Admissions office drops requirement for ACT, SAT writing components


The University of Michigan will no longer require undergraduate admissions applicants to complete the optional writing component of the SAT or the ACT.

The change will go into effect for the upcoming application season when the application goes live Aug. 1.

Several factors went into this decision, including a recent redesign of the evidence-based reading and writing section of the SAT that incorporates a more expansive reading and writing assessment within the body of the exam, said Kedra Ishop, vice provost for enrollment management.

The university’s continued requirement that applicants already submit multiple writing samples to the UM-specific admissions application was another factor, Ishop said.

“We believe we have sufficient evidence to assess an applicant’s writing ability without the optional portions of these exams that add cost and time to student testing,” Ishop said.

The university will still require the submission of SAT or ACT scores as part of an undergraduate application.

The university’s move echoes similar decisions made in recent weeks at colleges and universities across the country. Since spring, Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, Brown and Duke universities have dropped the requirement. Less than two dozen schools still require the writing component.

After years of pressure from colleges and businesses to reflect the importance of clear and effective writing, the SAT added an essay requirement in 2005. The ACT added an optional writing section that same year. U-M adopted those requirements for applicants in the summer of 2006.

“With recent changes to the SAT, we realized that this additional writing score was no longer needed,” said Erica Sanders, director of undergraduate admissions. “We’re confident in our holistic review process, which is both individualized for each applicant and comprehensive.”

The Office of Undergraduate Admissions has updated its website to reflect the new requirements and shared news of the change with all deans and associate deans, unit liaisons and campus communicators.

The early action application deadline for the Class of 2023 is Nov. 1.


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