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Duke Makes SAT Essay, ACT Writing Test Optional for Applicants

Duke University will no longer require applicants to submit SAT essay or ACT writing scores when applying for admission, school officials announced Friday.

The change means the SAT essay and ACT writing tests will be optional but recommended, while also reducing barriers that students from low-income families and under-resourced schools may encounter when applying, said Christoph Guttentag, dean of undergraduate admissions. The move will begin with next year’s incoming undergraduate class.

“We will continue to value writing as particularly meaningful as we develop a sense of students as potential members of the Duke community. And we will still pay careful attention to essay scores and what they represent for those students who submit them,” Guttentag said.

“We also recognize that this part of the exam can represent more of a barrier for some students than others, and we want to give every student an opportunity to be fully considered in our application process.”