Perfect ACT score leads Idaho teen to MIT

A near-perfect score wasn’t good enough for Noah Pauls.

The first time The Ambrose School senior took the ACT he scored 34 of a possible perfect 36 — plenty good for just about anyone seeking acceptance to a university. He took the college assessment a second time and scored another 34. But the third try — he nailed it with a perfect 36.

“I felt so relieved that all my preparation paid off,” Noah said. “The score opened so many doors, I knew I could apply to any college.”

The ACT score helped Noah gain acceptance to his dream school, the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge. Nearly 20,000 students applied to MIT and only 1,438 were accepted, according to an MIT blog post. Noah applied to 14 colleges, including Stanford University, California Institute of Technology, Harvard University and Princeton University.

“I belong at MIT, “Noah said. “Professors and students at MIT work together to achieve great things and I want to be apart of that.”

Noah plans to study electrical engineering and computer science. He dreams of becoming a software programmer for Google. He fell in love with computers when he was introduced to coding in the seventh grade.

“Computers offer so many possibilities — things you never thought you could do,” Noah said.

Noah taught himself coding skills through the Khan Academy and built his own computer in the ninth grade.

“Noah is able to comprehend concepts that most college students struggle with,” said Ken Hosier, a science teacher at The Ambrose School. “I do indeed think he will go far with his career in computer coding, although I’m confident that he will keep a proper perspective.”

Noah owns a 4.0 grade-point average and is tied for the valedictorian spot. He also participates in drama, choir and student leadership classes.

“Academic fortitude aside, it’s Noah’s strength of character and conviction I was always most impressed with,” Hosier said. “He is well-respected by both his teachers and peers.”

Fun facts about Noah Pauls

  • Favorite drink? Lemonade, there’s honestly nothing like it
  • Favorite sport to watch? Basketball
  • What are the first three songs on your current music playlist? “Ride” by Kendrick Lamar, “Do Not Disturb” by Drake and “Blessings” by Chance the Rapper
  • You just got a free plane ticket to go anywhere. Where are you going? Rwanda, I’ve been there once and would give a lot to go back
  • Three things you can’t live without? Music, fountain pens and Frisbee — all the essentials
  • Favorite emoji