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73 of 73 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ADMISSION, MONEY AND SATISFACTION AT COLLEGE
The two books by Loren Pope changed the way we looked at college for our daughter and led to successful admission with generous financial aide with a school we would have overlooked. As caring parents who spent too many years connected to higher education, (mostly at large schools), these two books redirected the college search towards smaller, nurturing liberal arts...
Published on February 7, 2002 by ROBERT

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175 of 184 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Profound concepts but outdated data
Mr. Pope has a contrarian philosophy of higher education based on his career long inside knowledge as a college counselor. In his view, Ivy leagues are way over rated. Their reputation is perpetrated by the college rankings of U.S. News. According to Mr. Pope, such rankings are almost irrelevant as they don't measure in any way the quality of education provided to the...
Published on December 22, 2003 by Gaetan Lion


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73 of 73 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ADMISSION, MONEY AND SATISFACTION AT COLLEGE, February 7, 2002
By 
ROBERT (Phila., Pa) - See all my reviews
The two books by Loren Pope changed the way we looked at college for our daughter and led to successful admission with generous financial aide with a school we would have overlooked. As caring parents who spent too many years connected to higher education, (mostly at large schools), these two books redirected the college search towards smaller, nurturing liberal arts colleges that also provide merit based financial aide; no longer did we consider college factories or schools with unjustified high reputations without commensurate attention to teaching. Of the 12(!)College guides we read, the two from Loren Pope were the best and directly changed our daughter's life for the better. These are a must read.
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175 of 184 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Profound concepts but outdated data, December 22, 2003
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Mr. Pope has a contrarian philosophy of higher education based on his career long inside knowledge as a college counselor. In his view, Ivy leagues are way over rated. Their reputation is perpetrated by the college rankings of U.S. News. According to Mr. Pope, such rankings are almost irrelevant as they don't measure in any way the quality of education provided to the students by such schools. But, they reinforce the reputation of schools which drive up application numbers, which in turn allows these "top" schools to become increasingly selective, and further boosts their U.S. News ranking. For Mr. Pope this is a self reinforcing not so virtuous cycle.
Mr. Pope instead recommends to look at the multitude of excellent small liberal arts college located in the Midwest, South, and West that are not so well known. Because they are less well known, their respective acceptance rates are way higher than for their better known counterparts back East and the Ivy league. Yet, they often provide a just as good if not superior college education. Their professors are fully dedicated to teaching undergraduates. This is unlike in the Ivy league whose professors are more dedicated to research, publication, consulting, and PhD candidates.
The above concepts are really mind opening and powerful. Where Mr. Pope's book falls short, is that his data is more than 20 years out of date. This is difficult to overlook or forgive given that he "updated" his book in 1995, yet his data covers the period from 1951 to 1980. So, at the time of the book's second publication, this book's data was already 15 years out of date. One has to wonder why he did not bother to update the data. It would have made his book so much better.
With outdated data Mr. Pope inevitably makes many embarassing college recommendations. Many of the schools he is so crazy about, are now really poor educational performers that should have been screened out of any truly updated edition of this book. As an example, Antioch College in Ohio has a really poor freshman retention rate of 66%. This is the lowest freshman retention rate I have come across in my researching colleges. Similarly, in his other related book "Colleges that Change Lives" after doing some research, I screened out 20 of the 40 mentioned (or 50%) because of either low freshman retention rate, low graduation rate, and low percentage of graduates going on to graduate schools.
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51 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book changed my life, February 20, 1999
By A Customer
Haven't written reviews here before, but seeing with delight that this book is still around I had to write one. I read this book midway through my junior year of high-school and, struck by the sensible and sound reasoning that informs every argument, I applied to a completely different set of schools than I initially considered. Ultimately I feel I profited invaluably from attending a small liberal-arts college instead of a big brand name: I was going through a lot of troubles, and the individual attention and support I was able to obtain from small departments, small classes, and concerned and caring professors (even outside of my major) allowed me to find my inner strengths and embark on a life path I would not have dreamed of when I first arrived at college. Now how many of my friends who went to big-name research universities can say that? Thanks, Mr. Pope.
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60 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Proof is in the Pudding, November 30, 2004
My daughters, now 23 and 25 both used this book as the cornerstone of their college searches. Both chose colleges neither had heard of before, Hampshire College and Earlham College. Both schools were exactly right for both of them, and both girls followed Mr. Pope's advice in their selection process.

When visiting colleges they went when school was in session, attended classes, spent the night, had a student mentor (not a freshman) and ate in the dorm. One daughter visited an exhausting 12 schools, the other only 2 before she felt she had found her soul mate (Earlham). The daughter who picked Hampshire did so because she needs freedom to explore many venues, but the closeness of a small school community. At Hampshire she could attend any of the 5 school consortium at no additional tuition costs. So if Hampshire didn't have the exact class she wanted, she could use the free and frequent busses that run between the schools to take classes at Smith, Mt. Holyoke, University of Mass or Amherst.

The best thing about Mr. Pope's advice and bias on choosing a small school is that it's true. Not only do you get the small class size and individual attention of dedicated and well educated professors, but you have almost unlimited opportunities to explore social issues, sports, the arts and global society through personal involvement than most students at state schools.

In talking to peers who attended the oft chosen bigger schools, my girls found they had written more critical papers in one semester at their schools than friends had written in 4 years! At Earlham my daughter got to sing in the schools traveling performance choir for a semester in Vienna and Europe, be a teacher's assistant in German for a semester in Germany, live in a "Friendship" house, be a "featured artist" of the week in the school paper, play rugby for fun, write her first and second grant proposals and be able to successfully execute them.

The second daughter got to co-edit the school paper for a year and then resurrected the school's Literary Journal. Spent a summer in Bolivia writing for a paper owned by an alumni. She got to work in public radio, travel cross country researching her senior thesis, take horticulture at Smith and advanced Spanish at Amherst.

In small liberal arts colleges you don't have to be a "state champion" to play volleyball or football or rugby. You don't have to have ever had a voice lesson in order to sing in a choir and gain the skills you need to get into a performance choir. You can dream of being at the inaugural parade in Washington DC and the school provides transportation and teaches you how to be a socially responsible, safe protester who effectively gets a message across during a protest without offending (or getting arrested). You make friends and have a community that includes your professors. Friends you will keep for life.

Somewhere in one of Mr. Pope's two books he says something to the effect that the job you will have in 10 years probably does not exist right now, and that by having a liberal arts education a student is prepared to go out into the world and adapt and to continue learning while the world changes around them. That's exactly what my daughters are doing.

One, who majored in Art and German is living in Japan and teaching English for two years (and becoming fluent in a third language). Her student loans will be paid off in 2 years with a tidy nest egg stashed away for grad school. The other, who majored in non-fiction writing is now back in school preparing for grad school in library science with an emphases in the arts and art history. Neither are where they imagined they would be when they were 18 and looking ahead. Because they had the advantage of reading Mr. Pope's books, they certainly have had a much more interesting and fulfilling life and education than they would have had they followed the "herd" out of high school.

And yes, Mr. Pope's book and specific school recommendations need updating. Antioch College is a drug den, crumbling, graffiti sprawled and fading blip on the colligate radar screen that shouldn't even be in the phone book, much less this book. But overall, of the 14 colleges we visited, all seemed to deserve their recommendation.

Based on Mr. Pope's personal recommendations (I called and talked to him) we did find that financial aid was plentiful and at almost all schools the financial aid package would have (and did) made the small private schools as inexpensive as state schools. The value of this book's contrarian viewpoint outweighs the fact that the specific school information needs updating. That's why I gave it 5 stars but hope that Mr. Pope has another, better revision coming along.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The key book for our student's college search--a gem., December 17, 1998
My son and I found this book to be sensible without being pedantic, and written in a pleasant, readible style. It was the key resource in his college search. Pope clearly favors small colleges and makes his case well. Because of Pope's recommendations, my son is now loving his experience in a small liberal arts school. We can only thank our lucky stars when we hear his friends tell stories of huge lecture hall classes and almost slum-like high rise dormitories at their big schools. Choose the trendy, big-name schools if you want, but please, not until you've read Pope's insights about small liberal arts schools. (And don't miss the reprinted news article he closes with.)
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46 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I agree with the author's premise, February 19, 2001
By 
David E. Levine (Peekskill , NY USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
The author believes that too many people seek a college or university based on it's prestige, i.e., status. As the father of a high school age son, I see too many of my contemporaries living through their children. Pope is right in his premise; students should seek the school which is the best fit regardless of whether it's a "brand name." Pope illustrates, with specific examples, how many schools offer innovative programs which prepare their students to get into graduate school or otherwise do very well after graduation. There is other very useful information on strategies for applying to schools and composing essays. Pope also gives the pros and cons of certain types of schools. For example, did you know that many large state universities have a high attrition rate because they have an obligation to serve their state residents, so these residents are accepted but then are weeded out of the too large classes? This book has a great premise: that Harvard might not be the best fit for your child and that we should look for the school that is right for the particular student. The book also has lots of good information. I recommend it.
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61 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Parents and students: let Mr. Pope open your eyes, September 14, 1999
There's another review of this book by "steverthom@aol.com from Dayton, Ohio , December 17, 1998" who says exactly what my feelings are. My son and I used this book as our primary resource in selecting a college for him. He is now a freshman of 3 weeks, and he and I could not be more pleased with the school we found, using the framework Mr. Pope offers for making a decision. We supplemented this book with the 331 Best Colleges and, to a lesser extent, the National Review Guide and the Barrons Compact Guide. Buy the Pope book for your high school junior or senior if you are serious about your child's higher education.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars some new ideas to help you evaluate your college choices, October 18, 2001
By 
karen ross (mattituck, ny United States) - See all my reviews
Loren Pope encourages a solid liberal arts education and he introduces some worthy schools that are a little off the beaten path. He also gives his evaluation of many colleges that good students may be considering. His "twenty myths that can jinx your college choice" is priceless - do you think your college has to be larger than your high school? do you think you have to stay in the northeast to get a quality education? do you think your college has to be in or near a city? His answers will surprise you and open your mind to different alternatives. Try this book if you have been considering ivy league or little ivy type schools - he gives alternatives that may be better for you.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This book shattered my (erroneous) view of higher education., December 3, 1998
By A Customer
Loren Pope's intelligent writing not only makes the college selection process less daunting, but it forces one to evaluate and question his/her educational values. After years of poor performance and intellectual aloofness at two state mega-universities, I dropped out and took some time to get my bearings. During that period I read _Looking Beyond the Ivy League_ and now consider it to be one of my greatest literary influences. When it was my time to go back and finish college, I had the tools and criteria in place to make a knowledgeable decision. Though Pope never mentions my alma mater in his book and would probably even chide it as a "commuter" school, it nonetheless upholds the values in education that he and I hold so dear. Why only four stars then? Mr. Pope is slightly antagonistic towards computer technology and vocational knowledge - I personally find this unsound as well as elitist. A liberal education is excellence in itself, but it is even better when applied to practical matters and everyday problems. Bottom line: this book provides a better basis for decision than bumper stickers or college football rankings.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pope Should Have Scholarships Across the Nation Named After Him -- in Every LAC, October 14, 2008
By 
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This review is from: Looking Beyond the Ivy League: Finding the College That's Right for You (Paperback)
When I was a parent of a senior, I became engulfed with the gossip and happenings of college admissions. It really became a chronic habit to ask others about their child's latest quests. And, when I investigated, I started with this book - start with the best.

There are many other good books with clever names. But after reading most of those, I would always return to this book.

I may know more than the average person about the topic. I had applied to schools at various levels. My siblings had too. We had attended good to great schools. And, our father was a professor at two major universities -- those with ivy on their walls.

When I read this book, a bulb lit. That epiphany reminded me of that one clear day in my childhood when I thought my father was not nearly as dumb as my teenage attitude knew him to be, and I had the nerve to ask him, "Dad, where are the best students for your graduate studies coming from -- name the schools." He immediately spat out many of the small ivies in the northeast. I did not want that as mother would be too close. Then he said these strange words, "Grinnell, MacAllister, Carleton, U Chicago, Pomona, Pitzer, Occidental . . ." Loren Pope would agree - one hundred percent.

I then knew dear old dad was not so dumb after all. And, neither was Loren Pope when he delivered this grand endorsement of the liberal arts education.

This book tells you why small liberal arts schools are not second fiddle to the larger and better known universities. The well known liberal arts schools are pearls. They are where Ph.D.'s go to teach. And the students, through that amazing nuturing process, mature to become much better minds than when they walked their first steps on the campus grounds. They are truly "learning institutions."

Liberal arts schools epitomize the concept of higher education. And, many have become so beloved by their alumni that tuitions are not as forbidding as they may have been in the years of sweater-clad bobby-socked coeds. Many of the schools loved by Pope are so well endowed that they are "need blind" with their admissions. Perfect admissions concepts at what are deemed nearly perfect learning environments.

His simple advice -- the ivies (for undergraduate) are overrated and liberal arts schools are either underrated (those we know about) or HIGHLY underrated (those we know little if nothing about).

Chock full of statistics and years of experience, Pope basically created a new image for many liberal arts schools. He is the Don for arguing the merits to liberal arts education. He unfortunately died recently, and should probably have a scholarship named after him at most of the liberal arts schools in America. He is the progenitor of liberal arts educational superiority. His written beliefs were contrarian to the ivy state. He was the original. This book was the original's original publication of these beliefs. This is the bible of why liberal arts education is one of America's greatest resources.
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Looking Beyond the Ivy League: Finding the College That's Right for You
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