The Long Answer
It’s important to know that, as an admissions office, we begin by considering Lawrence, who we are, and what kinds of people thrive here. (This, by the way, is true of every admissions office at every institution.) When we read applications, staying true to ourselves as a university and being honest about what we want and need in our student body is the framework for our decisions.
Then we look at our applicants—at you. And in that look, we consider a lot of things.
Life in the classroom
Yes, your academic performance is going to be paramount in our decision, but we know that every academic history has a story. Is your GPA a cumulative 3.0 because you had a slow start in high school, but you’ve been taking advanced courses and getting B’s or better every term since freshman year? Is your GPA a 4.0 because you’ve only taken standard courses and withdrawn from anything where you weren’t getting an A? We are interested in the stories as much as the letter grades that go with them.
Life outside the classroom
How do you spend your time? How much time do you devote to your activities? Are you committed to something you’ve been doing for years, or are you the type of person who likes to try new things all the time? Are you someone who isn’t involved in organizations per se, but you are an artist, a reader, a filmmaker, a kayaker, a runner? (All of these, by the way, are quite all right with us.)
Who are you?
We consider your background. Who are you as a person? Some of that comes from the Common Application itself, some of that comes from the essays, some of that comes from the recommendations of your teachers and counselor. Some of that comes from interactions we have with you.
You are more than a test score
We consider test scores if you elect to submit them. We are test optional because we know that there are inherent flaws in trying to sum up your ability and potential by taking a single exam. If you are pleased with your scores, we would be pleased to see them, but we don’t look at you any differently if you do not submit. (International students are required to submit proof of English proficiency. See requirements for International Admission.)
Behold the power of the interview
The interview is one of the most effective ways for us to determine if you'd make a good Lawrentian. And by "us" we mean the admissions office and you. Interviews are a two-way street.
We consider our impressions of you, the information you share with us face-to-face (or in a GreenInterview over the phone or Skype) that may not fit in the application, but is still important. If you choose to apply after a visit or interview, that also tells us something about you—you can see yourself at Lawrence. In the interview, you also will get to determine whether Lawrence fits well with your interests, talents, and aspirations.