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  • Writer's pictureAlison Merzel

Colleges That Change Lives (and ones you may not have heard of!)

A retired New York Times editor and journalist by the name of Loren Pope published a book in the late 90's called Colleges That Change Lives. The book was written to change the way people think about selecting colleges by profiling 40 schools that many people had not heard of or at least were not profiled readily in the media. Mr. Pope was one of the first people to introduce the idea of a student-centered college search, which is a philosophy that I share with the other individuals who have chosen this line of work. The goal is to look beyond published rankings to find a best fit school for the student. With Mr. Pope's blessing, an independent group of education professionals volunteered to form a non-profit organization with the same name, Colleges That Change Lives.

CTCL hosts events nationwide to educate students and families about the college search process and to introduce them to the schools that the organization has chosen to profile. I previously did a spotlight on Denison University, which happens to be one of these schools.

Today I want to introduce you another school that has earned this CTCL designation and that is far away from Ohio - Willamette University in Salem, Oregon.

Five Fun Facts about Willamette University (a long time ago I met someone who worked at Willamette and she told me a quick way to remember how to pronounce this school - It's Willamette, Damnit! :) )

1) Willamette, which was founded in 1842, was the first university in the West.

2) Willamette manages the 305-acre Zena Forest, which it uses as an outdoor laboratory and educational resource, particularly for students with an interest in sustainability.

3) Academic support is widely available - free tutoring is offered in most subjects within the College of Liberal Arts and there is a Writing Center to assist students with their papers.

4) The Tokyo International University of America is co-located on the Willamette campus, making this an excellent choice for Japanese studies. 100 students from Asia are integrated into the campus each year and Willamette students have the opportunity to study in the Kawagoe, Japan location of Tokyo International University as well.

5) Willamette offers two dual-degree programs for undergraduate students who know they are interested in business or law school - the BA/MBA and the BA/JD.

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