Vishruth Iyer, right, 15, and also his pair brother Pratyush, work-related on their history homework in the examine room of their residence in Cupertino, Calif., ~ above Wednesday, in march 28, 2018. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)


Vishruth Iyer, left, 15, and also his pair brother Pratyush, pose for a photograph in their research room in their residence in Cupertino, Calif., top top Wednesday, march 28, 2018. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)


Vishruth Iyer, facility right, 15, and his twin brother Pratyush, facility left, pose for a picture with their parents Anand, left, and also Sucharita, right, at their residence in Cupertino, Calif., ~ above Wednesday, march 28, 2018. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)


Vishruth Iyer, left, 15, and his twin brother Pratyush, talk about their school occupational in their study room the their home in Cupertino, Calif., ~ above Wednesday, in march 28, 2018. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)


Pratyush Iyer, left, 15, and also his twin brother Vishruth, work-related on your Spanish homework in the study room that their home in Cupertino, Calif., ~ above Wednesday, march 28, 2018. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)


Vishruth Iyer, right, 15, and also his twin brother Pratyush, work on their background homework in the research room the their home in Cupertino. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)


Vishruth Iyer, second from left, 15, and also his twin brother Pratyush, much left, talk to the Mercury News v their parental Anand, 2nd from right, and also Sucharita, far right, in Vishruth and Pratyush's room in their home in Cupertino, Calif., ~ above Wednesday, in march 28, 2018. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)


Vishruth Iyer, 15, poses because that a photo with a computer he built in his research room in their home in Cupertino, Calif., ~ above Wednesday, in march 28, 2018. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)


Vishruth Iyer, left, and his brother, Pratyush, both notched impressive scores ~ above the ACT together sophomores, yet they understand it's no guarantee for join to the school of your dreams. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

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CUPERTINO — Vishruth Iyer’s parental gathered close as their 15-year-old kid opened an e-mail with the thrilling news: The Monta Vista High sophomore earn the rare distinction of scoring a perfect 36 top top his ACT college entrance exam.

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“I almost fell the end of mine chair,” his father, Anand, said. “It to be a big congratulations. Ns didn’t also know what come say come him.”

But as lot as he and his wife, Sucharita, hope the Vishruth’s success could catapult him right into the university of his an option by the time he’s a senior, castle can’t assist but be skeptical. As they are learning — in addition to many high institution seniors now receiving their final acceptance and rejection letter from few of the top-ranked schools in the country — perfection no guarantee a spot in ~ Stanford, Princeton or even Berkeley.

“Not now, no,” claimed Margaret Routhe, one independent university counselor in famously-competitive Palo Alto. “If you have a 36 on your ACT and also think you’re going to walk right into Harvard, it’s not the case.”

As freshly as 5 years ago, Stanford was rejecting about 69 percent of applicants v perfect sat scores. And also those scores don’t come easily. Only a fraction of 1 percent of students who take the sat scored a perfect 1600 or, top top the ACT, a composite 36 ~ above the 4 subject areas. The College Board that runs the sat didn’t provide details numbers ~ above perfect scores but reported that only 5 percent of test takers score over 1400.

For the ACT, just one-tenth the one percent of check takers throughout the country scored a 36 this year, and California is house to 421 that them. The fact that Vishruth is just a sophomore makes his success all the more rare. 4 Bay Area high colleges can claim at the very least a dozen top-scoring college student on the act this year: Gunn in Palo Alto v 18, Lynbrook in san Jose through 13 and, through 12 each, Mission san Jose in Fremont and Harker college in mountain Jose.

Although top scores top top either test are definitely special, admissions police officers at elite universities are looking for something, ahem, an ext special. Stanford call its admissions screening “holistic” and also is looking for “intellectual vitality” and also extraordinary success among the piles the applicantsOn Friday, the university announced it embraced 4.3 percent of its undergraduate applicants this year.

There space at the very least a couple thousand kids with perfect action or SATs all contending for slot in the same top 10 schools provided on U.S. News and also World Report, stated Irena Smith, who additionally runs an independent university counseling service in Palo Alto. “They’re getting eclipsed with someone that is one Olympic hopeful, someone through multiple patents, published authors,” she said, “and even a the majority of those youngsters aren’t getting in.”

Just asking David Hogg, who survived the massacre in ~ Marjory Stoneman Douglas High to come to be one that the most recognizable leaders of the student-led gun regulate movement.

Despite a 4.2 GPA, the Florida college student was garbage by UCLA, UC Santa Barbara, UC mountain Diego and also UC Irvine. Possibly TMZ put it ideal with this headline: “Parkland leader David Hogg — I’m transforming the human being … but UC institutions STILL rubbish ME.”

Vishruth Iyer, left, and his brother, Pratyush, both notched superior scores ~ above the ACT as sophomores, but they recognize it’s no insurance for admission to the institution of their dreams. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

College Confidential, the website specialized to student making college plans, has end up being a forum for the forlorn in the past week. Ben Shumaker, an 18-year-old an elderly from Holland, Mich., who was refuse from every Ivy organization school he used to and USC and also Case Western, started a discussion group this week titled, “I’m Baffled in ~ Rejection native Some good Schools.”

He earn a 4.43 weight GPA, the said, a 1550 out of 1600 top top his SAT and 34 ~ above his ACT. He take it 22 semesters of progressed Placement coursework and also was ranked No. 1 in his course of 536 students. He even had what he believed was one unusual, extraordinary achievement: gift the youngest player, by far, ~ above a pro tour that the strategy trading card game “Magic the Gathering.” He was admitted come the college of Michigan, however it’s not his peak choice. Together he’s comes to terms v his rejections, he’s come up v his own explanation, one common by plenty of college admissions experts for the optimal schools.

“I sort of felt favor in academics, the courses you take and also the qualities you earn, there is a level where it stop mattering,” Shumaker said. “If you gain perfect grades and also near-perfect scores, it simply puts you in the pool.”

Divining the “secret sauce” that top-tier institutions is what sends many parents come hire external college counselors, who repetitively stress to deaf ears that there room hundreds of good universities to select from, not simply the optimal 10 — a list developed in the 1980s by U.S. News and World Report the is taken into consideration by many as greatly responsible because that the like of applications to Ivy Leagues and the towering wishes of students and also parents.

As an antidote to those expectations, required reading at some high colleges has come to be Frank Bruni’s “Where You walk is not who You‘ll Be,” filled with success stories of human being who didn’t walk to name-brand universities.

The Iyers moved to Cupertino for the top-ranked colleges so their twin boys, Pratyush, left, and also Vishruth could get the finest education. Their parents Anand, second from right, and Sucharita, far right, space trying to save things in perspective yet gently push the guys to intensify their extra-curricular tasks so lock stand out on college applications. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

For Vishruth Iyer’s immigrant parents, that are currently U.S. Citizens and earned advanced degrees at California universities, it’s an overwhelming to lower their expectations for Vishruth and also his twin brother, Pratyush, that is a straight-A student and competitive swimmer. They moved from mountain Jose to Cupertino because that the quality schools. They sent out the boys to prep classes in ~ $90 a session, and also they’re both concentrating next ~ above the SAT.

But the first thing the counselor told lock was the their sons have three strikes against them, specifically at exclusive universities: They space Indian, they are male and also they desire to pursue computer system science or engineering.

“It’s a typical profile,” Anand Iyer said. “How carry out you identify yourself as soon as my youngsters are naturally inclined come STEM (science, technology, engineering and also math)? ns am totally frustrated with the entirety system, basically.”

A attempt is supposed this summer in a commonwealth civil legal rights case against Harvard, alleging the discriminated versus Asian american by unfair capping the number the admits, in spite of their qualifications. The non-profit filing the lawsuit cites a 2009 Princeton study reflecting that eastern Americans must score 140 points greater than whites on the satellite to have the same opportunities to floor a spot at elite colleges.

The Iyer boys will most likely have much better luck at a UC institution — which banned affirmative action in admissions in the 1990s — 보다 a exclusive Ivy league school, said Barbara Austin, who counsels just Area high college students. She also encourages students come widen your choices.

“There aren’t just 25 schools, there are 400 colleges that space marvelous,” claimed Austin, that is based in Oakland.

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Even v two year to go prior to applications are due, Vishruth’s parents are anxious — and exploring alternatives for the sophomore to build his college portfolio by maybe doing study with a college professor this summer. In ~ the very same time, Vishruth is acquisition a mellower strategy — something teachers and counselors have actually tried to impose.

“I nothing think it will adjust my future that lot whether i go to a top-tier school or just under that,” he said. “I’m i was sure I’ll be fine because that the future. However my parents are constantly saying, ‘Don’t play video games, study for the subject SAT test for math.’ I type of phone call my parents to relax and mind their own business. I’ve got it covered, you know?”