Which Top 25 Schools Require the New SAT’s Optional Essay?

With the first administration of the New SAT approaching, you may be wondering whether or not you should take the Optional Essay. Though you might be inclined to skip it since it is “optional” after all, be aware that some schools do require you to take this portion of the SAT. We’ve compiled some information from US News and World Report’s Top 25 Universities, listing whether or not they require the Optional Essay, per the information provided by College Board.

School Stance on Essay
Princeton Require
Harvard Require
Yale Require
Columbia Neither Require Nor Recommend
Stanford Require
University of Chicago Neither Require Nor Recommend
MIT Neither Require Nor Recommend
Duke Not Reported *
Upenn Neither Require Nor Recommend
Cal Tech Require
Johns Hopkins Neither Require Nor Recommend
Dartmouth Require
Northwestern Not Reported *
Brown Neither Require Nor Recommend
Cornell Neither Require Nor Recommend
Vanderbilt Not Reported *
Wash U Neither Require Nor Recommend
Rice Require
Notre Dame Neither Require Nor Recommend
UC Berkeley Require
Emory Require
Georgetown Neither Require Nor Recommend
Carnegie Mellon Neither Require Nor Recommend
UCLA Require
USC Neither Require Nor Recommend

* Not Reported indicates schools who did not report their preference to College Board at the time of writing.

As you can see, here, the general consensus on the essay is pretty split. About half of the schools listed require the essay while the other half does not. If you’re interested in applying to Ivy League or top-tier schools, we highly recommend you take the SAT with Essay so you don’t close any doors.

If you’re interested in SAT with Essay, take a look at Testmasters’ preparation options which have been proven to help students excel in all sections, including the essay!

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