“Keeping students at the center of the college search is our focus,” Maria Furtado, the Executive Director of Colleges That Change Lives (CTCL), told a packed room of college counselors last month at the annual CTCL counselor breakfast in Long Branch, NJ. CTCL is a nonprofit organization that began as a result of New York Time’s education editor, journalist and student advocate Loren Pope ‘s book of the same name.


Forty-four small liberal arts colleges are currently member colleges of CTCL. Generally, these colleges are lesser known and have student bodies between 350 and 4,000. Each of these colleges share two crucial philosophical elements set by Loren Pope: “a familiar sense of communal enterprise that get students involved in cooperative learning rather than competitive learning, and a faculty of scholars that are devoted to helping young people develop their powers, mentors who often become their valued friends.”


I participated in a discussion workshop with other counselors and college representatives. Although the admissions process is unique at each of these colleges, overall CTCL colleges want students to know the following:


  • Small liberal arts colleges help students develop creative thinking, good writing skills and problem solving skills.
  • Admissions wants to have a face-to-face conversation with prospective students whenever possible.
  • Students who interview on campus or off are statistically more likely to enroll at that college.
  • Always introduce yourself to your territory admissions representative whether in person or through email.
  • Students who use college social media in their college search are more successful in the college process.
  • CTCL schools are looking for students who will have a voice on campus.
  • The gap year (bridge year) is looked at favorably by admissions, as long as students spend it doing productive work.


Each spring CTCL staff and representatives from each member college travel to metropolitan areas nationwide to educate high school students and their families about the college search process and sponsor free CTCL college fairs. Learn more about CTCL by visiting their website, www.ctcl.org.



© 2014, Admissions on Track. All rights reserved.

Breakfast with Colleges that Change Lives
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