Act Essay Optional

Since the launch of the redesigned SAT test in March 2016 and the revamped ACT writing section in September 2015, many universities across the country have reevaluated their testing requirements in an effort to make the college application process easier and less costly for students.

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The change means the SAT essay and ACT writing tests will be optional but recommended, while also reducing barriers that students from low-income families and under-resourced schools may encounter when applying, said Christoph Guttentag, dean of undergraduate admissions.

The move will begin with next year’s incoming undergraduate class.

Over the last two years, a variety of high-profile colleges have announced that the SAT/ACT essay will now be optional for applicants to their schools because they believe a single essay cannot reliably predict a student’s college writing capabilities.

As of this posting, only about 10 colleges still require the SAT/ACT essay—but those colleges include popular powerhouses such as all University of California schools.

Additional Resources North to My Future (free college admissions strategy session) SAT/ACT Prep Programs College Admissions Consulting Programs The Ultimate Guide to Designing Your SAT/ACT Prep Strategy The Frontier 49 (GPA and SAT/ACT norms for admitted applicants at 49 popular colleges) Abilene Christian Austin College Chapman Colby College Concordia Duke Manhattan College Michigan State Moorhouse College Occidental College Oregon State Simmons College Stony Brook - SUNY Taylor U. Coast Guard Academy University at Buffalo - SUNY University of Massachusetts-Amherst University of Minnesota-Twin Cities -- These are the approximate national average scores for the SAT/ACT essay sections. We don't recommend investing significant time in calculating an exact target score for the essay itself; the more meaningful decision is whether or not to take it, and if you are taking it, then preparing sufficiently to achieve a respectable score.

Duke University will no longer require applicants to submit SAT essay or ACT writing scores when applying for admission, school officials announced Friday.Like most things that have to do with college admissions, that means the starting point for this decision is developing a preliminary college list—it’s as simple and as complicated as that.The good news is that we have plenty of resources to help you on your journey.In the email, Quinlan also announced that Yale will now allow students applying from American high schools to self-report standardized test scores in their applications, rather than paying testing agencies to submit the scores.The agencies send scores for free to the first four colleges students apply to.However, assuming you prepare ahead of time, this outcome is unlikely—generally, you should expect to score in the same range as your most recent practice test indicates.Additionally, it has been acknowledged that the essay has dubious predictive validity, so scoring slightly below your target score on the essay is unlikely to be materially harmful for admissions purposes.There is a reasonable possibility that you will apply to “reach” or “match” colleges that recommend the essay, OR you're already planning to do.Our SAT/ACT Prep Class include essay prep at no additional charge (for SAT/ACT Individual Prep programs, you have the option to add one hour of essay instruction), and essay prep requires a minimal time investment.-If you take the essay and achieve a reasonable score, you won't have to worry about the essay requirement/recommendation as you finalize your college list.-Taking the essay will require an additional 40-50 minutes of your time on test day, plus, if you prep with Frontier Tutoring, a couple hours of dedicated preparation time.


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