Swarthmore College Early Decision for Fall 2023 Admission

This year, the Early Decision (ED) deadline for the Swarthmore College is November 15.

List your unweighted GPA, any SAT /ACT scores, and ECs. What majors are you going into?
Ask your questions, the CC community is here to help!

Hey there!
I’m planning on applying ED to Swathmore, but unsure about my GPA.

My school calculates GPA on a weighted cumulative scale meaning they factor in grades from when you high school courses (about 7th grade for me because of Alg, Spanish, and History) and adds each year’s grades onto that. The thing is since I was only able to start classes on a 5.0 GPA scale sophomore year with AP classes and have only taken IB classes (I’m an IB diploma candidate) since Junior year, my weighted GPA is sort of deflated compared due to the classes I took in middle school, Freshman, and some of my sophomore year.

The weighted GPA that I’m going to be submitting on my ED transcript is 4.216 (doesn’t include this year’s grades), but I ran my transcript through Swarthmore’s GPA calculator and have a 3.83 unweighted GPA due to some of the A-'s and B+'s on my transcript. I’m a little worried because I’m not sure this unweighted GPA is up to Swarthmore’s standards though let me know what you guys think.

To give more info on my academic/demographic profile - I’m female, Jewish, and Hispanic (I’m not a Sephardic Jew rather my mother is Panamian and my father is Ashkenazi Jewish). I’m an IB diploma candidate in “good standing” (submitted my EE on time and up to date on CAS hours) and am in the highest level (HL) for Chemistry, Math, and English. I also received the National Hispanic Scholar Recognition Award from College Board this year for my PSAT scores from 10th/11th grade. My SAT is 1450 (720 in math and 730 in reading), but I get my new score back in a few days, so it will likely be a bit higher at least super scored.

Extracurriculars and Extra Personal Context - I lowkey feel like my extracurriculars are a little limited due to:
a) I have pretty severe ADHD (and am VERY likely to be autistic) that has caused debilitating fatigue. Additionally, I only got diagnosed with ADHD last year (yeah masking and mental health cultural stigma) and my school isn’t amazing with accommodations, so I struggle a lot.
b) The COVID pandemic was really hard on my family especially because it triggered a pretty severe manic episode in my mom, so I spent a lot of sophomore years bouncing between hotels, relatives’ houses, and friends’ houses, because it wasn’t safe for me to be at home with my mom (she’s okay now!).
c) Played tennis until sophomore year really intensely (I trained a lot, played USTA tournaments, and wanted to play in college), so I didn’t do much on the extracurricular side outside of that.

Anyway, the extracurriculars I currently have are -

  1. I did Speech Freshman year and placed in Metrofinals/Qualified for a National Tournament (couldn’t go due to COVID)
  2. I have participated in Mock Trial as a witness since my Sophomore year and am currently a “co-captain” of my team because we call all Seniors co-captains unless they are the actual captain of the team for college apps. Last year I dedicated 218 hours to the team, and we qualified for and placed 11th (sophomore year) and 7th (Junior Year) in the Virginia State Championship. We could have placed higher than 7th Junior year, but our main witness on the plaintiff and defense side got sick during the tournament, so one of our lawyers and I had to learn her roles 12 hours before 2nd-day competitions.
  3. Co-founded the Neurodivergent Advocacy and Awareness Club at my school and worked on creating a proposal to create a sensory room with a school board representative, but it appears that our proposal was quietly vetoed, as the conference rooms that were supposed to make up the sensory rooms got turned into offices.
  4. Volunteer at the local animal shelter (don’t have an hour count because I don’t go a whole lot), but it’s likely 30+ hours as a teen volunteer. I can’t do much right now apart, since I’m underaged, but when I turn 18 I’m planning on volunteering as a Spanish translator for shelter drives.
  5. Led an externship with my city’s Vice Mayor to paint drain art at the elementary school to raise awareness for runoff pollution, and presented the drain art to one of the classes. I’m also going to do more drain art pieces for my CAS project.
  6. Had a job as a part-time math tutor my Junior year, but had to stop going during IB exam season, and haven’t been back since because of college apps and my heavy workload.
  7. For tennis, I don’t remember my USTA ranking, but it was definitely top 20 in the state, and top 100 in the region (probably dedicated 200+ hours to the sport until I quit). I also was ranked number 1 on Varsity tennis Freshman year (the season got canceled) and was technically still number 1 when I quit the team at the beginning of my Sophmore year season (I quit because I thought the coach was creepy and turned out to be right - both the coach and assistant coach turned out to pedos and one of them got arrested at the end of the sophomore season).

This was a ramble, but hopefully, this gives enough context for stuff outside of my GPA.

Hi! I’m struggling to decide whether or not I should do ED for Swarthmore, and if I did, what my chances would be. I don’t know much about the college process, as I’m the oldest child and both my parents went to state school and don’t know much about it either. I could really use some help and just general advice.

I live in a pretty rural school district that doesn’t offer many APs, but I’ve taken 8 over the course of my high school career and earned 5’s on the three I took junior year (APUSH, AP Lang, and AP HuGeo). I’ve also taken 6 honors classes and 3 dual-enrollment courses with my local community college. My unweighted GPA is a 3.87 because of a slight grades drop during my sophomore year (online school and covid). I’m hoping that’s high enough but frankly, I’m not really sure.

I’m interested in majoring in English, specifically creative writing. My SAT is a 1480 (710 math, 770 english), which I’m happy with but I do wish I broke 1500, can’t be helped I suppose. I received the collegeboard rural and small town recognition award, as well as the AP scholar with distinction award. I received an award from my county called the Pride of [Name] County award. I also won the national letters about literature award from the library of congress, but that was in eighth grade so I don’t think I’m going to be able to put it on my application.

As for extracurriculars:

  1. I’m the youth leader and a volunteer for the YESS committee, which is an environmental group that puts on youth leadership summits for climate activism. We hosted a climate summit in 2020 (in february, before COVID) with students from all across my state as well as from Sweden + the UK. We’re putting on another one in february 2023. I’m really passionate about the environment and have helped plan a lot surrounding the summit, as well as founding the Eco Club at my school, which I’ll get to in my next point

  2. I found the Eco Club at my school in ninth grade, and am the President. We’ve implemented a composting system at my school and use the compost for soil for our gardens that grow food which goes toward school lunches. Our progress was somewhat stymied because of COVID, but I’m still really proud of all we’ve accomplished.

  3. I’ve been the Vice President of my class since junior year, and have helped fundraise a ton of money for various class events, as well as helping with implementing school wide change such as making changes to the dress code and ordering plants for the courtyards in order to utilize their space.

  4. I’m the captain of the tennis team, and have been on the varsity team since my sophmore year.

  5. I’m the treasurer of the literary magazine at my school (called the reservoir) and have had some of my work selected for the magazine.

  6. I’m a student journalist for our school newspaper, and have had several articles and interviews published in it.

  7. I’m an avid basketball player and have been on the team since ninth grade. I might be selected as a captain this year but I won’t know until the season starts. I also used to do travel basketball but kind of stopped because of covid

  8. I’m part of the National Honor Society at my school and do volunteerwork for them.

  9. I work at an ice cream store during the summer/fall months

Hope this is enough info!! I appreciate any advice anyone has to give

I believe that at Swarthmore you would pursue a creative writing emphasis within an English literature major.

If you would like to major in creative writing, some of the schools discussed in this article may fit your profile and interests:

You also may want to look into Kenyon and Vassar.

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Thanks so much!! Both those schools are on my list, but I’m not sure if I’d want to ED at them.


With respect to Swarthmore specifically, its English department appears to have narrowed in scope in recent years. For perspective on this, this article may be of interest:

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there is a rumor that only recruited athletes are preferred in ED (Nov 15 deadline)? I was thinking of EDing Swarthmore but now I am skeptical. What’s your take on this peeps?

For a still broader list of schools to consider, this site may offer you ideas:

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Does anyone know if Swarthmore accepts updates to the original RD application? Ex., awards received since app was filed. I can’t find a Swat thread for 2027 Class RD Applicants. How would this info be submitted?

So how did it work out you seem like an amazing candidate.