Brian Taylor, Director of Ivy Coach, is featured today in “The Yale Daily News,” the newspaper of Yale University. The piece is by Tyler Foggatt and it’s entitled “Yale may chance standardized testing requirements.” Naturally, it focuses on the redesigned SAT, which will be coming out next spring (March of 2016 in fact). The redesigned SAT is to include an “optional” essay. But for those of you who read our blog regularly, you all know well that the word “optional” has no place in college admissions. That which is optional is expected. So, yes, that university that doesn’t technically require SAT Subject Tests still absolutely wants to see the results of your SAT Subject Tests. And if the school is highly selective, those scores should be very strong!
As Brian is quoted in the piece on the redesigned SAT, “Brian Taylor, director of Ivy Coach, a New York-based college consulting firm, said most schools will probably choose to require the optional essay portion. ‘We believe every highly selective college will require the optional writing section,’ Taylor said. ‘That probably won’t be unique to Yale. That’s the case with the ACT as well. The writing section is optional, but it’s been required by highly selective colleges since the beginning of time.'” Indeed Yale’s Dean of Admissions, Jeremiah Quinlan echoed this point, stating to “The Yale Daily News” that Yale is “strongly considering” requiring the writing sample. We expect that just about every highly selective school will require this section. As the piece in “The Yale Daily News” correctly points out, the University of California schools have already announced that they’ll be requiring this optional section. Optional not so much…
And what happens if a student scores extremely poorly on the “optional” writing section of the SAT and yet submits remarkable essays? Well, that will call into question those essays. It’s one more reason we expect highly selective colleges to require this writing section. Of course, what you write under timed conditions is not always reflective of your ability to write, but when the score is so low, it is an indicator of a student’s lack of ability to express themselves through the written word.
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