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College Board Announces Changes for Essay Portion of Test

 The College Board announced big changes to the essay portion of their test recently that you should understand, because your teenager and pocketbook may be affected.

College Board changes SAT® essay and SAT Subject Test® requirements.

1. The College Board will no longer offer SAT Subject Tests® to U.S. students, effective immediately. They will only be given overseas.

2. The College Board will discontinue the optional essay-writing portion of the SAT® test after June 2021. Read New Policies for the SAT®. There is one caveat, according to the College Board. That is this, "After June 2021, the Essay will only be available in states where it's required as part of SAT® School Day administrations. Students scheduled to take the SAT® on a school day should check with their school about whether the Essay will be included."

Essay changes may lead to a refund. 

If you have already paid for the SAT essay, you can cancel the essay portion to get those fees back. The College Board says the subject tests will be immediately refunded, so check to make sure you receive the money. This page has the explanation of how you get a refund.

Why did the College Board make Essay changes? 

Most businesses make big changes because of finances, and, although they didn't say so, I'm sure that could be the case here, too. Why did they make the changes so suddenly in the middle of the year without warning? Perhaps the global pandemic is making it harder to find locations and teachers for in-person testing? Perhaps, they want SAT® to take priority over the SAT Subject Test®. It could also be that because of the pandemic, more colleges are "test-optional" and have started a holistic review of applicants. This is what their site says about the discontinuation of the SAT Subject Tests®, "We are no longer offering SAT Subject Tests in the U.S. Because SAT Subject Tests are used internationally for a wider variety of purposes, we'll provide two more administrations, in May and June of 2021, for international students." They also state that they are reducing the demands on students. Whatever the reason, you need to be sure you're aware of all the changes.

What are your alternatives?

Instead of SAT Subject Tests®, there are two other options available to you. The first is the AP® Exam. The AP® is much harder, a college level, essay-based test that requires a specific curriculum tailored to the test. For those reasons, many students take an AP® course to prepare for the test. The second alternative is the CLEP® exam. It's also a difficult college-level course, but it's multiple choice rather than an essay based. It assumes the student has learned naturally and doesn't require a specific curriculum. It's college level, so test scores can earn college credit at some universities. (Check with your student's chosen university before relying on this option.)

How might homeschoolers be affected?

Some colleges request (or require) subject tests from homeschoolers. They will need to provide a more holistic review of applicants, so they see the whole person. The college admission interview and application essays become a priority in these cases. Without having a high school level SAT Subject test®, there may be more emphasis on course descriptions, SAT® or ACT® scores, AP® or CLEP® tests, dual enrollment, and work history. 

In addition, if your student has already taken the SAT® essay test and is planning on sending that in to a college, be sure to check with the college to see if they will still take that test score as documentation. The College Board site says that each college will decide "whether and how to consider student' subject test scores", so be sure to check with individual colleges.

My staff and I are here to help you weed your way through these new policies by the College Board. Please be patient while I update all the free and membership information that I provide for homeschoolers. Thanks for your patience while we update everything. 

SAT®, AP®, and CLEP® are trademarks owned by the College Board, which is not affiliated with, and does not endorse, this blog post or The HomeScholar, LLC. 

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Comments 2

Anita on Monday, 01 February 2021 19:32

Yes, the SAT® is still being offered. There are two areas that the College Board made changes to (Lee references those in the first paragraph). They are doing away with the essay for the SAT® and they will no longer be offering SAT subject tests®. Hope that helps clarify!

~Anita, Assistant to Lee

Yes, the SAT® is still being offered. :) There are two areas that the College Board made changes to (Lee references those in the first paragraph). They are doing away with the essay for the SAT® and they will no longer be offering SAT subject tests®. Hope that helps clarify! ~Anita, Assistant to Lee
Guest - Penelope on Monday, 01 February 2021 16:18

Wait... no more SATs?? Does this mean they will no longer be offering SAT testing at all? EVER?

Wait... no more SATs?? Does this mean they will no longer be offering SAT testing at all? EVER?
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Friday, 30 July 2021

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Lee has three core beliefs about homeschooling: homeschooling provides the best possible learning environment; every child deserves a college-prep education whether or not they choose to go to college, and parents are capable of providing a superior education to their children. Lee does not judge your homeschool or evaluate your children. Instead, she comes alongside to help and encourage parents homeschooling high school.

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