I write this review to assuage the concerns of prospective students who see the not-so-good reviews of the college on this site.
Before enrolling, prospective students should evaluate what their goals for after college are. This may seem extreme, but unsurprisingly, Swarthmore does some things better than other things, so this evaluation is important.
Let us focus on what kind of student Swarthmore serves well. First, as a general note, the student Swarthmore serves best is one who enjoys academic study and isn't keen on the classic college experience. Parties are usually limited to the weekends and are not the kind of parties one might observe at a state school. Students have fun, but not to the extent that students at some Ivies (like Penn) or state schools do.
Let me know enumerate the interest areas Swarthmore serves well and those it doesn't.
Swarthmore serves well a student interested in the non-specific humanities like English, History, Political Science, and Music, to name a few. I say non-specific because, due to its size, Swarthmore can't create a fulfilling program for a particularly obscure area of study. If you know you're interested in study of obscure areas in which Swarthmore doesn't specialize, perhaps obviously, don't go to Swarthmore. However, Swarthmore serves its students in these general areas very well, and students seem pleased with the seminars to which they have access. So pre-law students are generally served well in this respect: Swarthmore students do well in the law admissions cycles.
Swarthmore also serves well students interested in pursuing PhDs. This is because most of Swarthmore's academics are well recognized by graduate departments. Its mediocre performance in Math grad admissions may represent the department's failure to emphasize the importance of the Math subject GRE exam. The CS department is also too small given the recent surge in demand for CS courses. Note that these observations are incomplete given the author's unfamiliarity with other departments. While interaction with professors is easily attained and is of good quality, especially in the math department, which is quite large, generally professors aren't well known. This can be a disadvantage for grad-school applicants whose competitors from state or Ivy institutions generally have recommendations from well known professors. This can be easily remedied by post-Swarthmore research assistantships, but is a fact that should be noted. So aspiring PhD's who like the `feel' of Swarthmore should feel confident enrolling.
Swarthmore may not serve all pre-med students equally well. While I have not pursued the pre-med track, it should be noted that it is frequently said that Swarthmore's Chem department treats all students as potential PhD students. This seems to make pre-med courses harder than perhaps those at other institutions, which are designed specifically for the pre-med student. If you're particularly good at Chemistry and enjoy the subject, this shouldn't be a big deal. But it's worth noting that, perhaps unsurprisingly, some students struggle on the pre-med track, and that pre-med students may find their coursework easier at other institutions. However, Swarthmore students do pretty well in the med-school application process nevertheless.
Finally, students *certainly* intent upon going on to Wall Street should probably not come to Swarthmore. Swarthmore does not have the connections that Ivies have, and most big i-bank/consulting firms don't recruit from Swat. Further, Swarthmore doesn't offer the courses that an aspiring iBanker would probably want. Swarthmore students may be successful at getting into b-school after college, but they will struggle to get a job immediately after graduation on Wall Street. All together, however, Swarthmore has served me well. Its food may not be the best, and its housing infrastructure isn't as great as some of its peers, but its academics, student support, financial aid, proximity to Philadelphia, funding for various groups, and facilities are pretty great. If interested in a small college experience and one's interest fall into an area that Swarthmore does well (as I've noted above), then Swarthmore is an excellent choice.