Brown University was the last Ivy League school requiring students to take SAT and ACT essay tests. A couple of months ago the prestigious school joined the rest of the pack of selective universities that have eliminated the requirement. According to some national surveys less than 25 selective universities are now maintaining the requirement for the SAT/ACT essay.

The main reason for dropping the essay is the fact that low-income family students cannot afford to take an SAT/ACT test outside the free sessions offered once a year at their own school. The free tests offered by SAT/ACT often come without the essay portion of the test. There are over 7,000 high-schools across the country offering a free annual SAT/ACT. The essay requirement may dissuade students from applying to universities.

As long as the standardized tests are just one point of evaluation in the entire application process, enabling students to apply is the most important aspect. Universities will still be able to evaluate the reading/language skills of the applicants from the portions of the test itself, as well as from the essays required by the application process.

“It’s important to enable students from low-income families to take advantage of the tests already offered by their school districts and not place an undue burden on them to go in separately outside of normal school hours,” Logan Powell, Brown’s dean of admission, said in a July statement. “

There are multiple ways a university can assess the applicants’ skills in writing, including the writing-intensive high school classes and through college application essay questions. Us at Damian SAT ACT Prep we encourage students to develop their writing skills and give students the opportunity of testing their skills in our offices. Visit us at for the latest developments in the SAT/ACT testing environment. We remind our students they may still voluntarily submit essay scores. A growing number of universities also encourage students to submit a graded paper from a humanities or social sciences class when they apply.

Both College Board and ACT agree that the essay has ups and downs. They also believe the essay is a good complement in evaluating an applicant and offers universities an additional tool to select the best candidates. Although the essay is not affecting the overall score in ACT, 50 percent of the students taking the test opt for the writing assignment. This may change in the future with the drop in essay requirements by so many universities.


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