What’s the deal with the SAT Essay? Does it matter to colleges?
You should think of the SAT Essay as “icing on the cake” of your college application. Colleges don’t usually care about it, and rarely read it. Furthermore, it’s now optional – you don’t even have to take it! The one drawback of not taking it: the College Board is adding in an “experimental” section for certain students who opt out of the essay. So if you want to avoid the experimental section (it doesn’t count toward your score, but it’s distracting and takes time and mental energy), you can guarantee that you’ll avoid it by taking the SAT essay. If you have a really high score on your essay, and colleges are having a tough time deciding between you and another student, they might use it as a factor, but this is rare. Extremely rare. Fortunately, it’s really easy to get a great SAT Essay score – you just need proper structure and you’ll get a perfect or near-perfect grade every time, which is something I teach my students how to put together in the Green SAT System.