Brown University Becomes Last Ivy League School To Spike SAT/ACT Essay Requirement

Rob Shimshock | Education Reporter

Brown University became the last Ivy League school to drop its SAT and ACT essay requirements on Tuesday.

The school struck down its mandate on the essay portion, citing its desire to eliminate application barriers for low-income students, amid a nationwide trend to drop the essays.

Students who choose to take the essay portions of the ACT and SAT need to pay an additional fee of up to $16.50 or $17, respectively. But the essay portions are not available during some school-day iterations of the tests.

“Given the significant growth in free school-day testing, it’s important to enable students from low-income families to take advantage of the tests already offered by their school districts and not place an undue burden on them to go in separately outside of normal school hours,” Brown Dean of Admission Logan Powell said. “Our goal is that for any talented student interested in Brown, the application process is not a deterrent — and we don’t want this test to be a barrier to their application.”

Besides avoiding the associated fee for the essay portion, Powell noted that dropping the essay requirement would allow students who otherwise would have needed to take the tests on the weekend to escape the hassle of finding transportation or taking time off work. (RELATED: Princeton And Stanford Spike Writing Tests For Admission)

Fewer than 25 institutions of higher education still require students to submit the writing portion of SAT or ACT exams. One notable holdout is the University of California system, composed of nine schools, including UC Berkeley and UCLA.

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