Prepare for Standardized Tests

As part of the application process, most undergraduate programs require one or more U.S. standardized test score(s). Your test scores, academic record, and other factors are used to predict how well you will do as a college student. Test scores are one way to compare students from the United States and international students from different educational systems.

Community colleges typically have more flexible admissions processes than four-year institutions and often don’t require standardized test scores for admission. Check the website of the community college that you plan to attend for specific testing requirements of that institution.   

English Language Ability Tests

If English is not your native language, most U.S. colleges and universities will ask you to take an English language proficiency test before admission.

The most common tests for English language ability are the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), the Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB) and the Pearson Test of English (PTE).

Because community colleges provide their own assessments and frequently offer Intensive English Programs (IEPs) to students who require additional English proficiency, English language test scores are not always required for the admissions process.

Admissions Tests

Most four-year colleges and universities require the SAT or ACT (see definitions below) for admissions. Community colleges typically do not require these standardized tests, but might offer a placement test in your area of study upon arrival. Check the website of the community college that you plan to attend for that institution's specific testing requirements.

SAT: a primarily multiple-choice test of mathematics and English that is used for admission into an undergraduate program. The SAT Subject Tests is a multiple-choice test that measures your knowledge in specific subject areas. 

ACT: a multiple-choice test of English, mathematics, reading, and science reasoning (plus an optional writing component) used for admission into undergraduate programs.