Lincoln-Way students earn perfect ACT scores
Thursday, March 29, 2018

Although Lincoln-Way West junior Kyle Auchstetter was expecting to do well on his first ACT exam, he says he was surprised when he saw just how well he had performed on his first attempt; he received a score of 35, just one point away from a perfect 36. Auchstetter had taken a practice class in the fall before taking his first ACT exam in December of 2017.

“I wasn’t expecting much out of it; but after I got a 35, I was really motivated to get the 36,” he says.

Between the December 2017 exam and the February 2018 exam, Auchstetter used an ACT practice book in an attempt to perform even better on his second exam; it paid off. “All my friends were saying that the scores were posted online. I was kind of nervous. I was like ‘Oh, this is it.’” When he looked up his score, Auchstetter saw he’d earned his perfect 36. “I was excited!” he says.

While Auchstetter is sure he wants to attend college, he has not yet decided on a school or major; he still has over a year to enjoy his time at Lincoln-Way West until he will make those decisions, though he doesn’t intend to “slow down” during his senior year. He is involved in many clubs and activities at Lincoln-Way West. “I’ve done cross country and track since fifth grade; I love it,” he says. He is also involved in Mu Alpha Theta, Spanish Honor Society, National Honor Society, Principal’s Cabinet, Mathletes and was a class officer during his freshman and sophomore years.

Like Auchstetter, two Lincoln-Way East students are still deciding on their futures. Seniors Amber Lemmons and Karnap Patel also earned perfect scores on the ACT during their junior year. Although they are a year closer to graduation than Auchstetter, their decisions still aren’t finalized. Each has applied to six schools and expects to hear back from their prospects throughout the next few weeks.

Throughout her time at Lincoln-Way East, Lemmons has participated in Madrigals, Choir, Student Council, National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, Spanish Honor Society, Peer Helpers, Mathletes, and is also currently the Vice President of the Senior Class. She is also a National Merit Commended Scholar.

“Within the next week, I’ll hear back from the rest of my colleges,” says Lemmons. “Then I’ll be able to make my decision. Right now I’m planning on studying physics but I also want to do something with social justice and I want to minor in Spanish,” she says. After her perfect score was recorded, Harvard University reached out to encourage Lemmons to apply, but she says she wanted to focus on other schools. She’s hopeful that her 36 will give her a bit of headway when applying; fortunately, she only has a few days left of “waiting” left to do.

Lemmons’ classmate, Karnap Patel, also earned a perfect ACT score during his junior year. He says, “I wasn’t really expecting it; after taking a Sylvan prep course without additional studying, I was getting 32s and 33s on my practice tests.” In the weeks before taking the official exam, he spent more time studying his prep course materials; his hard was realized when Patel earned a perfect 36.

Now a senior, Patel is also “playing the waiting game” in the college application process. During his time at Lincoln-Way East, Patel earned National Merit Finalist status, has been a part of the National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, Science National Honors Society, Mathletes, Computer Club, Gamers Club, and was also the co-captain of the Ultimate Frisbee Team. This year, he joined Track and Field to give shot put and discus a try.

Patel says that his perfect score influenced the colleges to which he applied. “I definitely looked at some higher tiered colleges,” he says. “I want to go into aerospace engineering, so I looked at schools like MIT, Stanford, Georgia Tech and Michigan.” He feels his perfect score “definitely helped open the door” to those schools. “I have good options,” he says.

Although most students take their first ACT exam on the April national testing day, many Lincoln-Way students choose to take their tests earlier in an attempt to increase their chances at a top score. Between the December and February exams, eleven Lincoln-Way juniors have already neared the mark of perfection with a score of 35.

“Many districts are happy to have even one student achieve a perfect ACT or SAT,” says Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum, Tim Reilly. “It’s amazing that we already have 11 students who’ve hit that 35 mark. It will be fun to see if we get any more perfect scores from the April date.”