A Pickerington High School Central student already ranked at the top of his class academically took another step toward moving on to big things following graduation after earning a perfect score on the ACT.
As the last half of his final year of high school career unfolds, Nick Stanley, like many of his classmates, is preparing to venture into the world of higher education.
He's already applied to Northwestern University, and as of last week he was working to complete an application for the University of Michigan.
Although he's not certain what he'll study, the 18-year-old son of Michael and Amy Stanley is considering a career in electrical engineering.
Prior to Christmas, Stanley learned he'd taken a significant step toward making those preliminary goals a realty after earning a composite score of 36 on the ACT, a national college admissions examination which consists of subject area tests in English, mathematics, reading and science.
A 36 is the highest composite score possible on the ACT.
According to information provided by the Pickerington Local School District, less than one-tenth of 1 percent of students who take the ACT earn the top score.
Among test-takers in the high school graduating class of 2012, only 781 of more than 1.66 million students earned a composite score of 36, a press release from the Pickerington Local School District Office stated.
"I guess I was surprised," Stanley said of the feat. "I was expecting to do well, but I didn't know I would get a perfect score.
"My main reaction was I was excited."
A National Honor Society, Stanley said he didn't invest a wealth of time preparing for the ACT.
Rather, he credited the hours of study he's put in over the course of his scholastic career, as well as his completion of numerous advanced-placement classes, for his readiness.
"For the most part, I just kind of looked on the (ACT) website to see what format the test would be in and I looked at a few sample questions," he said.
"Those kinds of tests are hard to prepare and study for because they're a lot of broad-based concepts.
"I guess just not worrying about it helps."
In a letter recognizing Stanley's achievement, ACT Chief-Executive Officer Jon Whitmore said, "While test scores are just one of the many criteria that most colleges consider when making admission decisions, your exceptional ACT composite score should prove helpful as you pursue your education and career goals."
Stanley said he's considering a career in electrical engineering, in part, because college courses for such a professional path are in line with those he most enjoyed throughout his time in high school.
"I prefer anything that's more science- and math-oriented," he said, adding AP physics and chemistry have been among his favorite classes the past two years.
As his days at Central wind down, Stanley said he's continuing to stay grounded as he works to complete his coursework.
He also hopes to maintain his position at the top of his class, but the admittedly even-keeled senior wasn't bubbling at the prospect.
"I suppose it's kind of a goal," he said. "It's just mostly doing the work I have to do and making sure I get it done on time."