In a recent announcement, the University of Pennsylvania has dropped the SAT essay requirement with the redesigned version of the exam slated to debut next year. Even the applicants taking the ACT will not be needed to submit the optional essay.
The issue came to the forefront when it was announced that the redesigned SAT, among other changes, will have an optional essay. Lots of applicants were confused whether to take the essay or not. This change in requirement from Penn gives students a much clearer road to admission.
Penn decided to take this step based on an internal analysis and research by College Board. The study revealed that the essay component was the least predictive element among the entire writing section. Moreover, the newer, redesigned SAT would make the essay optional and the university did not want to support the essay given its weak predictive power.
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This is not to say that the university places lesser emphasis on writing skills. They will still gauge the writing skills of applicants through academic records and the other areas of the application.
Earlier, two other Ivy League schools – Columbia University and Cornell University had also dropped the essay requirement. This will primarily affect the preparation of students who are in the entering class of 2017 (class of 2021).
Also read – What are the changes in the new SAT?