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Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges

3.97  ·  Rating Details  ·  509 Ratings  ·  72 Reviews
Prospective college students and their parents have been relying on Loren Pope's expertise since 1995, when he published the first edition of this indispensable guide. This new edition profiles 41 colleges—all of which outdo the Ivies and research universities in producing performers, not only among A students but also among those who get Bs and Cs. Contents include:

Paperback, 320 pages
Published July 25th 2006 by Penguin Books (first published September 1st 2000)
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Kris Hintz
Mar 30, 2011 Kris Hintz rated it it was amazing
As a college consultant, I recommend the late Loren Pope's classic book to my clients, but not as a guide to specific schools. What is most worthwhile is Pope's well-articulated point of view that college is not an exercise in grabbing the prestigious brass ring, or getting one's ticket punched for a first job. It is something much more.

College is an integral part of the personal and professional development that a young adult needs to experience in our sophisticated, complex society. It is a "l
May 09, 2011 Nancy rated it really liked it
I read the introductory chapters carefully, then skimmed over the chapters of only several of the 40 colleges profiled. I certainly learned something from this author, who has many years of experience working in the higher education filed. He discourages the Ivies and other large research colleges, noting that: the professors often are more passionate about their research than teaching; classes often are taught by teaching assistants; there is little opportunity for personal relationships betwee ...more
Oct 30, 2012 Lori rated it it was amazing
Outstanding book for any parent who is getting sucked into the name brand college vortex. Much to be learned from this book.
Jun 10, 2011 Dan rated it it was ok
Shelves: education
Colleges That Change Lives is an important contribution to the ongoing conversation about college choice, and when it was published, it was somewhat revolutionary. Readers get a sense of the college landscape circa 1996, and certainly gain an understanding of the author's biases toward "good, small colleges."

Yet Pope displays his age when he makes comments like lauding (in paraphrase) a feisty girl who wrote comments to the college CHALK...on the SIDEWALK!...but it's all okay
Robert Jenkins
Apr 01, 2013 Robert Jenkins rated it liked it
This book is amazing resource to help start a college list. What I really did like about it is that it talked about each school from a academic, social, and economic stand point. It also successfully explains it in language that make the schools appealing to both a parent and the prospective student, which is key when you are trying to find a school that the parent finds safe for their children to live at but not have it be a bore fest for the student. However, one flaw of this book is that I c ...more
May 25, 2015 Melissa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reference
There is some good information in here, but it is so couched in an extremely heavy-handed bias against selective institutions, public schools, land grant and research universities, larger schools...such broad and inaccurate sweeping generalizations make it sound as though students who attend any institution other than these are throwing their money away.

Yes, each of these 40 colleges do merit a look for students who wouldn't otherwise be competitive for selective institutions. Students who are
Nov 30, 2008 Christina rated it really liked it
Recommended to Christina by: Mom
Shelves: education, 2008-reads
This book takes a realistic look at about 40 colleges which are outside the mainstream but which are fairing better than the ivy league and super well known schools in terms of the success of their students in the real world.I would recommend this book to any one who is embarking on college visits and searches.

It opened my eyes to small colleges out there and I’ve found two more, Clark and Hampshire, that I really want to visit.
Nov 03, 2014 Franz rated it liked it
Useful guide that uses different criteria from the typical college rankings done by various magazines. The focus here is on small second- and third-tier liberal arts colleges who give students more personal attention in the form of closer interaction with their professors and more intimate intellectual exchanges with other students. These are the sorts of places where questioning and discussion are encouraged along with interdisciplinary inquiry and undergraduates standing along side their profe ...more
Jun 24, 2014 Jamie rated it it was ok
Although this book is well thought out and helpful to students in the college-search process, it is not fair to believe that one man knows all about all schools. As someone that works at at CTCL school, I do have to admit that it is accurate in how it depicts institutions; however, there are some really great schools out there that are going unrecognized in this book. Use this as a guide, but not as an end all for your search. All colleges change lives and just because a school is not in this bo ...more
Feb 29, 2016 Jackie rated it it was ok
I kept thinking 'yes, but' while I was skimming through this.

Yes, these are all great schools, but do I see my son at any of them? Mmmm, I'm not so sure.

The basic message to look beyond the most highly-sought after schools is one I agree with. We plan to check out a range of schools - large and small, near and far, public and private. At some point (I'm hoping) the right choice will make itself clear.

I would also recommend 'David and Goliath' by Malcolm Gladwell for parents of college-bound st
Maria Catherino
Mar 09, 2014 Maria Catherino rated it it was amazing
Ought to be called "The Book that Changes Lives about Colleges that Change Lives" but that would be kind of cumbersome. This books was an invaluble tool in selecting schools. I never would have dreamed about attending a private liberal arts college as a transfer student before I read it. These schools have amazing reputations, wonderful academics and invest just as much into their students as much as their students invest in them. Every high school juinior, senior and community college student s ...more
Angela Boord
Jan 31, 2010 Angela Boord rated it really liked it
Even though my son is only 13, I'm glad I read this book. It helped to answer many of the worries I have as a homeschooling mother soon to embark on homeschooling high school. (It does have a very brief section addressing homeschoolers.) After reading this book, it's clear that anyone who wants to go to a 4 year school probably can. The key is finding a good fit, which might be (the author would say "would be") better accomplished by looking at small liberal arts colleges than at prestigious uni ...more
Jun 28, 2012 Cindi rated it liked it
Shelves: education, 2012
This book is super until you realize that you will have to mortgage your life away to send your kids to any of these schools. Having read it, I'm a little sorry I picked it up. I want what the author describes at these colleges for my kids, but I can't see that we could ever send them. Too bad. I even went so far as to fill out a form for one of the colleges. It turns out that we'd need to find 21,000 dollars per year to send our child there. In four years, that's more than our HOUSE is worth!

Jan 31, 2011 Melinda rated it really liked it
This book was a real breath of fresh air about where students can be educated, really educated, outside of the "name" universities. The quote, "I fear that liberal education in the research universities, despite the recent hoopla, is a project in ruins.", written in 2005 by Dr. Stanley N. Katz, director of Princeton's Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies who is himself a Harvard University alum, starts off the book.

But liberal education outside of the Ivies is alive and well in the four y
Jul 07, 2014 Karyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: counseling
Read this book a few years back, but wanted to get the most recent edition for my office bookshelf. This book really challenges students to look at schools in a way that is often lacking in Northern VA. I love that he addresses students with learning difficulties, along with those in the academic middle.

I feel like this book is a must read (at least the introducation) for any college bound student.
Sep 13, 2013 Ariele rated it liked it
I'm not sure my oldest kid is a great fit for any of the schools profiled here-and not sure we could afford them! It's a good book, a bit dated, but a great reminder that essentially, finding the right college is about finding a place that is a great fit, where you can learn how to think and what inspires you. There are lots of great fits. If you are honest with yourself as you go through the selection and application process, then you can sift through the acceptances and select the one that fee ...more
Jun 23, 2016 Lynn added it
Shelves: nonfiction
It's interesting to read about the key qualities good colleges have in common. This was useful information while gathering potential colleges with my son that he want's to check out.

However, I don't think you need to limit yourself to the list in this book. There are other good small colleges that follow similar models. Also of note, I read the updated/revised version of this book.
Although this book is useful for finding colleges not on the typical ambitious high schooler's search list, I found that the book is too anecdotal and generalized. There is also a lot of criticism directed towards the blue blood schools which makes me a bit skeptical of the author's intent. It is almost as if the author has a chip on the shoulder and is trying to dismiss the elite schools.
Claire Mcgovern
Apr 27, 2015 Claire Mcgovern rated it it was amazing
This is a must read. Now that it seems as though college is just around the corner, it can be very hard to find the right school or get an idea of the right school. These aren't all schools with a well-known name, and it's interesting to see how sometimes the school that you never heard of can be the most important one in the entire college searching process.
May 10, 2013 Scolumbus rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found this to be a very informative book. I really had not given a lot of thought to the difference between small liberal arts schools and big name universities other than the obvious: size and student population. I learned a lot about what a liberal arts education means in the first few chapters and read about some of the colleges that are highlighted. I got the book after visiting The New College of Florida which is listed in the book (and is a public school) and is one of the few that has n ...more
Hannah Fiore
Jan 11, 2015 Hannah Fiore rated it liked it
I remember being really bitter when I read this booking, seeing him slam all the big name schools to which I dreamed of applying. However, now that I go to Denison, which is one of the schools featured in the book, I think he has some wonderful ideas, haha.
Jan 18, 2015 Molly rated it really liked it
I'm so glad this book exists and I wish there were more similar resources to show high schoolers that so much more than stats and "prestige" matter when considering a school. The only criticisms I have of this book is that by now, some of it is dated and Pope's portraits are, IMO, entirely too rosy. I went to a CTCL school and think there are a lot of downsides Pope misses. Fortunately, CTCL is also an organization that hosts college fairs for youth and their families. Not only do they provide o ...more
Nov 04, 2014 Myos rated it really liked it
While I don't necessarily agree with the author on everything, I must say this is a thoughtful book that will make you look at colleges differently. An update would be welcome though.
Cynthia Hoffman
Aug 23, 2015 Cynthia Hoffman rated it really liked it
My son ended up at one of these colleges. We are enthusiastic about it. Suggest that students consider the benefits of some of these options.
I wanted for so long to read this, then finally read it and was sooo disappointed. It HATED Ivy League schools!
Tracy Clement
It wasn't the right book for me. The choices of schools and the type of student that it's mainly written for are too limited for me. For others, this is probably a bonus to the book. Plus the information seemed a little outdated.
Isaboe of Lumatere
I'm not entirely sure why I read this when I was less than 15 years old! *shrug*
Nov 01, 2014 Amy rated it really liked it
This is a great resource to think about college selection differently.
Barbara Schultz
Jul 29, 2014 Barbara Schultz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great!!! Every high school counselor needs to have on their book shelf :)
Butch Hamilton
Jul 11, 2012 Butch Hamilton rated it it was amazing
Ok, I am biased since I am a graduate of one of the schools profiled (Allegheny College). Given my profession (college advisor), I have been able to visit a number of the schools listed in Pope's book and many others (206 at last count). That being said, CTCL schools are a breed apart. Yes, they will cost more and students will have to work harder (some may have to do a thesis and defend it - gasp!), but it is worth it.

Whether it is Goucher or Rhodes or the College of Wooster, students with col
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Loren Brooks Pope was an American writer and independent college placement counselor.

In 1965, Pope, a former education editor of The New York Times, founded the College Placement Bureau, one of the first independent college placement counseling services in the United States.

His first book, "The Right College: How to Get In, Stay In, Get Back In" (Macmillan, 1970), was followed by a nationally synd
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