Should You Take the Optional SAT Essay and ACT Writing?


Happy Friday 7EDU readers and welcome back to our daily blog post!


To end the week and begin the Labor Day Weekend, today's reading will answer the question of whether your child should still be taking the optional SAT Essay or ACT Writing when completing their college application process.


This outstanding student wrote about — wait for it — PIZZA 🍕 for her Yale essay... and got accepted!! 🎉 If you haven't yet, give yesterday's blog post a read, click here.


Depending on where you are planning on applying for universities, this question will receive various answers. Currently, there are colleges that require the SAT Essay or ACT Writing and some that do not.


Be sure to refer back to the College Board's College SAT Essay Policies to search for your university and their SAT Essay requirements or recommendations.


As for the ACT Writing, refer to the ACT Inc. website to check whether your college requires or recommends taking the writing examination.


While many universities and colleges are not mandating the SAT Essay and ACT Writing, those that do suggest students complete the written test should be taken into regard and consideration.


Learning and Writing Never Stops

One major point to be made about the SAT Essay or ACT Writing examinations is that the test, in essence, allows for students and individuals alike to portray their growth and learning for writing and composition. The value of writing, whether it is for college applications or for own personal creativity, never depreciates or diminishes in today's society of constant growth and new innovation.


College admission officers remain committed to the worth of education, language, and writing and are assessing applicants through their written skills and capabilities. Grades that students have in rigorous honors and AP-level English courses, as well as papers completed in high school, continue to being evaluated for compatibility with a university's admissions standards.


For parents and students that would like some examples of colleges adopting this approach, let us look at renowned Stanford and Princeton University.


What is the latest news on the College Board replacing the plan for the SAT student "adversity score" and what exactly is their newly proposed tool "Landscape"? 😲 Read about it in one of our latest blog posts here.


Stanford has followed suit after other colleges such as Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth and the University of San Diego waived the SAT and ACT essay requirement. While this may appear that the written essay is no longer of value in the decision process for admissions, note that the college still remarks that the SAT or ACT essay scores are "strongly recommended" even though they are no longer a requirement.


Stanford representative E.J. Miranda responded in an email to The Daily that the written essays are still nonetheless highly advised and recommended:

“Coursework (such as accelerated honors, AP, IB, and writing courses) will receive more scrutiny and either the required SAT or ACT will be the focus,” Miranda wrote. “And, along with faculty, [the office of admissions] will look at alternatives to promote good writing."

Princeton, on the other hand, now requires that all college candidates submit a graded written example from their high school as part of the university's application process.


Effective immediately for the 2018-2019 admission season, the newly required graded written sample will aid the admissions evaluators to determine a candidate's academic writing capability and potential.


For more information, see the direct link to Princeton University's updated application requirements.


Satisfied Prerequisites Covered For All Universities

Another significant and important benefit of taking any of the written examinations is that you will entirely fulfill the requirements at all schools that you wish to apply to.


If you intend on applying to certain colleges that require neither of the written essay examinations, then this might not apply to you. On the other hand, if you are a student with an undecided list of colleges that you may want to apply to, take the safer bet and take the writing tests in the event of a university you are interested in requires the essay.


Competitive Or Not

A final matter to take into account when deciding whether to take the SAT Essay or ACT Writing is if the college you are considering has high competition and rigorous academic requirements or standards.


If the universities you are interested in applying to recommend and require higher criteria, the SAT or ACT written essay may be beneficial in boosting your college application.


7EDU Impact Academy offers many college preparation services including one-on-ones, counseling, and specific courses. Feel free to contact us at (408) 216-9109 or info@7edu.org if you have any questions or comments.


We hope you enjoyed today's read and don't forget to join us today (August 30th) on our live webinar Consulting Jun at 5:30 PM PST (Zoom Link). The guest speaker and topic of discussion for every week will be posted in our newsletter email, so do not forget to subscribe!


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