LA SALLE CATHOLIC COLLEGE PREPARATORY (9–12)
11999 SE Fuller Rd, Milwaukie
What’s in a name? Shakepeare’s Juliet asked. For students at La Salle Catholic College Prep, the answer is literal: not only do nearly 100 percent of graduates enroll in college, but thanks to the credits they earn through a smorgasbord of 23 Advanced Placement classes, some, like 2010 alum Carly Christoferson, also start with sophomore standing.
“We’re always asking ourselves, ‘What do students need?’” says Andrew Kuffner, vice principal of academics. “AP courses are part of the answer, so we embraced that.”
AP classes aside, La Salle’s rigorous curriculum (four years of English, three years of math and science, a year of fine arts, for example) ensures students are prepared for the demands of college. Since 1987, La Salle has also maintained a partnership with the Oregon University System that allows students to earn college credit for some classes they take at the high school.
“You don’t realize the quality of the education you’re getting until you are put into a different setting, with people from different educational backgrounds,” says Christoferson, now a University of Oregon Clark Honors College student. Then it becomes clear it’s not just what’s in the La Salle name, but what’s in the education: a foundation for success. —GH
CATLIN GABEL (P–12)
8825 SW Barnes Rd; catlin.edu
Nestled in a West Hills fir forest, this 151-year-old progressive school regularly posts the highest SAT scores in the Portland area—a combined score of 1957 last year (the Oregon average is 1547)—and a 100 percent college enrollment rate, at places like Harvard and Stanford, no less. But Catlin graduates don’t just go to good colleges; they go to the right colleges for them.
In fact, college is kind of downplayed at the school until junior year, when in early January Catlin’s two college counselors, Nancy Donehower and Blythe Butler (who both previously served in college admissions offices themselves), bring a collection of admissions deans and directors together for an evening Q&A with students and parents. In meetings throughout the next year and a half, several times a month, Donehower and Butler lead each student into a deep inquiry about what he or she wants in a college. The students even spend part of their junior retreat in February writing a self-reflective essay that for many will morph into an application essay. The results are often surprising.
“I’m not even applying to the school that a year ago I thought for sure I was going to go to,” says senior Jenna Rolle.
And that’s precisely the point.
“The list of schools the students go to is impressive,” says head of school Lark Palma, “but we’re most proud of the journey they take to get there.” —KC
PORTLAND LUTHERAN SCHOOL (P–12)
740 SE 182nd Ave
PLS students can earn up to 12 semester college credits through the school’s Baccalaureate Package program, in which Concordia University instructors teach classes on the PLS campus.
OREGON EPISCOPAL SCHOOL (P–12)
6300 SW Nicol Rd
OES’s rigorous education helps students earn some of the top SAT scores in the Portland area—and the state—every year.