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Two Parkway students get perfect score on ACT

4/23/2024 -- Ray Rao, a junior at North High School, and Sasha Tripathi, a junior at West High scored a 36 -- the highest possible score -- on the ACT college admissions and placement exam. Both students took the test in December.

Tripathi’s top university choices include Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Carnegie Mellon University, Harvard University, Cornell University, and the University of Chicago and he wants to major in computer science and minor in chemistry. Tripathi says he would like to work in the pharmaceutical industry to help develop treatments for life-threatening diseases, or maybe in software development to tackle increasingly relevant technological problems in society. Outside of school, Tripathi develops video games and modifications for already-existing games as a hobby. He also creates digital art and composes music and plays a bit of basketball on the side.

Rao hopes to attend Washington University or the University of Chicago to study biochemistry or biomedical engineering. Rao plans to attend medical school and become a doctor. Outside the classroom, Rao plays tennis for the school team and used to play basketball for the North High. His hobbies include playing chess, listening to teenage girl music, and engaging in shameless self-promotion.

Nationally, while the actual number of students earning the top score varies from year to year, on average about one-quarter of 1% of students who take the ACT earn a top score. In the U.S. high school graduating class of 2022, only 3,376 out of nearly 1.34 million students who took the ACT earned a composite score of 36.

The ACT consists of tests in English, mathematics, reading and science, each scored on a scale of 1–36. A student's composite score is the average of the four test scores. The score for ACT’s optional writing test is reported separately and is not included within the ACT composite score.

The ACT is a curriculum-based achievement exam that measures what students have learned in school. Students who earn a 36 composite score have likely mastered all of the skills and knowledge they will need to succeed in first-year college courses in the core subject areas.

ACT scores are accepted by all major four-year colleges and universities across the U.S.