CTCL (Colleges That Change Lives, Inc) was founded as a result of a book of the same name—Colleges That Change Lives, researched and written by retired New York Times education editor, journalist, and longtime student advocate Loren Pope. Mr. Pope selected the colleges featured in his first book long before the CTCL non-profit organization was formed. Member schools have never paid any fees to Mr. Pope or his publisher to be included in his books: the selections were solely based on the independent judgment and recognized expertise of Mr. Pope himself. Nonetheless, when the colleges began collaborating in 1998, Colleges That Change Lives, Inc. and the CTCL.org site was enthusiastically endorsed by Mr. Pope until the time of his passing in September 2008. To keep Loren’s legacy alive and his message current, his family worked with his longtime literary agent to choose another writer to update future editions of Colleges That Change Lives. In 2012, the fourth edition of the book, edited by Hilary Masell Oswald, was published.
Mr. Pope’s ideals still ring true today, and CTCL is dedicated to the advancement and support of a student-centered college search process. Namely, we work to educate families that the criteria used by most college bound students and their counselors, such as name and prestige, do not acknowledge the importance of understanding an individual student’s needs and how they “fit” with the mission and identity of an individual college community.
Equally, CTCL works to dispel publicly held myths about college choice--particularly the notion that college choices are severely limited to today’s high school students--by hosting information sessions nationwide and coordinating outreach efforts with high school counselors and college counseling agencies alike. From their debut in 1998, these CTCL events have been offered at no charge to the attendees, and they have been extremely well attended, continuing to attract standing-room-only audiences across the U.S. To support parents, students, and counselors who are unable to attend our events, the CTCL web site provides valuable information, news and resources, which address current issues in higher education as well as common misperceptions about the college search process.
Lastly, we support those in college counseling roles who ascribe to a similar philosophy and are working to help students frame their search beyond the ratings and rankings. The “Counselors That Change Lives” award recognizes those whose dedication to the college counseling profession reflects the mission of CTCL.
Governed by a voluntary board comprised of college counseling professionals, Colleges That Change Lives is recognized by the IRS as a non-profit, charitable 501(c)(3) organization, and donations to CTCL are tax-deductible. For information about how to contribute and support our mission, contact Executive Director, Marty O'Connell.