University of Puget Sound vs Lewis & Clark College?

These two liberal arts colleges are near the top of my daughter’s list if she doesn’t get in or decide to go to UW. However we are having somewhat of a difficult time really discerning the differences between the two. We visited Lewis & Clark before the pandemic with students on campus and my daughter liked it. Seemed sort of a mix of athletes and casual/liberal type students. We only visited Puget Sound as a DIY self-guided tour of the pandemic-closed campus so didn’t see any students.

Academic reputation seems similar. UPS has a slightly higher endowment and might be slightly more selective, but only marginally so. My daughter is interested in biology and especially molectular biology and genetics and both seem to have decent bio departments.

UPS is a more traditional quad type campus in the English style in an older nice residential part of Tacoma with more shops and restaurants nearby in walking distance. Lewis & Clark is in a tony leafy residential part of Portland that is tucked into a wooded hillside. It looks like an old estate that was expanded into a college sort of ad-hoc rather than a planned design around quads. There is nothing for students to do within walking distance of campus so one must take shuttle buses to other parts of Portland.

UPS has Greek life and athletics. My daughter is not interested in either. Lewis & Clark has no Greek life but an equal percentage of athletes I suspect. So that seems sort of a wash. Lewis & Clark probably has the edge there due to lack of Greek life on campus.

I suspect she would probably be equally happy at either school. I think she likes the setting at UPS better in that it is more integrated into a neighborhood with groceries, coffee shops, arthouse theaters and such. And it is further from home. But it is really hard to get a read now that we can no longer visit schools with students present.

Are there any parents or students her with experiece at either school who can more definitively comment on the differences between these two schools?

I wouldn’t necessarily give L&C the edge because it doesn’t have Greek life. Greek life varies a lot from campus to campus, and not every campus has the raucous stereotypical depiction of Greek life a la Animal House. I’ve lived on or near three different university campuses and the Greek life was distinctly different on every single one of them.

That said…this may sound unnecessarily flippant, but I’m of the mindset that there are only so many meaningful differences between similar colleges and that after that, it’s very possible that your daughter would be equally happy at either! Is she trying to decide where to apply ED? If not, why the need to decide between them now? She can apply to both and see how the financial aid awards and other factors shake out while she does more research.

Oh, I tend to agree. I’m just expressing her opinion. Her older sister was in a sorority at the University of Arkansas and this daughter couldn’t be more anti-everything Greek after seeing her sister as a southern sorority girl. She’s kind of a quirky independent kid who wants no part of that.

She isn’t going to apply ED at either so we can wait. But I’m just curious if others have looked at both of these schools and drawn conclusions. They really seem very similar in so many ways.

The students at Lewis and Clark go into Lake Oswego for things like the grocery store or coffee shops. It’s not far but does require a car or some really developed leg muscles for walking or biking back up to campus.

UPS has a business major & substantial Greek life. Lewis & Clark has neither.

Does your daughter want to experience Portland, Oregon or the Seattle metro area ?

It might be helpful to consider the percentage of students in Greek life at UPS in the context of that at other colleges:

https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/rankings/most-sororities

https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/rankings/most-frats

Note that UPS does not appear on the list pertaining to sororities.

As one source for comparison, the Princeton Review assigns identical selectivity ratings (83) to UPS and L&C.

https://www.princetonreview.com/college/university-puget-sound-1023493

https://www.princetonreview.com/college/lewis—clark-college-1023289

Another site (niche?) had higher average SAT scores for UPS but they are pretty identical I guess. Princeton shows L&C with higher average scores. That’s why it’s hard to get a read on how student life would be different, with such similar student profiles.

My own guess is that Lewis & Clark might be a slightly better fit for her with no business degree or Greek life and a higher percentage of students in natural sciences. But I think she likes the setting at UPS better as it is slightly farther from home and a more traditional style of campus in a more urban neighborhood that seems friendlier for a car-free student which she wants to be. L&C might also be too close as we live right across the river in the Vancouver WA area while Tacoma is 2 hours away with frequent Amtrak service between Vancouver and Tacoma which makes it convenient.

I think it will come down to visiting campuses with students present if that is possible next spring.

These aren’t her only two choices. She’s also looking at Whitman, Occidental, UW, UO, and WWU and maybe Gonzaga and Santa Clara if she decides she wants a west coast Jesuit education.

My D is at UPS and I don’t think you have anything to worry about with Greek life. It’s not exclusive, or alcohol-focused, or even the least bit necessary to have a fun college experience.

With respect to academics/biology, consider keeping Whitman in the final few.

Has Willamette received a look?

Whitman would honestly be my #1 for her based on what I know of it. But she is hesitant about the remote location and need for a car to get there. She is kind of a greenie enviro kid and wants to live car free using biking, walking, and public transportation in college. Which would be far easier at UW, UPS, or L&C. But we haven’t visited Whitman yet. I need to dump her into the car and drive out for a DIY tour some weekend. It’s at the top of my list, just not her’s…yet.

Willamette feels like a step below UPS and L&C in the natural sciences. Their biology facilities are somewhat lacking and it isn’t as popular of a major there as it is at L&C. They don’t have subspecialties in molecular biology, for example, like they do at Whitman, L&C and UPS. Willamette seems more focused on Economics, Political Science, and government, which are their most popular majors due to the location next to the state Capitol and reputation for producing local politicians, judges, etc. But we haven’t actually visited Willamette. It’s frankly kind of off the radar.

We also looked at Reed (my alma matter) but the intense academic focus to the exclusion of all else (service, study abroad etc) kind of gives her pause. Plus Reed gives no merit aid so we would be 100% full pay.

In my mind, Whitman and Occidental should be her top private schools with UPS and L&C as more “safeties” or excellent backup choices with Gonzaga and Santa Clara as wildcards in case she wants to explore her Catholic roots.

Likewise, UW is her top public school with WWU and UO as safeties.

But I’m not sure she actually sees it like I do, which is fine. She’s a very bright kid with top grades and scores. But she isn’t really that interested in continuing the educational rat race and arms race into college. She wants a place where she can ease up a bit and explore her talents and interests both inside and outside of school. So there is probably a lot of merit for her to find a good LAC that gives her room to explore and do her own thing, but that isn’t so intensely competitive that she is forced into a brutal academic environment like Reed. She might very well decide she wants to attend WWU, which she really liked when we visited in the pre-pandemic days. She liked the campus, the students, ad Bellingham. It isn’t as competitive of a school as she might ultimately get into based on her credentials. But it might be what she wants. And would be tremendously cheaper. And they do have a good honors college.

Apply early action to Lewis and Clark to maximize your chances of admission, as they consider demonstrated interest (also sign-up for their mailing list, attend webinars etc.) There is also the Neely scholarship (full-tuition) that they offer to 5 students every year, and it has a deadline sometime in December.

My son is a entering senior in high school looking at both schools. Which did your daughter choose and why?

Looks like the OP’s D decided on UW

Closing thread