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Swarthmore College 2023-24 Supplemental Essay Prompt Guide

Swarthmore College 2023-24 Application Essay Question Explanations 

The Requirements: Two essays of 250 words each

Supplemental Essay Type(s): Community

Please complete both prompts below (in 250 words or fewer). 

Topic 1: Swarthmore College maintains an ongoing commitment of building a diverse, equitable, and inclusive residential community dedicated to rigorous intellectual inquiry.

All who engage in our community are empowered through the open exchange of ideas guided by equity and social responsibility to thrive and contribute as bridge builders within global communities.

Our identities and perspectives are supported and developed by our immediate contexts and lived experiences – in our neighborhoods, families, classrooms, communities of faith, and more.

What aspects of your self-identity or personal background are most significant to you? Reflecting on the elements of your home, school, or other communities that have shaped your life, explain how you have grown in your ability to navigate differences when engaging with others, or demonstrated your ability to collaborate in communities other than your own. 

If there were an award for the longest supplemental essay prompt ever, Swarthmore would win. Luckily, this prompt is pretty straightforward at the end of the day. Admissions wants to invite students to campus who are eager to meet new people, exchange ideas, and contribute to their inclusive community. To determine if you are a good fit, they want to hear a story about (1) what has shaped your identity and (2) how you have navigated differences in the past. Maybe you want to write about your experience moving around the country as a military kid and how attending a new school every couple of years forced you to step outside your comfort zone time and time again to try to make new friends, regardless of what region of the country you were in. Perhaps you want to write about your experience getting involved in a community service project, in which you met people from all walks of life and worked together toward a common goal. (If you go this route, however, you won’t be the only one, so you’ll want to make sure your essay is so specific, no one else could have possibly written it.) Show admissions that you’re eager to make your mark in their diverse, inclusive community.

Topic 2: Swarthmore’s community of learners inspire one another through their collaborative and flexible approach to learning. Swarthmore students are comfortable with intellectual experimentation and connection of ideas across the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and interdisciplinary studies through a liberal arts education.

Tell us about a topic that has fascinated you recently – either inside or outside of the classroom. What made you curious about this? Has this topic connected across other areas of your interests? How has this experience shaped you and what encourages you to keep exploring? 

Swarthmore wants to accept intellectually curious applicants, so take this opportunity to rant and rave about your current obsession! Maybe you find Greek mythology to be absolutely fascinating and cannot read enough about all the gods and goddesses (and their very messy timelines). Where did your interest originate? Are you also considering a major in Classics? Or perhaps, after recently joining your grandfather on a bird-watching expedition, you’ve developed an interest in all things avian. How does this fascination connect to some of your other interests and what about birds keeps you observing (quietly from afar)? What was the last fact or skill you learned that truly captured your imagination? The bottom line here is to discuss examples of what truly fascinates you while also reflecting on what these examples say about your personality traits, interests, or learning style.

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School Stats:

State: Pennsylvania
Acceptance Rate: 7%
Undergrad Population: 1,625
Tuition: $65,058
Supplemental Essay Prompt Guides:
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