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Two local high school students have earned perfect scores on the ACT exam.

Homestead junior Max Kroft scored a perfect 36 as did Cedarburg High School's Aidan Monty, who is part of the class of 2018.

Only 0.1 percent of students who take the ACT earn the top score, according to a news release from the Mequon-Thiensville School District. Only 2,235 students out of nearly 2.1 million students earned a composite score of 36 in 2016.

Kroft is enrolled in a number of advanced placement courses and is a member of both the Homestead track and math teams.

“We are so proud of Max and this rare achievement,” said Homestead Principal Brett Bowers. “Max has a well-deserved reputation at Homestead for being a dedicated, serious student who challenges himself academically. Without a doubt, his years of hard work and scholarship have led him to this special accomplishment.”

Cedarburg High School Principal Adam Kurth said Monty is "a humble kid who really deserves it."

"Aidan shared with me that he just kind of let school come to him, which I think is a great approach and perspective for a high school student," Kurth said. "We're simply just proud when a student can achieve this rare accomplishment."

The ACT tests students in English, reading, math, and science.

Getting your ACT together

While the ACT is stressed in school as the be-all and end-all for college acceptance, one question not on the exam is if a single test the best guide to judge a student's readiness for college curriculum?

At Concordia University Wisconsin, 12800 N. Lake Shore Drive, Mequon, the minimum ACT score for acceptance is 18. However, students can't just hope to do well on that one test and get into the college they want.

Michele Hoffman, executive director of enrollment services for Concordia, said the ACT is only one factor used to measure a student's readiness and ability at their university. Overall, Hoffman said GPA is typically a better indicator than the ACT due to it showing four years worth of work.

"We can dig deeper into grades by subject area, academic versus non-academic courses, see trends in grades over the years, etc.," she said. "Some of these other indicators, when paired with the ACT, give us a little bit more holistic impression of the student."

"While we do have really quality programs in place to help students who struggle academically — like our Learning Resource Center, which offers peer tutoring, writing help and supplemental instruction help — we want students to be successful during their time at Concordia and we have found that students below that score at or below a 2.5 GPA tend to struggle more academically once they begin college," she said.

The right fit

While many look at what will measure a student's readiness for college such as the ACT, one factor not often discussed is the fit of a student for a particular university. While a college has their criteria, a student will also have some criteria the university must meet making it a two-way street.

Hoffman said those that who choose Concordia, for example, are often looking at the size of their campus, proximity to downtown Milwaukee, safety levels, and other factors.

"It’s a symbiotic relationship in that way," she said. "Ultimately, we are a mission-driven institution, so the types of students that are attracted to Concordia are individuals who are interested in growing academically and personally, seeking out service opportunities, deepening their faith, and, in general, becoming better equipped to go out into the world and make a positive impact."

Hoffman said while the ACT "hits on a piece of that picture," it doesn't encompass the entire admissions profile.

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