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Test-Optional Policy

Lewis & Clark College adopted a test-optional admissions policy in 1991 with the belief that standardized testing does not always accurately reflect a student’s true academic potential. A leader in the test-optional movement, we have for nearly 30 years given students the option to replace their scores with a portfolio of academic coursework.

This policy has recently been updated.

Starting with the spring and fall 2021 incoming classes, students applying to Lewis & Clark will not be required to submit test scores. If scores are self-reported or sent by a testing agency, we will include them in our holistic review of a student’s application materials for admission; however, they will not play a role in the awarding of merit-based or need-based financial aid.


Students applying for fall 2020 are still required to adhere to the Test-Optional Portfolio Path which allows them to replace their test scores with an academic portfolio demonstrative of their intellectual curiosity, depth and breadth of curriculum, and overall preparation for college work.

Students who choose this option still submit the Common Application and other required documents.  In addition, applicants must provide a total of two academic teacher evaluations as well as a portfolio of graded academic work.

An academic portfolio must include the following:
  • One sample of graded analytical writing (expository writing, essay exams, research papers…NOT creative writing).
  • One sample of graded quantitative/scientific work (science lab report, math/statistics or science test or work).  Sample should demonstrate student’s ability to use numbers to work through a problem.
  • Two academic Teacher Evaluations (total of two; note that this replaces the regular requirement of one teacher evaluation).
    • One evaluation must be from an English, social studies, or foreign language  teacher.
    • One evaluation must be from a mathematics/statistics or science teacher.
Additional important criteria:
  • Students will indicate their intent to apply using the Test-Optional Portfolio Path on Lewis & Clark’s Member Page on the Common Application.
  • First-year applicants must submit work from their junior or senior years in high school.
  • Transfer applicants must submit college-level work, preferably completed at their current institution (or the institution most recently attended).
  • All work must be graded; instructor comments or markings can be helpful.
  • First-year students must submit teacher evaluations from classes taken 10th - 12th grades with preference given to junior and senior years.
  • Transfer applicant recommendations must be from instructors of recent college/university courses.
  • If artwork is to be included as additional material, a link to an online gallery is preferable.  You may also submit electronic files or hard copies, although please do not submit originals as they will not be returned.

Teacher evaluations/recommendations must be submitted to our office directly by your teacher, either through the Common Application or via email.

Graded work samples should be submitted electronically via your Pioneer Portal once you have applied (login information will be sent 24-48 hours after you have applied). Other methods include emailing the admissions office, fax or USPS. Please note: portfolio contents sent to us by mail will not be returned.