Lewis & Clark College? Is it a good school? Opinions/Critiques?

<p>I've been considering applying, but it'd be nice to have opinions of "the best" and "the worst" about the school, what exactly their reputation is, what the academics are like, and what it's like living on campus there, etc...</p>

<p>Any info for me? (parents, students, applicants...)</p>

<p>Have you visited? If not, check out some references on the Parents Forum - schools that you took off list after visit. Disclaimer: not a student, so can only report on our visit and what our tour guide told us.
Things we didn't like:
trying too hard to be like east coast school in admissions office
not great science building
campus location in residential neighborhood - not country or really in Portland proper
on hill in trees - D (from Seattle area) noted that it would just be dark and gloomy most of the year in clouds and rain
guide noted that most kids move off campus after 2nd year and many are abroad for Junior year, so community feel gets lost after freshman year
Again, I can't speak to academics, just feel when we visited.</p>

<p>Agree you should visit. We loved it. This is a report of a visit to Lewis & Clark that someone posted a few years ago on the CC Lewis & Clark forum:</p>

<p>"The minute we walked onto L&C's beautiful campus, my daughter's friend looked at her and said "I could SO see you here!" LC has 1800 students. A law school and graduate school of education are part of the school but both are on their own adjoining campuses so undergrads don't come into contact with the grads. All undergrad classes are taught by full professors.</p>

<p>L&C's campus is very different than most colleges. The land it sits on was a former estate which was donated to the school about 30 years ago. In the center sits a fabulous, castle-like tudor style mansion. Surrounding the mansion are the estate's gardens and thick pine woods. One one side of the "mansion/garden" are the dorms and student center. On the other, are the classroom buildings and library. You can not see one side from the other - getting from the dorms to the classroom side you walk through the woods (over a bridge crossing a lush ravine) or through the estate gardens. On the academic side, there is no "quad" in the traditional sense - the buildings are lined up on either side of a road. The walkways throughout campus are cobblestone. The mansion gives the school a feeling of age even though all of the buildings are fairly new and rather modern in feel.</p>

<p>L&C is about 20 minutes from downtown Portland but on campus it feels as though you are a million miles away in a primeval forest. The immediate area is residential and very upscale --- houses on huge lots with more forest. The school runs regular buses to a small local shopping center and on into portland. Based on the size of the buses we saw leaving campus, many students take advantage of this service to enjoy the city.</p>

<p>Academically, LC has some very interesting and strong programs. Particular strengths are the sciences (especially enviro. science and bio), international affairs (a wonderful program), English (good creative writing options), and the social sciences. Languages are also strong for a small school - five are taught regularly including chinese, japanese, russian, french, german, spanish. The art program is very strong and has its own building. There is also an art gallery on campus. </p>

<p>The focus at LC is on global education --- the school runs approximately 20 study abroad programs annually, all led by LC faculty. On average, about 65-70% of students study abroad at least once. (This is something my daughter wants very much). Students have to take three semesters of a language plus meet global studies requirements (either through study abroad or through taking classes on campus). A large chunk of offered classes have a "Global" context of one sort or another. Additionally, all freshman take a two semester "Inventing America" symposium that focuses on U.S. history, political thought and culture. </p>

<p>The school has about 100 international students (according to the adcom, used to be higher but Visa restrictions have had an effect since 9/11). LC also has a large proportion of what they call "TCK's" for Third Culture Kids - students who are American citizens but have grown up overseas for one reason or another. (Cheers, I thought of you).</p>

<p>Dorms are mainly doubles with a new apartment style dorm for upperclass students. Several of the dorms have co-ed bathrooms.</p>

<p>Probably the reason my daughter's friend said she could see her at LC, however, was the student body. It is definitely "quirky" --- just watching the variety of clothing, piercings and hair styles in the student cafeteria was entertaining. We saw many students who looked like they had rummaged through my daughter's closet as well as many who were more "out there" Daughter loved it. (Mom admittedly had a momentary pause at some of the more outlandish costumes). Eavesdropping on conversations, I also got the feeling that students are academically engaged and rather intellectual.</p>

<p>We had a lot of opportunity to talk to students on campus - they seemed very friendly and willing to share their thoughts with a prospie. They also seemed very accepting and welcoming of differences. My daughter was really happy when she sat down at a table in the cafeteria and two students immediately asked if they could share her table. General consensus was that for the right person LC was a "terrific" place - lots of faculty interaction, lots of stimulating classes. Hanging out with friends and going into Portland were the two main past times mentioned. Several students however pointed out that the academics are quite strenuous and studying was pretty time consuming (the library is open 24 hours a day). The 40/60 male female ratio keeps relationships low key or non-existent, according to students. </p>

<p>LC has a reputation as being a "pot head" school so daughter asked several of the students about that -- all agreed that pot is definitely there, as is drinking, but that there wasn't pressure to do either. Again, the students we asked mentioned that LC students tend to be pretty laid back and accept differences.</p>

<p>Overall, my daughter LOVED LC. Unfortunately, it is a definite reach for her - median SAT scores are 1260-1380, average GPA is 3.6-3.8. However, when she talked to the adcom, she was very familiar with daughter's high school and said that a slightly lower GPA from that school would be viewed favorably, so maybe it is not entirely out of reach. Percentage accepted last year was 65% but that number is expected to drop this year due to a rise in applications. There's an EA (non binding) option but the adcom stressed that numbers for accepted students during EA tend to be the same or even slightly above for EA students. </p>

<p>Lewis & Clark is the type of school that's not for everyone. Preppy types would probably run for the hills. But, for the right type of person - someone who is intense about their interests, interested in studying abroad, liberal, and looking for a campus where how you look isn't important, LC would be a good fit. As I said, my daughter LOVED Lewis & Clark."</p>

<p>L&C and Willamette are the two schools that leaped way ahead in my estimation after visiting them. A few random observations from my visit to L&C: </p>

<p>Wonderful library, open 24/7. </p>

<p>Great sports facilities. </p>

<p>To me, the kids didn't live up to their reputation as dressing weird or being "out there". From some things I'd read, I half expected all of the students to be running around stoned and wearing nothing but their piercings and tatoos. :) In reality, most of the kids I saw looked fairly mainstream and down to earth, with a few colorful types here and there, but these were a small minority. Our tour guide, a football player, was very funny and articulate; a bit preppy, not too jocky (for a football player). I heard while we were there that the composition of L&C's student body has been changing over the last few years, with more "student athletes" or "athlete/artist" types enrolling. (Perhaps as a consequence, L&C's football team has gone from not winning a game three years in a row a few years back, to being one of the best in the conference this year). The kids we met were very friendly, and my son said he was amazed how many students came up to him and said he should go there. While we were there, I noticed an article in the student newspaper mentioning some kind of division on campus between the athletes and non-athletes, and this was a concern of mine. We asked a few people about it, and no one seemed to think it was a big deal.</p>

<p>Son really liked the biology class he visited - professor was some kind of expert in spiders. Said the students were really engaged.</p>

<p>L&C has a new dorm that is expected to open in the fall to provide more on campus housing for upper classmen.</p>

<p>Absolutely terrific outdoor program, with hiking, rafting, kayaking, and skiing trips all around the PNW.</p>

<p>Reputation of an LAC is often in the eyes of the beholder. For what it's worth, L&C is rated 71 among LACs by USNews. USNews also rates it as number 15 in LACs in quality of undergrad teaching. I've seen Lewis & Clark's campus appear on several lists of "most beautiful campuses."</p>

<p>DD2 attends there. Good: Great study abroad program (she is in Japan right now), beautiful campus, very engaged instructors, much happening around the campus (sports, poetry slams, one act plays, student music...), only a short bus ride from Portland. Bad: If you don't like rain or overcast skies you may get fed up with the weather, if you are an advanced student there will be fewer upper level classes offered than at a University.</p>

<p>Thank you for all the great info guys, your posts have been very informative. The fact that so many praise their study abroad program really appeals to me because I intend on participating in study abroad as much as possible wherever I go. Lewis & Clark is sounding good to me right now, I don't mind the bad weather, and everything else seems to fit just fine. I think I will apply.</p>

<p>Any info on the physics department/program?</p>