Putting you at the center of the admission process
Lawrence University seeks academically motivated students with diverse talents, interests, backgrounds and aspirations who demonstrate the potential to both transform and be transformed by Lawrence University.
We have designed an admission process that helps us find and select those students in a way that reflects our institutional values, follows the Statement of Principles of Good Practice of the National Association for College Admission Counseling, and—above all—puts students at the center of the admission process.
Recognizing that students can demonstrate their potential for success at Lawrence University in many ways—and that performance in a rigorous high school curriculum is the strongest indicator of success—we welcome but do not require students to submit test scores with their applications for admission and scholarship.1
Every year since 2005—the year Lawrence became one of the first selective colleges in the Midwest to become “test-optional”—about 75% of our applicants have chosen to submit scores with their applications; 25% have not.
The admission rates and scholarship opportunities for both groups are the same.
If your academic record is strong and you believe your test scores support or enhance your application for admission and scholarship, go ahead and submit them. If they don't, then you need not submit them.
Furthermore, if you do not submit your test scores, we will not assume you fared poorly on them. Plenty of Lawrentians with strong test scores have chosen to let their applications stand on their own without them.
1The only exception is for students who are not native speakers of English or whose previous instruction was not in English for a substantial portion of their education. If this describes you, we do require a test of English language proficiency—either a TOEFL, IELTS, ACT or SAT. For requirements, visit our international admission page.
While we may have appeared forward-thinking back in 2005 when we became a test-optional institution, we were far from the first to remove its application fee. (As of the 2016-2017 academic year, Lawrence University no longer requires an application fee.)
No more hurdles, and no more fee waivers.
Just simply: no application fee.
Lawrence University offers three application cycles (Early Action I, Early Action II, Regular Decision), each with different deadlines and notification dates. Our admission decisions are non-binding, and you have until May 1--the National Candidates Reply Date--to accept or decline our offer of admission.
That hasn't always been the case at Lawrence.
For a long time Lawrence had offered students the option to apply using Early Decision—a restrictive, binding application method used at selective colleges whereby students “make a commitment to a first-choice institution where, if admitted, they definitely will enroll.”2
Early Decision offers of admission come well in advance of the rest of a college’s admission offers. In return, students admitted through Early Decision commit to enrolling in that college generally well in advance of the May 1 National Candidates Reply Date.
We thought critically about Early Decision and whether it makes sense at Lawrence, including seeking the advice of a number of college counselors who work with high school students. When we considered Early Decision from the perspective of students, we realized students benefit from having until May 1 to consider fully their options, and to make their final decisions without the pressure of an earlier deadline.
For those students who know Lawrence is the place for them and are certain to enroll if they are admitted, they can make their decisions as early as they’d like, and they don’t need a binding agreement from Lawrence University to do so.
2 From the National Association for College Admission Counseling’s Statement of Principles of Good Practice (page 9).
Still Changing Lives
When he published his groundbreaking work, Colleges That Change Lives, Loren Pope encouraged prospective students and their families to consider what really matters in a college—and it has nothing to do with rankings or selectivity.
It’s all about fit.
He identified 40 colleges that he believed did as good a job as (if not a better job than) Ivy League or other "name-brand" institutions at transforming students by pushing them a great distance. Hence the title.
Lawrence University is proud to be included in every edition of the book, including the new edition written by author Hilary Masell Oswald.
We are also a proud member of the non-profit organization that the book inspired, Colleges That Change Lives, Inc. (CTCL). The organization is dedicated to the advancement and support of a student-centered college search process.
Speaking of which...