College Profile: Lewis & Clark College
by Carolyn Francis, College Counselor
Located just on the outskirts of Portland, Oregon, Lewis and Clark sits on an old estate complete with lush gardens and forest pathways. The campus itself is split in two by the forest – academics on one side and student life and dorms on the other. It seems appropriate for this campus to have these two different worlds, as Lewis and Clark is proud of their rich academic and intellectual life on one hand, and social diversity and the outdoor world on the other. When applying to Lewis and Clark consider this interesting option: you can submit a portfolio of work instead of test scores. This speaks to their desire to have diverse, well-rounded class rooms.
With a relaxed atmosphere and inclusive community, Lewis and Clark is one of the leading small liberal arts schools on the west coast. There is a Core Curriculum that highlights exploration and discovery. Freshman year includes Freshman Seminar, which is centered on reading and writing. After that, 3 semesters of language, 2 classes of international affairs, 1 lab science and 3 sections of quantitative reasoning are required to graduate. Credits are distributed in thirds; one third major, one third electives, and one third liberal arts core.
With an emphasis on international study as part of their core curriculum, 6 out of 10 students study abroad at some point during their time at Lewis and Clark. Ranging from 6 months to a year, there is no limit to what is available to students. Financial aid is transferable to abroad programs, making it easy for all who wish to engage in experiential learning to take part. Internships are available as are research opportunities with faculty.
Lewis and Clark also has two graduate programs, one in Law and the other in Educational Counseling. Undergraduates total 1,985 and graduate students are 685 in Law and 758 in Education.
Lewis and Clark has representation from students around the world, which is a point of pride for them. With their Northwest location, over 90% of students participate in the outdoor rec program. Well supplied with equipment and students running the programs, there is not much students can’t do here. A free shuttle bus runs from campus to downtown Portland 7 days a week from 7am to the early morning hours; a plus for students wishing to take advantage of Portland’s arts and culture without the hassle of driving.
Residential life is 2 years on campus with “living and learning” options. About half of students stay on campus all four years. Lewis and Clark is also generous with merit aid, need-based grants, loans and/or work study.
When I asked my guide to sum up Lewis and Clark in 3 words, he struggled, so I allowed him to fudge a little. His words were: beautiful, intellectual and complex with an interesting social fabric. There is more below the surface at Lewis and Clark than what you see on the surface.