As you know, the College Board’s changes to the SAT include making the SAT essay optional. But as we stated the day that the College Board announced the overhaul to the SAT, we suspect that many highly selective colleges will require that students submit the essay portion of the exam. Why wouldn’t they? The essay portion of the exam — while certainly immensely flawed — is yet another indicator of a student’s intellectual ability. It’s a window into his or her writing abilities. And if the writing is absolutely terrible but the admissions essays are outstanding, it’s an indication that the student may have had help with their application…significant help.
An article out in “The LA Times” entitled “SAT’s about-face on essay presents colleges with a tough question” by Larry Gordon, it’s mentioned that Bucknell is leaning towards requiring the essay portion of the exam for applicants to the university. And possibly the University of Southern California as well, the University of California schools, Caltech, and others. We suspect most Ivy League colleges will indeed require the SAT essay section after the section is deemed optional by the College Board.
As stated in the article in “The LA Times,” “Caltech…values the essay scores from the SAT and the ACT and sometimes retrieves and reads the actual essays, said Jarrid J. Whitney, executive director of admissions and financial aid. So while it is too soon to say whether the Pasadena school will require the SAT essay in two years, Whitney said, ‘Our students have to be extraordinarily talented in math and science, but they also have to be able to communicate effectively.'” We have a strong feeling that Caltech and other top colleges will be requiring the SAT essay section in the years to come.