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Perfect 36: Park High School senior earns top ACT score

After scoring a 33 on his ACT, Park High School senior Nathan Alverson decided to take the college entrance test a second time. He made the right decision, scoring a perfect 36.

The Park High School senior took the ACT test this fall for a second time. He believes he got one question wrong out of 215 multiple-choice questions, and that was good enough for a perfect ACT score of 36.

"Apparently they rounded up -- which I'm happy for," the 17-year-old said with a smile.

The perfect score put Alverson in esteemed company. Only 28 Minnesota high school students scored a 36 on the ACT last year. Alverson is not the only District 833 student to earn the top score this year. Woodbury High School senior Erika Storvick also posted a 36 on her ACT. However, school officials said they do not recall the last Park student to get a perfect score on the college preparatory exam.

Storvick and Alverson were introduced at a recent District 833 School Board meeting.

"It's neat to get that kind of recognition," he said.

Alverson recognized there was room for improvement after he took the ACT a first time last spring and scored a 33.

"Quite a few people thought I was crazy for taking it again," he said of the nearly four-hour exam.

He took an ACT prep class, but did not think it helped him much because it offered only basic testing advice, such as the importance of not leaving any answers blank.

"I learned that wonderful skill," he said sarcastically.

After that, he "pretty much crammed" the week before the test, studying books and online materials.

The Park senior was feeling good about the second exam but didn't expect a 36.

"Then I got those results and I was really quite ecstatic," he admitted.

Alverson said he had planned to apply to Gustavus College and the University of St. Thomas, but realized the perfect ACT could open many more doors. Now he's also applying to the University of Chicago, Columbia University in New York and Stanford University in California. He hasn't visited those schools yet.

"The parents said if I'm accepted, then we can tour," he said.

Alverson wants to study math or physics, but does not have a career picked out yet.

"It's entirely possible when I'll get to college I absolutely hate it and I'll become a (veterinarian) or something," he joked.

Scott Wente

Scott Wente has been editor at the South Washington County Bulletin since 2011. He worked as a reporter at other Forum Communications newspapers from 2003 to 2011.

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