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- POSTED ON Friday, August 28, 2020
The schools included in "Colleges That Change Lives" were selected because they stood out based on Loren Pope's experience and personal visits. He evaluated college size, admissions processes, student and faculty involvement, and the overall education of each graduate. His goal was to highlight colleges that may not be well known to most Americans, yet stand out for their low student-to-faculty ratios, engaged learning, passionate teaching, personalized attention, and environment that fosters student participation.
"Colleges That Change Lives" challenges many of the misconceptions students, parents, and even school counselors have about finding the right college. Pope clearly explains why prestige and name recognition are less important than academic results. The book highlights 40 schools, and unlike the typical college guidebook that has a paragraph or two about each school, dedicates four or more pages to the unique traits of each. Families will find schools that are happy to admit "B" or even "C" students. Many colleges featured in the book have a wide range of student types, so unconventional students, those with learning differences, or teenagers who don't want to be like everyone else will find interesting college options.
The biggest drawback to the book is its limited scope: Only 40 colleges are featured. There are dozens of other schools across the nation that were not included but do meet the same criteria for positively affecting students. Another drawback is the book's apparent anti-Ivy bias. Pope advocates so strongly for the schools in his book that readers may question the value of larger universities, highly selective schools, or universities that are highly rated and well regarded.
Finding the right college should be a matter of fit. "Colleges That Change Lives" plays a valuable role in the college guidebook market because it highlights schools that have a tremendous impact on their students, yet are still accessible to many applicants worried about the competitive nature of college admission. Families embarking on the college search process should read "Colleges That Change Lives" so they will know about a variety of high-quality options available to them.