Because the SAT Essay is now optional, many students and guidance professionals are eager to know whether certain colleges and universities will require students to take the Evidence-Based Writing portion (essay) when they sit for the SAT. The College Board has made a list available on its website, but the list is not easily searchable.

working_at_desk.jpgThere is, however, great news: we did some work so you don’t have to. We’ve organized a shared, searchable document to help you learn which schools will require students to complete the essay when they sit for the SAT. You can access the document here and do a control + F (Windows) or command + F (Mac) search for your school of choice. (Disclaimer: this information is straight from the College Board, and may be updated at any time. Before you make decisions that could affect your application status, you should double check the requirements by visiting the admissions websites of the schools to which you are planning to apply.)

Here are some interesting data points for the 583 colleges that have specified their SAT Essay use policy…

  • Only 43 require taking the SAT essay. These include all of the University of CA system schools, only half the Ivy League (Dartmouth, Princeton, Harvard, and Yale), Stanford, CalTech, Emory, U Michigan, Florida State Schools and a sprinkling of other state and private schools
  • 74 schools “recommend”, but do not require the essay. These include some, but not all, of the SUNY schools and other state/private schools
  • 466 “Neither require nor recommend” the essay. Plenty of great schools are on this list.

We should note that many schools have not specified an essay-use policy, but may in the future. You should also consider that, even if you don’t currently plan on applying to a school that requires the SAT Essay, you may change your mind in the future––decide carefully!