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Which Colleges Require the SAT Essay? Complete List

Posted by Dora Seigel | Apr 29, 2017 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 ($60 vs. $46 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 Require 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

Abilene Christian Univesrity

TX

Recommend

Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

NY

Recommend

Allegheny College

PA

Recommend

American University of Beirut

Lebanon

Require

Amherst College

MA

Recommend

Art Institute of Houston

TX

Recommend

Augsburg College

MN

Require

Austin College

TX

Recommend

Benedictine University

IL

Require

Bryan College-Dayton

OH

Recommend

Bryn Athyn College

PA

Recommend

Cairn University

PA

Recommend

Caldwell College

NJ

Recommend

Carnegie Mellon University

PA

Recommend

Central Connecticut State University

CT

Recommend

Central Michigan University

MI

Recommend

Chapman University

CA

Recommend

Cheyney University of Pennsylvania

PA

Recommend

CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice

NY

Require

Claremont McKenna College

CA

Require

Coastal Carolina University

SC

Recommend

Colby College

ME

Recommend

College of Wooster

OH

Recommend

Colorado School of Mines

CO

Recommend

Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science & Art

NY

Recommend

Corban University

OR

Recommend

Cornerstone University

MI

Recommend

Dallas Christian College

TX

Recommend

Dartmouth College

NH

Require

Delaware State University

DE

Recommend

DeSales University

PA

Require

Dominican University of California

CA

Require

Eastern Illinois University

IL

Recommend

Eastern Nazarene College

MA

Recommend

Five Towns College

NY

Recommend

Florida Atlantic University

FL

Require

Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering

MA

Require

Gallaudet University

DC

Recommend

Georgia Highlands College

GA

Recommend

Georgia Institute of Technology

GA

Recommend

Hamline University

MN

Recommend

Harvard College

MA

Require

Hillsdale Free Will Baptist College

OK

Recommend

Hofstra University

NY

Recommend

Howard University

DC

Require

Husson University

ME

Recommend

Indiana University Southeast

IN

Require

Indiana Wesleyan University

IN

Recommend

Jewish Theological Seminary of America

NY

Require

Kentucky State University

KY

Require

Lehigh University

PA

Recommend

Madonna University

MI

Recommend

Manhattan College

NY

Recommend

Marlboro College

VT

Require

Martin Luther College

MN

Require

Marygrove College

MI

Recommend

Marymount California University

CA

Recommend

Massachusetts Maritime Academy

MA

Recommend

McMurry University

TX

Recommend

Michigan State University

MI

Recommend

MODUL University Vienna

Austria

Require

Montana Tech of the University of Montana

MO

Recommend

Morehouse College

GA

Recommend

Mount Saint Mary College

NY

Recommend

Mount St. Joseph University

OH

Recommend

New Jersey City University

NJ

Recommend

New York Institute of Technology

NY

Recommend

Nichols College

MA

Recommend

North Park University

IL

Recommend

Occidental College

CA

Recommend

Ohio University

OH

Recommend

Oregon State University

OR

Recommend

Pfeiffer University

NC

Recommend

Point Loma Nazarene University

CA

Recommend

Pomona College

CA

Recommend

Princeton University

NJ

Require

Randolph-Macon University

VA

Recommend

Reading Area Community College

PA

Recommend

Rhode Island College

RI

Require

Roberts Wesleyan College

NY

Require

Rowan University

NJ

Recommend

Saint Anselm College

NH

Recommend

Saint Michael's College

VT

Recommend

Sam Houston State University

TX

Require

School of Advertising Art

OH

Recommend

Schreiner University

TX

Require

Shiloh University

IA

Recommend

Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania

PA

Recommend

Silver Lake College of the Holy Family

WI

Recommend

Soka University of America

CA

Require

Southern California Institute of Architecture

CA

Require

Stanford University

CA

Require

Stockton University

NJ

Recommend

SUNY Farmingdale State College

NY

Recommend

SUNY Maritime College

NY

Recommend

SUNY Binghamton

NY

Recommend

SUNY Stony Brook

NY

Recommend

Syracuse University

NY

Require

Taylor University

IN

Recommend

Texas A&M International University

TX

Recommend

Texas A&M University

TX

Recommend

Texas A&M University-Galveston

TX

Require

Texas State University

TX

Recommend

The King's College

NY

Recommend

United States Military Academy

NY

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 La Verne

CA

Recommend

University of Mary Hardin-Baylor

TX

Recommend

University of Miami

FL

Require

University of Michigan Ann Arbor

MI

Require

University of Minnesota: Morris

MN

Require

University of Minnesota: Twin Cities

MN

Recommend

University of Montana

MO

Recommend

University of New England

ME

Recommend

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

NC

Require

University of North Florida

FL

Require

University of North Texas

TX

Require

University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown

PA

Recommend

University of San Diego

CA

Require

University of Tampa

FL

Recommend

University of Texas at Austin

TX

Require

University of Texas Dallas

TX

Recommend

University of Texas San Antonio

TX

Recommend

University of the Sciences

PA

Recommend

University of the Virgin Islands

Virgin Islands

Recommend

University of Washington Bothell

WA

Recommend

Ursinus College

PA

Require

VanderCook College of Music

IL

Recommend

Villanova University

PA

Require

Virginia Union University

VA

Recommend

Wabash College

IN

Recommend

Webb Institute

NY

Recommend

Webber International University

FL

Recommend

West Virginia University

WV

Require

West Virginia University Institute of Technology

WV

Require

Western Carolina University

NC

Require

William Jessup University

CA

Recommend

William Jewell College

MO

Recommend

Wofford College

SC

Recommend

Yale University

CT

Require


Top schools are split pretty evenly. While Harvard, Dartmouth, Princeton, Stanford, and Yale require the SAT Essay, Cornell, Brown, Georgetown, UPenn, MIT, and NYU 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 North Florida and Florida Atlantic 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:

Get eBook: 5 Tips for 160+ Points

 

Have friends who also need help with test prep? Share this article!
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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