Student with a Perfect ACT enrolls at SWIC - Southwestern Illinois College

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Student with a Perfect ACT enrolls at SWIC

Emilie Hoepker has always made academics a priority in her life, but it was still quite a shock when she received a perfect score of 36 on the ACT exam, a standardized test used for college admissions in the United States. Now, she’s headed to Southwestern Illinois College to start her college education.

“I was very surprised when I saw my scores, especially since it was my first time taking the ACT,” Hoepker said. “I feel proud of myself and the fact that I was able to score so well.”

With a perfect ACT score, it is no surprise that many colleges and universities have contacted Hoepker in hopes of her choosing to attend their institution. However, she has chosen to enroll in SWIC to study Computer-Aided Design.

While attending SWIC, aside from earning her education, Hoepker hopes to learn how to better interact with people and gain valuable hands-on work experience through an internship.

“When choosing a college, I recommend that you consider your financial options,” she said. “SWIC can give you a head start on your educational journey without putting you into financial debt and it matters what you do with the knowledge you receive, regardless of where it came from.”

Hoepker didn’t do much to prepare for the ACT exam. She had already taken the SAT exam, also a standardized test used for college admissions and the PSAT exam, a Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying test, twice. This gave her confidence in the format and process of taking standardized exams. She also did not take an ACT preparation class or an ACT practice test.

“I chose to take the ACT out of pure curiosity at what I could accomplish,” she said.  “My SAT score transferred to about a 34 on the ACT scale.”

While attending Highland High School, Hoepker earned the Top Algebra I, Geometry and Pre-Calculus Student of the Year honor, the Top 1% Award in Physical Education, Math, Business and Science, scored in the top 50,000 in the United States on the PSAT test, graduated with a 5.22 grade point average, ranked 13 out of 230 in her graduating class and has received the Highland Leo Lion Club Scholarship for $1500.

She has also incorporated academics in her social life by being on the Math team all four years of high school, was a member of the National Honors Society for two years, National Honor Society Co-Vice President in 2018, a member of the Spanish Club and volunteered as a Bible educator for approximately 30-50 hours a month for the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

“I wanted to choose a college that was affordable and close to home,” Hoepker said. “I want to attain my associate degree, then head straight into the work force. I want to spend more of my time, energy and money focusing on my Bible education volunteering.”

In the future she hopes to spend as much time as possible volunteering, to design new places of worship at the Jehovah’s Witnesses world headquarters and oversee current locations; however, her overall goal is to be able to care for others.

Hoepker currently works as a lifeguard, teaches swimming lessons through the Red Cross, holds positions at two daycares, tutors and is a child care provider. She lives in Highland with her parents and two younger siblings.

SWIC offers a two-year, 69-semester-credit AAS degree in CAD with specializations in General, Architecture, Machine or Structural Detail drafting, plus a one-year, 37-semester-credit CAD certificate.

For more information about SWIC’s Computer Aided Design program, visit