New ACT Prep. Program at KHS Helps Seniors Improve Scores for College Applications


Holly Van Dyke

A student takes a practice ACT exam in preparation for the real thing in October.

Ruby Caver and Holly Van Dyke

As the Oct. 5 senior ACT retake approaches, many seniors are working to increase their scores. Teachers at KHS have come together to help students achieve higher scores with a six week tutoring program, spanning from Aug. 17 to Oct. 3. Due to the pandemic and school closures, average ACT scores have decreased, however, with this tutoring program, students will have a chance to improve their scores and master the test. For the students who participate in the program and improve their scores the most on a subsection of the test and the overall test, a $100 incentive prize is being offered.


Instructional coach, Julie Langley, organized the program for this year. Langley says, “I have been tutoring for the ACT for almost 30 years. It is the test that changes students’ lives.” She has taken this opportunity to use her years of experience to help seniors prepare for the test and their lives after high school. She continued, “ The ACT determines the trajectory of your life.” Taking the ACT will affect scholarship opportunities, college acceptance, and future careers, meaning that getting a high score is very important. Langley also explained that the effect of Covid-19 has been substantial in regards to the ACT scores of the class of 2022. She explains that students should make at least a 21 to ensure college readiness, but the class of 2022 has had an average score of about 18. 


The program requires students to take on responsibility with studying and completing practice tests. In order to qualify for the incentive, students must complete practice tests and attend sessions. Senior Nico Baez says that the schedule has been very stressful. “It’s affected me heavily,” he explains, “trying to balance taekwondo, working out, work, school work, and studying for this ACT.” Senior Madison Gilmer finds herself in a similar situation, saying that she has “hours of homework and a job” and that adding tutoring sessions “has been a strain” on her life. This hard reality has made balancing this program difficult for many seniors also dealing with jobs and other homework. With regards to the scheduling, Mrs. Langley says “I can’t imagine that the schedule could be made any more flexible than it already is.” She clarifies that the schedule contains both before and after school tutoring sessions, as well as during the day. 


Despite stress, the seniors are pushing through in hopes to see rewarding results and possibly receive a $100 prize. Baez explains that he wants to improve his scores to get into his dream school, NYU, but he doesn’t want to make his parents pay for all of his college expenses. “That would be hard on them, therefore it would be hard on me, so I try to work hard now so I don’t have to work hard later.” Doing well on this test impacts a student’s life after high school. Even though many colleges have dropped the ACT or SAT score requirements for applicants amid the pandemic, it is still beneficial to include the score. The Oct. 5 retake will be the last free opportunity for seniors to improve their scores for college applications. Other tests are available, but each test costs $60.


Students in the program are not only working to improve their scores, but to compete for a $100 incentive being offered. Five prizes will be awarded, one for each subtest and one for the overall score. For each student who improves their score the most, either on a subtest or on the entire test, they will receive the prize. The winners also had to have attended at least six of the tutoring sessions. Their improvement will be based on their most previous test scores. If a student shows the most improvement on multiple subtests, they can win more than one prize. 


The program will end on Oct. 3, the Sunday before the in school test. The test will begin at 8:30 A.M. and go on for around three hours. Students receive scores back in a matter of weeks, and participants of the program will see if the hard work put in by them and the teachers of KHS will pay off.