Do Community Colleges Require SAT? Good News!

Do Community Colleges Require SAT? Good News!

If community colleges require the SAT and what that means for you will be covered in more detail in this post.

You might be interested in learning more about the requirements for community college applications if you’re considering doing so. Do you require a particular GPA? Will you be required to take the SAT?

SAT and ACT scores are not necessary for admission to the vast majority of community colleges in the US. You can therefore apply if you possess a GED or a high school diploma. Their application procedure is likewise quite straightforward.

So if you are puzzled and want to find out if you should or should not take SAT or ACT then this is the right guide for you. We’ll go over when it makes sense to take these standardized tests and when you should forgo them.

Do Community Colleges Require SAT Scores?

Most community colleges do not require SAT scores because they have open admissions. This means that the only criteria for admission are that the applicants have a high school diploma or an equivalent, like a GED certificate. Some community colleges and special programs, too, require SAT scores.

If you want to apply to community colleges, you may have read somewhere or heard from someone that the SAT is no longer required.

What you should know about SAT:

This is merely a myth, though. Some community colleges, as previously mentioned, request that applicants submit their SAT scores. Community colleges are some of the least selective universities on the planet, it is true. However, some of them might require you to submit your SAT score along with your application.

Do Community Colleges Require SAT? Good News!

In some cases, specific programs—rather than the school itself—require the SAT.

Some of the courses that community colleges offer are selective and have a small number of students. And one of the things that the admissions officers do is look at the SAT scores of the applicants to determine which of them deserve admission and which of them are better off taking another available program or going to a different school.

Most selective programs requiring the submission of SAT scores are in fields such as:

  • Engineering
  • Computer technology
  • Law enforcement
  • Nursing
  • Allied health

Another benefit of submitting SAT scores is an exemption from taking placement exams, in addition to admission into special programs. This is especially true if you demonstrate through your reading, writing, and math section scores that you no longer require placement tests in these subjects.

Are There Any Cases Where You Do Need the SAT for Community College?

Yes, you might need to submit your SAT or ACT scores if you’re transferring to a four-year college or applying to a special program within the school. Let’s analyze each situation more thoroughly.

Applying to Specialized Programs

In comparison to the school as a whole, some community college programs, particularly those in the health sciences and engineering, have more stringent admissions standards. These could occasionally consist of results from standardized tests.

Do Community Colleges Require SAT? Good News!

If you’re thinking about applying for a specific program within your college make sure to check its admission requirements.

Transferring to a Four-Year School

The other case in which you may need to take the SAT is if you’re planning to transfer to a four-year college or university. Depending on how many credits they’ve completed, transfer applicants (whether from other four-year schools or from community colleges) may be required to submit standardized test scores at some schools.

Individual schools’ policies on standardized tests for transfer students vary quite a bit, but, in general, the more credits you have (especially if you’ve already completed your associate’s degree), the less likely that you’ll need to submit SAT or ACT scores. Additionally, if you’re enrolled in a pathway program that grants priority admission to a four-year university, you might be able to forgo sending in your test results.

For all students, however, some schools demand standardized test results. (Private schools here tend to be selective.) Below, I’ve provided examples of each category.

Schools That Require SATs Or ACTs for Upper-Level Transfer Students

  • Harvard University
  • University of Chicago
  • University of Virginia
  • Tulane University

Schools That Don’t Require SATs Or ACTs for Upper-Level Transfer Students

  • University of California
  • University of Colorado
  • Pitzer College
  • NYU
  • University of Texas
  • University of Florida
  • Miami University (Ohio)

No matter what, double-check the transfer requirements for the specific school and program you’re interested in.

Do Community Colleges Require SAT? Good News!


These conditions do not apply to all schools and students; you should check with your community college to be sure.

Selective Programs

For some programs, even if your college doesn’t require SAT or ACT scores for general admission, they might. These courses are most frequently found in the following professions: nursing, allied health, law enforcement, engineering, and computer technology.

Many schools have a high demand for these majors, which sometimes calls for more advanced skills. For these reasons, you may find yourself still taking a standardized test to enter these programs.


Like traditional four-year colleges and universities, some community colleges offer scholarships for academic achievement. Standardized test scores, particularly those from the SAT and ACT, play a significant role in determining scholarship awards. In fact, some colleges make it clear which score ranges count toward scholarship eligibility.

Plus, there is a good chance your state or local government offers merit-based scholarships based partially on test scores. Although many state programs exempt community college students from the test score requirement, you should double-check. Although you save money by choosing a community college, you never want to throw away free money!

What Do You Need to Apply to Community College?

Most community colleges have a very straightforward application process. You’ll need to provide just a few documents to enroll:

Do Community Colleges Require SAT? Good News!
  • an application with some basic information
  • your high school transcript or GED
  • possibly an application fee, though most are free.

Before registering for classes after being accepted, there may be a few additional requirements you must complete. You’ll probably have to take a placement test and may need to meet with an academic counselor.

But as long as you complete these steps, you’ll be on your way to a college degree!

Do Community Colleges Accept Everyone?

As with most formal colleges and universities, the majority of community colleges operate on an open-enrollment basis, which means there are no competitive admissions standards.

Related: Can You Get Rejected from a Community College?

A placement test will be required to determine a student’s educational skill level if they do not have an ACT or SAT score. To place you in appropriate courses, these colleges use placement tests to assess your skills.

According to the College Board, most community colleges require placement tests like the ACCUPLACER, ACT’s COMPASS, state-specific exams (like Florida’s CLAST), or tests developed by the college.

Your proficiency in fundamental subjects like reading, writing, and math is evaluated by these tests. You are put in remedial, normal, or advanced classes based on your scores. Test preparation materials are typically accessible and reasonably priced, and typically your exam results do not prevent you from being admitted.

Standardized tests are also more difficult than placement exams. They are easier to understand, to start. Using textbooks and sample questions, you can find answers to the majority of the questions.

A placement test will mostly consist of questions that are similar to those that are asked in classes. On the other hand, standardized exam questions are seldom covered or taught in class.

Conclusion: Community Colleges Don’t Require SAT

In general, the majority of community colleges don’t demand SAT or ACT scores. Nevertheless, in some circumstances, it might be advantageous for you to take these exams.

Some four-year colleges request the SAT scores of applicants who attended community colleges. However, some do not demand the submission of test results.


Should I Submit My SAT Score When Transferring?

Community college applicants should confirm that they are required to submit SAT scores before doing so. One way to determine if SAT scores are needed is by visiting the institution’s website for transfer applicants. A phone call or email can be made to the admissions office of the school.

Does SAT Matter After Community College?

Not required, but you can submit scores if you want them taken into consideration when reviewing your application. If you provided your ACT or SAT scores to your prior program, you must do the same for your transfer application.

Do I Have to Take the SAT If I Have An Associate’s Degree?

Individual schools’ policies on standardized tests for transfer students vary quite a bit, but, in general, the more credits you have (especially if you’ve already completed your associate’s degree), the less likely that you’ll need to submit SAT or ACT scores.

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