Illinois now requires juniors to take the SAT with essay

Jeremy Zhao and Jay Deegan

Naperville Central juniors took the SAT with essay on April 13, sparking confusion among test takers. This is the first year the state of Illinois has mandated the essay portion as a graduation requirement. 

While the College Board announced in January 2021 that it would stop offering essays with their national SAT tests starting June 2021, there is a provision that allows states with the SAT essay as a graduation requirement, like Illinois, to continue administering the essay to juniors.  

“I don’t entirely know why the state of Illinois is still requiring the essay,” Central testing coordinator Debra Ericson said. “It could have to do with their initial contract with the College Board including the essay, and at the end of that contract that may expire. But, I do not know as I’m not privy to their information.” 

Junior Michael Yang said taking the essay is unnecessary. 

“I was wondering why we are doing this,” Yang said. “It’s tedious work that wasn’t necessary because I know I’m good at essays.” 

Illinois has not made any indication to the future of the SAT essay requirement with the SAT moving to a digital format in 2024. 

“The test itself is going to be an hour shorter,” Ericson said. “So how it’s going to affect us, I really couldn’t even say.”