Emilie Hoepker’s perfect score on the ACT was such a surprise that she tried to make sure she hadn’t logged into someone else’s account.
Hoepker, 18, graduated from Highland High School in May with a 5.22 GPA on a 5-point scale. She’d already taken the SAT and earned a 1,530 score, so she didn’t need the ACT.
“The only reason I took it was to be able to say that I took it,” she said. “The SAT score got me where I needed to be, but I took the ACT mostly out of curiosity.”
As of 2018, ACT reports the average composite score is 20.8. Of the 1.9 million students who took the test that year, only 3,741 received a perfect 36 composite score.
Hoepker did not take an ACT prep class or study for it. She advises that students approaching the college entrance exams practice their mental focus.
“Don’t stress,” she said. “I went into it with an open mind.”
Hoepker and her family have lived in Highland since she was 3 months old. In school Hoepker always excelled, but she preferred math above other subjects.
“It’s a problem that you have to solve, and there’s always a solution,” she said. “It’s black and white.”
In high school, Hoepker earned top honors in algebra, geometry and precalculus, as well as the top 1 percent award in physical education, math, business and science. She was on the math team, Spanish club, and served as co-vice president of the National Honor Society.
With such high test scores and a strong GPA, many colleges and universities offered Hoepker scholarships for four-year schools. She opted to attend Southwestern Illinois College because of its computer-aided drafting and design program. Her intention is to go through the drafting training and then go straight into the workforce, designing parts for clients.
SWIC offers a two-year associate’s degree in computer-assisted design, with specializations in architecture, machine or structural detail drafting, or a general CAD focus. It also offers a one-year CAD certificate program.
In the meantime, Hoepker works as a lifeguard and teaches swimming lessons through the American Red Cross, as well as working at two day care centers as a child care provider.
But Hoepker’s major focus has been with her volunteer work with her church. Hoepker is a Bible educator for the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
“We go door to door and talk to people about the Bible, and offer them a free home Bible study,” Hoepker said.