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    Do I Need to Take the SAT for Community College?

    By Gabriel Jimenez-Ekman

    Gabriel Jimenez-Ekman is a content editor and writer at Scholarships360. He has managed communications and written content for a diverse array of organizations, including a farmer’s market, a concert venue, a student farm, an environmental NGO, and a PR agency. Gabriel graduated from Kenyon College with a degree in sociology.

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    Edited by Maria Geiger

    Maria Geiger is Director of Content at Scholarships360. She is a former online educational technology instructor and adjunct writing instructor. In addition to education reform, Maria’s interests include viewpoint diversity, blended/flipped learning, digital communication, and integrating media/web tools into the curriculum to better facilitate student engagement. Maria earned both a B.A. and an M.A. in English Literature from Monmouth University, an M. Ed. in Education from Monmouth University, and a Virtual Online Teaching Certificate (VOLT) from the University of Pennsylvania.

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    Updated: July 1st, 2024
    Do I Need to Take the SAT for Community College?

    As you prepare to enroll in community college, you may be wondering, “Do I need to take the SAT for community college?” Luckily, most community college programs do not require the SAT, nor do they require any grades or test scores. The only thing you might need is a high school diploma or GED, but some community colleges do not require either. 

    However, as with many aspects of education, there are exceptions. Certain specialized community college programs do require test scores. And, if you’re a student planning to transfer to a four-year degree program, you might eventually need SAT or ACT scores. So, let’s get into what that means for you. In this article, we’ll outline which types of programs require SAT or other standardized test scores, and which do not.

    Also see: How to improve your SAT score in 6 steps

    Community college is open-enrollment

    Community college is generally open-enrollment, meaning that they don’t use the same system for selecting students that four-year universities use. You won’t be judged based on your academic record, test scores, or extracurriculars. Some community colleges require that you have a high school diploma or GED.

    That is not to say that there is no application process, however. Although high school graduates or GED holders can apply with full confidence of gaining admission, they must remember to submit the proper forms before the semester deadline to gain admission. To be safe, it’s always best to file your application for classes before the deadline in case there are any mistakes or other materials you need to provide.

    Don’t miss: College application deadlines

    Specialized community college programs

    Some specialized degree programs within community colleges require test scores. These include fields related to health sciences, engineering, and other STEM fields. If you are considering attending community college for one of these topics, you should check your school’s requirements to see if you need test scores. The earlier you know the better; you’ll want a good amount of time to study, prepare, and potentially retake.

    SAT requirements for four-year universities

    If you are attending community college with the intent to transfer into a four-year university, you may end up needing to take the SAT or ACT down the line. Luckily, you won’t need it to gain admission to your community college program (assuming it’s not a specialized program as mentioned above). But, eventually, you will need that SAT or ACT score.

    An increasing number of four-year universities no longer require test scores, however. You can consult our guide for low test takers for a guide to schools that do not require or refuse to accept standardized test scores.

    When to take standardized tests for students planning to transfer

    So, when should you take the SAT or ACT? Is it better to take it before you enter community college, or as you complete your two years and prepare for your four-year degree? The answer to this question can vary.

    If you are a recent high school graduate, you may be better off taking it sooner rather than later. High school general education curriculums generally prepare students well for standardized tests. So, the valuable information will be fresh in your mind if you take it now.

    If you have been out of high school for many years, or never completed it, you may be better off waiting to take the test. Your community college courses may help you accumulate some information that can help you on the tests, and put you back in the academic mindset. You can also take a semester off to focus on studying for the ACT or SAT.

    SAT resources

    So, although the vast majority of community college students do not need to take the SAT, some do. Standardized tests can be difficult for any student, but luckily we have some resources to help you through. You can check out our articles on how to find a test prep tutor and how to reduce test anxiety to start.

    You should also make sure to check out our articles about what a high SAT score is. Another great resource is our guide for when to take the SAT or ACT. Finally, be sure to check out our free scholarship search tool for custom-matched, vetted scholarships which we select based on your demographics, interests, location, and more. Good luck, and make sure to check back on our site for any other resources to help you through your educational journey!

    Final thoughts

    While you might not need to take the SAT for community college, you might be figuring out how to pay for your education. Many states offer tuition-free community college to eligible students. Some scholarships can be applied to the remainder of your education expenses, such as fees and books. If you don’t live in a state that offers tuition-free community college, start applying to every scholarship you qualify for!

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    Frequently asked questions about whether you need to take the SAT for community college

    Do community colleges care about SAT scores?

    No, and many will accept students who have not graduated high school.

    Am I eligible for financial aid at community college if I don't take the SAT?

    Yes. There is no requirement to take the SAT for federal financial aid, only demonstrated financial need. So, make sure that you fill out that FAFSA!

    If the community college I am interested in requires a GED, where do I take it?

    Our GED guide tells you where you can take the GED, so get started now! 

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