COLLEGE SAVINGS 101

Savingforcollege.com

The new SAT essay: Does your dream school require it?
http://www.savingforcollege.com/articles/the-new-sat-essay-does-your-dream-school-require-it-855

Posted: 2015-10-13

by Kathryn Flynn

The short answer is maybe, but probably not. The College Board’s new version of the SAT will roll out in March, which includes a newly structured, optional essay portion. But as a recent survey by Kaplan Test Prep shows, optional doesn’t really mean that it’s optional for every school. In fact 13% of the colleges polled will require applicants to submit an essay, 19% will recommend it but not require it, 66% will neither recommend nor require it and 2% will require it for specific programs.

How the essay requirement has changed

The current essay prompt, which is required by all students who take the SAT, gives applicants 25 minutes to generate an argument in response to a general and subjective question. The new optional essay prompt, however, gives students twice the amount of time to answer, but requires deeper analysis. Students will be asked to read and analyze a 700-word passage and compose a facts-based essay on how the author builds his or her argument. The new essay prompt will also be scored differently, and based on three criteria: Reading, Analysis and Writing. This section of the new exam measures how students can understand, analyze and convey the elements of someone else’s argument.

According to a study released by Kaplan earlier this year, 60% of parents think that the new optional essay will be more difficult than the current essay. And Michael Boothroyd, executive director of college admissions programs, Kaplan Test Prep, thinks that could be a benefit for some students:

“One thing to consider is that an optional but more challenging section provides an opportunity for students who are good writers and analysts to distinguish themselves. Schools appreciate applicants who challenge themselves, so earning a high score on an optional section can factor favorably on an application.”

RELATED: 5 changes to the SAT and how parents are reacting

Next: See which colleges will require the new essay

Which colleges will require the essay?

If your goal is to get into a top tier school, it might be a good idea to brush up on your writing skills. The 13% of colleges and universities who are requiring the essay as part of their admissions process include some of top ranked national universities by U.S. News and World Report: Princeton (ranked #1), Harvard (ranked #2), Yale (ranked #3), Stanford (ranked #4) and Dartmouth (ranked #12). These schools believe that analytic writing is a preview of the type of writing the students would be doing in college if they were accepted.

But not all of the elite colleges agree. Columbia (ranked #4), the University of Pennsylvania (ranked #9), Brown University (#14) and Cornell (ranked #15) will not be requiring applicants to take the exam. Columbia, for example, is concerned about the additional $11.50 it costs to take the new SAT with the essay portion becoming a barrier for students who want to apply. The school feels that they can get an idea for the students’ writing abilities on their admissions application. What’s more, after reviewing data from the College Board and conducting their own research, the University of Pennsylvania feels that the essay should not be a requirement since it is the “least predictive element of the overall writing section of the SAT”.

RELATED: 5 tips to crafting the perfect essay

The short answer is maybe, but probably not. The College Board’s new version of the SAT will roll out in March, which includes a newly structured, optional essay portion. But as a recent survey by Kaplan Test Prep shows, optional doesn’t really mean that it’s optional for every school. In fact 13% of the colleges polled will require applicants to submit an essay, 19% will recommend it but not require it, 66% will neither recommend nor require it and 2% will require it for specific programs.

How the essay requirement has changed

The current essay prompt, which is required by all students who take the SAT, gives applicants 25 minutes to generate an argument in response to a general and subjective question. The new optional essay prompt, however, gives students twice the amount of time to answer, but requires deeper analysis. Students will be asked to read and analyze a 700-word passage and compose a facts-based essay on how the author builds his or her argument. The new essay prompt will also be scored differently, and based on three criteria: Reading, Analysis and Writing. This section of the new exam measures how students can understand, analyze and convey the elements of someone else’s argument.

According to a study released by Kaplan earlier this year, 60% of parents think that the new optional essay will be more difficult than the current essay. And Michael Boothroyd, executive director of college admissions programs, Kaplan Test Prep, thinks that could be a benefit for some students:

“One thing to consider is that an optional but more challenging section provides an opportunity for students who are good writers and analysts to distinguish themselves. Schools appreciate applicants who challenge themselves, so earning a high score on an optional section can factor favorably on an application.”

RELATED: 5 changes to the SAT and how parents are reacting

Next: See which colleges will require the new essay

Which colleges will require the essay?

If your goal is to get into a top tier school, it might be a good idea to brush up on your writing skills. The 13% of colleges and universities who are requiring the essay as part of their admissions process include some of top ranked national universities by U.S. News and World Report: Princeton (ranked #1), Harvard (ranked #2), Yale (ranked #3), Stanford (ranked #4) and Dartmouth (ranked #12). These schools believe that analytic writing is a preview of the type of writing the students would be doing in college if they were accepted.

But not all of the elite colleges agree. Columbia (ranked #4), the University of Pennsylvania (ranked #9), Brown University (#14) and Cornell (ranked #15) will not be requiring applicants to take the exam. Columbia, for example, is concerned about the additional $11.50 it costs to take the new SAT with the essay portion becoming a barrier for students who want to apply. The school feels that they can get an idea for the students’ writing abilities on their admissions application. What’s more, after reviewing data from the College Board and conducting their own research, the University of Pennsylvania feels that the essay should not be a requirement since it is the “least predictive element of the overall writing section of the SAT”.

RELATED: 5 tips to crafting the perfect essay

 

Reset email successfully sent.
Please check your inbox.

Close
page loadtime mark

Advertisement


close