What's in a Name, Yes! | Earlham College Skip to Content

In case there is any doubt, we want to reassure you about the pronunciation of Earlham. It is simply “Earl-am (um).” The “h” is silent. While some may struggle initially in pronouncing our name, there is no mistaking the national regard for Earlham College. We invite you to explore the quality of our undergraduate academic programs, meaningful opportunities for student involvement and leadership, and our commitment to service and social justice. We are confident in who we are. It is gratifying nonetheless that public recognition of Earlham has contributed to its standing as one of the nation’s leading colleges of the liberal arts and sciences.

Earlham is proud to be among the 40 colleges chosen by Loren Pope for inclusion in his book Colleges That Change Lives, first published in 1996.

Colleges -that -change -lives -cover -13-14Pope, now deceased, was a former journalist and education editor at The New York Times; he devoted over 30 years to counseling parents and students about making college choices.

In his widely acclaimed college guide, Pope focused on liberal arts colleges that "not only equip youths to live full lives but they work their magic on a variety of aptitudes, academic and others as important…. Every one of these catalytic places will push and stretch you beyond what you think possible, but they won't let you fall."

Pope emphasizes the learning that takes place in these colleges: "Learning is collaborative rather than competitive; values are central; there is a strong sense of community. They are places of great synergy…."

Beyond the Book

Colleges That Change Lives, Inc., (CTCL) is a non-profit organization that promotes a student-centered college search process. In 1998 the CTCL colleges began working together to extend Pope's approach to helping students find the right college fit. They developed a website and began a nationwide series of college fairs and individual information sessions that continues today.

Watch CTCL's calendar to find out when representatives will be in your area.

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Deibel -Chemistry _0_0U.S. News and World Report ranks Earlham College among top national liberal arts colleges in a variety of categories. U.S. News ranks 229 national liberal arts colleges.

In the 2019 edition of U.S. News’ annual “Best Colleges” guidebook, Earlham ranks 14th for value and 22nd for having a strong commitment to undergraduate teaching, a recognition reserved for just 33 liberal arts colleges.

“We appreciate U.S. News’ recognition of our commitment to making the best of a liberal arts education as affordable as possible for students and their families,” Interim President Avis Stewart says. “At Earlham, the classroom experience is truly remarkable, but it is just the beginning. We believe in offering every student access to the kinds of experiences they need to develop the skills most valued in the 21st century while also giving them the confidence to navigate some of the world’s most pressing challenges from multiple disciplines and perspectives. The learning environment that our students and faculty create together is truly transformative.”


Working in college admissions for forty years, Peter Arango has counseled hundreds of students and families over his career. Earlham is honored to be among Peter's list of institutions considered to be hidden gems for their academic rigor and teaching excellence.

Quotes from the Book

  • College -secrets -2011"Generally seen by its collegiate neighbors as somewhat "quirky," Earlham students might better be characterized as "authentic." … In fact, one of the first observations that many visitors make about Earlham is that the campus is spiffy, students look great, and the tone of the college is almost uniformly cheerfully productive."
  • "As is true with all of Earlham's programs, however, the primary focus is student engagement. … Earlham may be the college most attractive to students from outside the region, one of the few Quaker Colleges, and perhaps one of the most 'Quakerly.' Although Earlham has a graduate program for teachers (M.A.T.), it is primarily an eminently well-respected liberal arts college, most notable for its historic mission."
  • "A major difference between Earlham and the other colleges to which it might be compared is in the closeness of faculty to students. Every college touts the accessibility of its faculty to undergraduates; at Earlham, those relationships are best described as respectful friendships; the faculty, as authentic as Earlham's students, has joined in a partnership with these active and socially committed learners on this handsome campus. One hallmark of the relationships established at Earlham is that all in the community are called by first name; there are no honorifics - Doctor, Professor, etc. It will come as no surprise that Earlham is also one of the Colleges That Change Lives."
  • "So, call it 'quirky' or call it 'authentic'; the Earlham experience is distinctive, challenging, and highly worthwhile."

Nothing speaks to the protected value of your college investment like the success of a college’s alumni. Earlham ranks 29th —ninth in life sciences — among 1,533 institutions of higher learning in the United States in the percentage of graduates who go on to receive Ph.D.s. And that doesn’t include the many Earlham graduates who attend the nation’s top medical, law and business professional schools.

In addition, Earlham graduates from the past five years have earned such prestigious awards as the Rhodes Scholarship, the Fulbright teaching assistantship, the Watson Fellowship, the National Science Foundation Pre-Doctoral Fellowship, the Samuel Huntington Public Service Award, and a Fellowship at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

In 2016, the Clinton Global Initiative awarded the $1 million Hult Prize to the Earlham “Magic Bus” team out of over 25,000 entries. The Magic Bus team will implement its idea for improving transportation in developing nations. Earlham alumni are making an impact in all 50 states and over 60 countries as scientists, executives, teachers, lawyers, ministers, writers and concerned, involved citizens.

Kiplinger LogoEarlham College has once again been recognized as one of the country’s best values for a private liberal arts education. In its annual rankings published in December 2017, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance includes Earlham in an exclusive list of just 300 institutions that offer high-quality academics at a reasonable cost.

According to Kiplinger’s, Earlham exemplifies the attributes parents and students look for in higher education, including small class sizes, a good freshman retention rate and a high four-year graduation rate.

Kiplinger’s criteria include the student admission rate (the number of students accepted out of those who apply), the test scores of incoming freshmen, the ratio of students to faculty members, and the four- and five-year graduation rates. On the cost side, Kiplinger’s measures the sticker price, the availability and average amount of need-based and merit-based financial aid, and the average student debt at graduation.

“Our rankings, which weigh affordability alongside academic quality, are a great resource for students and their parents when sorting through college choices,” said Mark Solheim, editor of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine. “We start with a universe of nearly 1,200 schools and trim the list using measures of academic quality. We then rank the schools based on cost and financial aid data. All 300 schools on our list are worth a look.”

Fiske -2018Information for this selective guide of 300 institutions comes from questionnaires sent to administrators and a cross-section of students. Earlham is one of just 38 colleges and universities recognized as a "Best Buy" in Fiske's 2018 guide.

Quote from the Book

"Although Earlham students are based in the Midwest, they graduate ready to take on the world, thanks to the school's cooperative, can-do spirit, international perspective, and caring student/faculty community."

Visit the website for the Fiske Guide to Colleges.

  • We are 15th for diversity among all liberal arts colleges, according to BestColleges.com.
  • According to U.S. News and World Report, Earlham ranks 4th in the nation for the percentage of international students on campus.
  • With The EPIC Advantage, Earlham is one of the only institutions in the country to offer a funded internship or research experience to all students.
  • In the last 10 years, Earlhamites have won 26 Fulbright awards and 12 Watson Fellowships — two of the most prestigious grants for international study.
  • Earlham is ranked 7th nationally for "Best Classroom Experience" and 20th for "Most Active Student Government" in the 2019 Princeton Review's guide of best colleges.

While we are glad to share these accolades about Earlham with you, we remain convinced that the best way for you to appreciate Earlham is to talk directly with students, faculty, and alumni. Please contact the Admission Office (1-800-EARLHAM or 1-800-327-5426) so that our staff can help you connect with those who have first-hand knowledge of the Earlham experience.

Earlham College, an independent, residential college, aspires to provide the highest-quality undergraduate education in the liberal arts, including the sciences, shaped by the distinctive perspectives of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).

Earlham College
801 National Road West
Richmond, Indiana
1-765-983-1200 — Main Switchboard
1-800-EARLHAM (327-5426) — Admission


Earlham admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin, age, gender and sexual orientation to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin, age, gender and sexual orientation in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletics and other school-administered programs.