The College Board recently announced the end of the SAT Essay section of the test, as of June 2021. This is in general good news for students, as it was an often painful end to a long testing day. The College Board will allow any students to change their upcoming test reservations from SAT with Essay to just the SAT main test (and we recommend doing so for almost everyone!). Because they are ending this program, it will be more or less untenable for any colleges to ask for it for admissions for the class of 2022 and beyond.
The essay has always been unpopular with students, with its somewhat-arbitrary manual scoring and opaque rubric. Response from colleges has also not been great, as it clearly is not a representative sample of whether or not students will be able to write at the college level or not. Our sense is that most schools that ask for it have been using it as a check on the main test score – if there is a significant divergence of the scores, it would merit further investigation. It never seemed to be a critical factor in admissions. We’re happy we no longer have to devote time to a largely useless portion of the test, and can continue helping students to their best on reading, writing, and math exclusively.