A perfect score in the GRE or the SAT or TOEFL exams is indeed a rarity. How about achieving the perfect score, in 5 ETS tests? That is what Kolkata-based student Ishan Agarwal has done. The St James School topper has scored 100% marks, in the SAT 2 Maths 2, the SAT 2 Physics, the SAT 2 Chemistry, the TOEFL iBT and the GRE. That is quite a feat, but it isn’t anything unusual for the bright boy.
Consistently standing first in class, from the first standard to the 12th, he was appointed as school ‘Leader’ and was the president of the Science and Maths club of the school for two years.
As for the rest of his academic achievements, they are nothing short of brilliant. He qualified in the JEE Mains, the JEE Advanced and the ISI B.Stat entrance test conducted by ISI Kolkata. He also secured a high 97th All India Rank in the KVPY Test conducted by IISc and received the KVPY fellowship from the Government of India.
Naturally, scoring well in entrance tests attracts lucrative admission offers. Ishan has received undergraduate admission offers from IISc, IIT, ISI and from leading international universities, like the King’s College and Imperial College, London, Georgia Tech and other US universities and NTU Singapore.
He decided to join Bengaluru’s IISc for undergraduate studies, majoring in mathematics with electives in computer science, where he performed outstandingly well and is in the top 4 students in his class.
His brilliant performance at IISc, resulted in his being selected as one of two IISc students to represent India at the 9th Asian Science Camp, 2015, held in Thailand. 2017 saw him selected by IISc and Brandeis University, USA, as a Brandeis India Scholar, which led to a 10-week internship at the university. A MITCAS scholar, he was offered an internship in Canada, and also by LMU Germany.
The brilliant student obtained an All India Rank of 5th place, in the All India Madhava Mathematics Competition, conducted by the National Board for Higher Mathematics. He edged out around 9000 other students from India, to be among the 10 selected. This maths competition is based on the prestigious Putnam Mathematical Competition in the USA.
He has also qualified for the Regional Mathematics Olympiad (RMO), conducted by HBCSE, and was invited by the INMO training camp, held by ISI Kolkata, to shortlist the Indian Team, for the IMO. He has participated in various Olympiads, like the NSO, IEO, IMO, NSEP, NEST JUNIOR, ranking among the 99th percentile in each one of them. He also happens to be the All India ISCE Topper and the All India ASSET Test Topper, with a 1st place All India Rank.
The young boy, though, has also faced his share of troubles, that threatened to derail his plans. He developed a severe form of Broncho Nasal allergy, and also contracted viral fever before the KVPY exam, for which he had to be hospitalised. However, the worst was yet to come.
Just a couple of weeks before the JEE Mains, his grandmother, who he was very attached to, succumbed to cancer. That did not stop him, he, in fact, went ahead and gave the exam and did exceptionally well.
After acing all the tests, Ishan has decided to study Theoretical Computer science, at the world-famous Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, in New York. Despite offers from the University of California, Ohio State, University of Minnesota, New York University and Simon Fraser University, he chose Courant.
When asked why, he answered, “Courant is extremely strong in theory, ranking among the top 5 schools in the US in Theoretical CS. Also, the breadth of the dept of CS at Courant is very good with Iconic award-winning professors teaching there. Moreover, Courant has been the topmost Institute in the world for the last 14 years in the field of Applied Maths. I want to pursue a PhD in Computational Geometry, which has a lot of synergy with applied maths and thus joining Courant with the world’s strongest applied maths department should prove to be very rewarding for me.”
Despite the brilliant academic track record, he doesn’t only stick to his course books. Ishan enjoys reading classics and fiction. He was also a debator and quizzer during his schooldays and likes to play chess and swim. Ishan also admits that he writes poetry and prose, and has won several awards in Creative Writing.
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Ishan has received than 30 awards so far; many of them from luminaries like the Governor of West Bengal, the Bishop of Kolkata, The Council of the Indian School Certificate Examination(CISCE), the Rotary Club and the Telegraph School Foundation.
When asked about his long-term goal, Ishan said, “I want to do fundamental research either in an academic setting or in the industry and ultimately come up with interesting and illuminating results which will shed new light on currently developing theory.”
Well, going by the looks of it, Ishan has a bright future ahead, and we wish him all the best!
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)