The Lancer

Counselors meet with juniors to stress importance of ACT, college

Robert Swetlic ‘16


“Does anyone know how many credits are required for graduation?” The class of eleventh grade English students is silent as Counselor Whitney Bernstein gazes across the room waiting for raised hands.

After no one responds, Bernstein answers her own question. “21.5,” she says.

Counselors Whitney Bernstein and Gloria Tilley are making their first of many visits to educate juniors on graduation requirements and preparing for college.

“Its important that students know what classes they’ve taken and what they need to make up,” says Tilley. “It’s a student’s responsibility to be in charge of their education, you can’t just blame us [the counselors] every time you’re not in the class you need to be in,” Tilley adds.

Tilley also made a point to stress the importance of academics to prospective college athletes.

“If you plan to go pro and play for a college, you better make sure you’re not failing any classes,” says Tilley. “A lot of colleges will not accept athletes that have participated in credit recovery programs.”

Bernstein agrees.

“It’s important for athletes to be focused on passing their classes, not just excelling at their sport,” Bernstein says.

But passing classes is not the only thing the counselors are preparing the juniors for.

After the past three classes of juniors have increased the school’s composite ACT score, the pressure is on the Class of 2016 to keep the growth going.

In order to stress this to juniors, the counselors have arranged to meet with English classes throughout the year to inform them about the importance of the ACT not just for the school but also for college acceptance.

“Colleges always look at the classes you’ve taken, the activities you were a part of and letters of recommendation, but unfortunately, ACT score is one of the two biggest factors in college acceptance,” says Tilley.

English Teacher Rebecca Schroll has incorporated ACT preparatory coursework into the English eleven curriculum to give juniors the tools they need to succeed on the test.

“We review rules of grammar, usage mechanics and punctuation,” says Schroll. “We also take reading practice tests that incorporate test taking skills in the course,” Schroll adds.

However not all students are receptive to the prep material.

“Students don’t love doing ACT prep in class, I wouldn’t say that I love it either,” says Schroll. “Its just another hoop to jump through, but jumping through that hoop will give students more chances at scholarships.”

Schroll says that once the ACT is over, however, students will be grateful for the prep work that is done in class.

To simulate the ACT experience, on November 20th the juniors reported to school for “Test Fest,” which is a simulated and timed ACT.

“Test Fest gives students the opportunity to get a feel for the environment and to see where they are as far as their scores,” says Schroll.

And as of this week the scores from the practice test became available to the students. But some students found that not taking the simulated test seriously led to a lower score.

“I just can’t believe I got a 14,” said Jane Miller.* “I’m so disappointed with it.”

Tilley tries to offer advice to students about why they should take advantage of free practice tests.

“Its so important to try your best on ACT prep work,” says Tilley. “Its not just to improve your chances of getting into college, but to feel good about yourself and know that at least you tried your hardest and have no regrets,” said Tilley.

*Name changed to protect student identity

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