All in favor? All opposed? The Ivy League is in session. You may have read an article recently on the pages of the University of Pennsylvania’s newspaper, “The Daily Pennsylvanian” on the topic of the SAT’s optional essay. Ivy Coach is referenced extensively in the piece. Penn recently removed the requirement that applicants to the university submit the essay portion of the SAT or ACT. But not all Ivy League colleges are standing with Penn. In fact, the Ivy League institutions are entirely divided on the subject.
As articulated by Janet Lorin in a piece in “Bloomberg” entitled “Divided Over Whether To Require SAT Essay,” “Yale’s in favor; Brown is opposed. The Ivy League is in a dead split on requiring the SAT’s optional essay, leaving the country’s top students little option but to take that part of the test. Harvard, Princeton and Dartmouth are lining up with Yale in telling applicants to submit results from the essay portion of the revamped SAT entrance exam, according to a Bloomberg poll of the schools. Columbia, Cornell and the University of Pennsylvania, along with Brown, are taking the opposite position.” And while Stanford University is not a member institution of the Ivy League, the “Bloomberg” piece goes on to state: “Breaking the tie is Stanford — too far West to be an Ivy member. The country’s most-selective school weighed in in favor of the ‘optional’ writing exercise.”
So, basically, applicants would be really limiting themselves if they don’t do well on the SAT writing portion. Who wants to select colleges based on whether or not they require a portion of the SAT? That would be quite silly. It’s of course preferable to select colleges based on whether or not an applicant actually wants to go to the school! And because the Ivy League schools are split, it would be unwise to not perform well on this section since many schools still do require it. If a student really can’t do well on the section, well then applying to schools that don’t require the section is a good course of action. But it’s not the ideal course of action. The ideal course of action is doing really well on this section. Duh! And, remember, that which is ‘optional’ in college admissions isn’t optional in our book. Colleges love to see great scores, whether they require them or not. And if they tell you otherwise, don’t believe it.
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