Georgia Tech to Require New Standardized Test Essays for Admissions

Freshman applicants to Georgia Tech who take the ACT will have to take the standardized test's optional writing component, beginning with the class entering in fall 2006. That's when Tech will scrap its current application essay in favor of those appearing on the new SAT I and ACT standardized tests.

"Sometimes we're not sure how much help a student received in writing the essay. Using the tests' writing components will level the playing field for all applicants and help us ensure that each student writes his or her own essay without any help," said Deborah Smith, associate vice provost for Enrollment Services.

Starting March 2005, the College Board will replace the current SAT I with a new version that includes a mandatory writing test, featuring an essay and multiple choice questions. The ACT will offer an optional essay, beginning in the 2004-2005 academic year.

The essay helps Tech determine the quality of prospective students' writing skills and is used in choosing recipients of the President's Scholars Program, Tech's most prestigious merit-based scholarship.

Admission to Tech is based on a combination of high school grade-point average and standardized test score as well as the essay, leadership abilities and activities.

Other universities that will soon require standardized writing tests include Harvard, Notre Dame, Rice, Penn State, Texas and Ohio State.