Student Spotlight: Patrick Nnoromele

Patrick Nnoromele

McDermott Scholars receive one of the most selective and generous undergraduate merit awards in the nation; it includes a full scholarship and stipend package at The University of Texas at Dallas. Along with being a National Merit Finalist, Model Laboratory School senior Patrick Nnoromele was chosen as one of the twenty McDermott Scholars from a pool of 1900 applicants and will be studying molecular biology at UT-Dallas in the fall. Patrick was accepted into 11 schools including Yale and Stanford and turned down 5 full scholarships to attend UT-Dallas as a McDermott Scholar.

A 2017 Governor’s Scholar, Patrick boasts an incredible 1470 SAT score and 33 on the ACT. Throughout his four years at Model Lab he participated in multiple extracurricular activities and was a student athlete. He participated in Future Problem Solving and coached the middle and high school teams for 3 years. Patrick achieved 2nd place in the state in the half-mile while on the track and cross country team. He also created the Diversity Union at Model Lab, promoting political awareness and cultural acceptance. Patrick will attend the Professional Education Preparation Program (PEPP) at the University of Kentucky this summer. UK PEPP is a 4-week residential program that provides an introduction to careers in medicine and dentistry through academic enrichment, admissions guidance, health-related seminars and experiences, and clinical/hospital rotations UK’s Chandler Medical Center. After all this, Patrick still found time to play four instruments: saxophone, flute, guitar, and ukulele.

During high school, Patrick found success in balancing his education and his extracurriculars—something very difficult for many students in high school. When asked how he managed, Patrick answered, “I’m an athlete, but I’m a student athlete.” Above all, Patrick values his education, and it shows through his nearly $1.5 million in scholarship awards.

Patrick is a three-year participant in Making the Grade’s tutoring services for ACT/SAT test prep. Patrick began preparing for these standardized tests his sophomore year of high school. He estimates that he completed over 4,000 practice questions during his preparation. Patrick believes in the importance of preparation before execution; he finds taking practice tests an extremely important step in preparing to take any standardized test. When Patrick was asked what advice he has for students who have yet to take the ACT or SAT, Patrick suggested to prepare most for the sections you are most afraid of to overcome your fear so that it does not consume you on test day.

Patrick has been extremely successful in his education, service, extracurricular activities, and hobbies. He was willing to share his secret to success, saying “Flexibility is key. Just understand that there is more than one right way to accomplish your goals.”


Patrick Nnoromele

Model Laboratory School

Graduating Class of 2018


Student Spotlight: Cole Brewer

Cole Brewer

Cole Brewer is a 17 year-old upcoming Senior at Model Laboratory School. Cole spends his free time among many of his favorite activities including playing video games and volunteering at the library. Cole plans to pursue a degree in physics and is waiting to hear about scholarships and financial aid. Cole wants to use his degree to secure a career in astronomy or astrophysics.

Cole took the ACT for the 2nd time in March 2016–his first time was in 7th grade—and scored a 33 composite. Cole scored a 35 in English, 28 in math, 35 in reading, and a 33 in science. This score puts him in the 99th percentile in both the state of Kentucky and nationally, meaning Cole scored higher on the ACT than 99% of other students in the nation.

This accomplishment did not come easily, however. Cole put many years of work into achieving this score. Cole used many strategies to increase his ACT score including Khan Academy online preparation, ACT practice tests, weekly studying, and private tutoring. Cole said, “Without my tutors, I wouldn’t have gotten the score I did, especially in Math.” Cole put 2-3 hours weekly into preparing for the ACT. He reaped many benefits from his tutoring sessions—his score increase and confidence level were among the most notable. Cole increased his score from the 80th percentile to the 99th percentile between his two tests. He also became more confident in his abilities, partly due to his increase in familiarity with the test.

Like many students, Cole faced a multitude of challenges preparing for the ACT. According to Cole, his two biggest challenges were staying within the time constraints of the ACT and finding motivation. To combat the strain in timing, Cole used speed drills. He practiced his skills while timing himself to become familiar with the time he would receive on the test. Motivation is a difficult challenge to overcome. Cole said that he had to push himself weekly to study and put the time and effort necessary into his preparation. He said that he could not have done it without the push and support from others, including his tutors and parents.

Cole leaves very sage advice for younger students: “Do not procrastinate; it’s never too early.” Cole knows what he is talking about here. The ACT is a tricky test that takes years of preparation to master. The ACT is not something to take lightly, as it has a profound effect on the rest of your educational career including scholarships, college admissions, and merit-based camps and academic programs. So, from this point forward, strive to be more like Cole. Work hard, study hard, then bask in the glow of your success.


Cole Brewer

Model Laboratory School

Graduating Class of 2017


Student Spotlight: Rishav Aikat

Rishav Aikat

Rishav Aikat is a 2016 graduate of Model Laboratory School. He is currently studying at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. As of the 2015-2016 school year, McGill is ranked among the world’s top 30 institutions and is the number 1 major/research university in Canada for the 12th consecutive year. To say that this is a great achievement is an understatement.

However, Rishav didn’t make it to McGill out of luck. Rishav worked hard and studied harder to get where he is now. Rishav finished high school as a National Merit Finalist with an ACT score of 34. He also participated in two sports—soccer and track—and numerous clubs. Somehow, he still found the time to participate in tutoring and devote 3-5 hours per week studying for the ACT.

During his high school years, Rishav understood the importance of test scores and took both the ACT and SAT multiple times. He also took 1 practice test each week at home. In conjunction, Rishav utilized tutoring services and studied from test prep work books—his favorite is Barron’s.

Rishav identified several key factors in setting yourself up for success when it comes to standardized test prep. He found that you need to be in the correct mindset to study and retain information. You also need to believe in yourself and your capabilities. Lastly, he knows that a great support system is helpful in any situation, but particularly helpful when it comes to test prep, which isn’t always the most interesting of subjects.

Rishav leaves important advice for students. “Start early,” he says. It’s important to know where you start so you know where you need to be and what you need to do to get yourself there. Time management is key. Find the best balance between school work, extracurricular activities, study time, and personal time. “You will plateau,” says Rishav. If you reach that plateau, study extra hard, put in more time than normal and you will get past it. One thing Rishav says he wishes he knew before high school is how important standardized testing would be. He wants all students to be made aware of the importance of the ACT/SAT and how much that one test score could ultimately impact the rest of your life.

For Rishav, his test scores had a huge impact. Along with being recognized as a National Merit Finalist, which granted him a $2,500 scholarship, he was awarded a university scholarship from McGill University. He was also awarded a Key Club scholarship of $500.

Although it sounds cliché, Rishav’s advice is spot on. Start early, study hard, believe in yourself, study harder. These tests are the first step to the rest of your life.


Rishav Aikat

Model Laboratory School

Graduating Class of 2016