First-Year Applicants




We consider you a first-year applicant if:

  • You are still in high school at the time you apply,
  • You have completed high school but have not yet started college,
  • You have completed less than one year of full-time study (approximately 30 credits) at the college level.

Sarah Lawrence offers four different application cycles. First-year students may apply through one of the following:

Early Action

Early Action is a non-binding application cycle. Applicants will learn if they have been admitted by late December. However, there is no commitment to enroll or withdraw other applications, and students do not need to deposit to claim a spot in the class until May 1. This round is intended for students who have Sarah Lawrence high on their college list, and who are prepared to submit the application by November 1 in order to receive an earlier decision.

  • Application Deadline: November 1

Early Decision I and Early Decision II

If Sarah Lawrence is your first choice, we hope you will consider applying through one of our Early Decision cycles. Please keep in mind that Early Decision I and Early Decision II are binding. Early Decision applicants—along with a parent or guardian and your school counselor—must sign the Early Decision Agreement, which indicates your intention to enroll in Sarah Lawrence College if admitted. You will also be asked to withdraw applications to schools if admitted, and in general students may only apply to one school under an Early Decision round.

  • Early Decision I Application Deadline: November 1

  • *Early Decision II Application Deadline: January 15

Regular Decision

Regular Decision is the round in which Sarah Lawrence has traditionally received the most applications. The deadline of January 15 allows students a little longer to prepare their application, and in most cases you will be able to submit grades from the first semester of your senior year as additional support for your successes in high school. Decisions are usually released by late March, and deposits for enrollment are due on May 1.

  • Application Deadline: January 15

If you ever have questions about which application round is right for you, please feel free to contact us and we will be happy to talk with you about these options.

The Application

All first-year applicants must submit the following required materials to complete their application; students may also submit the optional components to supplement their application.

Required Materials

Common Application

Students must apply online through the Common Application. Applicants must also complete the Sarah Lawrence member page of the Common Application.

School Report & Transcripts

The school report and transcripts should be submitted online through the Common Application or other online systems such as Naviance/Family Connection. Transcripts should be complete through seven semesters or the semester most recently completed. If you have transcripts from a summer school or college, it is recommended those be submitted as well.

Teacher/Faculty Recommendations

Letters of recommendation should be submitted online through the Common Application or other online systems such as Naviance/Family Connection. These should be completed by teachers who know you well enough to write about you with specificity, and should be written by teachers of your core academic courses (English, math, science, history, or foreign language). Sarah Lawrence College requires one letter of recommendation from a teacher, and a second letter is optional.

Early Decision Agreement (for EDI and EDII applicants)

Early Decision applicants, their parent or guardian, and their high school counselor must complete and sign the Early Decision Agreement and submit the form online with the Common Application by the application deadline.

English Proficiency Testing Exams (for international applicants)

Applicants for whom English is not their first language and who have not studied in an English language curriculum for the past four years should take one of the following tests:

Most competitive applicants to Sarah Lawrence College have a TOEFL score of 600 (paper-based), 250 (computer-based), or 100 (Internet-based); an IELTS score of 7 or higher; or a Duolingo score of at least 120.

Students for whom time or distance creates a hardship in supplying these results may request an extension. Please feel free to reach out to us ( if you have questions or concerns about providing the English proficiency requirements.

Learn more about the application process for international students»

Optional Supplements to Your Application

SAT I, SAT II, or ACT Scores

The submission of standardized test scores is optional. You may choose to submit test scores if you feel they will strengthen and enhance your other application credentials. However, you will not be at a disadvantage should you choose not to submit your scores.


The Common Application essay is an important way for us to get to know your voice, but we know there may be more you want to tell us that just didn’t quite fit into the rest of the application. For applicants who might wish to share a little more about how Sarah Lawrence fits into the next stage of their education, we invite you to respond to one of the following four essay prompts:

  • Sarah Lawrence students are often described as hyphenates: director-playwright-sound designer, environmentalist-photographer, journalist-linguist, economist-poet. In 250-500 words, tell us about seemingly disparate interests you've brought together, or hope to bring together at Sarah Lawrence.
  • Students at Sarah Lawrence are asked to design their own research questions and answer them during semester-long projects. In 250-500 words, thoughtfully respond to a prompt of your own creation.
  • Sarah Lawrence College's community places strong value in inclusion and diversity. In 250-500 words, tell us about what you value in a community and how your perspective, lived experiences, or beliefs might contribute to your College community.
  • In her 2019 commencement address, journalist Maggie Haberman '96 told the graduating class: "My time at Sarah Lawrence helped me understand the importance of patience, of assuming good faith in others, and of finding truth." In 250-500 words, tell us about a time you spoke your own truth or found the importance in one of the values Maggie describes.


During the 2020–21 application cycle, Sarah Lawrence College is offering online admission interviews as a way for applicants to share their story and get to know SLC. Interviews are conducted by senior ambassadors and admission counselors; you can read more about what to expect during an interview and why an applicant might consider one here.

Arts Supplement

Art portfolios are optional and the absence of one will in no way harm or detract from your application. Any student admitted to Sarah Lawrence may study the creative or performing arts, regardless of whether a portfolio was submitted.

If you would like to submit creative materials in the areas of dance, filmmaking, music, theatre, creative writing, or visual arts as part of a holistic review of your application for admission, please select “Yes” to the art portfolio question on the Sarah Lawrence page of the Common Application. Upon submission of the Common Application, a link will be e-mailed to the applicant with instructions for submitting the art portfolio.

To preview the instructions, please click the link below.

Submitting an Arts Supplement to Sarah Lawrence College