Kareyn Hellmann, daughter of Steven and Michele Hellmann and a senior at Hellmann Homeschool, earned the highest possible ACT composite score of 36.
Only around two-tenths of 1% of students who take the ACT earn a top score. In the U.S. high school graduating class of 2018, only 3,741 out of more than 1.9 million graduates who took the ACT earned a top composite score of 36.
“I am honored to receive this recognition and hope it will open some doors for my future goals,” Hellmann said. “I am grateful for the help of my parents and my dual-credit instructors at Paris Junior College to equip me with the learning opportunities necessary to score as I did.”
Hellmann lives with her parents in Paris, and expects to earn her associates degree in journalism in the spring from Paris Junior College through their dual credit program which she started in 2016. when she was 13. She plans to major in public relations in the fall of 2020 at a four-year institution, her father said. She’s applying to Texas Christian University and the University of North Texas.
While training for the ACT, she used a stopwatch, Hellmann said.
“I initially struggled to to answer all the questions in the time limit given,” she said. “I managed to overcome this challenge through hard work and long hours in front of a constant stopwatch.”
She said she also has had a lot of support from her four mentors at the college campus.
“They are truly rooting for me to succeed, and I work hard to live up to their belief in me,” she said. “PJC classes differed most from homeschool in the level of extracurricular activities that were available to me. Thus, I have grown quite involved in Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society of the two year college, and I have served in multiple officer capacities.”
The ACT consists of tests in English, mathematics, reading and science, each scored on a scale of 1–36. A student’s composite score is the average of the four test scores. The score for ACT’s optional writing test is reported separately and is not included within the ACT composite score.
In a letter to Hellmann recognizing this exceptional achievement, ACT CEO Marten Roorda called the achievement “rare.”
“Your achievement on the ACT is significant and rare,” she said. “Your exceptional scores will provide any college or university with ample evidence of your readiness for the academic rigors that lie ahead.”
The ACT is a curriculum-based achievement exam that measures what students have learned in school. Students who earn a 36 composite score have likely mastered all of the skills and knowledge they will need to succeed in first-year college courses in the core subject areas.