Guest Column: LCHS jumps to #3 USC feeder school

Of the 375 La Cañada High School June 2010 graduates, 99% are currently enrolled at colleges throughout the country (plus several abroad) with approximately 80% attending four-year colleges.

Top USC and UC Feeder School

USC offered admission to 51 La Cañada seniors (nearly 14% of the class) from 99 applications. With 24 Spartans (6% of the class) enrolling at USC in the fall, La Cañada jumps to the third most represented school (public or private) among USC's fall 2010 entering freshman class. A 25th Spartan will matriculate in the spring term.

Much larger Fullerton Troy (500+ seniors) and Arcadia (900+ seniors) were first and second, respectively. Harvard Westlake trailed La Cañada with 23 fall enrollees at USC.

Last year, LCHS was the seventh most represented public school among USC's freshman class with 16 matriculants.

Several La Cañada seniors were named USC Trustee Scholars (full tuition) and Presidential Scholars (half tuition) in 2010.

Separately, La Cañada continued its long-standing tradition as a top UC feeder school. One hundred fifty-five LCHS graduates (41% of the class) were accepted by at least one University of California campus, with 72 students (19% of the class) choosing to enroll.

Seventy-three admission letters were offered to La Cañada 2010 graduates by the UC flagship campuses — Berkeley and UCLA. Eighteen offers of admission were accepted (nearly 5% of the class) by 2010 graduates who are now enrolled at Berkeley or Westwood.

Spartans' Favorite Colleges

The three most applied-to colleges last year were UC San Diego (35% of the class), UCLA (34%), and UC Santa Barbara (30%).

However, more LCHS Spartans (25) ultimately enrolled at USC than any other four-year college with UC Santa Barbara (12) a distant second.

Admission Offers

La Cañada graduates were viewed most favorably in the admissions process by many selective colleges. A prime example is USC's 50% acceptance rate for La Cañada applicants, which is about 26 percentage points higher than USC's reported acceptance rate in its fall 2010 freshmen profile.

Spartan graduates were also highly attractive to Rhode Island School of Design, a prestigious art school with a national reputation. Six of nine LCHS students who applied were accepted, which is about 38 percentage points higher than RISD's historical acceptance rate. Further, one of six Spartans accepted to RISD was also accepted to its dual-degree program with Brown University in which fewer than 20 students are accepted each year.

Engineering, science and technology-oriented universities actively recruited La Cañada seniors. Multiple offers of admittance were extended to last year's seniors by Caltech, MIT, Carnegie Mellon, Harvey Mudd, Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering (where admission includes four-year half tuition scholarships), and the engineering colleges of USC, UCLA, Berkeley, UCSD, UCSB, UCI, UCD, and Cal Poly SLO.

A number of LCHS graduates focused on career-oriented college programs including one student attending Colorado State's nationally prominent pre-veterinary program with guaranteed admission to its graduate school; and others choosing Syracuse's school of architecture, Missouri's school of journalism, and the Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins, a preeminent music conservatory.

A sample of small liberal arts colleges offering letters of admittance to LCHS 2010 graduates included Bard, Bates, Bryn Mawr, Bucknell, Carleton, Colby, Colgate, Denison, Hampshire, Kenyon, Occidental, Pitzer, Pomona, Reed, St. Olaf, Scripps, Smith, Wellesley, and Wheaton.

Acceptance letters were extended to 2010 LCHS graduates by all US News & World Report's top-25 "national universities" except Columbia, Dartmouth, Georgetown, Rice and U. of Chicago.

Last year's seniors using the early action/decision process were accepted to their first-choice colleges including Duke and Northwestern.

Other La Cañada graduates, with acceptances from multiple colleges, were in the enviable position of making "win-win" choices among colleges such as Berkeley-Northwestern, Caltech-MIT, Harvard-Yale, Kenyon-Mount Holyoke, Texas-Washington, Princeton-Stanford, Carleton-Colby, Cornell-UCLA, Maryland-Wisconsin, Carnegie Mellon-Notre Dame, Claremont McKenna-Occidental, NYU-USC, Loyola Marymount-Santa Clara, Tulane-UCSB, and Arizona-Oregon.

"Top-Tier" College Matriculations

Members of La Cañada's class of 2010 have matriculated to a number of so-called top-tier colleges and universities beyond Berkeley, UCLA, and USC including but not limited to Brown, Caltech, Carnegie Mellon, Claremont McKenna, Cornell, Duke, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, MIT, Northwestern, U. of Pennsylvania, Pomona, Stanford, and Washington U. (St. Louis).

Class of 2011

Looking ahead, the local press recently announced that two student athletes from La Cañada's class of 2011 have signed letters of intent during the "early signing" period: Lauren O'Leary (softball) – Georgetown and Anna Edwards (softball) – Northwestern.

The Governing Board greatly appreciates the contributions of LCHS administration, faculty, counselors and staff involved in the college selection process. Also, the Board recognizes the La Cañada Flintridge Educational Foundation as the sole provider of funding for the LCHS college counselor position.

SCOTT TRACY is vice president of the La Cañada Unified School District Governing Board. He can be reached at

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