By Ocelia Stanley///Staff Writer
Contrary to the hype, the class of 2020 is not substantially smarter than the rest of the student population. According to Lisa Meyer, Dean for Enrollment and Communications, the rumors about the first year class’ extraordinarily high GPAs and standardized test scores were untrue. As it turns out, the average high school GPA of incoming students was only marginally higher than last year’s.
The unusual aspect of this year’s admissions, according to Meyer, was the significant drop in accepted students. This year, Lewis and Clark’s admissions office accepted 10% fewer incoming students than they did in 2015. Meyer attributed this change to a steadily growing applicant pool, as well as last year’s unusually large incoming class, which created some issues with housing and space in general on our small campus.
Meyer also talked about growth in academic rigor, an important part of admissions decisions that isn’t generally reported. Admission officers look for students who are challenging themselves academically in high school
“Those students are the best prepared to succeed in college. If you take rigorous courses, whether you get an A or a B, you’re better prepared than if you don’t take rigorous courses,” she said. According to Meyer, new LC students have arrived increasingly more prepared for college-level academics.
In her five years working in the admissions office, Meyer has noticed that LC students “have a strong sense of identity.” They are passionate about everything from environmental issues to social justice, and they come to this college with those interests in mind.
She says that “students who come here are a little bit more aware of what LC is like and they come here because they want to be a part of that.”
Charlotte Brownstone ’20 put a great deal of thought into her college decision and said that ultimately, “I picked LC over bigger schools because of the closer knit community. I felt that it would encourage me to be more outgoing and involved.” Knowing what she wanted in a college has payed off; in the short time she has spent at LC, everything about it has lived up to Charlotte’s expectations. “I feel super at home here,” she says.
According to admissions records, LC received over one thousand more undergraduate applications this year than it did in 2012, just five years ago. This has been key to building the diverse student body inhabiting the hill today. With a larger applicant pool, Meyer says, “we can bring in a class that has many different backgrounds, talents and interests and have a pretty interesting community here. We’re not just hitting one note.”