BY SERGI TORRES
Countryside High senior Kenton Prescott spent his summer working 35 to 40 hours a week as a lifeguard on Clearwater Beach, saving up his paychecks.
Lots of students get jobs so they can pay for the latest iPhone, or a new pair of shoes or those expensive sunglasses. But Prescott toiled in the sun to pay for an expensive ACT class that would last from the end of summer until his test on Saturday.
Prescott, a good student who juggled many extracurricular activities, made sure to take his first ACT his junior year. He scored a 28, better than he expected, but he felt he could do better. His resume is filled with internships, clubs and great grades, but he wanted to be sure a test score wasn't going to stop him from reaching his college dream: enrolling in a competitive engineering school.
Prescott researched companies that specialize in preparing students to take the ACT. With money saved up from his hours in the blistering sun, Prescott purchased a $1,000 program from Sylvan Learning that provides him study materials, an online guide and two-hour classes twice a week.
"It's helped a lot," he said last week, studying at a Starbucks before his ACT class. "I'm definitely a lot more confident taking the test."
Along with the two classes every week, Prescott does practice problems at home for a half-hour every day and takes scheduled full-length practice ACT tests, all while maintaining his grades in AP and honors classes and actively participating in clubs.
Feeling more prepared than ever before, Prescott said he is excited to reach his goal: scoring at least a 30 on Saturday.