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

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  919 ratings  ·  113 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 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
Jun 09, 2011 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
Jun 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book is a non-fiction work, for parents and high schoolers, to talk about considering education at smaller schools (under 3,000), and the phenomenal work and experiences that are happening there. It was actually really interesting to read, and we considered visiting or applying to four of the schools on the list. Ultimately, none of them landed on the list, for varying reasons. But it really helped us understand what we were looking at. I might not have even added it to my "books read" list ...more
Oct 30, 2012 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.
May 09, 2011 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
May 06, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a tough book to rate overall.

It's a highly worthwhile read for anyone starting the college search because it not only brings small liberal arts colleges into the conversation it places them on center stage under warm, glowing lights. Each of the 40 colleges profiled gets a writeup of about eight pages that tells you the many reasons it's so wonderful. But lest you think each school is absolutely perfect there's always one relatively harmless criticism to snap the reader back into reality
Elyse D.
Apr 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Totally changed my perspective about liberal arts colleges!! Also super helpful. Really enjoyed reading it... was a bit dry at times and felt kinda repetitive but otherwise good!!
Jan 26, 2011 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
Robert Jenkins
Apr 01, 2013 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
Danielle Shroyer
May 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
As my oldest looks toward college, I can’t seem to find the information I care most about- will this school nurture her to be a curious and thoughtful learner? Will her critical thinking skills truly improve? How do they support and foster the whole person? Will she emerge as someone equipped to do good and be good in the world no matter what she does?

So I’m grateful for this book, which shares information about liberal arts schools doing just that- many of which I’d never heard of before. I fe
Nov 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Christina by: Mom
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 02, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: parenting
An online college counselor recommended reading the Fiske Guide to Colleges. Multiple reviews of that book recommended Colleges That Change Lives as a better resource.

By the time I picked up this book from the library, my daughter already had a list of 8 colleges that she intended to apply to, based mainly on her intended major and location. The early action deadline was coming up, so I didn't take the time to read the entire book. I read the introductory chapters. Then I looked up the website
Jan 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very useful as a way to offer a counterpoint to the pressure many of today’s students place on themselves to get into the most prestigious program they can.

The section before the profiles is the part that was most interesting to us. In addition for making a case for liberal arts schools overall. It provided a lens for why prestige alone may not be the best way to pick programs and makes an argument for looking for what will make the college experience the transformative life experience we all h
Nov 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Solid book about why the colleges described in this book are better than most of the Ivy League schools. The author is critical of the Ivies, claiming that they are primarily research rather than teaching houses. Professors rarely teach, let alone interact with their students. Most students get As and Bs with little effort and find themselves with a prestigious degree at graduation and not much else. In the modern era, competency is more important than the connections that students of the Ivies ...more
Matt Ely
Jul 11, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: education
Out of necessity, it's brief. In trying to cover 40 colleges, many of them can blend together. At the same time, the book does identify some colleges that are truly, fundamentally distinct. You have to read the whole thing, however, to find out which are which.

I wonder if it would be better if there was some way of labeling and categorizing what puts each of these schools on the list. Some seem obvious like St John's (my bias, I go there) with it's Great Books Program or Marlboro with it's stud
Aug 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: education
The first 16 pages are gold, pairs nicely with Excellent Sheep. You don’t have to go to Harvard to have a great college experience - in fact it’s far better if you don’t for so many students.

The colleges are mostly small, liberal arts colleges but that’s the point - they types of places that get overlooked.

My favorite page was the questions you should ask when touring a campus:
What would you change?
How has your experience affected you?
Where do you do for help?
If you email a prof, how l
Mar 14, 2021 rated it liked it
As I sift through multiple books and info on colleges, I found this to be a worthwhile read although probably not for every kid. I agreed with Pope on the pitfalls of a large university but for some, including myself, the large school was the right fit so I didn’t agree with his disregard and biases against those institutions. But for a particular type of student, like my oldest, who wants small, one on one learning and does not care about football/basketball or Greek systems in the least, there ...more
Sep 13, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Of course, the book is a five-star read for the right reader, but it's targeted at a very narrow sector: once you understand what Oswald (building on Loren Pope's work) is looking for in the "Colleges that change lives" category (e.g. a focus on teaching undergraduates, a certain level of opportunity for study abroad and research with faculty, integrated curriculum, etc.) you have basically comprehended the whole book. Each chapter simply explicates how the college in question fits the criteria. ...more
Jan 12, 2018 rated it liked it
As a parent of a kiddo in high school, I'm looking for good advice about liberal arts colleges. Reviews of 40 colleges are divided by location in the USA (Northwest, South, etc). I'm in southern California and there are NO California colleges listed at all. The closest: Reed College in Oregon, two in Washington and one in New Mexico. I've discovered which is a great online tool for colleges, thankfully. I will skim through this book to see what makes the other 40 colleges in this book ...more
Debi G.
Mar 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Jenn Vieman (College Beyond the States) said her search began with this book, so I was curious.

The the author touts the schools in this book as welcoming of B students, and rigorous in ways larger and more flashy schools are not.

Some of the listed schools piqued my interest long ago, others are less interesting because of location. None, I fear, will lure my son because these schools are largely bucolic and pastoral and he wants to live in a city.

It’s tough, I’m sure, to continuously update a
Jul 25, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am indelibly grateful to Loren Pope for researching and writing this eye opening book. There are so many colleges and researching them can be overwhelming. His book helped put my family’s search for the right college in perspective. That said, I would love a spreadsheet included to highlight and organize what each college has to offer. The Colleges That Change Lives website does have some useful tools.
Jan 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is such a fantastic introduction to some exciting American universities. The number of unique and intriguing programs students can find at these institutions is astonishing! These are both off the beaten path, but also schools that have excellent track records for students once they graduate. Many of these colleges are test optional and often take students who haven't necessarily done their best in high school. ...more
Gretchen Aerni
Feb 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I have always been in the mindset of larger state schools and universities. This book gave me great insight into the advantages of smaller liberal arts schools. In looking at schools for my own children, it opened my eyes to these schools and has been looking at them through a new lens. Both types of schools, good, just different. Great read.
this book just feels like words on a page, i didn't learn anything i didn't already know and the writing felt redundant and like it was written by an 80 year old man who is out of touch with the world. this book feels like a collection of essays that are all the same which have the college names and quotes control f'ed and control r'ed. read it if you want it's just nothing special ...more
Rachel Winter
Feb 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this. I did not read all the specifics of each college but liked he idea of a smaller college. If I could do it all over again, I wish I had gone to a smaller college and gotten to know my professors better
Bob Peterson
Aug 16, 2019 rated it liked it
Hmmmm, one man’s opinions on which colleges change lives. Not that his choices are bad, it’s just that they’re so subjective. As an aside I found his life more fascinating than his book. He was an iconoclast which always makes for good reading.
Mary Louise Sanchez
Dec 29, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: education, skimmed
The author encourages students to look beyond Ivy League schools and seriously consider liberal arts colleges for fit, not rank. The book looks at 40 liberal arts schools by their geographical area in the United States.
Jessica L
Jun 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book is dated in many respects, but it's overarching message remains relevant and changed my view on how to choose a college. The author makes you think about some of the variables that make a difference in your experience, ones I never took into consideration years ago. ...more
Scout College Consulting
The book that started a movement. Looking for a small, liberal arts school with a focus on lifelong learning? Start here - and follow-up by going to the website. Each college is a gem. Each with a nurturing environment - sure to help students succeed and excel.
Von-Kyoung Kim
Information for small liberal arts colleges. This is a reference book.
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Play Book Tag: Colleges that Change Lives by Lauren Pope - 3.5 stars 3 6 Jun 06, 2020 08:01AM  

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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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