Princeton and Stanford Drop SAT and ACT Essay

Princeton SAT Essay, Stanford SAT Essay, Princeton and Stanford ACT Essay

In a move we wholeheartedly support, Princeton will be requiring that applicants submit graded papers going forward.

Princeton University and Stanford University both announced that they will be dropping the SAT and ACT essay requirement for admission. Yale made a similar move about a month ago. Stanford’s new policy will take effect for students who apply to the university beginning in the fall of 2019. Princeton’s new policy (one that also mandates an applicant now submit a graded paper) takes effect — from our understanding — for students who will be applying in just a few short months, in the fall of 2018.

Color us shocked. We kid, we kid. By dropping the essay requirement for the SAT and ACT, Princeton and Stanford joined a growing list of highly selective colleges who’ve done the same over the years. In fact, Princeton’s decision means that Brown University is now the lone Ivy League school to still require an essay score from the SAT or ACT. Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth, Columbia, Penn, and Cornell have all already dropped this requirement. As our regular readers know all too well, we have a legendary crystal ball at Ivy Coach, one cited in major publications as crazy as that may sound. Our crystal ball predicts that Brown University will drop its SAT or ACT essay requirement within the next calendar year to join its seven Ivy League siblings.

Applicants to Princeton and Stanford Should Still Submit SAT or ACT Essay Scores

When a highly selective university drops a requirement, parents and students often rejoice. Maybe they think something along the lines of, “Thank heavens. My daughter had a perfect ACT score but a lousy essay score. Now we don’t have to worry. Her score is perfect.” And while we hate to burst bubbles, we will not perpetuate misconceptions. It’s not what we are about at Ivy Coach. Just because a school drops a requirement doesn’t mean a student shouldn’t still submit a score for that portion of the exam. Not submitting a score is indeed suspicious. Admissions officers at Princeton and Stanford would still absolutely love to see great writing scores on the SAT or ACT. It’s that simple.

Heck, they even say it themselves. As reports Nick Anderson for “The Washington Post” in a piece entitled “Princeton and Stanford drop requirements for essay testing,” “Stanford’s dean of admissions and financial aid, Richard Shaw, said in an email that the school would ‘strongly recommend’ that applicants submit an essay score from one of the two admissions tests. But the mandate is gone, starting with students who apply for entry in 2019. Shaw said the university in California’s Silicon Valley will seek alternative methods to promote good writing.”

Princeton and Stanford’s PR Move Means Little for Applicants

If you didn’t catch that in plain English, Stanford’s longtime dean of admissions and financial aid strongly recommended that students still submit SAT or ACT writing scores. Take the man at his word. When a school drops a requirement, they still want that component. They just don’t want to rule out students from applying who don’t have essay scores altogether — or don’t have great scores. After all, the more students who apply to a given school in a given year, the lower the school’s admission rate will be…invariably to the betterment of the school’s all-important “US News & World Report” ranking. Yes, it’s always, always all about the rankings. As the kids say these days, “Obvi.”


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