If you’re looking to obtain an undergraduate degree, you’ll need to start with admission. In order to gain admission, you’ll likely need to take one of the standardized tests, known as the SAT and ACT tests.

Undergraduate programs include those that result in an Associate’s or a Bachelor’s degree, and most colleges and universities require a minimum standardized test score for admissions.

Service members and Veterans have access to the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES), to pursue educational goals and earn degrees or certifications both during and after their service.

As a part of this assistance, DANTES test sites, located on military installations, can assist you with:

  • Test prep
  • Test funding
  • Exam administration
  • Scoring
  • Retests

In addition to these centers, service members can also test at designated SAT and ACT test locations, but details vary.

Not sure where to start? Here is what you need to know.

The SAT Test

Most colleges and universities utilize the SAT to make their admissions decisions. The SAT tests critical thinking skills required for college coursework in the areas of reading, writing, language and math.

What does SAT mean?  What does SAT stand for?

Originally ‘SAT’ stood for Scholastic Aptitude Test and later, Scholastic Assessment Test.  Now it’s a brand name that doesn’t stand for anything.  It’s just SAT now.

SAT Test Prep

Prior to scheduling your exam, visit the SAT program website for test prep materials. Additionally, DANTES test sites and military education facilities may offer further resources.

Test length: The allotted time to complete the SAT is 3 hours and 15 minutes; for SAT plus essay (which is required at DANTES test sites), 3 hours and 50 minutes is allotted.

Test funding: One (1) SAT with essay is funded if taken at a DANTES test site (SAT plus essay is required). Two (2) SAT exams are funded at an SAT National/International testing center. Payment is handled on a reimbursement schedule, meaning that the service member must pay up-front first.

Scoring and results: Scores are reported 6-8 weeks after receipt by the SAT (if taken at DANTES) and sent via mail. Additionally, scores are available online if an SAT web account is created.

Retests: Retesting at a DANTES test site is not funded, and only two (2) tests may be administered each year. Retests at an SAT testing center may be comped if they fall within the “up to two tests covered” in the lifetime of the service member. As with initial testing, the fees are reimbursed after the fact at an SAT testing site.

NOTE: CollegeRecon’s College Search tool includes the average accepted SAT scores for each university within the school profiles.  

Simply find the school you want to research and within the Overview information you will find the average accepted SAT scores for that school.

For more: To learn further details on the SAT, please click here.

The ACT Test

The ACT test covers four academic areas: English, math, science and reading. As with the SAT, minimum admissions scores and application deadlines for your college or university will typically be found on the school’s website.

ACT Test Prep

Prior to scheduling your exam, visit the ACT program website for test prep materials. Additionally, DANTES test sites and military education facilities may offer further resources.

Test length: The allotted time to complete the ACT is 2 hours and 55 minutes; ACT Plus Writing provides 3 hours and 55 minutes (please note: the writing exam is not available at DANTES test centers).

Test funding: One (1) ACT exam is funded if taken at a DANTES test site. Two (2) ACT exams are funded at an ACT National/International Testing center. Payment is handled on a reimbursement schedule, meaning that the service member must pay up-front first.

Scoring and results: Scores are reported 2-4 weeks after receipt by the ACT (if taken at a DANTES testing center) and sent via mail. Additionally, scores are available online if an ACT web account is created.

Retests: Retesting at a DANTES test site is not funded, and if tests are taken within 60 calendar days of each other, you will receive an invalid test result. Retests at an ACT testing center may be comped if they fall within the “up to two tests covered” in the lifetime of the service member. As with initial testing, the fees are reimbursed after the fact at an ACT testing site.

NOTE: CollegeRecon’s College Search tool includes the average accepted ACT scores for each university within the school profiles.  

Simply find the school you want to research and within the Overview information you will find the average accepted ACT scores for that school.

For more: To learn further details on the ACT, please click here.

Tips for Success

As a service member, you understand the value of being prepared. Here are a few considerations to help position you for success:

  • Never underestimate the value of test preparation, and utilize the available tools ahead of time.
  • You are responsible for test scheduling and showing up on time — don’t let your military punctuality slip on testing day.
  • Be cognizant of admissions deadlines and exam testing dates. Research your top schools and become familiar with score requirements. Ensure that you allot enough time for prep, examinations, and score turnaround times so that you have information in hand to apply before admissions deadlines have passed.
  • Reach out to personnel at DANTES testing centers — they are there to help you achieve your academic pursuits.