Graded Writing Sample

Does the graded writing sample hurt your admission if you don’t have a full score on it?

My personal opinion is that not having a perfect score may show your grades are not inflated. If you send a 100% grade on a good, but not outstanding, paper it sends the wrong message. If it’s your best work, but not 100%, that’s great.


Absolutely not. My daughter’s teacher did write some very detailed comments on hers, but it was about a 94 paper.


Not at all. It should reflect your best writing but I don’t think schools are concerned with what the grade given was. They ask for a graded sample because it allows them to evaluate the academic work you would actually hand in as a student, versus something written specifically for your application or for fun. Asking for something that has the grading on it also gives a more assurance that they’re seeing the applicant’s writing, not the parents or an admission coach’s; application statements often receive heavy-handed adult assistance but that’s less likely in a routine school assignment.

Top prep schools don’t particularly want students who expect 100s on everything. They won’t receive perfect scores at the more academically rigorous boarding schools and that can actually be a huge obstacle for adjustment if the student can’t handle it in stride.


It’s also a way for them to assess what your current learning environment is and perhaps put your grades and recs into context. Don’t sweat this.

I believe the one DS provided years ago had a grading rubric at the end and a couple of marks on grammar. A far cry from the kinds of comments he got on BS papers! But it also substantiated the position that he was looking for more academic engagement…


how long should a graded writing sample be