More Common App Schools Accepting Graded Papers

Probably not your best choice...

College Essay Organizer founder and president Daniel Stern was recently quoted by independent consultant and journalist Nancy Griesemer for this article in the discussing the increase in frequency of the option to submit a graded paper: "Graded papers allow applicants to showcase their writing and reasoning skills on their own terms—the SAT and ACT essays are a bit of a joke and aren’t taken that seriously by colleges because of how they are scored." As colleges explore ways to make the application process more holistic and predictive of future academic success, more schools are adding test-optional policies which require students to submit a graded paper in lieu of test scores.

Griesemer provides the following tips on how to make the best impression when submitting a writing sample:

  • Though over 20 Common App schools accept writing samples, there is rarely a mention of this included on the supplement. Make sure to thoroughly check each school's website or use College Essay Organizer to instantly see all the essay requirements for your list of colleges regardless of whether requirements are found on the Common App or on outside websites.
  • Don't worry too much about the grade. A lower grade on a high-quality paper can show that the school sets a high standard for its students, while a high grade on a poorly written paper will not only represent you poorly, but your school as well.
  • Make sure to hold on to graded copies so that you have a wide range of samples to choose from when the time is right.