.</p>

<p>Swarthmore is a more diverse campus, with slightly higher percentages of African-American, Hispanic, and Asian-American students. The most striking difference is that Swarthmore has a much higher percentage of international students. Overall, Haverford is 72% white American, Swat is 63% white American.</p>

<p>Swat is slightly less affluent with about 50% of the freshman class and the overall student body receiving financial aid. Haverford had 39% of the freshman class and 43% of the overall student body qualifying for financial aid.</p>

<p>Haverford houses freshmen in first-year dorms. Swathmore mixes freshmen in dorms with upperclass students. I can't over-emphasize the impact this has on Swat's campus culture. It also has some very real practical benefits. My D is trying to make some course decisions for next spring. She spent this week talking to seniors who live on her hall, majoring is several departments she's interested in -- getting some fantastic advice. Yes, this is avaialable through formal advising channels, but there's something positive about these informal discussions with friends who have actually taken all the courses.</p>

<p>A significant difference is the size of the endowment. Swarthmore's is huge. On the ranking I have, Swat has the 7th highest per student endowment of any college/university in the country. Haverford is number 26. In absolute dollars, Swarthmore's endowment is more than three times the size of Haverford's endowment.</p>

<p>Finally, I do think that "academic intensity" is a consideration. Haverford is obviously a very rigorous college. But, Swarthmore (along with U Chicago) are considered to be the most "intellectual" and "academically challenging" schools in the country. There is no question that Swarthmore is "hard", both in terms of work load and grading. I have seen it reported that Swat has only had four students in its history graduate with a 4.0 GPA.</p>

<p>Cangel: Your impressions are precisely the same ones we received when we visited. My 13 year old son also felt smothered and called Haverford "Happy Land." My daughter liked the atmosphere, and I did too. We also had the sense that Swarthmore students were tired and more serious scholars. The only thing I missed was the sense that Haverford students were wealthier; missed that vibe entirely. My daughter had a very good impression of the classes she attended at Haverford. I think they are both super schools.</p>

<p>I was trying to be somewhat neutral, DD liked Swat a lot, really had a good interview, and didn't care for Haverford. I thought much like InterDad - objectively the biggest difference was the academic rigor, subjectively they have different "feels".</p>



<p>My daughter also visited both Swarthmore and Haverford on her initial college tour. She came home raving about Swarthmore and didn't like Haverford enough consider putting it on her list.</p>

<p>To this day, I don't know really know why the different reactions. Part of it was probably the Swarthmore campus, which is spectacularly beautiful. Part of it was probably a reaction to the tour guides -- perhaps surprising, because the Swat tour guide was a self-described "jock, frat boy" type. Part of it had to do with tone of the information meeting -- something that we now know is a "Swattie" style that has emerged consistently from every contact with the school. There's a pride in the challenging academics combined with a deep caring for the students by the college and for the college by the students that I think may be Swat's most defining characteristic.</p>

<p>Having said that, Haverford is so similar to Swat on the "big picture" stuff, that I would recommend it even without knowing all that much about the school.</p>

<p>Found comments on kids reaction to Haverford interesting. We visited some 14 schools and Haverford was the only one at which my son felt visibly uncomfortable. "Smothered" is a good description. Personally, I thought it was okay -- a little stodgy, but not particularly oppressive. It must be something on the kid-radar.</p>

<p>It was kind of odd, because in the summer a lot of the ambience is probably missing - the largest group of non-adults we saw at either school was a bunch of pre-schoolers playing on the lawn. I put it off to fact that my daughter was more tired at haverford and her interview didn't go as well as the one at Swarthmore - or maybe it is just a better fit, whatever that means.</p>


<p>That's pretty much how I assessed my daughter's reaction as well. They had just left Swarthmore when they visited Haverford.</p>

<p>Also....correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't Haverford one of the schools that lays the Honor Code thing on pretty heavily? That was a turn-off for my daughter.</p>

<p>Visited both schools as well, I couldn't wait to leave Swarthmore, the air was just too heavy, it just seemed to hang there around me, very odd and uncomfortable. Also, the literature in the admissions office was very disturbing, did anyone else pick up on that? I thought Haverford felt lighter, students were happier, but both schools were just too small for me.</p>



<p>What kind of literature? I've only seen one viewbook from the place and it seemed like pretty standard fare.</p>

<p>Swarthmore students are more "hippy" as for the actual towns. Haverford is nice and mainline upperclass. Swarthmore is upperclass, but we deny it. Its very artsy and the townies are intellectual snobs. All of them are either lawyers or doctors or professors. Its a joke, people ask are your parents doctors, profs or lawyers? I have to say I think the town isn't the best to live in if you want a social life. But i've lived here for 14 years and so im bored with it. good luck</p>

<p>It seems to me that the "town" (i.e. shopping, restaurants) for Swatties is really the Baltimore Pike more than the borough of Swarthmore. It's actually quite a nice arrangement with the campus being a true bubble, but with a mall, a Target, a Best Buy, etc. being readily accessible.</p>

<p>Speaking of access to a town, my daughter and large group of freshmen from her dorm went to New York City this weekend -- door to door train service from campus.</p>

<p>I also visited Haverford & Swat over the summer, and I felt very uncomfortable at Haverford... especially with the coed bathrooms... that was really freaky... I had a great interview and visit at Swarthmore, and I am applying there and NOT Haverford. Haverford has a very grungy campus too...</p>