The Colleges That Change Lives group of schools has worked together since 1998, with admission representatives traveling to recruit students, talking about the life-changing experience of a college education—especially a liberal arts education at a small school—helping students and families keep the college search student-centered. For almost 15 years, CTCL has been recognized as a non-profit organization whose members work together, adapting to the times, to help students and families.
For close to 25 years, Colleges That Change Lives has been part of my professional life.
How can it be close to 25 years?! And how can this chapter be coming to a close? From representing Clark University on some of CTCL’s first tours and later Eckerd College to serving as Board Chair and then Executive Director, my work with CTCL has changed me along with the lives of thousands of students along the way. My own liberal arts education snuck into my work over the years, and I have grown as a professional. Above all, I have learned to articulate my love of education and my joy in knowing that any topic can be explored from many perspectives.
My work with CTCL also has changed me as a person. I have learned to take chances: I moved 1,500 from my home state for a new job and then another 3,000 miles with my family. I have learned about my strengths and my weaknesses; I have done many things well and some things not so well. I learned to seek out mentors who taught me admission work and showed me how be a good colleague. Ultimately, many of my CTCL contacts became friends—great friends. I also had the chance to meet and mentor younger professionals, many of whom have moved into leadership roles across the college counseling and higher education fields and, in turn, are also changing thousands of students’ lives.
Yes, my life has been changed by the work but even more so by the people who do this work. Long hours on the road, long hours in offices (or home offices), long van or airplane rides from city to city have provided me enormous opportunities to meet, work with, and get to know thousands of college reps, school-based counselors, CBO counselors, and IECs. Students and families in the college search are enormously lucky to have access to these professionals whose life work is guided by the ideal of a student-centered college search and a student-centered college experience.
This is my final Director’s Corner. I leave CTCL in the incredibly capable hands of a new Executive Director, Ann Marano, and a dedicated Board of Directors. My life has been changed, and I will be forever grateful.