Advertiser disclosure

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’ll need to prove is that you have a high school diploma or GED.

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. They are only concerned with the fact 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!

Start your scholarship search
  • Vetted scholarships custom-matched to your profile
  • Access exclusive scholarships only available to Scholarships360 members
Get Started