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Which Colleges Require the SAT Essay? Complete List

Posted by Dora Seigel | Jun 11, 2016 8:00:00 AM

SAT Logistics, SAT Essay

 

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Planning to take the SAT? Before you sign up, you need to decide if you’re going to take the test with or without the optional essay. How should you pick? Well, some colleges require that you apply with the SAT with Essay; others don’t care whether you submit an SAT score with or without the essay. In this article, I’ll provide you with a complete list of colleges that require or recommend taking the SAT with the essay.

 

What Is the Optional SAT Essay?

The newly redesigned SAT debuted in March 2016 along with the now optional essay. In addition to the new optional status, the essay format completely changed. You have 50 minutes to read an article (similar to one you’d see in the reading section) and write an essay dissecting how the author made the argument. Did they use evidence to support the claim? Appeals to emotion? Specific word choice?

The SAT without the essay is very long (3 hours) and the optional essay adds 50 extra minutes; it also costs more to take the SAT with the essay ($54.50 vs. $43 without the essay).

Don't automatically assume you must take the essaywhether it's important for you will depend on which schools (and scholarships) you're applying to and what the rest of your application looks like. I'll go into more depth about how to decide at the end of the article. 

 

body_collegebuilding.jpgSee if you need to take the SAT with Essay to end up here!

 

List of Schools That Want the SAT With Essay

Below I’ve compiled a list of colleges that require or recommend taking the SAT with Essay.

NOTE: the list is subject to change, so make sure to double check with each school you’re applying to.


School

State/Country

Require or Recommend

American University of Beirut

Lebanon

Recommend

Amherst College

MA

Recommend

Anderson University

IN

Require

Anderson University

SC

Recommend

Aquinas College

MI

Recommend

Auburn University

AL

Recommend

Austin College

TX

Recommend

Barclay College

KS

Recommend

Baylor University

TX

Recommend

Beal College

ME

Recommend

Bryn Athyn College

PA

Recommend

Cairo University Faculty of Engineering

Egypt

Recommend

Caldwell College

NJ

Recommend

California Christian College

CA

Recommend

California Institute of Technology

CA

Require

California State University (CSU): Bakersfield

CA

Recommend

Central Connecticut State University

CT

Require

Chapman University

CA

Recommend

Chiba University

Japan

Recommend

Christopher Newport University

VA

Recommend

Claremont McKenna College

CA

Require

Cleveland Institute of Music

OH

Recommend

Coastal Carolina University

SC

Recommend

College of Charleston

SC

Require

College of Mount St. Vincent

NY

Recommend

College of New Jersey

NJ

Recommend

College of South Nevada

NV

Require

Colorado College

CO

Recommend

Colorado School of Mines

CO

Recommend

Columbus College of Art and Design

OH

Recommend

Concordia College: Moorhead

MN

Recommend

Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science & Art

NY

Recommend

Dallas Christian College

TX

Recommend

Dartmouth College

NH

Require

Elmira College

NY

Recommend

Emory University

GA

Require

Flagler College

FL

Recommend

Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University

FL

Require

Florida Atlantic University

FL

Require

Florida Gulf Coast University

FL

Require

Florida State University

FL

Require

George Fox University

OR

Recommend

Georgia College and State University

GA

Recommend

Georgia Institute of Technology

GA

Recommend

Georgia State University

GA

Recommend

Hampden-Sydney College

VA

Recommend

Harvard College

MA

Require

Heritage Christian University

AL

Require

Howard University

DC

Require

Huntington University

IN

Recommend

Iona College

NY

Recommend

Marlboro College

VT

Require

Marywood University

PA

Recommend

Masters College and Seminary

Canada

Recommend

Merrimack College

MA

Recommend

Mid-South Community College

AR

Recommend

Mount Ida College

MA

Recommend

New College of Florida

FL

Require

Nichols College

MA

Recommend

North Carolina Central University

NC

Recommend

North Central State College

OH

Recommend

Occidental College

CA

Recommend

Oregon State University

OR

Recommend

Pennsylvania College of Technology

PA

Require

Pomona College

CA

Recommend

Prince George's Community College

MD

Require

Princeton University

NJ

Require

Purdue University

IN

Recommend

Quincy University

IL

Recommend

Rowan University

NJ

Require

Rutgers University - New Brunswick

NJ

Recommend

Saint Joseph's College

IN

Recommend

Saint Michael's College

VT

Recommend

School of Advertising Art

OH

Recommend

Southern California Institute of Architecture

CA

Require

Spring Hill College

AL

Recommend

St. Augustine's University

NC

Recommend

St. Catherine University

MN

Recommend

St. Joseph's College New York: Suffolk Campus

NY

Recommend

Stanford University

CA

Require

State University of New York at Binghamton

NY

Recommend

SUNY College at Brockport

NY

Recommend

SUNY University at Stony Brook

NY

Recommend

Susquehanna University

PA

Recommend

Texas A&M University

TX

Require

Texas States University

TX

Recommend

Texas Tech University

TX

Recommend

Thomas Aquinas College

CA

Recommend

Trinity International University

IL

Recommend

Trinity University

TX

Require

United States Naval Academy

MD

Recommend

University of Balamand

Lebanon

Require

University of California: Berkeley

CA

Require

University of California: Davis

CA

Require

University of California: Irvine

CA

Require

University of California: Los Angeles

CA

Require

University of California: Merced

CA

Require

University of California: Riverside

CA

Require

University of California: San Diego

CA

Require

University of California: Santa Barbara

CA

Require

University of California: Santa Cruz

CA

Require

University of Central Florida

FL

Require

University of Cincinnati

OH

Recommend

University of Delaware

DE

Recommend

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

IL

Recommend

University of Michigan Ann Arbor

MI

Require

University of Minnesota: Twin Cities

MN

Require

University of North Texas

TX

Recommend

University of North Texas at Dallas

TX

Recommend

University of San Diego

CA

Require

University of South Florida

FL

Require

University of St. Andrews

UK

Require

University of St. Thomas

TX

Recommend

University of Texas at Austin

TX

Require

University of Texas Dallas

TX

Recommend

University of Texas San Antonio

TX

Recommend

University of Washington

WA

Recommend

Ursuline College

OH

Recommend

Valencia College

FL

Require

VanderCook College of Music

IL

Require

Wayland Baptist University

TX

Recommend

Whittier College

CA

Recommend

Willamette University

OR

Recommend

Yale University

CT

Require


Top schools are split pretty evenly. While Harvard, Princeton, and Yale require the SAT Essay, Cornell, Brown, UPenn, USC, NYU, Vanderbilt, and MIT do not. 

The majority of liberal arts colleges do not require or recommend the SAT with Essay. However, there are a few exceptions: Claremont McKenna College requires it, and Amherst College and Pomona College recommend it. 

State schools are also pretty evenly divided. There tends to be weird variance even within states. For example, University of Florida neither requires nor recommends the SAT Essay, but University of Central Florida and Florida State University both require it. In California, all the University of California schools require SAT with Essay, but most of the California State University schools do not. 

Regardless of the types of schools you're applying to, don’t assume that they all ask for the SAT with Essay. Check with every school to make sure you understand their requirements.

 

body_essaywriting.jpgTo take or not to take, that is the question.

 

How to Decide Whether to Take the SAT Essay

When making your decision you need to consider the following questions: 

 

 

Do Any Schools I Want to Apply to Require the Essay?

If you’re going to apply to any school that requires the essay, then you must take the SAT with Essay. All schools that don’t require/recommend the essay will still accept your SAT with Essay score. 

However, colleges that require the SAT Essay won't consider your score if you took the SAT without the essay. The last thing you want is to take the SAT without the essay and get a good score, and then, find out one of your target schools requires you to take the SAT with Essay.

Remember, some colleges change their application policies from year to year, so make sure to double check with the schools you’re applying to.

 

Do Any Schools I Want to Apply to Recommend the Essay?

If you're not applying to any schools that require the essay but are applying to some that recommend it, then I'd still suggest taking it. However, there are some cases in which you shouldn't take it. 

If, for some reason, you do not qualify for SAT fee waivers and paying the extra cost to take the SAT with Essay would be a financial burden, then please don't feel like you have to take it; it's fine to take the essay-less version instead. 

Also, if you really struggle to write essays under time constraints (due to anxiety), then you might want to opt out of the essay. However, I only recommend this for students who normally have strong English and writing skills but struggle to write a coherent essay when there is the added pressure of a time constraint. For example, do you get A's on essays that you can work on at home but get C's on in-class essay-based exams because you're nervous? If that's case, taking the essay might not be a good idea for you. 

 

Am I Applying to Any Scholarships That Require an SAT With Essay Score?

Many scholarships (such as National Merit) require you to submit SAT scores, and some specify that they only want SAT with Essay scores. Make sure to check the requirements of every scholarship you're planning on applying to. Scholarships that don’t require or recommend the SAT Essay will still accept your SAT with Essay score, but scholarships that require the SAT with Essay won't consider your score if you took the no-essay version. 



Will the SAT Essay Enhance My Application in Other Ways?

Generally speaking, taking the SAT Essay if it's not required won't add a lot to your application —colleges who don't recommend or require the essay really don't pay attention to it. However, it might be helpful for international students who want to show they have strong English skills if they think they'll do especially well on it. If you fall into this category, then you should consider taking it if, after doing practice essays, you feel very confident that you'll get a high score. If you don't think you'll do well on it, then I'd recommend against taking it.

 

What’s Next?

Need help preparing for the SAT? Read our ultimate study guide. Taking the test soon? Learn how to cram for the test.

Want to learn more about the new essay? Check out our step-by-step guide to writing a great essay.

Not sure where you want to go to college? Learn how to do college research right and pick your SAT target score

 

Disappointed with your scores? Want to improve your SAT score by 160 points? We've written a guide about the top 5 strategies you must be using to have a shot at improving your score. Download it for free now:

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Dora Seigel
About the Author

As an SAT/ACT tutor, Dora has guided many students to test prep success. She loves watching students succeed and is committed to helping you get there. Dora received a full-tuition merit based scholarship to University of Southern California. She graduated magna cum laude and scored in the 99th percentile on the ACT. She is also passionate about acting, writing, and photography.



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