A River Hill High junior doesn't have to worry about taking college admissions tests his senior year of high school—he already received perfect scores on both the SAT and the ACT.
The accomplishment by Noah Scholl, 16, of Clarksville is incredibly rare. Only 360 students out of 1.6 million who take the SAT received a perfect 2400 in 2012. That's less than one tenth of one percent (it comes out to 0.022 percent.) As for the ACT, only 0.04 percent of students nationally score a perfect 36.
"It's a little staggering," said Scholl, who is over six feet tall and has shoulder length black hair. "I didn't believe it at first, to be honest."
Scholl said the news about his accomplishment traveled fast across River Hill High, after the school's principal announced his achievement over the loud speaker one morning.
"I've received a lot of congratulations," said Scholl, "people have asked me to help them prepare, which I've done."
Scholl said his testing strategy was not to stress out, use problem solving skills, keep a routine and focus on having an analytical mindset.
"I'm not an especially diligent person when it comes to preparing for this kind of thing," said Scholl.
He said he prepared by reading a couple preparation books, attending an SAT prep course and taking the PSAT, a formal practice SAT test.
But acing tests isn't the focus of his life, said Scholl. He enjoys his hobbies—reading, fencing, practicing piano and saxaphone, swimming, biking and playing video games—and likes to hang out with his friends and girlfriend.
He said he has a "mountain of books" under his bed and will be attending the national junior championship of fencing this summer on a team with two of his friends. His favorite video game right now is Fallout: New Vegas, an open world role-playing game that takes place in Las Vegas after a nuclear fallout.
"He's a very well-balanced young man," said his father, Barry Scholl, who works in health care communications. Scholl's father said his achievements didn't come as a complete surprise because Noah got a near-perfect score on the PSAT.
Still, "we're obviously very proud and a bit dumbstruck," said Barry Scholl.
Scholl's mother works as a veterinarian at a shelter in Baltimore. Their house is home to seven cats, two dogs and two turtles.
Last summer, Scholl interned at Johns Hopkins on a research team studying ovarian cancer. He said it was mostly secretarial duties, but it increased his interest in what he'd like to do in the future—biomedical research.
"That's my calling," said Scholl, who said his favorite classes right now are chemistry and anatomy.
Scholl grew up in Clarksville. He attended Clarksville Elementary and Clarksville Middle School before going to River Hill.
Currently he's in the process of visiting colleges. He said he'd like to go to Brown or Cornell, but also looked at Tufts, Brandeis and took a "cursory glance" at MIT and Harvard.
Scholl is scheduled to be honored for his accomplishment at a Howard County Board of Education meeting on Thursday evening.
“The SAT and ACT are extremely rigorous assessments," said Howard County School Superintendent Renee A. Foose, "and, by design, very few students throughout the nation earn perfect scores on these tests. Noah’s accomplishment is truly extraordinary, and we are very proud of him. It should open up many doors for him as he charts out his future.”