Colleges That Change Lives 2013-14 Edition

Saint Mary's College of California has been honored in the prestigious 2013 edition of Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges. The newly revised guidebook praised Saint Mary's educational approach as "powerful" and "a mechanism of change." Read the full chapter on Saint Mary's.

Colleges That Change Lives is widely recognized as essential reading for college-bound students, and by discerning parents, to identify colleges that offer life-transforming educational experiences.

Saint Mary's is the only Catholic college, and the only California college, in the history of the 40-school list. Colleges That Change Lives says the academic and spiritual mission of Saint Mary's is fundamental to its success with students, noting that "the Lasallian tradition fuels the college's perspective on teaching and learning: Education is powerful, and it comes with a deep responsibility to improve the world.”

Originally written by former New York Times education editor, the late Loren Pope, and now revised by Denver-based education journalist Hilary Masell Oswald, the guidebook highlights the attributes of exemplary, but often under-the-radar, colleges. Among the features the book champions as essential to student success in college, and ultimately in life, are low student-to-faculty ratios, engaged learning environments, undergraduate research opportunities and a focus on the liberal arts and sciences.

Saint Mary's is lauded in the publication for the rich diversity of its student population, which isn’t “the typical private-college crowd," its students’ “love for their community and a fierce sense of school spirit,” the educational impact of its required Collegiate Seminar program, which “helps students learn to read carefully, draw sharp conclusions, listen to other people, and disagree civilly," and the College's January Term –  “an intensive four-week session when each student takes only one class," often traveling abroad with faculty members for unique study opportunities.

Saint Mary's also receives high marks for the strength of its talented faculty, “educated at the country’s most renowned graduate schools: Princeton, Stanford, Brown, Harvard and Berkeley,” who are yet among the “precious few whose ideas about education align with the College’s mission.”

Saint Mary’s President Brother Ronald Gallagher said the College's inclusion in the guidebook is timely high praise.“As we mark our sesquicentennial anniversary, the recognition by Colleges That Change Lives underscores our longstanding commitment to be an academic community that is student-centered, provides opportunities for a student’s personal and spiritual growth and creates a firm foundation for success after graduation.”

In addition to the College’s recognition in the 2013 edition, Saint Mary’s has been invited to join the Colleges That Change Lives Inc. (CTCL) organization, a nonprofit academic initiative dedicated to the advancement and support of a student-centered college admission process. Inspired by Loren Pope's book, CTCL's goals include demystifying the college selection process for students and their families, assisting students in finding colleges that help them develop a lifelong love of learning and helping them in creating a foundation for a successful and fulfilling life beyond college. For more information, visit

Colleges That Change Lives has sold more than 150,000 copies. For more information about the 2013 edition, visit the Penguin Book's website.

About SMC 
The Saint Mary’s College of California experience inspires learning that lasts a lifetime. For nearly 150 years, the College has provided students with a rigorous education that engages their intellect and spirit, and awakens a desire to transform society. Guided by the Christian Brothers, the Catholic Church’s oldest order dedicated exclusively to teaching, the College enrolls more than 3,800 students in undergraduate and graduate liberal arts and business programs. For more information visit Saint Mary’s College at and just 23 miles east of San Francisco.
Maps & Directories

Mailing Address

Saint Mary's College of California
1928 Saint Mary's Road
Moraga, CA 94575
(925) 631-4000
Google Map | Campus Map | PO Boxes