Not a lot of Swarthmore students live off campus, and the few who do often get left out of campus activities, either because they are unaware of them or they are too lazy to make the trip back to campus. The “Swarthmore bubble” can seem pretty oppressive at times, so some students live off campus to escape the general campus scene and to live more independently. Another reason is to have a different social experience and pay less than living on campus. However, the campus is by no means commuter-friendly, so students who do live off campus tend to live very close.
It’s usually cheaper to live off campus than in the dorms, but despite the affordability of housing around Swarthmore, most Swatties live on campus. The reasons for this are that the dorms are quite adequate and provide a welcoming social environment, and Swarthmore is a strictly residential campus. So, students who are considering living off campus often choose instead to live on campus so they don’t miss out on the Swarthmore experience, even if it means living “in the bubble."