The Essay - how much does it count?

<p>Ok, well I was aiming for a perfect score, and I got close with everything except that I failed badly on the essay and got a 680 Writing score (800 CR and 770 Math, just one wrong in math). 2250 overall.</p>

<p>The question I have is: Do I retake to improve my essay and writing score? How good/bad is a 680? I know I have a strong score overall, but I am in a relatively unique application situation, so perhaps some context would help you guys give me advice:</p>

<p>I've been homeschooled since 5th grade (would be HS Junior now), and since 8th Grade I've been earning college credit at my local community college, as well as my normal homeschooling coursework. Naturally as the years have passed I've been taking more classes at the community college. Because I won't have much of the standard HS "benchmarks" for a regular college app, my standardized test scores, it seems to me, would matter somewhat more than usual since they give colleges a better idea of my capabilities.</p>

<p>I am generally a strong writer, I have completed a full year of Honors English at the community college with A's in both classes, so I was wondering if these grades, coupled with my app essay, would be enough to compensate for a 7 SAT essay score? Also, I have heard that some colleges don't even factor writing all that much. To what extent is this true?</p>

<p>If it helps, my first choice at the moment is Stanford. Thanks to anyone who shares their thoughts!</p>

<p>You have to realize that writing in real life is probably 1000 times different than writing for the SAT writing portion. I scored an 11 on my March SAT, so let me clue you in on what I did. The most important thing you need to do is realize that writing the SAT essay requires a formula. Many prep books will give you their formula, but it is mainly all the same. Write a quick intro, provide 2-3 examples from literature, real world, etc, then conclude it with a quick analysis. Fill up ALL TWO PAGES! I can't stress this enough. Some books will tell you to write an outline before you get started, but most on CC will agree with me that you really have no time for an outline. Read the prompt, think of two to three examples from literature and real life, and start writing. You know that you have twenty-five minutes to write, so get started.</p>

<p>My best advice is to read a book that can pretty much cover any topic. 1984 is an excellent choice. War and Peace is very fertile as well. Personally, I used two examples for my essay (1984 and The Grapes of Wrath). Perhaps if I were able to use three examples, I could have gotten a 12, but I used two and got an 11. That is good enough for right now. </p>

<p>You simply need to remember that the SAT essay just follows that formula. Do the formula, score well. End of story.</p>

To what extent is this true?


<p>Most colleges will either count the section equally, or discount it altogether. Stanford falls in the former category. Colleges either don't care, or don't even see how exactly you achieved your score for each section. They'll see the 680 (which is sub-par for Stanford), but not the 7.</p>

<p>Considering Stanford routinely rejects 2300's, 2400's, I definitely think you should retake the test with the person above me's advice for the essay. Even if you mess up the other two sections, Stanford, and most private schools superscore. While you're at it, why not study math a bit more too? </p>

<p>If you have an 800 in CR, you should have a very solid foundation in the English language, and so there's no reason you can't get an 800 in Writing too, which is, IMO, a much easier section.</p>

<p>To be honest, a lot of schools throw out writing, esp. the essay. Honestly, I would just bump it up into the 720+ range, and then spend your time doing better things. When you get into the neighborhood (2250+ I would say) then what helps you for Stanford is... working with a Stanford professor to cure cancer.</p>

<p>Yea, most schools just look at Critical Reading and Math and use the combined score as a barometer. Writing is more supplemental I guess, which sucks because I did better in Writing than in Critical Reading XD</p>