The SAT Essay is a lot like writing assignments you’ll see in college. It asks you to read a passage and analyze how the author constructs a persuasive argument. You’ll have 50 minutes to complete your response.
- You aren’t required to take the SAT Essay—it’s optional—but many colleges require or recommend it.
- If you don’t register for the SAT with Essay at first, you can add it later.
- You can use an SAT fee waiver to take the SAT or the SAT with Essay.
Who Should Take the SAT with Essay
You don’t have to take the SAT with Essay, but if you do, you’ll be able to apply to colleges that recommend or require it.
The list below includes our essay policy information for U.S. and international colleges, as well as scholarship providers. If you don’t see a college you’re looking for, or if you want to make sure a college’s essay policy hasn’t changed, contact them directly. Higher education professionals, learn more about setting essay policy for your institution.
SAT Essay Policies of Colleges and Scholarship Providers
Standardized tests (ACT, SAT) are an important factor in admission decisions for first-time freshman students at UT. They also are used in helping to determine scholarship awards and other campus opportunities, including application eligibility for honors and scholars programs.
UT employs a superscore policy for both ACT and SAT scores, which allows the creation of a new composite, based on the highest scores earned in parts of the same exam, taken more than once. With the advent of the “new” SAT exam in March, 2016, UT has developed the following policies to accommodate the use of scores from both the “new” and “old” SAT and the ACT.
In the admission process, all scores are expressed as ACT or ACT equivalents, based on concordance tables (2008, 2016) developed by the College Board for SAT scores. ACT scores, received from the testing company or that are part of an official high school transcript, are entered in the UT admissions system. If the ACT was taken more than one time, a superscore is calculated based on the highest score achieved in each of the four test areas. The optional essay is not required or used by UT.
The “old” SAT, administered before March 2016, is superscored using only the Critical Reasoning (CR) and Math (M) scores. The writing section of the “old” SAT has never been used by UT as part of an applicant’s test score.
The “new” SAT, administered beginning March 2016, is superscored using only the Evidence-based Reading and Writing (ERW) and Math (M) scores. The new optional essay is not required or used by UT.
SAT superscores are calculated only within the “old” or “new” SAT, and not between the “old” and “new.” An SAT superscore will only be calculated if there are two or more “old: scores or two or more “new” scores.
The test score used in decisions will be the highest of: (1) an ACT superscore, (2) the ACT equivalent of an “old” SAT superscore, or (3) the ACT equivalent of a “new” SAT superscore.
Information concerning test score requirements for a wide range of UT academic scholarships can be found on the One Stop website.
ACT, and equivalent “new” and “old” math SAT scores are used to determine eligibility to take math classes at UT. Requirements can be found on the Math Department’s website.