Then in March, Harvard University announced it was dropping the requirement.
Yale University and the University of San Diego followed in June, leaving the total number of colleges still requiring the essay at 25.
The University of Chicago surprised many admissions experts when it announced in June that it was going test optional.
It is too soon to see if other elite colleges will follow, as some have predicted would happen, as those decisions would generally involve faculty studies.
Others have said that there may be superior ways to examine applicants' writing.
Princeton will now require all applicants to submit a graded high school paper, and Brown is recommending that applicants submit such a paper.While faculty members have been involved in some colleges' decisions to drop the essay, the University of California decision is controlled by a systemwide faculty body, the Board of Admissions and Relations with Schools, known by its acronym BOARS.That committee has been "monitoring" the decisions of other colleges and has been studying whether UC should maintain the requirement, said Henry Sanchez, a professor of pathology at the University of California, San Francisco, and chair of BOARS.The essay portion of the SAT and ACT has never been a requirement at most colleges and universities, and has been in place only at a few dozen colleges in recent years.But millions of students complete the essays every year, with many of them stressed out about doing so and paying tutors to help them.In July, Princeton and Stanford Universities announced that they were dropping the requirement.Then came word that the California Institute of Technology was also dropping the essay."We've got to get the data." As many colleges have been dropping the essay, the College Board has largely remained silent.But in response to a request by last week, a College Board spokesman said via email that the organization continued to stand by the value of the essay.A spokesman said via email, "Several factors went into this decision, including the recent redesign of the evidence-based reading and writing section of the SAT that incorporates a more expansive reading and writing assessment within the body of the exam, as well as our continued requirement that applicants already submit multiple writing samples to our UM-specific admissions application." The colleges dropping the requirement have cited a number of factors.Many note that as more states and school districts pay for SAT test taking during school hours, those tests don't include the essay, so those who feel they need the essay must take the test at another time -- adding expenses and stress for test takers.