Significance of Optional SAT Essay

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SAT Essay

With the launch of New SAT, the biggest change made was making the SAT essay optional. With essay being made optional it has been observed that the confusion among test takers have risen. It is about why or why not schools require SAT essay scores or, whether one should attempt essay or not. Another question is, does attempting essay gives an advantage to students over those choosing to give it a skip.

This change has directly impacted the way students used to approach the complete admission process. Students now have to be very sure about the requirements of their target colleges before they decide to attempt or skip essay part on

new SAT

. Now the colleges can be essentially divided into three categories: a) with SAT essay mandatory, b) recommended and c) not required. Based on information by admissions committees and college officials on various channels, it boils down to a few essential factors.


Why Colleges Require the SAT Essay?
  • Many colleges feel that it’s good to have maximum information about the applicant and consider essay as a perfect way to understand his/her writing skills
  • Essay on the revised SAT is asking more relevant and rhetorical analytical skills


Why Don’t the Colleges/Universities Require the SAT Essay?
  • The essay is already optional on the ACT, so this brings consistency on guidelines for a selection process
  • Many schools feel that the application essays provide sufficient information about the candidate’s writing skills and evaluating essay on SAT would be just redundant
  • Requiring an SAT essay adds to more burden on underprivileged students


Essential queries to be answered to realize the importance of SAT Essay

  1. Why Should I Register for SAT with Essay?

  • This can be simply answered as to whether you’re applying to colleges or universities where SAT essays are required. If you’ve made up your mind and are confined to a fixed list of colleges, and none of them are asking for an essay, you can register for SAT without Essay. However, if there is an iota of possibility that you would be applying to a college wherein you’d be required to submit your essay scores. You must go for SAT with Essay. It clearly reiterates the imporFtance of you being clear on your target colleges. Know about their requirements before you register for SAT.
  • Moreover, if you’re applying to top-ranked colleges, then it would be highly recommended that you take the SAT essay.
  • This is advised because if you do not opt for SAT with essay and then later realize that it is mandatory for even one college, you’ll be pushed back to the four-hour long exercise or would have to omit that college from your wish list.
  • An applicant with good rhetorical analytical and writing skills must go for the essay. Even if not recommended or required by the college, a perfect score will be an add-on to the overall application.


  1. Is SAT Essay score important for my overall profile? 
  • Here comes a very delicate question – Importance of SAT essay depends on the colleges the applicant is applying to. Admissions team from different universities use various parameters to consider and evaluate the SAT essay.
  • There is long prevailed myth that the essay scores are not counted as significant part of the SAT score. The universities look at your total score. Essay scores are considered in combination. A combination of your college application and your high school grades in verbal and analytical skills. This implies to the fact that if you mess up your essay attempt, it may hurl a RED FLAG against your name. The evaluation team may also assume that you’re not prepared for college-level skills.


With all this information, we can summarize that colleges do look at essay scores. But, at the same time, consider it as one of the components (but not the significant one) while evaluating the application.

As a safe bet, if you’re applying to a college that requires the SAT essay and you are keen on specific guidelines about how they would evaluate the essay, give a call or email to admissions team and enquire.

Team Leverage



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