Last week, the big news in higher ed was Yale dropping a standardized writing test as an admissions requirement. (See this Washington Post article for more information). Yale follows Harvard, Dartmouth, and other selective schools in doing so. In fact, only 25 colleges are still holding onto the requirement,  including nine UC (University of California system) schools.

Here is the current list of schools requiring an ACT or SAT essay score as part of the application (but we also suggest checking in with the school directly by reviewing their website or calling them):

1 Brown University
2 California Institute of Technology
3 Claremont McKenna College
4 Duke University
5 Manhattan College
6 Martin Luther College
7 Princeton University
8 Schreiner University
9 Soka University of America
10 Stanford University
11 United States Military Academy

12 University of California— Berkeley
13 University of California— Davis
14 University of California— Irvine
15 University of California— Los Angeles
16 University of California—Merced
17 University of California—Riverside
18 University of California— San Diego
19 University of California— Santa Barbara
20 University of California— Santa Cruz


21 University of Delaware
22 University of Miami**
23 University of Michigan— Ann Arbor
24 University of North Texas
25 University of San Diego

**Miami requires the essay portion for class placement but does not use it in the admissions decision.

Should your child take the essay portion? Well, that’s a good question and one that you may want to consult your college counselor for. There are two issues: do any of the colleges on your child’s list require the ACT/SAT Writing score? And if so, does the school superscore? If a school does require an essay score, then your child must take the essay portion on at least one test date administration. And if the school DOES NOT superscore, then your child may need to take the essay on multiple testing dates. If the school DOES superscore, then they should take the highest (or only) score from an ACT or SAT subscore.

Just as we at Ivy Ed suggested that a change occur with the ACT Extended Time on a National Testing day, we are hoping that colleges will heed our suggestion and just drop the essay requirement. We predict that once the UC system drops the requirement, all colleges may, and then the essay section may just become obsolete.  

If your child does need to take the essay for this round of admissions, our tutors can give advice on how to tackle that section. Call to sign up for a session today.