Reality of Standardized Tests


Spring Valley high school graduates Leah Schipf and Gianna Long are very unsure about the realities that come with taking the SAT. With the shift in modern technologies and current events the process of getting into college and university has also taken a turn, its outcomes can vary depending on where students are headed with their futures. 

Though the college admission process has changed, students are now being more aware of whether those test scores are what’s really representing them.

Schipf noticed during her senior year (2021-2022) that although there wasn’t a big hassle on taking standardized tests anymore, the norms of people stressing were still there, especially with the chaos that the pandemic had caused. 

“I have not heard a single thing in college about my SAT score,” said former Spring Valley student Leah Schipf. “Honestly, I can’t tell you what it’s for, like if I would’ve taken the SAT, I don’t know what they would’ve used it for.”

Although Schipf had not prioritized the stress of standardized tests over her mental health with both the SAT and ACT, Long had prioritized her ACT more than the SAT. 

“I cared a lot because I know it’s how you’re placed into classes once you’re in college, at least here in Reno,” said former Spring Valley student Gianna Long. “I had wanted a certain score in order to receive some of the seals on the diploma when you graduate high school.” 

The determination that students have may be strong, but Schipf begs to differ due to the cost of paying for all of those college applications and essay entrances. 

“I think it’s ridiculous that students’ have to pay to apply, like to get either denied or accepted and end up losing that money if they get denied,” said Schipf. “Although I didn’t have to write an essay to go to UNLV [University of Nevada Las Vegas], I understand the process behind it.”

In fact, Long encourages future graduates to take the essay entrances and deadlines seriously because it can get you scholarships for college.

“These apps/essays are also what could help determine your future or where you’re going to school, so dedicating lots of time to them was a big priority of mine senior year, especially since how easy the school year felt seeing as they know that’s what most seniors will be needing to do.” said Long.

According to Schipf, AVID students were required to apply to 10-15 colleges and had to pay for most of them for a grade, which would especially put those who were financially unstable in a faulty position. 

Moreover, Long acknowledges that much mental instability came with wanting to prioritize the SAT and coming back from COVID. In Long’s position she personally couldn’t have prioritized both the ACT and SAT at the same time, so she didn’t consider taking the SAT to get into UNR (University of Nevada Reno).

“I think not taking the SAT was for the better, because I know mentally if I had to take that senior or junior year I wouldn’t have been able to,” Long said. “It was already hard mentally to come off of COVID and have to take the ACT my junior year, but the SAT would have possibly just been an unnecessary stressor in my senior year.”

Though both Long and Schipf agree that taking the ACT is understandable since it is required to get accepted into any college in Nevada; however, their concerns come with questions on what the SAT is actually being accounted for. 

As college admissions officers shift to college essays students, like Schipf and Long, see to it that this produces a better bond between the applicants and admissions officers. Additionally, the diversity within these college essays is another thing that Schipf and Long have sought out as a very important factor to applying to college/university.

“The university will want to see that the person they are accepting into their college is an overall well rounded person, who has extracurricular activities, goes out and does community service,” Long said. “Because although having an insanely high GPA can look great on apps it doesn’t mean much when that is all someone has to their name.”

Long, who has written many college essays upon applying for colleges, wants others to acknowledge the fact that every student has their own struggles. This is a determining factor that she has personally experienced from going to school after the pandemic and has found it very strange that students are being turned down by colleges because of a test score. 

“Making it unfair to deny access or lower someone’s possibility of getting into the college they want because of a low test score, when they have an essay that shows how much of a good student they are and any extra things they have done outside of schooling,”said Long.