Kaplan Test Prep Survey: Only 13% of Colleges Say They Will Require Applicants to Submit the New SAT’s® Optional Essay– But That Percentage Includes the Nation’s Top Ranked Schools

Note to editors: Kaplan is a subsidiary of The Graham Holdings Company (NYSE: GHC)

Press Contacts: Russell Schaffer, russell.schaffer@kaplan.com, 212.453.7548
Twitter @KapTestNews, @KaplanSATACT

New York, NY (September 29, 2015) — With a revamped, more rigorous SAT debuting in March, Kaplan Test Prep’s 2015 survey of college admissions officers shows that one of the key changes on the new test — the conversion of the essay section from required to optional — means that a majority of colleges will now forgo the SAT essay as an application requirement. Of the more than 300 top colleges and universities* across the United States surveyed, only 13%  will require applicants submit the new SAT’s optional essay section. Notably, however, schools that fall in that category include the nation’s top tier: Harvard University, Yale University, Princeton University, Dartmouth College and Stanford University are among those that will require applicants to submit the SAT essay, as recently reported by Bloomberg. (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-08-24/it-s-yale-vs-brown-in-ivy-league-split-over-optional-sat-essay)

According to Kaplan’s annual survey, 66% of schools will neither require nor recommend the new analytical, fact-based SAT essay for admissions; 19% will recommend but not require it; 13% will require it; and 2% will only require it for specific programs. (On the ACT, the other major college admissions test, the essay has been optional since it was introduced on that test in 2005.)

“Making the essay optional is one of the few changes that will help students on the new SAT, but make no mistake about it — the new test will not be easier. In fact, while the essay will become optional, it is also more challenging. The current SAT essay simply asks students to develop a persuasive essay about an issue, while the new SAT essay asks students to read a 700 word passage and then prepare a facts-based essay analyzing how the author builds her/his argument,” said Michael Boothroyd, executive director of college admissions programs, Kaplan Test Prep. “One thing to consider is that an optional but more challenging section provides an opportunity for students who are good writers and analysts to distinguish themselves. Schools appreciate applicants who challenge themselves, so earning a high score on an optional section can factor favorably on an application.”

For more information about the upcoming changes to the SAT, visit www.satchange.com.

*For the 2015 survey, admissions officers from 307 of the nation’s top national, regional and liberal arts colleges and universities – as compiled by U.S. News & World Report — were polled by telephone between July and August 2015.

SAT® is a trademark registered and/or owned by the College Board, which was not involved in the production of, and does not endorse this product.

About Kaplan Test Prep

Kaplan Test Prep (www.kaptest.com) is a premier provider of educational and career services for individuals, schools and businesses. Established in 1938, Kaplan is the world leader in the test prep industry. With a comprehensive menu of online offerings as well as a complete array of print books and digital products, Kaplan offers preparation for more than 90 standardized tests, including entrance exams for secondary school, college and graduate school, as well as professional licensing exams for attorneys, physicians and nurses.  Kaplan also provides private tutoring and graduate admissions consulting services. Additionally, Kaplan operates new economy skills training (NEST) bootcamps designed to provide immersive training in skills that are in high demand in today’s job market and prepare participants for hire.

# # #