More schools drop their ACT/SAT writing requirement

Jimmy Guest, Student Life Editor

More and more universities are dropping their requirement for the ACT/SAT writing essay. This might be good news for prospective students who plan to apply to the University of Michigan Ann-Arbor. In a statement by a representative of public affairs at U of M, Don Jordan, it was announced that  the university will no longer require the writing component of these assessments.

The article claims there were “several reasons” this requirement was dropped. These are the same reasons plenty of other colleges have already abolished the requirement leaving only a few colleges left who still require the essay. According to the Princeton Review, 17 schools require the ACT essay, while only 15 require the SAT counterpart.

Since there are so little universities that truly require the writing essay, seniors and juniors getting ready to apply for college should know the difference between a school that requires the essay and one that recommends it. Many universities will make the writing assessment optional, while offering a similar writing alternative. In the case of the University of Evansville, submitting test scores is completely optional. If a student chooses this option, there are additional essays that would be used for academic placement.

Situations like these are where students must make a choice. Will they spend the extra $14 to take the writing assessment, or possibly have to submit extra essays to separate schools. Student counselor Kerry Anderson recommended that students “take it the first time focusing on the four sections and then retake it with the writing.” This is one of the options that students have regarding the standardized tests. The option they choose may depend on what colleges they plan on applying to.

Senior student Joel Kachappilly decided he would take the writing assessment simply because “it is required by some colleges… if it wasn’t I wouldn’t take it.” Many other students side with Kachappilly when it comes to the writing assessment. This raises the question of whether or not students should be submitting the essay, and what will happen if no more schools require it. To answer this question, Kachappilly looks to the fact that universities will already have a student write essays for admission. Kachappilly believes that colleges should not require the writing test “because they can more accurately find out about the applicant through their own essays.”

Although, the case must be made for the essay. Unless a college were to recreate the environment of the writing tests for prospective students, there is no other way to know how a student writes under pressure before admission. Whether or not this is a good judge of academics, it may be a telltale sign of a student who may need extra help when it comes to this unique case of writing. Not only could this information be used in admission, but rather in placement. This is much more common for many universities.

Some speculate that the writing portion will disappear completely. Whether or not a student should be taking the essay varies case to case, but it is unknown how much longer the writing assessment will still be used.