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Articles / Applying to College / How do Colleges View New SAT Writing Section?

June 5, 2005

How do Colleges View New SAT Writing Section?

Question: Do you know how the Ivy League schools are assessing the new SAT? (I understand there's some ambivalence as to what to do about the writing section.) Personally, I was wondering if a 2290 (800 Writing, 800 Critical Reading, 690 Math) would translate into a 1520 through proportions in Ivy League eyes, or will they just count it as a 1490 combined with a Writing SAT 2 score of 800?

You're right. While we don't have sufficient objective data to confirm this, most college admission officals appear to be approaching the new SAT writing section with a "Jury's Still Out" mindset. That is, they're not ignoring the scores but they're also not giving them the same weight that they accord to the Critical Reading and Math sections. What we've been telling new-SAT takers is this: If you do well on the writing test (as you did), it will work in your favor, but if your scores aren't all that hot, don't lose too much sleep over it.


So we think it's fair to say that most admission folks--Ivy staff included--will consider your SATs as a 1490+. The fact that you show such excellence and consistency in verbal areas will be noticed.

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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