April 14, 2009


After we finished at Bryn Mawr, we drove down 476 to Swarthmore. For lunch, we ate snacks in the car, and got to Swarthmore just in time for a 1:00 pm info session. We had to find Parrish Hall, which is tricky, and far from the parking lot. I dropped Elsa off and then parked in the nearest street spot that seemed legal. The Info session was very well attended. There must have been 40 or 50 families there. It was fun and genuine, although the student representative, Linda, is frighteningly accomplished. The admissions dean who spoke is as fun and cheery as the one at Haverford, making me suspicious about their demeanor. They are so happy you came and hope you'll apply, as though that's all you need to do to attend their school!

I have to say, Elsa is owed one big, "I told you so!" and/or, "Aren't you glad you listened to your mom?" She didn't even want to go to Swarthmore after what she'd heard about the rigor and how difficult it is to get in. But after our visit, she loves it and wants to apply. We thoroughly enjoyed the info session and really liked Ryan, the admissions officer who presented. Then we met Alisha, our tour guide, and she was even more fun. This helped quell our fears about Swatties being unhappy people as a group. Alisha addressed questions about these rumors and recommended spreading out the heavier classes over the four years and include something each term which requires less reading, such as art studio.

The campus is magnificent. It's even more beautiful that Bryn Mawr, and feels much bigger than Haverford. Like Haverford, Swarthmore, (everyone knows I'm sure,) is an arboretum. It's a giant botanic garden where every plant on the grounds is labeled. The landscaping is breathtaking all over the campus. Elsa's favorite part of the campus is the amphitheater in the woods.

Alisha told us all about the orientation ceremony that happens there, which sounds cool. The theater is reminiscent of a clearing in the woods at Dark Waters, a Quaker camp that Elsa attended years ago in New Jersey. Alisha showed us the science center, complete with the outdoor classroom,

(my favorite aspect of the school,) a classroom, a dorm room, a science lab (we met a profesor,) a dining room, and one of the libraries where cookies are dispensed at 10:30. We had a great tour. Again, we had to leave early to meet the coach.

Coach Todd's office is in the athletic center. A kind woman walked Elsa over as she had no map. (People outside of NY are so friendly!)I walked back to the car to get Elsa's information to give to the coach. Coach Todd is wonderful and talked a lot about his program, his goals for the program, his team, exciting games, their best competition, etc. We had a nice long meeting which had to end because he was about to have a practice. On our way out, we met some of his players and Coach Todd kindly introduced Elsa.

We walked back to the car and drove off, in search of dinner. We were starved! Of course, I got lost and couldn't find the road to the town of Swarthmore (is there a real town? We never found it.) and to Media, Pa. On our journey, we passed the field and Elsa saw the girls practicing. We pulled over, and like stalkers, watched for a while to see how strong the girls are. We didn't see them do much, just some drills. Happily, Elsa felt that she could fit in with the team. We're hoping she will get the chance to find out.

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