September 01, 2023

Lewis & Clark Welcomes Outstanding and Diverse First-Year Classes

This fall, Lewis & Clark is welcoming first-year classes across its three colleges, totaling more than 1,000 students, including nearly 950 degree-seeking students.

Lewis & Clark campus seen from above the Estate Gardens This fall, Lewis & Clark is welcoming first-year classes across its three colleges, totaling more than 1,000 students, including nearly 950 degree-seeking students. A class of approximately 560 students will start their undergraduate education at the College of Arts & Sciences. About 220 students will begin pursuit of their master’s, EdS, or EdD at Lewis & Clark Graduate School of Education and Counseling, with approximately 70 more starting endorsement or certificate programs. And around 160 first-year students (also called “1Ls”) will start at Lewis & Clark Law School.

Dr. Robin Holmes-Sullivan, president of Lewis & Clark Dr. Robin Holmes-Sullivan, president of Lewis & Clark“We are so pleased to welcome these incredibly talented and promising first-year students at all three of our schools,” says Robin Holmes-Sullivan, president of Lewis & Clark. “In addition to being among the best and the brightest, these students come from a wide variety of backgrounds and have a broad range of life experiences. I believe our students are best prepared to live, work, and lead in a diverse society when their academic experience includes interacting with people who are different from them.”

The institution’s leadership continues to evolve their approach to admissions with an eye toward removing barriers and increasing access. This includes taking steps to streamline the application process to make it possible for any qualified student to pursue their education and thrive at Lewis & Clark.

The College of Arts & Sciences: Removing Barriers

Waiving application fees from all applicants is just one of the ways that the undergraduate college at Lewis & Clark has removed barriers to access. The college was also an early adopter of test-optional policies. Standardized testing has been optional at L&C since 1991. Currently, about 75 percent of applicants choose not to submit test scores.

Of the incoming undergraduate class, 33 percent identify as domestic students of color, which is up from 28 percent last year. Of the incoming class, 7.4 percent are degree-seeking international students, growing from four percent last year.

Bruce Suttmeier, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Bruce Suttmeier, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences“This first-year undergraduate class is an extraordinarily talented and bright group of students,” says Bruce Suttmeier, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and associate professor of Japanese. “They are also our most racially and ethnically diverse class in the college’s history.”

In addition to robust recruitment efforts, the undergraduate college at Lewis & Clark works with a number of nonprofit and community-based organizations to enhance accessibility, including a highly successful partnership with the Posse Foundation. The Posse Foundation recruits and supports students who show extraordinary leadership potential, providing mentorship and resources to prepare them for lifelong success. L&C will welcome its third cohort of Posse scholars from Washington, D.C., this year. The campus will also welcome its inaugural cohort from the foundation’s newest recruiting location: Puerto Rico. With the addition of Puerto Rico, Lewis & Clark is now the first institution in the Pacific Northwest to serve as a dual-program institution with Posse.

For many families, a Lewis & Clark education has become a proud family tradition. While legacy information has been included among the many data points the college collects, legacy admissions has not been part of the college’s admissions approach. To strengthen its commitment to access even further, the admission office will no longer have the ability to access legacy-related data until the decision-making process is complete.

The Graduate School: Committed to Accessibility

Accessibility and inclusivity remain important priorities at Lewis & Clark Graduate School of Education and Counseling.

In addition to recruitment efforts that include robust outreach to historically marginalized students, the graduate school has made several updates to its admissions policies. A few years ago, the graduate school removed the GRE and all other standardized tests from its admissions requirements. The graduate school also accepts unofficial academic transcripts for admission and even allows students to begin their programs before submitting official transcripts. This gives students more time to request and pay any transcript fees required by their prior institutions. Last year, the graduate school adjusted its tuition deposit to be more accessible to most students.

Of this year’s incoming class, 25 percent identify as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color), and 26 percent are first-generation students. Nearly 30 percent of the incoming class are from outside of Oregon. The graduate school also offers two new endowed scholarships based on financial need: one for students in the Professional Mental Health Counseling Program and one for an Art Therapy student.

Scott Fletcher, dean of Lewis & Clark Graduate School of Education and Counseling Scott Fletcher, dean of Lewis & Clark Graduate School of Education and CounselingIn addition, the State of Oregon has awarded the graduate school two Oregon Health Authority grants, one for $500,000 and another for $1.9 million, to fund scholarships and stipends.

“We are incredibly proud to have been recognized by the state as a steward of these funds, which is a reflection of our commitment to graduating mental health professionals from a variety of backgrounds,” says Scott Fletcher, dean of the graduate school and professor of education.


The Law School: Admissions Policies That Promote Access

At Lewis & Clark Law School, each applicant is given a holistic review by admission committees composed of faculty and students elected to these roles. The law school is among only a few schools of its type that offer optional interviews to all applicants.

The incoming class of 1Ls come from 28 states and provinces and 88 different undergraduate institutions, with more than 50 unique undergrad majors represented. Our average law student’s age is 27, meaning many of our students are “nontraditional,” entering law school after their first or even second career. The law school also offers a part-time program, including evening courses, for students balancing school with work, family, or other responsibilities.

Jennifer Johnson, dean of Lewis & Clark Law School Jennifer Johnson, dean of Lewis & Clark Law SchoolNearly 100 percent of law students are offered unconditional scholarships, which means this funding renews every year that the student remains in good standing.

“We are proud to offer several programs to help students who are first-generation or come from historically underrepresented backgrounds, such as the AEP program and the Summer Institute, as well as a very robust mentoring program to help incoming students,” said Jennifer Johnson, Dean and Erskine Wood Sr. Professor of Law.


College of Arts and Sciences Graduate School

Law School Equity and Inclusion