How are "friendly names" created?

All url changes are done in the "URL path settings" area of the page menu.Drupal initially creates a page url using the following pattern where dashes replace spaces between words and all words are lower case: 

swarthmore.edu/[site- name]/[page-title]

For example, you may have a page under the "Admissions" site e.g. "Apply to Swarthmore". 

The generated url would be swarthmore.edu/admissions/apply-to-swarthmore but you'd prefer that it be swarthmore.edu/apply.  You can make this change before the first publish by adding the desired path in the "URL alias" field.  Using the example above the URL alias would simply be "apply"