Statement from The College Board, Creator of the SAT Test
This research project is a terrific example of how students can prepare for college success - by diligently applying themselves in a challenging high school environment. Students who apply themselves academically and pursue rigorous course work are also more likely to perform well on the SAT.
It's very common for longer writing samples to more effectively convey nuanced, persuasive arguments, so it's not surprising to see that these students, who attend one of the finest high schools in New York City, received higher SAT essay scores by thoroughly explaining their points of view.
Our own research involving the test scores of more than 150,000 students admitted to more than 100 colleges and universities shows that, of all the sections of the SAT, the writing section is the most predictive of college success, and we encourage all students to work on their writing skills throughout their high school careers.
It's important to note that the writing section is not just the essay. This is often misunderstood. The essay actually accounts for only 30% of the overall writing section score.
Our most recent survey of colleges showed that more than half of all four-year, selective colleges and universities required SAT writing section scores. The same survey showed that nearly all highly-selective four-year colleges and universities required SAT writing scores.
Many people do not realize that colleges and universities also have the ability to download and review each applicant's SAT essay. In other words, colleges are not just receiving a composite writing section score, they can actually download and read the student's essay if they choose to do so. This is valuable because it gives admissions officers the chance to see how a student writes in a timed, proctored setting without input from teachers, parents, etc.