If you want to launch a successful academic career at West Virginia University, do you (A) take a handful of Advanced Placement courses, (B) earn an A-plus grade point average, (C) outscore your peers on the SAT exam or (D) apply for the University Honors Program?
If youre Scott Button, the correct answer is: All of the above.
Not only did the WVU freshman graduate from Uniontown ( Pa.) Area High School with a 4.5 grade point average, he also achieved a perfect SAT score on the first try.
And that was without cramming.
Preparation? No special preparation. I did two practice tests to get a feel for the format,said the chemistry major from Farmington, Pa.
With a score of 1,600 on the SAT , Button joined an elite group of students that aced the college entrance exam in 2004. That same year, WVU sophomore honors student Tracy Poff, then a student at Hurricane High School, received a perfect 36 on his ACT .
On Saturday (Oct. 8), many West Virginia students will tackle the SAT for the first time. So, what advice does Button have for beating last-minute nerves? Dont stress out and dont aim for the perfect score.
To prepare for college, he took several Advanced Placement courses, including AP chemistry, American history, English, Spanish and calculus in high school.
Having two teachers for parents and eightyes, eightsiblings (six brothers and two sisters) to motivate him also helped. His dad, Paul, is an engineer and retired math and science teacher, and his mom, Beatrice, is an English and German teacher.
I need to thank my parents for all the assistance and being good parents,he said,and my grandparents, too.
Being a well-rounded student has been important to Button. After graduating from high school , he took a year off to work and give back to his community.
I really like working with my hands as well as my head,he said.I spent my last semester in high school studying machining, and I needed a break from academics, so I decided to take a year off.
Taking a year off meant working for Community Playthingsa business that builds wooden classroom furniture, equipment and wheeled toys for nurseries and elementary schoolsand Rifton Equipment, which makes therapeutic equipment (chairs, standers, mats, rolls, etc.) for people with disabilities.
Both of these organizations are owned and operated by the New Meadow Run in Farmington, one of 15 Bruderhof communities worldwide. The Bruderhof is a faith-based community movement rooted in early Christian traditions and committed to nonviolence.
Button said one of the reasons why he chose WVU was because of its close proximity to home. He hopes to continue working on occasional weekends and school breaks.
WVU s reputation for strong academic programs also appealed to him.
I am here more for the sake of knowledge rather than for a career,he said.
This semester alone, hes juggling 20 course credits in chemistry, biology, physics, astronomy and English. Chemistry is his favorite class, and he is considering a career in medicine.
I just want to help people,he said.I dont even know if that is what I am going to do. I still have a few more years to decide, but I do really like my sciences.
Button said the staff at WVU has gone out of its way to make him feel welcome, and he looks forward to his next couple of years in Morgantown.
He lives in Stalnaker Hall, the new honors residence hall. For fun, he enjoys playing sports, listening to music and being a ham radio operator (hes a member of WVU s amateur radio club). He is an avid reader who prefers the outdoors to watching television.