Greek Life

Swarthmore, PA
Admission Difficulty
Very Hard
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3 College Sophomore

Greek Life: There is very limited Greek life, and the people tend to be of similar ethnic background.

4 College Freshman

Greek Life: There is palpable tension between greeks and non-greeks. Swarthmore claims to be a non judgmental community but there are a lot of generalizations regarding fraternity members.

3 Recent Alumnus

Greek Life: The Greek life is practically non-existent at this college. The school actually phased out all sororities, and the two surviving fraternities are very small and have little clout in the social scene. It is perhaps for the best, as the attitude of Swatties focuses on egalitarian, anti-elitism. All parties, if funded by the school, must be open to the entire campus. If you are looking for a dynamic Greek scene, choose another school.

3 people found this useful Report
3 College Freshman

Greek Life: Fun if you want to get involved, but it does not dominate at all. Good for parties

1 person found this useful Report
1 Recent Alumnus

Greek Life: There are two frats at Swarthmore and no sororities, so there is hardly any Greek life.


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Rankings View more rankings . . .

  • 61st
    Best Greek Housing
  • 714th
    Where Greek Life Rules
  • 895th
    Best Greek/Non-Greek Relations
  • 1134th
    Most Selective Greek Organizations

Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

Sudarshan Gopaladesikan
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Math and Engineering
View all previous student authors

Greek life is almost non-existent at Swarthmore. The few die-hards who remain in the fraternities throw decent parties throughout the year, but the frats are by no means a major social force at Swarthmore. There are no sororities at Swarthmore, and there are a few complaints about this from a tiny minority of girls on campus. In general, though, Swatties are happy that Greek life is practically invisible on campus. The main reason for this is that many see it as a haven for cliquish behavior and exclusivism.

There are buildings on campus designated for the two fraternities, but members do not live in the houses; the buildings are used for additional party space and events. Pledges do continue to come in from first-year classes, but some students say the fraternities were dealt a death blow after the abolition of football on campus (even though Delta Upsilon mainly comprises baseball players and Phi Psi is mostly lacrosse players). The number of students participating in Greek life has increased over the years, but it still is not a major social driving force on campus. Swarthmore is definitely not the school for students looking to become the next Otter or Bluto.

Facts & Statistics

Undergrad Men in Fraternities
Freshman Men in Fraternities
Undergrad Women in Sororities
Freshman Women in Sororities
Number of Fraternities
Number of Sororities
  • Delta Upsilon
  • Phi Psi
Did You Know?
  • Delta Upsilon is an international fraternity, whereas Phi Psi was created at Swarthmore and is the only Phi Psi frat anywhere.
  • Famous Delta Upsilon alumni from Swarthmore include: Dr. Christian Boehmer Anfinsen Jr. (Nobel Prize winner for chemistry), Neil R. Austrian (former president and COO of the NFL), Dick Hall (former professional pitcher), H. Thomas Hallowell (former president of Standard Pressed Steel Company; donator of Hallowell and Dana dorms at the College), Thomas Kershaw (businessman and owner of the famous Bull and Finch Pub, the bar popularized by the TV series "Cheers"), Leland S. MacPhail (president of National League Baseball and GM of the New York Yankees), Thomas B. McCabe (president of Scott Paper and former chairman of the Federal Reserve Board; donator of McCabe Library at the College), Amos J. Peaslee (U.S. Ambassador to Australia), James A. Perkins (former president of Cornell University), Edward C. Prescott (Nobel Prize winner for economics), Philip T. Sharples (donator of the College's Sharples Dining Hall)

Student Polls

What is Greek life's role in the campus social scene?    Based on 17 responses

  • 0% We don't have Greek life.
  • 59% Greek life is pretty low-key and has little effect on the social scene.
  • 0% Greek life is huge-you're no one if you're not Greek.
  • 41% Greek life is average, and no one will treat you differently if you don't join.
  • 0% Greek life is pretty big. You don't have to join to enjoy the parties, but you might want to consider it.

What kind of housing is available for Greek students?    Based on 18 responses

  • 11% Greek students live in run-down chapter houses.
  • 89% No special housing is available.
  • 0% Greek students live in dedicated wings in the dorms.
  • 0% Greek students live in opulent chapter houses.

What is the general attitude of non-Greeks toward Greeks?    Based on 17 responses

  • 12% Non-Greeks see Greeks as snobby and cliquey.
  • 29% Non-Greeks think Greeks are only good for the parties they throw.
  • 59% Most non-Greeks are indifferent about Greeks.
  • 0% Most non-Greeks think Greeks do great things for the community.

How difficult is it to get into a fraternity or sorority?    Based on 18 responses

  • 0% Very difficult.
  • 11% Somewhat difficult.
  • 50% Somewhat easy.
  • 39% Very easy.
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