Early last week, I traveled down to Indianapolis to join 30 or so other college counselors (mostly high school counselors but also a handful of educational consultants like myself) on a bus tour of several of Indiana’s independent colleges and universities. The tour was put together and hosted by the wonderful folks at the Independent Colleges of Indiana (ICI) and was a wonderful opportunity for me to finally visit many of the schools I’ve long known by name and reputation only.
Our first stop Monday morning was at Earlham College in nearby Richmond, Indiana. A member of the Great Lakes Colleges Association (GLCA), a consortium of 25 Midwestern colleges and universities who are banded together in the interest of promoting and enhancing liberal arts education, Earlham is a Quaker institution and boasts an international student population of about 20 percent of their just over 1,100 students – quite impressive and diverse! In addition, students come to Earlham from 43 different states.
One of the truly unique facets of the Earlham student experience is the inclusion of students (and their opinions!) in every facet of the college’s governance. Students are part of committees to decide faculty tenure decisions and are even included in conversations and the decision-making process concerning the school’s budget. As a result, students at Earlham learn to examine the bigger picture in all situations and are very socially and politically conscious. (Eco-awareness plays a significant role on campus – in addition to traditional recycling stations for paper, plastic, and metal, I spotted battery recycling stations as well!)
The two most popular majors on Earlham’s campus are psychology and biology – though a newly renovated theatre arts space may give those programs a run for their money when it’s completed this fall. Building improvements are also currently in the works for the science facilities and the administrative and admission office spaces.
For equestrians, Earlham is also unique, in that (to the best of my knowledge) they currently have the only fully student-managed equestrian center in the country. The stables are run as a student co-op, with students taking responsibility for all aspects of horse care, facility maintenance, and even the instruction of riding lessons for their fellow students and for local riders from the Richmond community. (More information about the program is available here.) Boarding is limited due to the number of stalls in the barn (21 regular stalls plus four pony-sized stalls) but daily turnout is available and they have an outdoor and indoor arena so that boarders can train year-round. They have an IHSA hunt seat team and are coached by a recent Indiana transplant who came up from Wellington, Florida.
Could Earlham be the right fit for your college years? The best way to find out is to visit campus yourself – or you can contact me and we can see if it’s a good addition for your list!