SAT with Essay?

Joseph1220

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Joined
Jan 17, 2021
Messages
22
Hello,

So I am currently a Junior in high school, and I plan to apply to most of the service academies with my main goal being USAFA. I took my first SAT around December and was taking it really just for practice but ended up getting a 1490(700 Verbal and 790 Math). I plan to take it again this March 3 because our school is providing it for us and am planning to get a 1500+ or at least raise my verbal score so that it's a 1500+ superscored. Now the question I have is should I take an SAT with the Essay? While I can't take it on the March 3 one because my school is not providing the essay to us, I could register for a future SAT. The only thing is that Collegeboard has decided to get rid of the SAT Essay starting this June, and I thought that if they were getting rid of it, do I still need to take it, and will the couple of service academies that require it still require it? If I should try to take the SAT with the essay before June please let me know and I'll start studying for it because I'm sure it's difficult.

Thank you!
 

TheRightStuff

Escaped A Black Hole - Twice
Joined
Jan 15, 2020
Messages
357
There is no harm in taking it while you can as you do not as of yet know what MAY be required for next year (for any school) even after the College Board no longer offers it for the SAT.

Better to have it vs. not having it just in case and then your bases are covered.

BTW- there isn't much "to study" for the essay.
 

foxtailsean

4 Year AROTC Scholarship Awardee to Vanderbilt
Joined
Dec 26, 2020
Messages
100
You could try taking the ACT as well since they still have essay portion available. 1490 is a solid score already and will work in favor of you in terms of applications.
 

HCopter

Member
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May 16, 2017
Messages
418
C2024 (and past cycles), only USMA required an essay. Only for USMA, you have to weigh the possibility an essay will still be required. Other things to consider are if you have strong connecting data points - for example, AP English Lang/Lit and exam scores? The 790 math is excellent. The 700 EBRW is very solid.

My advice: If USAFA is your main goal, do really well on this March's school SAT, see how high you can go! And then not worry about the essay, and not bother with the ACT, unless it is offered for free at your school. All SAs superscore, but only within the same test type, except USNA super duper scores but does not require the essay, so switching gears to the ACT isn't good bang for the buck, for YOU. IMO, after this March's SAT, you should be working on other elements like the CFA, # things to trigger DoDMERB rather than worrying about the essay - for USAFA.

If you will lose sleep over the essay issue, however rational/irrational, then sign up for another SAT with essay right now and just pull off the band aid and get it done. Make sure to read the RUBRIC for the essay; it's not so much about studying for an essay but knowing the RUBRIC.

I do not recall any civilian college requiring the essay, but i'll let others comment on that.
 

Korab

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Nov 8, 2017
Messages
626
C2024 (and past cycles), only USMA required an essay. Only for USMA, you have to weigh the possibility an essay will still be required. Other things to consider are if you have strong connecting data points - for example, AP English Lang/Lit and exam scores? The 790 math is excellent. The 700 EBRW is very solid.

My advice: If USAFA is your main goal, do really well on this March's school SAT, see how high you can go! And then not worry about the essay, and not bother with the ACT, unless it is offered for free at your school. All SAs superscore, but only within the same test type, except USNA super duper scores but does not require the essay, so switching gears to the ACT isn't good bang for the buck, for YOU. IMO, after this March's SAT, you should be working on other elements like the CFA, # things to trigger DoDMERB rather than worrying about the essay - for USAFA.

If you will lose sleep over the essay issue, however rational/irrational, then sign up for another SAT with essay right now and just pull off the band aid and get it done. Make sure to read the RUBRIC for the essay; it's not so much about studying for an essay but knowing the RUBRIC.

I do not recall any civilian college requiring the essay, but i'll let others comment on that.
Essay portion is strongly recommended by USAFA.

edit: this may have changed since the beginning of the 2025 cycle. It was definitely highly recommended (not sure of exact verbiage) by USAFA on the admissions website at the beginning of this cycle. Looking from mobile, I’m not seeing that language at present, but that may just be because I’m mobile.
 
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BuckeyeDad20

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Aug 29, 2019
Messages
191
A review board putting emphasis on the essay portion of the SAT makes no sense if the ACT is also accepted. How do you compare SAT applicant to ACT applicant without the essay. DS took ACT no essay and not SAT of any type.
 

Korab

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Nov 8, 2017
Messages
626
A review board putting emphasis on the essay portion of the SAT makes no sense if the ACT is also accepted. How do you compare SAT applicant to ACT applicant without the essay. DS took ACT no essay and not SAT of any type.
The ACT offers essays as well.
 

HCopter

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Messages
418
@Joseph1220 , do you know your ALO or admissions advisor? I suggest asking them, given YOUR package. That is why I alluded to what else you had, such as confirming grades/AP scores in English. I think USAFA admissions also had a facebook and instagram, try reaching out that way as well.
 

BuckeyeDad20

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Messages
191
The ACT offers essays as well.
Sure, but that is irrelevant. USAFA does not require nor encourage applicants to take the ACT writing test. My DS did not do the essay and USAFA never said anything about it. So if USAFA does not require everyone to have the essay/writing test, what's the basis by which they compare? How do you compare a kid with the writing test with one without? Its not a great basis for any kind of evaluation so its not going to get much, if any weight. If they thought it was valuable they would require it would they not?
 

Joseph1220

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Joined
Jan 17, 2021
Messages
22
There is no harm in taking it while you can as you do not as of yet know what MAY be required for next year (for any school) even after the College Board no longer offers it for the SAT.

Better to have it vs. not having it just in case and then your bases are covered.

BTW- there isn't much "to study" for the essay.
Thanks for your response! I'll definitely consider it!
 

Joseph1220

Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2021
Messages
22
C2024 (and past cycles), only USMA required an essay. Only for USMA, you have to weigh the possibility an essay will still be required. Other things to consider are if you have strong connecting data points - for example, AP English Lang/Lit and exam scores? The 790 math is excellent. The 700 EBRW is very solid.

My advice: If USAFA is your main goal, do really well on this March's school SAT, see how high you can go! And then not worry about the essay, and not bother with the ACT, unless it is offered for free at your school. All SAs superscore, but only within the same test type, except USNA super duper scores but does not require the essay, so switching gears to the ACT isn't good bang for the buck, for YOU. IMO, after this March's SAT, you should be working on other elements like the CFA, # things to trigger DoDMERB rather than worrying about the essay - for USAFA.

If you will lose sleep over the essay issue, however rational/irrational, then sign up for another SAT with essay right now and just pull off the band aid and get it done. Make sure to read the RUBRIC for the essay; it's not so much about studying for an essay but knowing the RUBRIC.

I do not recall any civilian college requiring the essay, but i'll let others comment on that.
Thank you so much for your help! For other information you may have wanted to know about me academically: I have a 5.0 GPA on a fully accelerated course with AP classes on all of them that is provided by my school. The rest are honors. I am also currently the rank 1 student out of 687 and plan to keep it that way. Another question if you mind me asking. Is that should I be taking AP tests? I know that none of the SA will take any of them, so other than for normal colleges is there a reason to take them? Thank you so much! (I do not know my ALO yet since I won't be turned into a Candidate until this March I believe if I do, so I can't really ask yet about taking the SAT with the Essay. From the comments I've seen here, I'm still unsure if I should take the essay or not because of the varying comments. However, I'll wait a bit more for some other replies and try to make a decision again! (I plan to try to increase my verbal section score to at least a 730 on this march test I'm taking because that would get me to a 1520, since the SAs superscore)
 

Korab

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Messages
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Sure, but that is irrelevant. USAFA does not require nor encourage applicants to take the ACT writing test. My DS did not do the essay and USAFA never said anything about it. So if USAFA does not require everyone to have the essay/writing test, what's the basis by which they compare? How do you compare a kid with the writing test with one without? Its not a great basis for any kind of evaluation so its not going to get much, if any weight. If they thought it was valuable they would require it would they not?
The most recent Instructions to candidates book on the USAFA website is for the Class of 2023. What follows is pasted from that book (emphasis added):

"Students who score below 31 on the reading test and below 29 on the math test of the redesigned SAT and below 24 English/reading and 25 math/science reasoning on the ACT will normally not be competitive for an appointment directly into the Academy but may be eligible for one of our preparatory programs. For both the ACT and new SAT, you are highly encouraged to take the optional writing test; however, we will accept the test scores without the writing test. Take the ACT and/or the SAT immediately and have all your scores sent to the Academy. You can retake them as often as you wish. Test scores must be achieved under national testing conditions on a national test date. We will accept state required tests. We do not accept nonstandard (extended time) or special scores. Active Duty Airmen can take the ACT and SAT through their Base Education Office if they have that capability. Please be aware that we superscore. This means that we will take the best combination of all of your SAT test scores or the best combination of all of your ACT test scores and use them in your file. However, there is one exception with SAT. We cannot superscore between the old and new SAT. Also, we do not combine ACT and SAT scores."

When a school says something is highly recommended, and you want to be accepted there, it would seem advisable to complete the task that is highly recommended to maximize your chances of admission. But maybe that's just me.

As to how they compare candidates who took the essay portion of the exam with those who didn't, who knows. But if they are trying to decide between two similar candidates, I can guess how they might. Do you want to take that chance?
 

BuckeyeDad20

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@Koarab, while I appreciate your sarcasm, USAFA admissions website does not contain your emphasis and my '24 was never advised nor encouraged to take it, but clearly do whatever you think is right.
 

FlyFalcon

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Jan 4, 2020
Messages
237
@Koarab, while I appreciate your sarcasm, USAFA admissions website does not contain your emphasis and my '24 was never advised nor encouraged to take it, but clearly do whatever you think is right.
I believe the emphasis is meaning word for word as that is specifically said on either the website or in a candidate packet. - from a current applicant
 

BuckeyeDad20

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Messages
191
I believe the emphasis is meaning word for word as that is specifically said on either the website or in a candidate packet. - from a current applicant
He/She was quoting the candidate packet for 2023 and bolded the line that to make his/her point and noted emphasis added to indicate that was his/her addition and the original text was not bolded. My point is that the current admissions website does not contain that wording nor did my current Doolie (2024) ever get advice or encouragement to take the writing portion of the ACT. If your '25 or '26 candidate packet says it is highly encouraged then by all means take it.
 

Korab

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@Koarab, while I appreciate your sarcasm, USAFA admissions website does not contain your emphasis and my '24 was never advised nor encouraged to take it, but clearly do whatever you think is right.
Ahh, but the admissions website does say it if you look hard enough.
https://aloweb.usafa.edu/candidatekit/CK/Forms/OnlineInstructiontoCand2023.pdf
The document was linked on the student portal when they became a candidate. In fact, they were required to attest they reviewed the candidate booklet before going any further in their application. Their portal letter notifying them of their candidate status also notifies them to "Download the Instructions to Candidates booklet and read it carefully!! (emphasis in original, including both exclamation points).

This isn't about me - the OP asked whether he should take tests with essay. Clearly, USAFA highly encourages him to do so.
 

Korab

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Messages
626
He/She was quoting the candidate packet for 2023 and bolded the line that to make his/her point and noted emphasis added to indicate that was his/her addition and the original text was not bolded. My point is that the current admissions website does not contain that wording nor did my current Doolie (2024) ever get advice or encouragement to take the writing portion of the ACT. If your '25 or '26 candidate packet says it is highly encouraged then by all means take it.
correct on the emphasis, but the candidate booklet hasn't been updated - 2023 is still the one in use and linked to on their website. It was the same one for '24 and '25.

The Instructions to Precandidates book for 2023 is still the one linked to from the admissions website as well https://www.academyadmissions.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Precandidate-booklet-2023-20180228.pdf.

It has the exact same language I quoted in post #12 above, but they bolded the same sentence I did.

As the OP mentioned in his post, both tests are doing away with the essay soon, so it will become a moot point in the not too distant future.
 
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Joined
Feb 12, 2021
Messages
87
Hello,

So I am currently a Junior in high school, and I plan to apply to most of the service academies with my main goal being USAFA. I took my first SAT around December and was taking it really just for practice but ended up getting a 1490(700 Verbal and 790 Math). I plan to take it again this March 3 because our school is providing it for us and am planning to get a 1500+ or at least raise my verbal score so that it's a 1500+ superscored. Now the question I have is should I take an SAT with the Essay? While I can't take it on the March 3 one because my school is not providing the essay to us, I could register for a future SAT. The only thing is that Collegeboard has decided to get rid of the SAT Essay starting this June, and I thought that if they were getting rid of it, do I still need to take it, and will the couple of service academies that require it still require it? If I should try to take the SAT with the essay before June please let me know and I'll start studying for it because I'm sure it's difficult.

Thank you!
Very competitive academically. How is your fitness level? Can you do 11+ pull-ups? 6:30 mile, 68+ push-ups, 58+ crunches?
 

Joseph1220

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Jan 17, 2021
Messages
22
Very competitive academically. How is your fitness level? Can you do 11+ pull-ups? 6:30 mile, 68+ push-ups, 58+ crunches?
That's one of the sides I'm working on. I can do 70+ pushups in 2 minutes and 90+ situps in 2 minutes as well. However, I can only do about 8 pullups and have a slow mile time. Those are the 2 events that I am trying to work on currently. I fell that I will do fine on the pullups with practice, but running has always developed more slowly with me, which I am struggling with. I will practice and currently have a goal set to get 6:30 or below on the run.
Thank you!
 

USAFA_86

2025 appointee
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Dec 17, 2019
Messages
171
That's one of the sides I'm working on. I can do 70+ pushups in 2 minutes and 90+ situps in 2 minutes as well. However, I can only do about 8 pullups and have a slow mile time. Those are the 2 events that I am trying to work on currently. I fell that I will do fine on the pullups with practice, but running has always developed more slowly with me, which I am struggling with. I will practice and currently have a goal set to get 6:30 or below on the run.
Thank you!
The mile was also my biggest struggle. My advice would be to mix it up between interval training (running 400 and 800 meters at your goal pace) and long distance running days. Also, remember to practice the test multiple times. The events get significantly more difficult when done in a row in the narrow time frame that the CFA allows. So while you may be able to do 70+ pushups and 90+ situps normally, on the test you will be struggling to even get close to those.

Edit: Just though I'd add that if you really want to improve your pullups, get a pullup bar for your doorway. I got one in December and have been doing a few every time time I walk into my room and I have already increased from 13 to 22. Highly recommend!
 
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