4 years ago
Admissions Advice

Should I write the SAT essay when some colleges are test optional for next year?

The SAT itself is now test optional for next year at some colleges, so given that I have had the chance of writing the SAT should I take the essay.?

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2 answers

Accepted Answer
4 years ago

Actually 99% of all Top 100 colleges are not requiring the SAT or ACT, and some like CalTech and all Univ. of Calfornia schools are Test Blind meaning they will not look at them. You have 2 questions correct?

Should you take the SAT? It depends on what kind of school you are applying to and the rest of your application record. If you applying to an average ranked college and they do not require it, it doesn't seem like it will add much value. If you are applying to mostly Top 25 colleges with lower than 20% acceptance rates, submitting a good SAT score may fortify your academic narrative. But keep in mind most experts on CV and other consultants would say only submit an SAT if it is closer to the middle 50% the published 25%-75% range. There are competing thoughts on this. Some think that SAT scores will go up this cycle because only high scorers will submit. Others think they will go down because its harder for 80% who rely on gaming the SAT will multiple tries and other techniques since the SAT has been cancelled numerous times since March. I'm of the opinion that if it's in anywhere in the 25%-75% ranges it's perfectly fine to submit.

Should you take the optional essay section of the SAT? The essay is less important than not submitting an SAT score at all. If you have a high verbal score say 700-800 and have As in AP Lang, AP Lit, etc, the essay is not going to push you into another higher level. It will just support what the application reader knows about you. Some disagree and still think having a high essay score of say 21-24 out of 24 will place in you a higher English class and make you stand out as an applicant. Again, 99% of colleges will not require the essay section. And according to many consultants, fewer than 10 of the Top 25 consider it if you submit it.

You have 3-4 SAT dates this fall to fulfill taking the SAT or SAT with Essay so if you are going to do it I recommend booking 2 or more dates since there is a high probability 1 of them will be canceled. Also, keep in mind that you will not be penalized for not submitting them. They will help you only if you have met or exceed the suggested threshold for scores at the colleges you are applying to.

I'm attaching a CV article about the SAT essay. It's from January and maybe outdated for current policies but at least it will explain what it is and how it is graded.


Best of luck in your college application journey!

4 years ago

So depending on the schools you want to go to whether it’s a very selective like ivies Stanford UCLA Rice WashU etc you should at least attempt it if available as it just boosts you while not taking it doesn’t hurt you. Also if you want to major in English I’d heavily recommend it or if you are a weak writer don’t do it.

If you want to attend a school with a 90% admit rate like K St or Kentucky SAT essay isn’t needed generally the lower admit rate a school has the more qualified applicants they have. So it depends on your school choice and your skill.

Hope this helps and please comment if you need clarification as I’d be happy to help clarify!

What are your chances of acceptance?
Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
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Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

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