Colleges That Change Lives: Forty Schools

Loren Pope's "Colleges That Change Lives" is a College Admissions classic! Originally published in 1996, the guide is still relevant today, especially for a student considering attendance at a liberal arts college. The sub-title of the book: "40 schools you should know about even if you're not a straight-A student" pretty much says it all. The book delves deeply into small colleges, some well known and others obscure, that give Ivy-level educations and produce great scholars in the process.

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

Do you have a student who might benefit from small classes? Are you less concerned with college rankings and more concerned with the quality of the education? Are you a non-traditional student (or the parent of one)? Then read this book. As author Loren Pope writes, "Anyone of the 40 colleges profiled will do at least as much as, and usually far more than, an Ivy League school, an Ivy clone, or a major research university to give you a rich, full life, and make you a winner."

Since Loren Pope does such a good job explaining the merits of these colleges, I thought what I would do is see how many of the colleges profiled in the book are "test-optional"? Since the book is geared toward students (and parents) willing to widen the college search to include liberal arts colleges that are academically rigorous yet also maybe less well known, my contribution will be to match those students with colleges that "test-optional" and open to admitting students without standardized test scores.

Test-Optional Colleges in
"Colleges That Change Lives"

Agnes Scott College

Antioch College

Clark University

Denison College

Earlham College

Goucher College

Guilford College

Hampshire College

Juniata College

Knox College

Lawrence College

Marlboro College

St. John's College

Ursinus College

College of Wooster


Test-Optional Can Be A Good Fit


As my list shows, almost half of the colleges that Loren Pope recommends exploring are test-optional. That tells me that "test-optional" matches the general philosophy of Loren Pope's book, which is to make education less driven by standardized measures and more driven by intellectual exploration and creativity. The movement toward test-optional in college admissions is a growing one. Read my article about the growing number of selective colleges allowing for "test-optional", like the ones listed above in "Colleges That Change Lives".

Still not sure what to do? Read my articles "Should I take the ACT or SAT test?" or "Which Scores Should I Send to Colleges?" And good luck!