Questions About the SAT Essay

Questions About the SAT Essay


Is the SAT Essay Component Required?

No it’s not! Back in March 2016, College Board revised the format of the SAT. One of the biggest changes was to make the essay completely optional, as well as restructuring it. Now, the essay is similar to an assignment format and asks students to analyze a given text. The optional essay presents students with an important choice. Why would you want to take an optional exam that even requires an extra $11.50 fee? The biggest factor to consider is that some schools do still require the essay portion of the SAT. If you do not write the essay, you will not be able to submit your application to these schools. You should research your school choices early to make sure you won’t be limiting your options if you don’t want to write the essay– or simply go ahead and write it. Even if your schools don’t require the essay, we still recommend completing it and achieving a high score is an opportunity to shine and demonstrate you have the reading comprehension and analytical abilities to succeed in college. Submitting the essay provides schools with as much information as possible about you to help them make their choice.

What schools require the SAT essay?

Most importantly, many elite schools do still require it, though not all. Harvard, Princeton, Dartmouth, Yale and Stanford require the essay, while currently Brown, Columbia, Cornell and UPenn do not. Big state schools are also split on the issue, with the University of California system requiring it but other schools such as University of Chicago leaving it optional. Requirements for many schools for 2020 and beyond may be adjusted due to the ongoing pandemic crisis, so students should check the school’s admissions website and check the College Board for up to date information.

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