The COVID-19 report is the first of its kind and will be released today. This report presents the latest evidence around how to encourage learners in a variety of settings, from early childhood education through higher education. It’s a must-read for anyone interested in educational policy and/or parental choice for their children’s schooling.

One of the best resources I’ve found is the website Colleges that Change Lives. This site provides a profile and list of colleges that give special attention to building their students’ sense of self-worth, curiosity, and resilience; cultivating hope, faith, and meaning; nurturing creativity; and promoting civic engagement. These colleges are very different from legacy universities in terms of everything from curriculum to policy (how to sell courses).

I have read the report. Where can I learn more?

You’ll find excellent resources at the site I mentioned above, including personal stories of students who found it life-changing after attending a college like this. The report also features essays from students at these colleges telling their own stories and helping you understand why they made the choices they made. These essays will give you a better understanding of what college campuses are like than anything I can say here.

Which colleges meet the criteria for your list?

The criteria for this list were fairly loose, focusing primarily on how schools foster resilience and wellbeing. I’ve narrowed it down to the top colleges in each of these categories, as I feel that this is the only way to get a true comparison between institutions. Most of you will find a college that’s at or near the top of your own preferred list. And you may want to dive deeper into two colleges in particular: Wesleyan University and La Sierra University. These two schools have high-quality programs of study and great life learning outcomes, both for their students and the nation at large.

What should I do if I’m not sure where to start?

I used this site as a guide when looking to transfer colleges because it’s written by a fellow who is trying to get her master’s in education. She left the University of Virginia for the University of Wisconsin-Madison and wrote about the decision on her blog. It illustrates that there’s no “one size fits all” approach and that different things are important to different students. This blog is one example of how people make their decisions, but there are many others out there if you want another perspective.

What are some of the common traits these colleges share?

The key attributes of these schools are an excellent liberal arts education, which is counter-balanced with a focus on learning skills that prepare students to grow and adapt in this quickly changing world; the integration of real-world experiences into classroom studies; and a sense of community among students, faculty and alumni.

What do you mean by a focus on “learning skills that prepare students to grow and adapt in this quickly changing world”?

These are skills you won’t find in any required high school class. They’re things like persistence, resilience, optimism, and the ability to learn from failure. The goal: to produce leaders who will take on the most pressing challenges of tomorrow. These colleges also believe that education is more than a degree; they nurture a set of principles and skills that will prepare students for all kinds of success after they graduate. 

What is the importance of students’ experience at a college like these?

It’s as important as the classes they attend. In fact, if you look at it this way, you don’t even need to pick a school based on its academics. Instead, decide which environment best suits you and your needs (and this will probably lead you to one of the Online Courses). Obviously, academics are important, but so is fit. And when I’m talking about fit, I’m talking about everything from dorm life to the social scene to extracurricular activities to professors and peers.


We want to inform the best way we can about colleges that prepare their students for life after college, whether it’s an academic career or a socially responsible one. We hope this report makes it easier for you to explore these options and make your decisions accordingly. It is also said that if one cannot afford to go to college, one should have a lower income as well as a high social status. This will make our children eligible to enroll at the most prestigious colleges in the nation and will also allow them to attend colleges in other states should they not get into their first choices.

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