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Our Review Process

Ever wonder what happens to your application after you’ve spent hours perfecting your essay, rounding up transcripts and recommendations, dotting your i’s and crossing your t’s? Here is the scoop on where your application travels once you send it off.

Step One: Collecting the Pieces

We match up all the pieces you have sent to us. Since each student’s file contains several important documents, it is important to write your full name on everything you send to us.

Upon receipt of your application, we will send you an email your L&C User ID and instructions to check the status of your file. The next day, you will receive another email with your password.  You should have ALL of your credentials postmarked or electronically submitted by 11:59 PM on the deadline (November 1 for Early Decision and Early Action or January 15 for Regular Decision) so that we can gather up your documents and get your file ready for step #2.

From this point on, we will be communicating with you via the email address you provided on your application. Please be sure to check that email account regularly and let us know If you need to update or change your email address at any point during the process!

Step Two: Reading Your Application

Once basic information is entered in our system, your application file is handed over to the admissions officer responsible for your geographic area (if you’re a first-year applicant). All transfer applicants will be evaluated by our transfer counselor. To find out who will get your application, go to our admissions staff directory. This admissions officer, who is your advocate (and your new best friend), will do an initial review of your file, evaluating everything from the strength of your curriculum to your essay writing skills to your leadership, service, and talent. He or she will make a recommendation on your admission decision and send your file on to the next reader.

Step Three: Making a Decision

Next, your file will be sent to a second reader who is a senior member of the admissions staff. Some applications will receive a final decision from a second or third reader, while some will go to the full Admissions Committee for a final decision. Throughout the process, we’re trying to determine if your past academic record indicates that you’re capable of academic success here at L&C, and what you will contribute to the next entering class. If you apply Early Decision, you’ll hear from us by December 15.  If you apply Early Action, you’ll hear from us by January 1; and for Regular Decision, your decision will arrive by April 1. The decision will have one of the following outcomes:

a. You’re admitted! Yippee! Congratulations. Now you have to decide if L&C is the place for you. Why don’t you come out and visit? Go to our visit page for more information about visiting campus. You’ll also be able to learn more about the College and connect with fellow admitted students on the Admitted Students Facebook page.

b. If you were admitted under the Early Decision plan, you are required to enroll at Lewis & Clark and withdraw any other college applications.

b. Some Early Decision and Early Action candidates will be deferred to our Regular Decision timetable for a final decision because we need more information from you.

c. A Regular Decision applicant may be offered a place on the wait list. This means we need to receive more information from you and we also need to see how much space may be left in our entering class.

d. You’re not admitted. Your academic preparation was not sufficient to earn a place in next year’s class.

Step Three and a Half: Scholarship Selection

While we’re determining your admission decision, we’re also looking to see if you might be eligible for one of our merit-based scholarships. Here’s some information about these awards:

a. Barbara Hirschi Neely Scholarships: Up to five full-tuition scholarships, valued at over $154,000 for four years. Scholarship winners also receive a $2,000 stipend to support academic projects. All first-year applicants who submit admission applications by the deadlines are considered for Neely scholarships; no separate scholarship application is required.

b. Merit Scholarships: Up to half-tuition scholarships are available. Students with exceptional academic credentials and preparation for meaningful involvement in the Lewis & Clark community are considered each year to receive these awards.  Additional scholarships may be available to students with an interest in the sciences or international issues. No separate scholarship application is required. 

c. Leadership and Service Awards: These awards are made in recognition of outstanding academics combined with exemplary leadership and/or service in the school or community. Awards are valued at up to half of tuition. All first-year and transfer applicants are considered; no separate scholarship application is required.

d. Music: You’ll probably be glad to know that our office doesn’t actually get to award these scholarships (none of us were music majors!). You need to contact the music department ( to apply and set up an audition for one of these talent awards.  You can also check out the Music Scholarship page.

e. Forensics (Speech and Debate): We don’t get to award these either. For more information on earning one of these scholarships, contact our debate coach ( or visit our Forensics Scholarship page.

Step Four: The Need-Based Financial Aid Process

Will you apply for need-based financial aid? Just file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the CSS PROFILE by February 15 for priority consideration, and make sure to include L&C’s code (003197). (Early Decision applicants applying for need-based financial aid must submit CSS Profile by November 15.) When you’re admitted, we will notify the Office of Financial Aid ( and they will start putting together a financial aid package for you if all of your data has arrived. All students who filed both forms for need-based financial aid by February 15 will receive word of their eligibility before the May 1 National Candidates’ Reply Date (that’s when you need to have your mind made up, which brings us to the last step).

Step Five: Time for You to Make Your Final Decision

Whew! After we make all those decisions, we let you decide if Lewis & Clark is the right match for you. If you’ve been admitted, then we really hope it is! Your acceptance packet will contain information about how to send in your enrollment deposit to let us know you’ll be coming to L&C.  The National Candidates Reply Date is May 1 for Early Action and Regular Decision applicants.

What about transfer students?

Although the above information is specific to first year students, the overall steps of the process are similar for transfer students.  We accept applications from transfer applicants on a rolling basis, and your file will be reviewed as soon as your file is complete.  We will notify you of your decision in three weeks, and you will have until June 1 to reply to the decision notification. Check out the transfer page for additional information.