Do I want my SAT Saturday to be any longer than necessary? The answer is probably no. Do I want $15 and 50 minutes of my time to keep me from getting accepted at my dream school? We probably don’t even have to ask that one.

Most top-tier colleges require the SAT or ACT Essay. There are exceptions — Cornell just recently made the essay optional, and UChicago considered the writing section supplemental even on the old SAT. The trouble is, most of us haven’t finalized our college lists on test day.

The positives are straightforward: with an SAT Essay in hand, we have the freedom to apply anywhere. But what about the scoring? Can a low score on the essay have a negative impact on our application?

Even a fairly low score on the SAT Essay is unlikely to hurt your application. Because the SAT and ACT essays were recently changed, most schools don’t know how performance on the essay correlates with success in college.  So they have to take it with a grain of salt. Schools are likely to look elsewhere for evidence of your writing abilities: namely (you guessed it!) your application essays. Make these count. You may also have an opportunity to demonstrate your strengths on Subject Tests or AP Exams.

The bottom line is better safe than sorry. A low score keeps you in the running, and a high score is something to brag about. You might rather spend that $15 on Taylor Swift’s new album, but let’s face it — she has to put it on Spotify eventually.

Every school is different, and sifting through application requirements is a major undertaking. At Streamline Tutors, we have a team of experts ready to help you at every step.

Give us a call at 410-366-0479 or visit our website to find out more.

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Ian Siegel

For more information about how to navigate the college tract, contact director of Streamline Tutors, Ian Siegel who specializes in college counseling, test prep, and academic coaching. You can visit his...