International Baccalaureate

With the redesign to the SAT exam that was introduced in 2016, there is no longer a Writing Section to the SAT. Instead, it has been subsumed into the Reading & Writing section. However, there is still an optional Essay section. Given that the SAT essay is optional and not scored on the 200 to 800 score range like the Reading & Writing and Math sections, it appears devalued and many students may choose not to take it. Indeed, many colleges do not require it.

However, some colleges do require the optional Essay section. Since most students will be taking the SAT for the first time in January or March of their junior year, before they’ve established their college list, we at College Coach recommend that they complete the SAT Essay section as they can’t know yet, in most cases, if they’ll need it. And nothing is more frustrating than finding out that your first choice college won’t consider your highest score SAT just because you didn’t take the Essay section!


Written by Sally Ganga
Sally Ganga is a member of College Coach’s team of college admissions consultants. Prior to joining College Coach, Sally was a senior admissions officer at The University of Chicago, Reed College, and Whittier College. Visit our website to learn more about Sally Ganga.