Swarthmore or Dartmouth?

Choosing a school that provides great opportunities is important and could be the turning point of your life. There is a common perception that Ivy league institutions (Dartmouth) provide the best educational opportunities. But on the other hand, Top Liberal Arts colleges or the “little ivies” ( like Swarthmore) are often overlooked, although they provide education at an equal level. There is a thin line of comparison between both Dartmouth and Swarthmore as they provide the best education at nearly the same price.

Swarthmore or Dartmouth?


Admissions to both Dartmouth and Swarthmore are extremely selective. Students generally question what matters when one is applying to these colleges? Well, the pre-requisite requirements for both colleges aren’t that different. They both require:

  • High School GPA
  • High School Rank
  • High School Transcript
  • College Prep Courses
  • Recommendations

The admission deadline for Swarthmore is January 1 with an application fee of $60 whereas the admission deadline for Dartmouth is January 2 with an application fee of $80. The early decision deadline for Swarthmore is November 15 and that of Dartmouth is November 1.

Which one has a lenient acceptance rate?

The acceptance rate to both colleges is almost the same. However, a high-achieving student seeking valuable academic experience has a much higher chances of attending Swarthmore than Dartmouth. The average SAT of a Dartmouth freshman is almost or near 40 points higher than the one being accepted at Swarthmore. The admission officials at both the colleges take GPA and the letter of recommendation into serious account during the admission process. 

Swarthmore campus life or Dartmouth campus life?

Well, both colleges exist in different settings. Swarthmore exists in a suburban setting while Dartmouth exists in a rural setting.

Swarthmore Dartmouth 
Campus size Swarthmore tends to have a bigger campus size which spreads across 426 acres.Dartmouth spreads across 237 acres
Campus surroundingsSwarthmore has beautiful rolling lawns, wooded hills, and hiking trails.Dartmouth has a Greek infrastructure with a Greek way of life where you might find fraternities for men and sororities for women.
AccommodationBased on housing cost, capacity, meal cost, and meal quality; Swarthmore is a bit compromised.Housing cost, capacity, meal cost, and meal quality are much better at Dartmouth 
Varsity sports Swarthmore provides varsity sports for both men and women, but it has limited options to choose from.Dartmouth has more options available in sports for both men and women.
Traditions and EventsSwarthmore offers traditions/ events like a primal scream, screw your roommate, the graduate, crunk fest, etc.Dartmouth organizes events like DOC trips, winter carnival, green key, homecoming, sophomore summer, etc.
Party Life Swarthmore has some decent parties but only on weekends.Dartmouth has tons of awesome parties on almost any night of the week.

Grants and Scholarships

Finances are a huge concern when it comes to choosing the right college. Grants and scholarships are financial aid provided by the college/universities that do not need to be repaid. The percentage of students receiving financial aid at Dartmouth is 58% with average total aid awarded of $52,627 per year. In contrast, at Swarthmore, the percentage of students receiving financial aid is 63% with average total aid awarded of $49,173 per year.

You  can apply for domestic financial aid in Darthmouth if:

  • You’re a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident in the U.S.
  • You need to submit your FAFSA, CSS Profile, and IDOC.

Similarly, you can apply for domestic financial aid in Swarthmore if: 

  • You’re a U.S. citizen or U.S. dual citizen
  • You are eligible to complete and submit a valid FAFSA
  • You reside in the U.S. and possess Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals ( DACA) status or are undocumented and graduated from a U.S. High school.

Academic Overview

Both the colleges have the same faculty-to-student ratio which is 7:1.

Swarthmore will have better results if compared to Dartmouth on the grounds of student and faculty/professor relations. 

  1. Students at Swarthmore find faculty and professors more accessible than students at Dartmouth.
  1. 60% of Swarthmore students talks to their professors outside the classroom about the classroom topics at least once a week. whereas 30% of Dartmouth students share that they talk to their professors outside the classes and the other 30% of the students share that they “rarely” have these conversations.
  1. Professors at Swarthmore focus on teaching rather than research.
  • What do students at Dartmouth say about their professors?

Professors want students to obtain an experiential education, not just through study abroad commitments. Because of the small number of graduate students, research opportunities abound for undergrads, not just in the sciences, but throughout the curriculum. Students cherish this determination of the professors.

  • What do students at Swarthmore say about their professors?

Swarthmore recruits highly gifted, dedicated faculty members who are passionate about learning and devoted to inspiring in their students that same passion for exploration and discovery.

Popular majors at Dartmouth consist of

  • Social Sciences
  •  Engineering
  • Biological and Biomedical Sciences
  • Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services.
  • Mathematics and Statistics
  • Area, Ethnic, Cultural, Gender, and Group Studies
  • Psychology
  • Visual and Performing Arts
  • History
  • and Physical Sciences

Popular majors at Swarthmore consist of

  • Social Sciences
  • Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services
  • Biological and Biomedical Sciences
  • Visual and Performing Arts
  •  Mathematics and Statistics
  •  Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Psychology
  •  Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics
  •  Engineering
  •  and Physical Sciences.


There is a very thin line of comparison between both but what matters is the future opportunities and quality education with clarity in career path. These institutions focus on the creation and sustenance of a quality teaching-learning environment enabling students to acquire global competencies in various fields of study. Both colleges provide a wide range of opportunities intending to make individuals or students achieve their highest potential and serve effectively as citizens of a free society.