College Guides & Rankings, About | Earlham College
COVID-19 news, plans and updates | READ MORE
Skip to Content

College Guides & Rankings

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.

Ctcl -375

Best -385Earlham College boasts some of the nation’s best classroom experiences, according to The Princeton Review’s Best 385 Colleges. For its 2020 guide, released in August 2019, The Princeton Review ranks Earlham as one of the nation’s 20 best classroom experiences. This is the second consecutive year Earlham has received this prestigious recognition.

This ranking is based on students' answers to several survey questions during the last two years, including how they rate their professors, the quality of their classroom and lab facilities, the amount of in-class time devoted to discussion, and the percent of classes they attend.

Earlham students surveyed by Princeton Review describe the classroom experience as “rigorous,” interesting” and “engaging,” and praise the College for its low student-to-faculty ratio that encourages a “strong and close connection with professors.”

Read More

Forbes LogoEarlham ranks is in the top 20 percent of the nation’s 650 colleges and universities and in the Top 25 of all institutions in the midwest, according to Forbes’ 10th annual America's Top Colleges rankings. The College also earned an A for financial health, which considers factors like the amount of endowment spending per student.

According to Forbes, these rankings measure return on investment. Consequently, schools with impressive “outputs” rank well. “Our sights are set directly on ROI: What are students getting out of college?”

Colleges are scored on measures of post-graduate success, student satisfaction, graduation rates, student debt levels and national recognition. The rankings are calculated for Forbes by the Center for College Affordability & Productivity and are highlighted in the August issue of Forbes magazine and online at

Earlham’s strong graduate outcomes are made possible by the College’s distinctive approach to the liberal arts, which makes purposeful connections between classroom learning and experiential opportunities like off-campus study, social entrepreneurship, and service. A major new initiative called EPIC is doing even more to enhance this approach by linking what students love with what they want to do with their life, including one guaranteed funded research or internship experience for all students before graduation.

Earlham has produced Nobel laureates, Rhodes Scholars, and winners of the Pulitzer Prize, Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Golden Globe Award. Last fall, four Earlhamites became winners of the Hult Prize, a $1 million start-up accelerator billed as the world’s largest student competition for social good.

Deibel -Chemistry _0_0Earlham College has earned new recognition from U.S. News and World Report as one of the nation’s “Most Innovative Schools.”

In the 2020 edition of U.S. News’ “Best Colleges” guidebook, Earlham is featured as one of 55 institutions taking a pioneering approach in the areas of academics, campus life, technology or facilities. Earlham stands alongside other leading liberal arts colleges including Bates, Carleton, Oberlin and Amherst, in warranting the recognition.

Earlham also maintains its reputation as a national leader among all liberal arts colleges for academic quality, diversity, and affordability in the popular resource for college-bound students and their families. Earlham ranks 25th on U.S. News’ lists for “Best Undergraduate Teaching,” 34th for “Best Value,” and 7th for the percentage of international students on campus.

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 Feature _3_300Information for this selective guide of 300 institutions comes from questionnaires sent to administrators and a cross-section of students. 

The 2021 Fiske Guide highlights Earlham’s commitment to career preparation and its diverse and inclusive campus community.  Also highlighted were students receiving personal attention from faculty, the College's global perspective, and funding for every student to participate in an internship or research experience before graduation.

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.

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."
Print Friendly and PDF

Earlham College, an independent, residential college, aspires to provide the highest-quality undergraduate education in the liberal arts and 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 athletic and other school-administered programs.