A Look Into La Salle’s Incoming Class of 2023

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A Look Into La Salle’s Incoming Class of 2023

La Salle's incoming freshman class is 46% male and 54% female.

La Salle's incoming freshman class is 46% male and 54% female.

Reilly Smith

La Salle's incoming freshman class is 46% male and 54% female.

Reilly Smith

Reilly Smith

La Salle's incoming freshman class is 46% male and 54% female.

Jacob Wolf, Staff Reporter

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La Salle’s incoming freshman class is set to increase the school’s diversity.

This year concludes a strong enrollment year for La Salle, with the school stretching slightly past its desired enrollment in order to allow a few more students in.

“Our goal is about 700 [students],” said Ms. Katie Allen, La Salle’s Admission’s Director. “It’s a little bit higher than we wanted [this year], [but] it’s [close to the] ideal size for us.”

La Salle caps enrollment at around 725 students, because “our size builds community and strengthens bonds between classmates,” Ms. Allen said. “[Capping enrollment] provides these incredible opportunities to our students to both participate and thrive in our community.”

167 seniors are graduating from La Salle this Saturday at Rolling Hills Community Church at 11 a.m. and 163 freshmen are set to enter this fall, and with a few transfers, La Salle will remain close to its desired population size.

Currently, the gender split at La Salle is 53% male and 47% female.

“Ideally, it would be 50/50, that’s always our goal,” Ms. Allen said. “We’re very comfortable with [the split] at the moment. [It’s] typically within 2%, [around] 51/49, 52/48. It’s a nice mix.”

However, the incoming freshman class, for the first time, is 46% male and 54% female.

Although surprised, Ms. Allen is excited for the change. “I have never seen that in the 12 years that I’ve been here,” she said. “It was a very interesting breakdown for us to see this year. I don’t know [what would cause this but]… I’m excited… to see what the numbers are for the whole school.”

When reviewing applications, there is a series of criteria. “We look at grades,’’ Ms. Allen said when asked about the acceptance process for the incoming class.

“We’ll look at grades for seventh grade and eighth grade,” Ms. Allen said. “We want students to be good students academically. We would prefer them to [have a] 3.2 or [at least] above a 3.0. Absolutely when it’s below 3.0, we want to make sure that we dig a little bit deeper into their academic history to make sure that they are ready for the rigors of La Salle because we are a pretty tough school.”

All incoming freshmen are required to take the High School Placement Test, and afterward their results are reviewed. “They are not for sure results, but we want to make sure those results align with their grades,” said Ms. Allen. “If their grades demonstrate a certain academic level, we want to see how they also perform on the high school placement test.”

The admissions office doesn’t simply look at grades when admitting students. “We also rely very heavily on teacher recommendations, [from their] math teacher, English teacher, and a principal or counselor,” Ms. Allen said. “Those three recommendations are critical to our process because those teachers know those students the best, much better than any piece of paper.”

Religiously, next year’s freshman class is 68% Catholic and 32% non-Catholic. This is up from last year, where 56% of incoming students were Catholic. Similarly, 60% of students will come from Catholic grade schools, while about 35% percent will come from a public school.

This is a change against the current overall demographics, where 60% of the school identifies as Catholic, while 40% identifies as other.

Though La Salle is a Catholic school, “it’s not a requirement to be Catholic,” Ms. Allen said. “We’re very welcoming. It’s very accepting… and we [just] want to understand what their background is because every student does participate in our religious life. Every student takes religion classes; every student goes to mass.”

The incoming class looks to continue the upward trend of diversity at La Salle, with an increase in the number of students of different races.

This year, the African American population made up 4% of the freshman class. In a couple of months, this number will rise to 6%.

The only major decline is in students who identify as Asian-Pacific Islander, which will drop from 16% to around 9% with the departure of the senior class. Ms. Allen notes that this “really [is] a change for next year. Typically, we’re in the 13% to 14% [range].”

Despite the changes, Ms. Allen is “eager to see how [the incoming class is] going to leave their mark on La Salle.”

When compared with the racial demographics of Clackamas County, La Salle has lower numbers of Caucasian students, and higher numbers of Asian-Pacific Islander, African American, and Hispanic students, according to Ms. Allen.

Ms. Allen is pleased that La Salle is “appealing to families from a diverse background.”

Compared to the four other major co-ed Catholic schools in the area, La Salle has the highest female population. In other categories, the four schools are equally matched, and all of them are at full enrollment.