Student gets perfect score on the SAT Sykesville resident found out Monday he earned a 1,600

'The score is a big deal'

MIT and Cornell are top choices for high school junior

June 09, 1996|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

Allan C. Stevens, a South Carroll High School junior known for his skill on the tennis court, learned last week that he aced a different sort of match: the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT).

The 17-year-old Sykesville resident earned a perfect score -- 1,600 -- on the SAT, the test most colleges use as a guideline for admissions. The news arrived in the mail Monday.

"Everyone got results this week, and the test was a popular topic at school," Allan said. "I wanted to tell my scores, but I wasn't eager. There was a lot of shock when I did tell [classmates]. They didn't think it could be done."

It can be done, but rarely. Of the more than 2 million college-bound students who take the test each year, about 540 or less than 0.1 percent attain a 1,600, said Kevin Gonzalez, spokesman for Educational Testing Service. The Educational Testing Service is an independent agency that develops, administers and corrects the exams for the College Board.

"More than 99 percent did less well than this high scorer," Gonzalez said. "The score is a big deal, a significant academic and personal achievement. He has every right to be proud, as do his parents andhis school system."

Many students take the college entrance exams at the end of their junior year, almost as a trial run, and plan a second try to improve their scores in the fall, before the college applications are due.

"I expected to do well, but not perfect," Allan said. "A few of my answers were based on educated guesses, but for the most part, the test was not that difficult."

He credits his parents, Linda and Wynne Stevens, "with always encouraging me to perform intellectually."

"I am not anyone inherently special," he said. "I don't see myself as different. I like a lot of the same things as any average guy."

At his request, his scores will be forwarded to MIT and Cornell -- his top choices. He also notified Harvard and Duke -- "picked randomly by reputation." He remains undecided on a college major and open to many avenues to a degree.

The son and grandson of naval officers, he has not ruled out a stint in the military, he said.

"It is a family tradition that I don't want to stop," he said. "I am interested in the Navy both for the experience and the potential."

He has already had a taste of academia and should have a full semester of college credits by the time he enters a university in 1997.

Last summer, he studied sensory perception and cognition at the Johns Hopkins University and in the fall, he took media ethics at Western Maryland College. Later this month, he will enroll in British literature and philosophy classes, part of an eight-week summer course at Harvard.

While he is in Cambridge, he plans to visit other Northeastern schools. Eager for a "change of atmosphere," he is not considering any local colleges.

"My Carroll County education was as good as any, but I want to leave Maryland," he said.

In high school, he said, he has never really had to work that hard.

"High schools are more interested in a student's self-esteem," he said. "You don't always have to give 100 percent effort. It is almost a disservice to students, because college is not like that at all."

Although Allen will be off to Harvard soon, he plans to return to his high school and complete his senior year.

"I don't want to give up my senior year experience," he said.

Pub Date: 6/09/96

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