In November, 2006, Nancy Hass, a contributor to The New York Times, wrote about the newly instituted writing, or essay, section of the SATs, which were first given in March, 2005. In this article it was clear the scoring on this new test was not going to significantly impact admissions decisions.
Lee Stetson, Dean of Admissions at the University of Pennsylvania, was quoted in the article, and his words basically summarized the reception of college admission departments to the new writing section. University of Pennsylvania didn’t look at the essay or consider the scores for admission. This sentiment was echoed by Harvard, Brown, and Dartmouth.
There were many reasons for taking little notice of the writing section scores in 2006. The test section was too new, scorers had been instructed not to count factual errors against the writers, and the time limit (25 minutes) did not allow for a well-considered written piece. Many schools also were giving their own writing test to incoming students, and they felt their scoring was more stringent than that of the SAT scores. They also found the reading scores reflected the writing scores exactly, and they believed the SAT II is a better predictor of college success. To top it off, the admissions people were more used to thinking about a student in the 1600 range versus the 2400 range with the new points from the writing section.
It appears, then, that you need not worry about doing well on the writing section as you approach your retakes of the SAT for this fall.
But, that was 2006. As the writing section has aged, will it count more in 2008? Read our next blog to find out.
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