The majority of Swarthmore students live on campus all four years—and for good reason. The dorms are pleasant to look at, and even the least-attractive dorms are lovely when compared to dorms at larger universities. A good number of Swarthmore’s dorms are converted older buildings that were once boarding school housing or private homes. The buildings are beautiful—the ceilings are high, and the windows are wide and elegant. Students are often content with the housing situation simply because their living conditions seem too good to be true, at least on the surface. And Swarthmore has done a good job of fixing up and renovating old dorms, such as Wharton, to keep up with the showering and other habits of the students on campus.
Each dorm here has at least one unique quality. Willets is referred to as the “party dorm.” But, just remember that the word “party” is also unique to Swarthmore (i.e. Let’s play drunken Trivial Pursuit!) when compared to schools like Penn State (i.e. Is she breathing?), so even Willets is adequate for quieter students. However, Swarthmore students now tend to party more like students at your average state school. Mary Lyon (ML) has a, well, unique flavor. The dorm, which is a hike from main campus, tends to attract the nerdiest of nerds—science-fiction freaks, fantasy lovers, and members of SWIL (Swarthmore Warders of Imaginative Literature). So, if none of these things interest you, stay away from ML. Swattie upperclassmen have first pick in the housing lottery and quickly fill Wharton and Worth, which have enormous singles and gorgeous courtyards. However, even first-years have been known to get good rooms in these dorms, especially Wharton.