There are so many great colleges in the eastern U.S. A beautiful, highly respected and historic one is Swarthmore, near Philadelphia. Swat, as insiders affectionately know it (students are “Swatties”), dates from 1864, and was founded by the Society of Friends.
These days Swarthmore is a highly selective liberal arts college of just over 1500 students known for challenging academics, activism, and civic engagement. Beyond the usual liberal arts disciplines, Swat also offers Peace and Conflict Studies, Education Studies, Film and Media Studies, and Engineering.
Remarkably, Swarthmore boasts an 8-1 faculty-student ratio, and fully meets the financial need of accepted students, thanks to its vast endowment.
Swarthmore has a strong sense of tradition, and symbolic rituals for entering and exiting students underscore this. The ceremony for entering students is called First Collection, and involves a candlelit gathering of new students, faculty and staff at the outdoor amphitheater on campus.
Finally, Swat has a stunningly beautiful 425-acre campus that is also an arboretum. On the day of my visit there were groups of nature lovers also touring the campus, savoring the magnificent towering trees and other vegetation. Studying in such an atmosphere would definitely be inspirational, in more ways than one.