Kamiak student achieves perfect ACT score

By Sara Bruestle | Nov 13, 2013
Courtesy of: Tony Vogt Ryan Vogt earned the top composite score of 36 on his ACT.

A Kamiak High School senior has earned the highest possible score on the ACT college admission exam.

Ryan Vogt, son of Tony and Rachel Vogt, has achieved the top composite score of 36 on a recent ACT.

His achievement is as remarkable as it is rare: On average, roughly one-tenth of 1 percent of students who take the test receive a top score.

In 2013, only 1,162 of the nearly 1.8 million students who took the test earned a perfect composite score. The average composite score was 20.9. In Washington state, the average was 22.8.

“When I saw the big 36, I was pretty excited,” Vogt said. “I was not expecting it, so I was very pleasantly surprised.”

Vogt, 18, who ranks first in his class, said he was confident in what he’d learned through his 12 years of schooling in the Mukilteo School District – he just had to get in the right mindset.

“I expected to do well,” he said. “I knew I’d been prepared well throughout school. I’ve taken my education seriously, so I didn’t think there would be anything on there that was outside of my academic grasp.”

His benchmark was to earn a 34. A 35 would be great. A 36, well, that would be remarkable.

“It was in the back of my mind [that] it would be really cool if I got [a 36], but I didn’t go in thinking if I don’t get a 36, that’s terrible and the end of the world,” Vogt said. “That’s unreasonable.”

He read “Barron’s ACT 36: Aiming for the Perfect Score” in preparation. He knew the material the test would cover, but wanted to familiarize himself with the types of questions.

Vogt practiced the harder questions, skipping over the easier ones. He figured it wouldn’t matter that he could answer the easy questions, if he couldn’t solve the hard ones.

“I wouldn’t get a good score if I couldn’t answer the hard ones,” he said.

Vogt, who was in the school district’s Summit Program for gifted students, is taking as many math and science AP classes he can, plus orchestra. He has a 4.0 GPA.

“I really like school,” he said. “I like to take advantage of all the opportunities we have available, and Kamiak does have a lot.”

In addition to playing the viola and serving as president of the orchestra, Vogt is a member of the school’s Human Rights Club, Über Kammerstreich chamber orchestra and the Knowledge Bowl trivia team.

After school, he plays center midfielder for the Mukilteo U-18 Hawks rec soccer team. He also tutors students in math and science at Kamiak or the Mukilteo Library.

“I’ve been a private tutor since freshman year,” Vogt said. “I’ve tutored seventh graders to people two years older than me. It really varies.”

Vogt has applied to seven colleges: University of Washington, MIT, Caltech, University of Chicago, Harvard, Stanford and Princeton. He doesn’t have a top choice.

Whichever college he chooses, he wants to major in applied mathematics and physics and earn an advanced degree.

“I just love math and science, and I want to keep doing them for the rest of my life. I’ve been good at them, and I think they’re very useful, and you can apply them in different situations.

“They really are key to solving a bunch of different problems.”

The ACT consists of tests in English, mathematics, reading and science. Each test is scored on a scale of 1-36, and a student’s composite score is the average of the four test scores.

Some students also take ACT’s optional writing test, but the score for that test is reported separately and is not included in the composite score. A score of 36 is considered “perfect.”

“He continues to amaze us as parents,” said Tony Vogt, Ryan’s father. “That’s the thing my wife and I take away. Nothing he does is ever half an effort. He gives everything he’s got, and performs so well.

“It’s a proud moment. Sometimes you’re in awe of your own kids.”

ACT test scores are accepted by all major U.S. colleges, and exceptional scores provide colleges with proof of student readiness for college-level work.

In a letter recognizing Vogt’s achievement, ACT CEO Jon Whitmore wrote:

“While test scores are just one of the many criteria that most colleges consider when making admission decisions, your exceptional ACT composite score should prove helpful as you pursue your education and career goals.”

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