The Role of the SAT® Essay in College Admissions

Students on campus at a college that requires the SAT Essay for admission
Find out if the SAT® Essay is required or recommended by your prospective college. Learn about the benefits of the essay section, which colleges require it and why, and more!
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Students on campus at a college that requires the SAT Essay for admission
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In 2021, the College Board® announced that the SAT® Essay, which had been an optional section of the SAT since 2016, will no longer be offered. However, a few states will continue to require it for students who take the SAT as part of the SAT School Day program. The role of the SAT Essay in college admissions differs from school to school. While some colleges make the SAT Essay a requirement, others completely disregard it. This article will cover SAT benefits, which colleges require SAT Essay, and more. 

Does The SAT Essay Matter?

The SAT Essay matters only as much as it matters to your desired college. If submitting essay scores is not required or recommended, it should not affect the admission decision. Check whether the SAT Essay plays a role in the admission decision of your prospective colleges before you decide to take it. To learn about the format, syllabus, difficulty level, and scoring pattern of the essay section, be sure to read our article on the SAT Optional Essay.

Benefits of taking the SAT Essay

Here are a few benefits of taking the SAT Essay for students applying to colleges that require or recommend sending the essay scores with admissions applications:

  • Highlights your writing and rhetorical skills:
    This is your opportunity to demonstrate your writing and rhetorical skills and stand out among other applicants.
  • Displays your college and career readiness:
    Writing skills and critical thinking are essential in every academic field. Your essay section score demonstrates how well you will perform in your future studies.
  • Can be an additional advantage for getting scholarships:
    Scholarship programs may require an SAT Essay score, so if you plan on applying for scholarships, check the requirements early.

Why are some colleges still accepting the SAT Essay?

 The SAT Essay helps colleges gather additional information about students to gauge their potential as a successful student. A student’s writing and critical thinking skills are indicative of their likelihood of succeeding in college-level coursework. For colleges that recently started recommending the SAT Essay, it may be an opportunity to make your college application to stand out.

Which Colleges Require The SAT Essay?

We have compiled a list of colleges that either recommend or require you to take the SAT Essay (see below). However, don’t forget to go through the admission policies of your prospective college to check for any updates to admission eligibility requirements.

Name of Colleges State Required Recommended
Abilene Christian University TX
Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences NY
Allegheny College PA
Augsburg University MN
Austin College TX
Benedictine University IL
Caldwell University NJ
California State University, Northridge CA
Central Connecticut State University CT
Central Michigan University MI
Cheyney University of Pennsylvania PA
College of Wooster OH
Colorado School of Mines CO
Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art NY
Corban University OR
Cornerstone University MI
Dallas Christian College TX
Delaware State University DE
DeSales University PA
Dominican University of California CA
Duke University NC
Earlham College IN
Eastern Illinois University IL
Eastern Nazarene College MA
Eastern University PA
Endicott College MA
Five Towns College NY
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University FL
Gallaudet University DC
George Washington University DC
Georgia Highlands College GA
Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) GA
Greenville University IL
Gwynedd Mercy University PA
Hofstra University NY
Holy Family College WI
Holy Family University PA
Howard University DC
Husson University ME
Indiana University South Bend IN
Indiana University Southeast IN
Indiana Wesleyan University IN
Inter American University of Puerto Rico: Barranquitas Campus PR
John Wesley University NC
Juilliard School NY
Keiser University (West Palm Beach) FL
Kentucky State University KY
Lehigh University PA
Madonna University MI
Manhattan College NY
Martin Luther College MN
Marymount California University CA
Massachusetts Maritime Academy MA
McMurry University TX
Mercy College NY
Modern College of Design OH
Molloy College NY
Montana Technological University MT
Morehouse College GA
Mount Saint Mary College NY
Mount St. Joseph University OH
National-Louis University IL
New Jersey City University NJ
Nichols College MA
North Park University IL
Ohio University OH
Oregon State University OR
Purdue University Northwest IN
Randall University OK
Randolph-Macon College VA
Reading Area Community College PA
Rowan University NJ
Rutgers University—Camden Campus NJ
Rutgers University—Newark Campus NJ
Saint Michael's College VT
Seton Hill University PA
Shiloh University IA
Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania PA
Soka University of America CA
Southern California Institute of Architecture CA
Southern Illinois University Carbondale IL
Southern Oregon University OR
Spring Hill College AL
Sul Ross State University TX
SUNY Farmingdale State College NY
SUNY University at Stony Brook NY
Tarleton State University TX
Texas A&M International University TX
Texas A&M University TX
Texas A&M University—Galveston TX
Texas State University TX
The King's College NY
United States Air Force Academy CO
United States Military Academy (West Point) NY
University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley) CA
University of California, Davis (UC Davis) CA
University of California, Irvine (UC Irvine) CA
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) CA
University of California, Merced CA
University of California, Riverside CA
University of California, San Diego (UCSD) CA
University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) CA
University of California, Santa Cruz CA
University of Evansville IN
University of Hawaii: West Oahu HI
University of La Verne CA
University of Mary Hardin-Baylor TX
University of Massachusetts Amherst MA
University of Minnesota: Twin Cities MN
University of New England ME
University of North Texas TX
University of Northwestern—St. Paul MN
University of Texas at Dallas TX
University of the Virgin Islands VI
University of Toledo OH
University of Washington Bothell WA
VanderCook College of Music IL
Virginia Union University VA
Wabash College IN
Webb Institute NY
Webber International University FL
Wesleyan College GA
West Virginia University Institute of Technology WV
Western Carolina University NC
William Jewell College MO

Do Ivy League schools require the SAT Essay?

Ivy League Schools do not require you to take the SAT Essay. The same goes for many other premier institutions like Stanford, Caltech, MIT, and NYU.

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