Colleges That Change Lives

“Colleges That Change Lives” is a book by former New York Times education editor Loren Pope. It is an alternative to the small group of colleges that seem to be at the top of every magazine ranking list and student dream-college list. Colleges That Changes Lives is a collection of 40 colleges that “excel at developing potential, values, initiative and risk taking in a wide range of students.”

These colleges are found across the country and include public and private schools. All have undergrad enrollments of fewer than 5,000 students. The colleges were selected from the author’s research, interviews and interaction with students and visits to campus. The author weighs these factors more heavily than the statistics that influence traditional magazine college rankings.

The 40 colleges are listed below in alphabetical order. For more information, visit

Colleges that change lives

College City State Full-time undergrads
Agnes Scott College Decatur GA 827
Allegheny College Meadville PA 2,163
Antioch College Antioch CA 60
Austin College Sherman TX 1,312
Beloit College Beloit WI 1,286
Birmingham-Southern College Birmingham AL 1,339
Centre College Danville KY 1,184
Clark University Worchester MA 2,217
College of Wooster Wooster OH 1,754
Cornell College Mount Vernon IA 1,075
Denison University Granville OH 2,212
Earlham College Richmond IN 1,156
Eckerd College St. Petersburg FL 1,826
Emory & Henry College Emory VA 257
The Evergreen State College Olympia WA 4,135
Goucher College Baltimore MD 1,462
Guilford College Greensboro NC 2,688
Hampshire College Amherst MA 1,412
Hendrix College Conway AR 1,189
Hiram College Hiram OH 1,256
Hope College Holland MI 3,135
Juniata College Huntingdon PA 1,410
Kalamazoo College Kalamazoo MI 1,340
Knox College Galesburg IL 1,353
Lawrence University Appleton WI 1,400
Lynchburg College Lynchburg VA 2,046
Marlboro College Marlboro VT 330
McDaniel College Westminster MD 1,687
Millsaps College Jackson MS 1,029
New College of Florida Sarasota FL 767
Ohio Wesleyan University Delaware OH 1,960
Reed College Portland OR 1,426
Rhodes College Memphis TN 1,670
Southwestern University Georgetown TX 1,283
St. John’s College Santa Fe NM 134
St. John’s College Annapolis MD 139
St. Olaf College Northfield MN 2,988
Ursinus College Collegeville PA 1,563
Wabash College Crawfordsville IN 910
Wheaton College Wheaton IL 582
Whitman College Walla Walla WA 1,455