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Why Lewis & Clark? Q&A with Becky Haas highlights graduate school admissions process

June 22, 2012

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    Becky Haas, director of admissions for the graduate school

The graduate school’s Office of Admissions hosts on-campus and off-campus recruiting events throughout the year that bring scores of future teachers and counselors to Palatine Hill.

For the final installment of our three-part series featuring admissions staff from each school, The Source caught up with Becky Haas, director of admissions for the graduate school, to find out more about the process of recruiting prospective students.

What are the main reasons why applicants choose to attend graduate school at Lewis & Clark?

It really comes down to three common factors. First, we offer extensive preparation to enter the fields of education and counseling as competent, engaged professionals. Second, we have an excellent reputation among our graduates, employers, and others in the fields of education and counseling. And third, we offer a unique orientation toward equity and access in our curriculum.

What would you consider to be the graduate school’s most important admissions events?

Our faculties are deeply involved in working with prospective students—they field phone calls, make phone calls, and meet with prospects, sometimes extensively. In addition, we offer several ways for potential students to find out more about our programs, including the following:

  • On-campus information sessions
  • Online information sessions
  • CAS-specific info sessions and recruiting events, like the recent So You Wanna Teach panel
  • Scheduled, one-on-one tours and meetings
  • Off-campus recruiting events around the region, like graduate school fairs
Do students generally visit campus before they commit to Lewis & Clark?

Students visit campus before and during the admissions process. They schedule individual appointments with the graduate admissions office, department staff and faculty, and also attend information sessions. Information sessions are conducted by faculty and are held both on and off campus. These events have proven to be a great way for students to make connections with the various programs.

We’ve also noticed a steady flow of grad school candidates who were originally prospective students for Lewis & Clark’s undergraduate program. Even though they may not have chosen Lewis & Clark four years ago, they had a positive experience with the CAS admissions office and as a result return to Lewis & Clark as an option for graduate study.

How competitive is the graduate school compared to other schools of education and counseling?

Very. Within Portland specifically and Oregon more generally, our programs have an outstanding reputation. Education and counseling graduate programs tend to draw a majority of students from within the state because workers in these fields must be licensed by state boards. Our programs are geared to meet Oregon licensing requirements, so it makes sense that folks who want to live and work in Oregon are our primary draw. At the same time, we have been expanding the national and international reputation of our programs in recent years. We have many applicants every year from up and down the West Coast, the Midwest, and the East Coast. We admit some international students every year as well; we expect these numbers to grow as faculty pursue more collaborative research relationships in many countries around the world.

How much do applicants focus on outcomes like career opportunities after graduation, and how might this influence their decision about attending graduate school here?

The graduate school is a professional school. By definition, it prepares students for specific careers—our graduates become educators, school leaders, school counselors and psychologists, community counselors, marriage and family therapists, and more. It’s critical to applicants that Lewis & Clark has a great reputation for preparing students to leave here extremely well prepared to enter their professions. The majority of our graduates stay within Oregon to pursue their careers, but increasingly we also have students who move out of state or take jobs internationally. Our applicants tend to come to us with a lot of foreknowledge about our programs and their own goals. Word of mouth and the website are the single biggest sources of information for applicants. The network of graduate school alumni around Portland is both wide and very deep—we have over 4,000 graduates working in schools, community counseling centers and mental health agencies, in private practice, and in other community organizations. Many of our applicants become enrolled students because they heard about the positive experiences of their friends, family, or extended networks in our programs.

This is the third in a series of three stories featuring admissions staff from each school. Read the first story “Q&A with Lisa Meyer sheds light on spring 2012 culture of yield,” and the second story “Why Lewis & Clark? Q&A with Shannon Davis highlights law admissions process.”