Lewis and Clark College, Portland OR: Anyone here have personal experience?

Anyone here an alumnus/a? Faculty? Staff? Live in the neighborhood and have had enough of those damn kids?

Looks like Lewis and Clark is tentatively my niece’s first choice.
And we ain’t got no money, so the fact that they’ve offered her nearly her entire tuition is pretty good. She’s going to go up to visit in a few weeks, tour the campus, meet whoever it is who meets prospective students.

Anyone here have personal experience with the school? Thoughts?

Well, I spent a little time there about 45 years ago. It was a very nice school, academically quite good, at least at that time. Not top tier like Reed College, but still very good. I had to leave after only 1.5 quarters because I suddenly had to support myself, and I couldn’t do that and go to college. Also, I didn’t live in, I lived in Portland and commuted from home.

Unfortunately I have no current knowledge, so I offer the above only for what it’s worth, which is not much. I hope you can find feedback from someone more current.

My brother went there in the late 90s. What I learned:
They apparently have a traditional streaker at graduation.
Lots of student bands.
Monica Lewinsky went there.
Some of the dorms are antiques.
The campus is absolutely beautiful.

For reals, though, it’s a fancy nice school, and Portland is a great city, especially for the young and hip. Palatine Hill, it’s neighborhood, is very pricy and safe.

I’ve been a guest lecturer there, and was impressed by the questions the students asked.

My daughter graduated from L&C in 1999.
I believe everyone (maybe just Liberal Arts) must take a foreign language. Then they must spend a semester in a country that speaks that language. My daughter majored in French and Spanish. Spent one semester in France and another in the Dominican Republic. With a student body of 1,500 students (at that time), we both feel that she got a great education. Had lots of great guest speakers and musicians.
If your daughter has a free ride, what a score!

We college shopping, too. I got some ‘real time’ information through Facebook and Reddit. We took an early tour recently and saw the campus and a dorm. I wish I had looked into one of the communal bathrooms, though.


Good luck!

My sister-in-law graduated a few years ago. She was very happy with it. I believe they worked her pretty hard so she wasn’t coasting, and she had some excellent experiences (a summer work study in India).

That part of the country is beautiful, but can be very grey. I lived there several years and loved it. Some folks just hate the rainy season.

If specific questions come to mind on location or school, please let me know and I will ping the SIL.

My high school sweetheart went there, while I went to a similar small liberal arts college in the Pacfic Northwest. She wasn’t happy, though I think that had much more to do with her than anything else. The academics are very good; they’ve got a reputation among similar colleges (like Reed, University of Puget Sound, and my alma mater, Whitman) for being absolutely top-notch in the humanities and very good in the hard sciences. Reed has a reputation for being a little stronger in hard sciences, and Whitman is maybe more well-rounded and even. Don’t get me wrong, though; most comparisons between those four schools is hair-splitting because they’re all excellent academically. The campus is lovely, and Portland is a great town, especially for a young person. But the weather is just as grey and drizzly as you’ve heard, so if she’s coming from sunny California, it might take some adjustment.

The only caveat I’d give is that if she wants to study pyschology, they have a wonderful program but I might not recommend it for an undergrad because the focus will be on graduate students.

Just about everyone I know who went to small liberal arts schools like that had a fantastic time, and got a wonderful education. I know lots of people who subsequently went to graduate school and actually found that easier than their senior year of college.

Fun fact-- L&C has no Greek system. That was one of a trio of requirements set by an early major donor. The others were that there must always be a women’s only dorm, and that ice cream be available at every meal.

Thanks, everybody!

bienville, our DD is finishing freshman year at L&C and has had a very positive experience so far.

-Academics have been challenging and engaging, professors have been excellent and accessible, and staff have been helpful and friendly.

-There have been more campus activities, speakers etc. than she’s had time to take advantage of. DD has been able to get involved in a number of campus organizations and is enjoying all of them. She’s taken advantage of the College Outdoors trips–a wonderful way to see the PNW and make new friends. She’s made some great friends from her dorm, campus activities, classes, etc. as well. In the small school atmosphere she is a person, not a number, and she has opportunities she wouldn’t have had elsewhere.

-The campus is gorgeous, the cafeteria food well above average.

-We’ve been surprised how very positive her experience has been - so few downsides for a first year of college.

-Students are less religious than on some campuses, if that’s a concern, but students who do practice a faith are supported by the administration and do find a peer group.

-As far as drugs/alcohol use, it seems to be about what it is on many other college camps us; DD hasn’t had any problem finding friends and fun without it and hasn’t felt peer pressure.

-Most students come from outside of Oregon, but a lot are from California, rather than all over, which surprised us. It’s not a problem, just interesting. International students are numerous and bring a nice variety of experiences and viewpoints to campus.

-Portland is a great place to be close to, and DD often takes the free school shuttle there to enjoy the city.

-Students overall here tend to be passionate about things–social justice, the environment, etc.–and get involved in causes they care about. The school has a high number of graduates who go on to organizations like the Peace Corps. The international studies program is strong, as is biology, among others. Study abroad opportunities are great.

-Work study etc. opportunities are accessible.

Ultimately, we did a number of campus visits to the schools she was considering and did a lot of research, and she turned down some great opportunities at highly selective schools in favor of L&C. She has been happy with her choice. Where your student has her heart set on going plays a role in college success, I think: DD was excited about L&C and went into it expecting it to be wonderful and planning to make the most of it, and it has been great so far.

It sounds like your niece has similar feelings. Be sure to allow time to try everything you can when she visits campus: tour, class(es), lunch hosting for informal conversation with a current student without an admissions adult or tour guide around, overnight stay if you can. Good luck with your decision with your niece.

PS about those communal bathrooms? We weren’t thrilled that her dorm had them, but it’s been no big deal at all. I hear the guys can be untidy sometimes, but no harassment, discomfort, lack of privacy compared to an all girls’ bathroom. I wish we hadn’t wasted energy worrying about it.

Wow, thanks CollegeMom!
My niece will be visiting next weekend- Thurs 10th to Monday 14th. Her mother and her younger sister will be joining her.

Hey, wow, looks like CollegeMom joined just to respond to this Thread.
If she ends up being a fun and valuable member of the SDMB community, y’all have me to thank!

And if not: They can all come after you with pitchforks :cool:

Reed is head-and-shoulders above the other schools you mention, and is quite possibly the most intensely intellectual school in the country. It has as good a humanities program as you will ever find (required of all freshmen), is nothing if not “well-rounded and even,” and is absolutely first-rate in the physical sciences, social sciences and humanities. There is no honors program, as everyone must write and defend a bachelor’s thesis. It’s the only school I know of where you can find the library open at 2:00 AM, full of people hard at work. It’s also a PhD-student-producing machine, rivaled only by Swarthmore and Harvey Mudd. Those other schools are fine schools, but they are not like Reed in terms of the academic intensity and caliber of the student body as a whole. Reed is admittedly a little grim and edgy, and not for everyone, but its academic/intellectual rigor is undeniably on another level altogether.