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If I got a good SAT composite score but a mediocre essay score, will it hinder acceptance?

I recently found out that my SAT composite score was 1560(790M/770RW) but my essay score was less up to par (6/5/8). Will this significantly hinder my chances of admission at a selective school?
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Replies to: If I got a good SAT composite score but a mediocre essay score, will it hinder acceptance?

  • RichInPittRichInPitt 1308 replies19 threads Senior Member
    What schools are you applying to that require/consider the essay? It’s becoming less and less important to more and more schools.

    In general, the standardized test essay components are less important than grades, coursework, core standardized test scores, and probably essays, ECs and recommendations.

    It will obviously be less attractive than someone with the exact same profile in other areas and higher essay scores. But their impact is relatively small.
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 34865 replies394 threads Senior Member
    Yep, if you don't know whether they even look at the Essay score, you're way behind.
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  • ehh122302ehh122302 2 replies1 threads New Member
    Many of the more competitive schools that I’m considering(Columbia, CalTech, UChicago) do not require the essay, but they will be able to see the essay score itself when the scores are sent in.

    For schools that do require it, such as the UCs, would an essay score such as mine be a significant hindrance to me, especially because I know I can write better than my scores reflected? The issue I have with retaking the test is that I can’t guarantee myself a similar or higher composite score, and I think that that portion of the SAT is more important and relevant to colleges than the essay.
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  • MWolfMWolf 1805 replies13 threads Senior Member
    RichInPitt wrote: »
    It will obviously be less attractive than someone with the exact same profile in other areas and higher essay scores. But their impact is relatively small.

    @ehh122302 Fortunately for you, there will be very few applicants with a better essay score. Your essay score is not mediocre, it is, in fact, a very good score. It is in the higher range of the mid 50% for Berkeley and UCLA, which are the most competitive colleges which require the SAT essay scores. For most colleges which require the SAT essay, your scores on in the top 25%.

    While the 5 is a bit low (but well above average for that subscore), having an 8 on any subscore is extremely rare (fewer than 1%). So, paired with your SAT scores which are in the top 1%, I would say that your SAT essay score is something about which you should not worry.
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  • RichInPittRichInPitt 1308 replies19 threads Senior Member
    ehh122302 wrote: »
    Many of the more competitive schools that I’m considering(Columbia, CalTech, UChicago) do not require the essay, but they will be able to see the essay score itself when the scores are sent in.
    They’ll ignore it.

    ehh122302 wrote: »
    For schools that do require it, such as the UCs, would an essay score such as mine be a significant hindrance to me, especially because I know I can write better than my scores reflected?

    As noted above, the scores are quite good. Maybe not quite the same percentile as the M/EBRW, but not far off.

    I don’t see a reason to take it again.
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 34865 replies394 threads Senior Member
    edited November 21
    Right, schools that don't require it will ignore it. It's not in their mindset and still not a good test, in itself.


    Btw, in contrast, in no way does not requiring SAT Subject tests mean you can skip them.

    And if you're applying to tippy tops, you've got to know it's not some SAT "composite." It's the individual numbers. . And for the ACT, same: it's subscores.
    edited November 21
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  • ehh122302ehh122302 2 replies1 threads New Member
    Thanks! You guys have all been extremely helpful and I’m glad I reached out.
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  • LindagafLindagaf 9524 replies511 threads Senior Member
    edited November 23
    That’s not a mediocre essay score. You got a perfect 8 in one section, which is rare enough. Your essay score is absolutely fine for any college.

    I’d be more concerned if you had something like 3-8-8. Even then, wouldn’t be too worried. As it is, you have no problem.
    edited November 23
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