Colleges That Change Lives for Homeschoolers

Ohio Wesleyan University

Colleges that Change Lives (CTCL) is a network of liberal arts colleges in the United States. CTCL began with a book by New York Times editor Loren Pope. The goal of the book was to publicize alternatives to highly selective colleges and the frenzied admissions culture in higher education. CTCL continues as an organization that seeks to promote student involvement in the college search process.


What characteristics should I expect to find in CTCL schools?

Liberal arts colleges, including those that are a part of the CTCL network, share common characteristics. Students and faculty interact together. Class sizes are small and students are involved in research and projects with faculty outside of the classroom. Students reside on campus and are actively engaged in campus life. Most campuses have more of a collaborative rather than competitive environment.  It is common for students at small liberal arts colleges to participate in more than one extracurricular activity including sports, arts, volunteering, and campus clubs. Students at small liberal arts colleges tend to participate at high rates in internships and study abroad programs.

Are CTCL schools good for homeschoolers?

Many homeschoolers appreciate the opportunities afforded by a liberal arts education. The small size and more reasonable admissions standards of CTCL schools make them appealing as well. Liberal arts colleges will be a better fit for some students than others. Some students may prefer a tech school, a research university, and Ivy League college or an honors program at a public university. 

St. Olaf College Building
St. Olaf College

Is it difficult to be admitted to these colleges?

Every college sets their own admissions standards and some are more competitive than others. Most small liberal arts colleges practice “holistic admissions” where they look beyond just the SAT/ACT score and look at the student’s complete profile including coursework, testing, and extracurricular activities. Students who are reading older editions of the Colleges That Change Lives book should note that many of the schools have become more selective since the first edition was published. Students should look carefully at admissions rates and typical ACT/SAT scores for each college.

Are CTCL schools affordable?

Many CTCL schools offer good need-based financial aid and many also offer merit scholarships. For students with higher incomes, merit aid may make these schools a more financially competitive option than more highly selective private colleges. For some they will be more affordable than public state universities. Colleges vary greatly in how well they meet students’ financial need so each college needs to be evaluated independently by looking at the percent of student need met.

How can I learn more about these colleges?

A great starting place is with the Colleges That Change Lives book which is widely available through Amazon and local libraries as well as the CTCL website. Representatives from the colleges also tour for a college fair each summer to cities around the United States.




Add comment

Follow Us Online

Facebook – Follow for the latest in homeschooling and college admissions news.

Hettle College Consulting – consulting for public and private school students.

Enrollment Decisions of our Class of 2024!