BY KRISTEN MOON*
Most people can name 20-30 colleges off the top of their head. There are over 4,000 universities worldwide. I want to introduce you to 44 universities you might not have heard of. If you are looking for great liberal arts colleges to apply to, you should definitely check out CTCL (Colleges That Change Lives). CTCL is a non-profit organization. Visit their website at ctcl.org. You can also check out the book at your local library; the author is Loren Pope. The book is a great resource to flip through and view universities by location. Their member institutions are a perfect fit for students looking for a challenging academic curriculum with more hands-on experience in their undergraduate environment.
- 1. What does CTCL do as an organization? – Their main goal is to educate students, counselors and family members about colleges that they might not have heard of. Their process is more informed, streamlined and introspective. They are strong advocates for the liberal arts and all their member schools are known for their quality liberal arts programs.
- 2. How are the colleges selected? – The late Loren Pope, who was responsible for the list believed that the residential liberal arts experience is the ideal way for college students to learn. As of 2016, CTCL has 44 member schools that are all part of a non-profit organization interested in working together with students and parents to educate them about the liberal arts college scene.
- 3. Who are the ideal candidates for the CTCL member institutions? – Any student who is looking for a college experience that includes extensive interaction with the faculty members will be best served by the CTCL schools. Since the class sizes are small, the faculty members act as mentors and not just advisers. Small schools create an excellent intellectual space in which the students get to live and learn. They are challenged, supported and they get to interact with a diverse group of both domestic and international students.
- 4. Do they ever drop or add colleges? – No school has yet been removed from the organization. If the school is no longer able to offer a strong liberal arts program or change their educational system and admission process and make it less student-centered, they would no longer fit with the organization and their message. Colleges can be added if they follow the founding principles.
- Where can I learn more about CTCL? – If you want to know more about CTCL and its attendant institutions, visit their website. You can also follow them on Twitter and Facebook using the hashtag #CTCLColleges. They post regular updates on their specially curated tours for parents and students across the nation. They also have a lot of smaller events in which the executive director of the organization talks more about CTCL and the process of the college search.
The bottom line is that CTCL colleges are student focused learning institutions. The member colleges challenge the notion that only Ivy League universities are capable of offering challenging courses and top-notch faculty. The CTCL metrics of what constitutes a great learning environment are more varied and interesting than the ones used by most college guidebooks and their effectiveness as a measure of quality education is evident in the results they produce. The member colleges also have resources for students who have learning disabilities. If you are planning to apply to a liberal arts college, their site will help you make a more informed decision about your path of education.
*About the author:
Kristen Moon is an independent college counselor and founder of MoonPrep.com. Moon Prep provides one-on-one tutoring services catered to university admissions. They guide students through the entire application process including: completing applications, personal statements, supplemental essays, student resumes, scholarships, and financial aid. Their specialty lies in the Ivy League, direct medical programs (BS/MD), and highly competitive universities.