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on October 14, 2008
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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on November 16, 2017
The title says it all. You don't need an Ivy League College for a fabulous education.
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on April 9, 2013
The best selling books on college admissions are loaded with statistics about the colleges. This one covers more important ground such as which ones have the best professors, the ones who want to teach, and not play the publish or perish game. It compares small colleges with the large, rah,rah and Ivy League schools. Guess which one provides the best education for undergraduates? Buy this book and you will find out. You will also learn dozens other things that are essential to know in order to get the best undergrad education possible.
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on November 12, 2016
His two books are great empowerment for parents getting ready to navigate the college application process. A sobering reminder about what higher education should be about. Strongly recommended.
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on October 18, 2010
(this review will also be found at the other Loren Pope book "Colleges That Change Lives")These are excellent guides to a college search--- for some people. For those of you who want only the quickie answer to "the Question" (i.e. "Yes, but should I buy, read, trust and use this book?"), I can save you a bunch of time based on how you answer this one question: "What is the purpose of a college education?" Having read all of the other reviews I can tell you that they divide into two camps based on how the reviewer answers that one question. And there seem to be only two answers.

People (and hence reviewers ) who answer, "The purpose of a `liberal' arts collegiate education is to `liberate' the student's mind from the shackles of ignorance thus allowing the graduate to better understand the world and his or her place, rights and duties in it." will find this book a provocative and useful guide to the myriad ways (NB: not just 'the 40 colleges' for which the book is justly famous) one can get a good education in America.

People (and hence reviewers ) who answer, "The purpose of college is to get a good job." probably won't.

People (and hence reviewers ) who answer, "A bit of both." give the book mixed reviews which vary directly in proportion to the person's understanding of the relative importance of the 'liberation' or 'job' answers.

Caveat I: I say people who give the 'Jobs' answer or the 'predominantly Jobs answer `probably won't' find CTCL useful, but if they were to read it, it might change their minds.

Caveat II: I went to Ripon and St John's for undergraduate BA's and did graduate work at both St Johns (MA) and Berkeley (ABD). I taught for 33 years, the last 20 as the philosophy instructor at a small community college in California. I've retired and now do college counseling. My sons go to Eckerd (in the book) and the University of Redlands (not in the book), both of which we found because we had read the book.

Caveat III: While well aware of the siren call of `jobs' especially in this economy, my obvious prejudice in favor of the the first answer does not extend to the exclusion of "Can the type of education recommended in this book help me get a good job?" as a legitimate question. A good liberal arts education that teaches one how to think is of great help at any trade or trade school ...such as law school, medical school, business school or school of education and they indubitably do lead to `good jobs,' in the usual sense of those words.Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About CollegesColleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools You Should Know About Even If You're Not a Straight-A Student
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on October 20, 2016
good perspective - everyone looking at Ivys' should read
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on May 6, 2014
Excellent resource for all parents starting their search for colleges to apply to. This was eye opening for someone like me who has always believed the large universities offered the best education.
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on March 15, 2015
Great book.
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on October 9, 2014
Very eye opening
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on December 2, 2007
Looking Beyond the Ivy League, by Loren Pope, should be essential reading for the college bound. His assessment that college represents an important; arguably the most important, period of personal development in a young person's life, is right on target. And because college represents such a significant investment for parents and students, finding the right fit is essential. While it may not be the best college guide available, it's fun place to start.
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