Test-Optional Policy

Beginning with the cohort applying for Fall of 2021, California Lutheran University will be implementing a test-optional policy. Students seeking undergraduate admission will no longer be required to submit standardized testing as a component of their application process. 

This test optional policy aligns with the Office of Undergraduate Admission and its longstanding practice of holistic admissions. With an emphasis on student equity and access, the focus of evaluation will be based academic achievement, curriculum and rigor. This is further contextualized by letters of recommendation, access to resources and involvement beyond the classroom. The review process will also give consideration of the impact of an individual’s environment, community engagement and their ability to demonstrate success as a potential student at Cal Lutheran.

How to Apply Test-Optional   

On the Common Application for Cal Lutheran, you will have the option to indicate if you wish for your test scores to be considered as part of your application.

If you indicate “No. I am applying test-optional,” we will not consider your ACT or SAT scores in your application review, regardless of how they are reported. For example, if you choose to apply test optional and will not be submitting test scores, and your scores appear on your high school transcript or in the self-reported score section of the Common Application, they will not be reviewed in the admission process. 

Once you submit your application and state that you are applying test optional, you will not be able to change this later in the process. *We recognize testing may not be available Fall 2020 due to COVID-19. Please reach out to your admission counselor if you are unable to register for the SAT or ACT.

Supplemental Questions for Test Optional Applicants

If you choose to apply test-optional, you will be required to complete four short-answer supplemental questions. These are designed to allow the admission committee to get to know you better. International students, in addition to the supplemental questions, will be required to interview with an admission counselor. 

The questions are:

1.) Describe a situation where you made a decision that was wrong or incorrect. What would you have done differently and what did you learn? This can be an example from academics or your personal life. Be specific and think about a time where you experienced personal growth and/or maturity.

2.) Describe a time in which you turned to someone for help. How did they help you approach a challenge? This can be a family member, faith leader, friend, coach, employer, etc.

3.) Reflect upon a situation where you feel you were treated unfairly.  How did that situation impact you? For some, this may include but is not limited to experiences in gender, race, ability, identities, etc.

4.) Describe an example when you contributed as a member of a group. What was your role and how did you support the overall group goals? You may use an example from your involvement and/or activities outside of the classroom (i.e. student clubs, volunteer or community organizations, family experiences, faith affinity groups, places of work, etc.)

Merit Scholarships

Regardless of test score submission, all students will be considered for merit scholarships up to $25,000, renewable annually. Students may also qualify for our Public Price Promise and Visual and Performing Arts Scholarships. View Scholarships

How to Submit Test Scores

Students are still welcomed to submit standardized testing if they believe it is an indication of their academic ability, we will require them to be submitted directly from ACT or College Board by the application deadline.

  • Cal Lutheran ACT code: 0183
  • Cal Lutheran SAT code: 4088

Please note that your application will be considered complete once you have submitted all required materials and may be reviewed by our Admissions Committee even if your ACT/SAT scores have not been received.

Cal Lutheran's Test-Optional Policy is subject to change at the discretion of the Office of Undergraduate Admission.


Frequently Asked Questions

What are the average SAT and ACT scores at California Lutheran University?
  • Average SAT: 1167
  • Average ACT: 25
How do I indicate that I want to apply without submitting test scores?

When completing your Common Application, indicate that you want to apply as test optional.

Can I change my mind after submitting my application?

No. The admission committee will review your file based on whether you indicated that you want to apply as test-optional on the Common Application. 

What if I don’t want my test scores considered, but they are submitted by a testing agency or posted on my transcripts?

As long as you indicate on your application that you are applying test optional, we will not use scores when reviewing your file.

If I apply test optional, will I still be considered for merit based aid and institutional scholarships?

Yes. All applicants are considered for most merit based and institutional scholarships;  the only exception is our Presidential Scholarship which requires that you apply early action and submit official SAT or ACT scores.

Does this policy apply to transfer students?

No. Transfer students with less than 30 units are required to submit official high school transcripts and official transcripts for all college institutions attended.

Transfer students with more than 30 units will be evaluated on their college performance only.

Will Cal Lutheran superscore across test dates?

Yes. If you have taken the SAT or ACT more than once, we will take the highest scores you earned in each section. 

Do you allow self reported test scores?

At this time, we do not allow self-reported test scores. If you would like your test scores considered in our review process, submit official scores through the testing agency or have them sent through a designated school counselor or advisor.

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