Frequently Asked Questions
This FAQ mainly applies to first-year students applying as U.S. citizens. While much of the information may apply to all applicants, transfer students should first read our transfer student FAQs and international students should begin at our international admissions page.
- Do you need to receive my application materials by the deadline, or is it a postmark deadline? Is the deadline for all materials or just the application form?
- Can I apply after the January 15 Regular Decision deadline?
- Can I get my admissions decision over the phone or online before I receive my letter in the mail?
- My teacher and/or counselor is out of the office and can’t submit his/her letter until after the deadline. What should I do?
- How do I submit supporting documents like transcripts, teacher recommendations, academic work, etc?
- My counselor doesn’t know me very well. Can someone else complete the school report form?
- I would prefer to have a teacher from ninth or tenth grade and/or from an elective course submit my teacher evaluation. Is that okay?
- Do my teachers have to use the Common Application form, or can they just send a letter?
Do you have an early application plan?
We offer both Early Decision, a binding early application plan, and Early Action, a non-binding early application plan.
Early Decision (ED): The Early Decision plan is for students that consider Lewis & Clark their first choice college. The application deadline for Early Decision is November 1, and applicants will be notified of their decision by December 15. This decision plan is binding, and if you are accepted under Early Decision, you agree to attend Lewis & Clark and withdraw all other applications. Applicants may only apply Early Decision to one school.
Early Action (EA): The application deadline for Early Action is November 1, and applicants will be notified of their decisions by January 1. Early Action applicants must then reply to us with their decisions about whether or not to enroll at L&C by the national reply date of May 1. The Early Action plan does not restrict applications to other colleges, and does not require the applicant to enroll at L&C if admitted.
If you are wondering about the differences among early application plans (Early Decision, Early Action, etc.), we recommend checking out Understanding Early Admissions - a flyer provided by the National Association of College Admissions Counseling.
Is there an advantage to applying Early Decision or Early Action?
If Lewis & Clark is the college that is clearly the best fit for you, then applying Early Decision allows you to complete the college application process months before many of your peers if you are admitted. Since the application is binding, you can look ahead to becoming a Pioneer while focusing on finishing your high school career.
The main advantage to applying under our non-binding Early Action plan is timing. Since you get your materials to us earlier (November 1) we are able to get a decision letter to you earlier (by January 1). The Admissions committee will look for all the same criteria that we look for in the Regular Decision timeframe (see what are we looking for), so a student is not necessarily more likely to be admitted if they apply Early Action.
Keep in mind that there is one important difference between the early application plans and Regular Decision: under Early Decision and Early Action, we require grades through the end of junior year, along with an accurate list of senior year courses. Some Early Decision and Early Action applicants provide first quarter or trimester reports as well. Under Regular Decision, we require that you submit the first set of grades from your senior year. If it is important to you that the Admissions committee reviews your senior grades, you may wish to apply Regular Decision. Finally, the Early Decision and Early Action plans are not appropriate for students who will be relying on the November SAT or ACT to complete your file.
If I apply Early Decision or Early Action and am not admitted, can I re-apply for Regular Decision?
If the Admissions committee feels that an Early Decision or Early Action applicant should be reconsidered among the Regular Decision pool, the applicant will be notified that his or her application has been deferred to Regular Decision. If you are denied admission for Early Decision or Early Action, your application will not be reconsidered under the Regular Decision timeframe. In this case, we recommend pursuing post-high school education at another institution to strengthen your academic record. If you really want to attend Lewis & Clark, you may re-apply as a transfer student after at least one year at another college.
Is there a fee to apply?
There is no fee to apply to Lewis & Clark.
Do you need to receive my application materials by the deadline, or is it a postmark deadline? Is the deadline for all materials or just the application form?
Our application deadlines are postmark deadlines. Ideally, all documents (including the application forms, transcript, test scores, evaluations, etc.) should be postmarked by November 1 (Early Decision and Early Action) or January 15 (Regular Decision). Please notify your teachers and counselors of the appropriate postmark deadline for your application.
Can I apply after the January 15 Regular Decision deadline?
You should strive to submit your materials by the application deadline. Late applications may be accepted at the discretion of the Admissions office. If you are interested in applying after the January 15 deadline, contact the Admissions office and speak with an admissions counselor about your options.
Please note: students whose applications are received after the deadline may not receive their admissions decisions until after April 1. Financial aid notification may also be delayed and funds may be limited.
Can I get my admissions decision over the phone or online before I receive my letter in the mail?
All admissions decisions will be sent via postal mail. Early Decision letters will be mailed by December 15; Early Action decision letters will be mailed by January 1; Regular Decision letters will be mailed by April 1. In order to protect our applicants’ privacy, we do not share admissions decisions over the phone. Please do not contact our office and ask for a decision, unless it is more than ten days past the notification date and you still have not received your decision letter. Students completing their files late are not guaranteed a decision by the notification date.
My teacher and/or counselor is out of the office and can’t submit his/her letter until after the deadline. What should I do?
To ensure that your materials will be postmarked by the application deadline, be sure to give counselors and teachers plenty of advance notice when asking for evaluation letters. If your counselor or teacher is unable to submit the required documents by the deadline, contact the Admissions office and let us know when these documents will be available.
Be sure to follow up with your teacher and/or counselor to make sure the materials were sent. Late materials can be faxed to the Admissions office at 503-768-7055. Once you’ve submitted your Common Application and Supplement, you may also check our website to see which materials have been received.
How do I submit supporting documents like transcripts, teacher evaluations, etc?
While applicants submit their Common Application and Supplement online, we receive most supporting materials for applications in hard-copy by mail. If you prefer to mail your supporting documents, the forms for these documents are available on the Common Application website for download and printing. The Common App Online School Forms system allows high school counselors and teacher(s) to submit your high school transcripts and evaluations online. View a brief demo online (flash movie).
- My counselor doesn’t know me very well. Can someone else complete the school report form? It is in your best interest for you to get to know your guidance counselor. Beyond completing required college application forms, you may find that your counselor can also provide excellent guidance throughout your entire college search process. If it’s just not possible for you to get to know your counselor (and we certainly understand that situation may arise if you attend a large school) or if you have a new counselor at your school, you should (at minimum) have your current counselor fill in the blanks of the Secondary School Report form. That form provides vital information we need in order to complete your record at the College. You may have another high school administrator or former counselor provide an evaluation letter addressing your preparedness for college, your high school performance in relation to the rest of your senior class, and other pertinent information. We will only accept such an evaluation in addition to the Secondary School Report form completed by your current high school counselor.
I would prefer to have a teacher from ninth or tenth grade and/or from an elective course submit my teacher evaluation. Is that okay?
The required teacher evaluation must be from a teacher who has taught you in an academic core subject (English, mathematics, history and social studies, science, or foreign language) during 10th-12th grade. We will gladly accept additional evaluations, should you wish to submit more than the required letter
Do my teachers have to use the Common Application Teacher Evaluation form, or can they just submit a letter?
It is not necessary for your teacher to use the Common Application form. However, if your teacher will not be using the form, he/she should submit the evaluation on school letterhead, clearly print your full name on the top of the letter, and indicate the course(s) and grade level(s) in which he/she taught you.
Do you require an official score report from the SAT or ACT testing agency, or can my school submit my scores?
SAT or ACT scores reflected on your official high school transcript, sent from your high school, will serve as official score reports for admissions purposes. There is also space on the Secondary School Report form where your counselor can enter your SAT I and ACT scores — those scores will be considered official as well.
Which test should I take, and what about the writing section?
We do not have a preference in terms of which standardized tests should be submitted for consideration. In the spirit of holistic application review, we will consider whatever test is submitted. We will accept the ACT, the current SAT, or the redesigned SAT. We do not require the the writing portion of the ACT, the essay section of the redesigned SAT, nor do we require any SAT II tests.
Students also have the option of applying using the Test-Optional Portfolio Path.
Can you tell me in advance if I’ll receive a merit scholarship or need-based financial aid? I’d like to know if I can afford L&C before I apply.
The short answer is no. Our financial aid awards (need-based aid, academic merit-based scholarships, and talent scholarships) are made to admitted students only. The federal formula for determining your eligibility for need-based financial assistance is complicated and considers many factors such as family size and assets, in addition to income. Academic merit-based scholarships also depend on many factors beyond grade point averages and test scores, including curriculum rigor, writing skills, teacher evaluations, and other academic factors. Music and Forensics talent awards have their own application processes too. All of these factors mean that it takes time for us to carefully assemble financial aid packages, and we aren’t able to do it for students who haven’t yet been admitted to the College.
You are wise to consider college cost and finances early in your college search, but remember that it is difficult to predict the actual cost of attending any college without completing the entire financial aid application process. While it can be frustrating to wait for a financial aid award, the timing of the process ensures that many factors – from the strength of the overall applicant pool, to the upcoming year’s tuition, to federal financial aid guidelines – can be considered in order to make accurate and timely awards.
Be patient. Make sure your FAFSA, CSS Profile, and Common Application materials are submitted on time and you should have financial aid notification in hand well before the May 1 reply date. 72% of Lewis & Clark students receive some form of financial assistance, so financial aid is a significant factor in most of our students’ decisions to attend the College. We encourage you to file the FAFSA and CSS Profile to see what your eligibility might be. For more details about all forms of financial aid at L&C, go to the Financial Aid website.
Do I need an interview?
Interviews are recommended, but not required. Here are the Top Ten Interview Questions to help your decide if one is right for you.
May I submit supplemental materials (essays, recommendation letters, artwork, etc)?
We are happy to consider additional materials along with the required parts of the application for admission. Pieces that are academic in nature (i.e. graded writing samples, science research summaries) tend to be more helpful for us than those that are non-academic. Don’t go overboard – an extra teacher evaluation plus a graded paper you’re really proud of would be great. If you feel the need to submit something more substantial than that, you should look into applying via our Test-Optional Portfolio Path to admission. Please note that electronic submission of these materials is preferred, and they can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include your name, city and high school.
We do not require special portfolios or applications for admission to particular majors, so items such as artwork, slides, performance recordings, and creative writing portfolios will be considered only as background for the overall admissions decision. Please do not send original artwork.
What do you look for in the application essay?
Learn more about essay topics, length, and what we look for in an essay.
How do you weight the different pieces of my application in the decision-making process? How important is X (test scores, curriculum, essay, etc)?
The Admissions Committee gives all applicants a comprehensive review before making an admissions decision. This is why we ask for a number of credentials to complete your application. The main concern of the committee is to make sure that the applicant is able to meet the College’s academic challenge and the expectations of our faculty.
While all credentials will be carefully reviewed, an applicant’s transcript is most beneficial in providing evidence of a student’s academic potential to thrive at Lewis & Clark. The committee examines course selection, curricular rigor, grade trends, and other academic factors included on the transcript.
Teacher and counselor evaluations, SAT and/or ACT scores, the essay, and the actual application form reveal other dimensions of an applicant and are also important in the application process.
Non-academic activities are considered as well, since we need students who will play a role in our small, residential community, but these factors are only considered if a student is academically admissible. In the end, the committee hopes to admit students that are prepared for the challenge that an education at Lewis & Clark will offer while also contributing positively to the College community.