Major colleges are dropping SAT and ACT essay test scores as a requirement for prospective students, The Washington Post reported. The writing tests were started 13 years ago as a way to measure a prospective student's potential.
Brown University is now the only Ivy League school that requires the scores. Schools like Princeton and Stanford dropped the essay score requirement last week while Dartmouth, Harvard and Yale did earlier, the Post said.
The reasons vary for why the schools are moving away from the requirement. Some feared the the extra cost for essay testing was driving away applicants. Others complained the tests did not tell them much about the student's abilities.
Janet Rapelye, the dean of admissions at Princeton, told the Post that students applying there will be required to submit a graded sample of their high school writing, preferably from an English or history class.
"We really value writing," Rapelye said. "It's a required part of our curriculum. We want to be able to assess a student's ability before they get to us."
Stanford representative E.J. Miranda told The Stanford Daily earlier this month that essay scores will be "strongly recommended" there, even though it is no longer a requirement.
"Coursework (such as accelerated honors, AP, IB, and writing courses) will receive more scrutiny and either the required SAT or ACT will be the focus," Miranda said. "And, along with faculty, [the office of admissions] will look at alternatives to promote good writing."
James Murphy, director of national outreach for the Princeton Review, which assists students with a number of admissions issues, applauded the move by schools to put less value on the essay scores, according to Inside Higher Ed.
"We are really pleased to see Princeton and Stanford join not only six other Ivy League universities but also more than 1,600 other schools across the country in their decision not to require the essay," Murphy said.
"This is good for students and does no harm to schools. Writing well is an essential skill for college and beyond, but these assessments do a poor job in evaluating writing skill. We look forward to the 23 schools that still require the essays coming to see the light," he added.
The Post reported that 1.1 million students in the high school Class of 2017 took the ACT with its essay, slightly more than half of the total tested. About 1.2 million of SAT test-taking students did the essay option, or about 70 percent of the overall group.
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