What We’re Looking For

When admitting new students, our admissions staff look for individuals from diverse backgrounds, with diverse talents and interests—students who will not only meet the rigorous academic challenges of a Lewis & Clark education, but will also take full advantage of the opportunities for individual achievement and growth offered here.

Academic Preparation

Successful Lewis & Clark applicants will have completed a rigorous curriculum including at a minimum:

  • 4 years of English
  • 4 years of mathematics
  • 3-4 years of history/social science
  • 2-3 years of a world language
  • 3 years of lab science
  • 1 year of fine arts

Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, or honors courses are viewed as further evidence of serious preparation for college-level studies. Successful candidates have taken some of these advanced courses if they are offered at their schools. Transfer applicants are expected to have further demonstrated their ability to succeed in college-level studies with appropriate course selection and grades. The best predictor of academic success at Lewis & Clark is a student’s record in their core academic courses. Grades for such courses taken in years 11 and 12 are very important.

Admission Criteria

We look not only at your performance in a challenging curriculum, but at the following criteria as well:

  • Secondary School Report (first-year students only).
  • Teacher Recommendation completed by a teacher who has taught you in an academic course (English, mathematics, science, foreign language, history, or social studies) in 10th-12th grade. Transfer applicants must submit a recommendation completed by a college instructor who has taught the student in a full credit, traditional academic (non-performance or studio) college class taken post-high school graduation.
  • Personal essay/statement. (Learn about some of our Essay Tips and Tricks here.)
  • Leadership, community service and work experience, and extracurricular involvements.
  • Expressed interest in the college or personal interview (interviews are recommended, but not required).
  • Note: As a leader in test-optional admissions since 1991, we will be adopting a test-free admissions policy beginning with the fall 2025 entering class.

The committee weighs all of these factors to make a prediction about an applicant’s potential for academic success at Lewis & Clark. We want to make sure that any student who has the opportunity to enroll at the college will have the tools they need to flourish in and enjoy our academic program.

The committee also looks for students who will contribute to our community – as musicians, leaders, athletes, or community service participants, just to name a few – while they are succeeding academically. Learn more about our Review Process here.

Virtual Interviews are recommended, and may be most helpful for students who have a circumstance best explained in a personal conversation, or who have specific questions. Sign up for a Virtual Interview here.

You can get a good idea of where you might fit in “by the numbers” by comparing your own performance with our admitted student profile on the Enrollment At A Glance page.