Marist High School junior Ed Stifter earned a top composite score of 36 on a recent ACT exam. Stifter is the second Marist student to score a 36 this school year and the sixth in the past thirteen years. Marist has had at least one student get the top score each of the last three school years. On average, less than one-tenth of one percent of students who take the ACT earns the top score. Among test takers in the high school graduating class of 2016 in the United States, only 2,235 out of nearly 2.1 million graduates who took the ACT earned a composite score of 36.
Stifter, a graduate of St. Linus School in Oak Lawn, said he only took the exam once and did not take any prep courses for it. “I thought I would do well on the ACT,” Stifter said. “But the 36 came as a little bit of a surprise.” While Stifter has carried a heavy Advanced Placement and honors course load, he has balanced it with participation in the school’s academic and math teams, the latter being the top Catholic high school team in the state. He is also a member of Marist’s boys’ volleyball program.
Only a junior, Stifter said his college search is ongoing and he does not have any specific schools in mind. He will likely pursue a science-related field.
The ACT consists of tests in English, mathematics, reading and science. Each test is scored on a scale of 1 to 36, and a student's composite score is the average of the four test scores. Some students also take ACT’s optional writing test, but the score for that test is reported separately and is not included within the ACT composite score. ACT test scores are accepted by all major U.S. colleges. Exceptional scores of 36 provide colleges with evidence of student readiness for the academic rigors that lie ahead.
Marist High School offers test preparation classes on campus for all standardized tests, along with a strong curriculum that readies students for exam content. Stifter joins senior Samantha Reidy, who garnered the top score this past fall, in this rare accomplishment. Other recent graduates who scored 36 include Becca Valek ’17, Jason Phelan ’16, Andrew Lynch ’10, and Peter O’Malley ’04.