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August 31, 2020

For information on enrollment and registration at Notre Dame, please visit the admissions section of our website here.

Driven Notre Dame senior Nick Laurencelle launches a free ACT prep program for NDP students looking to improve test results.

Notre Dame senior Nick Laurencelle is shown during a recent visit to the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

When Notre Dame senior Nick Laurencelle first took the ACT, he scored a composite of 20 and sub scores on English, math, reading and science of 15, 20, 21 and 22, respectively. That was completely unacceptable to this driven Holy Family alum who seemingly has never met a challenge he didn't want to attack 200 percent.

"I knew I would have a hard time raising that score," he said. "Starting so low made it seem impossible. Little did I know that I was about to embark on a rite of passage. And it was going to be all on me."

Laurencelle began to take every opportunity to study and increase his score. He studied at home. He studied in coffee houses. He brought his ACT books to the gym and field and studied during breaks. 

"Did I look weird? No doubt," he said. "But I was all in and it was working." Until it wasn’t.

Standing for something

Laurencelle's nearly obsessive focus on improving his ACT score also led to some difficult decisions when it came to a few extracurricular activities. 

"I learned that the world writ large isn’t always supportive of a person’s growth and maturity," he said. "Which was a tough and painful lesson. Life forces you to make choices and at that time, I chose to stand for something I thought was most important for me." 

Laurencelle said by then, nearly every one of his classmates knew the ACT was his "thing." It was all he talked about and all he worked on. And he finally saw the hard work on his "thing" pay off when he received a 30 on the December ACT. 

"It felt amazing being able to have all that work lead to a good composite score. To date, my highest sub scores are a 35 in English, a 34 in math, a 28 in reading and a 30 in science."

He figures all told, he's taken about a hundred ACTs with a total of more than 20,000 questions. He said the experience led to a real passion for the test and, more importantly, a real passion to help others who may be struggling with it

Now he's about to launch Notre Dame Prep's first student-led ACT program that, beginning next month, will teach underclassmen the ACT for free (Sign up here.). He also gathered three other fellow students who are also highly experienced with the ACT and in his opinion had excellent teaching skills. 

"I presented Lars Boehme, Maggie Miklas and Devarshi Mukherji with the idea and they all gladly came on board with me," said Laurencelle, who after more of his trademark persistence, also convinced school administrators to allow the four of them to use classrooms after school for the program, which is completely free for any participant.

"As a result of our passion for this project, we thought that we should teach underclassmen the ACT for free so parents do not need to spend thousands of dollars on other programs," he said. "I gathered these three other students who are also highly experienced with the ACT, and in my opinion have excellent teaching skills."

Safe and sound with a backup

Classes will be twice a week from 3 to 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday and start Sept. 8 and end in the beginning of December, which is close to the December ACT. The four-day rotation will have the students split into four different sections.

"Due to COVID-19, we have taken measures to provide a safe environment for all students who take our classes," said the future business major. "The maximum number of students per group will be 10, allowing for 40 total slots available. Students will be spaced out properly across the classroom and will be wearing masks at all times. We also have a plan to transition to Zoom as our main method of teaching if necessary and PowerPoints will be provided online for students to see and study."

Now with about a week and half of their senior year in the books, Laurencelle and his classmates are hopeful that the rest of the school year will be relatively normal. But no matter what, he's very happy that he chose Notre Dame for high school.

"I have loved my experience at NDP, which has taught me to really push myself to my full potential as a student," he said. "I was able to see myself grow in the best way possible, not just academically, but as a person.

"Here, the teachers and administration also are understanding of the balance of extracurriculars, sports and school and won’t suffocate students with homework. However, they won’t make it so easy that you can get away without hard work. You have to push yourself at NDP or you won’t be successful."

He also said his ACT program is designed to give those who work hard a chance to be more successful with the ACT.

"I am so unbelievably excited this fall to be teaching other students something I love," he said. "My goal for them is so be able to go on a journey similar to that of mine, so they can experience the roller coaster I went on, and in the end, raise their scores, too. I will stop at nothing to make sure their scores have some kind of improvement because, take it from me, there will never be a limit – and always room for improvement."

More information on the ACT program is here.

For information on enrollment and registration at Notre Dame, please visit the admissions section of our website here.

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About Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy
Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy is a private, Catholic, independent, coeducational day school located in Oakland County. Notre Dame Preparatory School enrolls students in grades nine through twelve and has been named one of the nation's best 50 Catholic high schools (Acton Institute) four times since 2005. Notre Dame's middle and lower schools enroll students in pre-kindergarten through grade eight. All three schools are International Baccalaureate "World Schools." NDPMA is conducted by the Marist Fathers and Brothers and is accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States and the National Association of Independent Schools. For more on Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy, visit the school’s home page at