Elizabethtown College - Colleges of Distinction - Colleges of Distinction
Elizabethtown College
Elizabethtown College is dedicated to ensuring that its students develop the tools to become...

Elizabethtown College

Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania

Elizabethtown College is a selective, independent, residential, coeducational college located on 203-acres in south central Pennsylvania. Its approximately 1,800 undergraduates hail from nearly 30 states and 40 countries.


The Elizabethtown College educational experience blends a high standard of scholarship with the commitment to educate its students in a relationship-centered learning community, foster international and cross-cultural perspectives, complement classroom instruction with experiential-learning opportunities, and prepare its students for purposeful lives and meaningful work. These ideals are blended in the College’s four Signature Learning Experiences—real-world educational opportunities; field placement, supervised research, or portfolio development; cross-cultural experiences; and community-based learning. The Signature Learning Experiences challenge students to think beyond the classroom, traveling across borders and going behind the scenes.


As Elizabethtown College students are challenged to take responsibility for the direction of their education and embark on a journey of self-transformation, the specific Signature Learning Experiences are unique from one student to the next, helping to make the Elizabethtown experience distinctive from other colleges.

Student Profile

Fall 2015 Enrollment
1,762 undergraduate students
99% of undergrad students are full time
38% male — 62% female
36% of students are from out of state

Faculty Profile

2015-2016 Academic Year
129 full-time faculty
50 part-time faculty
12 to 1 student/faculty ratio

Residence Life

Fall 2015
97% of first year students live on campus
87% of all students live on campus

School Location

Elizabethtown College, located on the East Coast in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, is a short drive from Hershey, Lancaster, and the Pennsylvania state capital of Harrisburg. Day trippers can enjoy the vibrant offerings of Baltimore, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and New York City, or they may go on outdoor adventures along the Susquehanna River, Appalachian Trail, Poconos, Chesapeake Bay, and Delaware Water Gap.

High-Impact Practices

Read more about the importance of High-Impact Practices 

First-Year Seminars and Experiences X
Common Intellectual Experiences X
Learning Communities X
Writing-Intensive Courses X
Collaborative Assignments and Projects X
Undergraduate Research X
Diversity/Global Learning X
Service Learning, Community-Based Learning X
Internships/Coops/Practicums X
Capstone Courses and Projects/Senior Experience X

Retention Fall 2015

82% of students began in Fall 2014 and returned in Fall 2015 (full time, first time freshmen)

6 Year Graduation Rate 2015

78% of students graduated in 6 years


Nonresident aliens 3%
Hispanic/Latino 4%
Black or African American 3%
White 86%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0%
Asian 2%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 2%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown 0%


Proudly wearing their blue and gray, the Elizabethtown College Blue Jays have 22 NCAA Division III varsity athletic teams in the Landmark Conference. Standout teams include Women’s Basketball with more than 1,000 wins, Baseball, which reached the Landmark championship series in 2016; Women’s Cross Country with nine straight conference championships since 2007; nationally ranked Men’s Soccer with more than 800 all-time wins; Women’s Tennis, which has seen seven consecutive conference championships; Men’s Cross Country with 14 conference championships since 2000; Field Hockey with 600 wins; and Men’s Lacrosse, which reached the Landmark championship game in 2016.

Other Information

The College was chartered in 1899 by members of the Church of the Brethren and is molded by a commitment to educate for service.

More Distinctions

  • Elizabethtown College was named top U.S. producer of Fulbright students among bachelor’s institutions by the Chronicle of Higher Education and has had more James A. Finnegan Fellows than any other institution.

  • Elizabethtown College’s Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies is the location of the foremost experts in Amish Studies.

  • The College is home to the Social Enterprise Institute, where faculty members and students come together to create real business solutions to solve persistent social problems.

  • Elizabethtown College was one of 115 colleges and universities to receive the Community Engagement Classification from the The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in 2010.


Elizabethtown College offers the Momentum experience to first-generation college students whose families are unfamiliar with the transition to college. Momentum students arrive on campus a week prior to fall orientation, easing into the college lifestyle with plenty of time to adjust. Throughout this early week, the students attend workshops for academic and personal development and go on field trips that build camaraderie with their new peers.

The Summer Scholarship, Creative Arts, and Research Projects

All Elizabethtown College students are invited to take part in The Summer Scholarship, Creative Arts, and Research Projects (SCARP) program, which supports independent student research under the sponsorship of a faculty mentor. For participating students, the program is designed to enhance professional skills and provide a competitive advantage in the pursuit of career opportunities and graduate studies.

Scholarship and Creative Arts Days

Scholarship and Creative Arts Day (SCAD) is an annual conference in which select students present academic research in their respective disciplines; some showcase talents through recitals and a juried art exhibit. All Elizabethtown College students are encouraged to share their ideas and show their creativity during SCAD. Those interested in participating in SCAD find a faculty mentor who will sponsor the project and who will review a 250-word proposal that describes the student’s research and summarize his or her conclusions. Otherwise, performance and exhibit proposals list the musical pieces to be performed, the styles of dance, or the media used. Faculty approval and submission of the abstract constitutes the acceptance into SCAD.

The Social Enterprise Institute

The Social Enterprise Institute (SEI) brings together faculty members, community members, industry fellows, and students to collaborate on initiatives that create sustainable social and economic value domestically and internationally. SEI presents an opportunity for the College to make a significant social impact. Many social enterprises look, feel, and operate like traditional businesses; however, their missions are the drivers for the organization, with income generation playing an important supporting role. Often a social enterprise is owned, at least in part, by a non-profit organization that is using entrepreneurial methods to accomplish social goals and which provides its profits to its owner(s) for use in continuing their core mission.

Activities Offered

Campus Ministries X
Choral groups X
Concert band X
Dance X
Drama/theater X
International Student Organization X
Jazz band X
Literary magazine X
Marching band  
Model UN  
Music ensembles X
Musical theater X
Pep band  
Radio station X
Student government X
Student newspaper X
Student-run film society  
Symphony orchestra X
Television station X
Yearbook X

First-Year Seminars

First-Year Seminars are topical in nature. Each has a unique focus that allows students to broaden their understanding of the world and what it means to learn. Seminars are especially helpful for developing skills in critical thinking and writing. No seminar is grounded in a particular major, as Elizabethtown College wants its students to become well-rounded scholars. Each seminar includes out-of-class learning experiences, including plays, lectures, art exhibits, film screenings, and field trips to museums in Philadelphia and Washington or hiking destinations along the Appalachian Trail.

Sophomore-Year Experience

Elizabethtown College created the Sophomore-Year Experience (SYE) to tackle the sense of drift—or “sophomore slump”—that is reported by sophomores nationwide. The SYE is designed to ease the transition from the structured programs of the first year to the more independent programs, such as internships and research experiences, associated with the junior and senior years. During the Sophomore-Year Experience, students explore traditional and communal experiences while integrating the College’s CORE majors and minors. With this in mind, they look more closely at vocation and life purpose while attending retreats, social events specific to sophomores, and a majors and minors fair.

Core Program

The structure of the Core Program supports the academic goals expressed in Elizabethtown College’s mission statement. Core is fluid, with courses moving in and out of the Core Program each year.

Common Core

Arts/fine arts X
Computer literacy  
English (including composition) X
Foreign languages X
Humanities X
Mathematics X
Sciences (biological or physical) X
Social science X

Class Size Breakdown

Size 2-9 10-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50-99 100+ Total
Number of Classes 80 176 70 66 5 4 0 401

A Tradition of Community

As a liberal arts college, Elizabethtown College is committed to educating the whole student within a relationship-centered learning community. Common goals are achieved through engagement in a rigorous academic curriculum and through thoughtful co-curricular experiences. Elizabethtown College students are encouraged to develop and challenge their own values while seeking to understand and appreciate alternative perspectives.

Elizabethtown promotes the developmental, collaborative, and complex nature of learning within an ever-changing global context. It thrives on a sense of community by offering warm traditions such as the first-year Pledge of Integrity; the candle lighting ceremony that officially opens the academic year; the formal Thanksgiving Dinner served family style by faculty and staff members, alumni, and community volunteers; and a holiday tree lighting, complete with a story read by the College president.

Ware Lecture on Peacemaking

The Ware Lecture on Peacemaking, which takes place in the spring, has brought Nobel Peace Prize recipients, influential journalists, and political leaders from around the world to Elizabethtown College. Past speakers include Kim Phuc, the Vietnam War “Napalm Girl”; Nicholas Kristof, a Pulitzer Prize-Winning New York Times Columnist; Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland and chair of Realizing Rights: The Ethical Global Initiative; and Shirin Ebadi, Nobel Peace Prize recipient and founder of the Association for Support of Children’s Rights in Iran. The fall Leffler Lecture also features speakers of national and international renown including Michele Norris, former NPR host of All Things Considered and founder of the Race Card Project, and John Hunter, educator and inventor of the World Peace Game.

Living Learning Communities

The College offers Living Learning Communities (LLC), which mix the curricular, co-curricular, and residential components of a student’s college life. The LLCs focus on academics and activities that related to specific courses, programs of study, or themes. Past LLCs have centered on eating disorder awareness, service and mentorship through jazz, developing activities for older citizens, simple living, and hunger and homelessness awareness. LLCs have a positive impact on academic performance and intellectual development, as they offer a sense of belonging and civic engagement. Service work is a requirement of all LLCs.

Groups and Organizations

Elizabethtown College offers groups and organizations that bring students together in areas of interest such as Melica – a Capella Group, Stamps Scholars Society, Young Americans For Liberty, Ultimate Frisbee Club, Secular Student Alliance of Elizabethtown College, Sketch Comedy Club, Queer Student Union, Social Enterprise Club, and Ice Hockey Club.

Community and Civic Engagement Certificate Program

E-town offers the Community and Civic Engagement Certificate Program to students interested in integrating curricular and co-curricular learning that is focused on social justice in local, national and international communities. The program is designed as an experiential, community-based service learning opportunity as students investigate social inequities such as poverty and homelessness throughout their academic program of study. Service and community-based learning is considered a high-impact educational practice which includes civic knowledge, intercultural knowledge and competence, ethical reasoning and action, and foundations and skills for lifelong learning.

Campus Housing Options for Undergraduates

Coed dorms X
Men’s dorms  
Women’s dorms  
Apartments for married students  
Apartments for single students X
Special housing for disabled students X
Special housing for international students X
Fraternity/sorority housing  
Cooperative housing X
Theme housing  
Wellness housing X
Other housing options X


Other: First-Year

Signature Learning Experiences

Each Elizabethtown College student is guaranteed to complete at least two of five Signature Learning Experiences (SLEs)—real-world educational opportunities; internship, practicum, or field placement; supervised research; capstone course, project of development of a portfolio; cross-cultural experience; or community-based learning. Signature Learning Experiences are real-world educational opportunities that challenge students to think beyond their textbooks. The SLEs encourage students to peek behind the scenes and to travel across borders, physical and cultural, to expand their base of knowledge. The College calls them “signature” experiences because, from student to student, they are as unique. SLEs are what truly make the Elizabethtown experience unique from other colleges.

Outstanding Achievement

Elizabethtown College ranks among the country’s highest value-added higher education institutions, according to a study by the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program.

Notable alumni include:

  • William Edwin Foster ’54 was head men’s basketball coach at Bloomsburg State (now Bloomsburg University), Rutgers University, University of Utah, Duke University, University of South Carolina and Northwestern University. He is best known for guiding Duke to the NCAA championship game in 1978. He also was named 1978 Coach of the Year by the National Association of Basketball Coaches.
  • Dale High ’63 H’93 an industrialist and chair emeritus of Lancaster, Pennsylvania-based High Industries Inc.
  • Eugene (Gene) Garber ’69 was a major league baseball pitcher for 19 year for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Kansas City Royals, Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves.
  • Jeffrey B. Miller ’95 H’13 is the former commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police, known for his handling of the Nickel Mines (Pennsylvania) School shooting, and former senior vice president of security for the National Football League. He is senior vice president of MSA Security where he plays a key role in the company’s strategic growth and business development within the areas sports and entertainment. He previously served on Gov. Edward Rendell’s cabinet
  • Martina White ’10 is a Republican member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for the 170th District, elected in 2015.



3,453 Total Applicants
2,442 Total Admissions
504 Total Freshmen Enrollment

70.72% of applicants admitted

Admissions Deadlines for 2016-17 Admission

Rolling admission? No

Closing date: Aug 15
Priority date: Feb 1


Very Important
Rigor of secondary school record

Class rank
Academic GPA
Standardized test scores

Application Essay
Extracurricular activities
Character/personal qualities
First generation
Alumni/ae relation
Geographical residence
State residency
Religious affiliation/commitment
Racial/ethnic status
Volunteer work
Work experience
Level of applicant’s interest

Freshmen Profile Fall 2015

  25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Critical Reading 500 610
SAT Math 500 620
SAT Writing    
SAT Essay    
ACT Composite 23 28
ACT Math 21 27
ACT English 21 28
ACT Writing    

Application Information

Elizabethtown has a 12:1 student to faculty ratio in 50-plus majors and minors. Application is accepted via the Common App or the Elizabethtown College online application. Campus visits and overnight stays can be scheduled through the Admissions Office. Open House and Department Days events offer more focused experiences. 





Tuition $43,490
Room and Board (on campus) $10,560
Estimated Total On Campus $54,050


Average Financial Aid Packages 2015-16 FINAL

$30,948 First year students
$25,140 All undergrads

Financial Aid Breakdown 2015-16 FINAL

78.74% on average, the percentage of need that was met
20% of financial need students that had need fully met

$25,140 Average need-based scholarship or grant award
$4,537 Average need-based loan

Aid Information

At Elizabethtown College, 95 percent of students receive financial aid directly from the College. The College offered $11 million in grants and scholarships to the first-year students, alone. Three quarters of all aid comes from endowed scholarships, need-based aid or merit-based aid.