Although the Ivy League schools spent many years denying they used any kind of formula, they in fact have been using a ranking formula since the 1950s called the Academic Index, AI for short. Top Tier Admissions Co-Founder, Dr. Michele Hernandez, in her book A is for Admission, was the first to reveal this formula to the public. And we were the first to bring the Academic Index Calculator to the web 15 years ago, enabling college applicants to calculate their college admission ranking online.

It was designed specifically to regulate athletic recruitment. The AI is computed for all enrolled students as recruited athletes have to be within a certain standard deviation of the rest of the student body. For many years, the AI was calculated using a “Converted Rank Score” derived from a student’s rank/GPA, the average of 3 SAT subject tests, and the average SAT (or converted ACT composite), each on a scale of 80 (so 240 was the top score).

To simplify the calculation (because many high schools no longer report rank and some Ivies no longer require subject tests) and make it more favorable to recruited athletes, the Ivies changed the formula by first replacing the converted rank score with a simple unweighted GPA conversion called a “CGS” or converted GPA score. Admissions officers still do however look very closely at rigor of curriculum. Then, to benefit athletes and because not all Ivies REQUIRE subject tests, the formula either averages your highest SAT (or converted ACT) and your highest two SAT subject tests OR if your subject test average is lower than your SAT average or you don’t submit subject tests, it simply reuses your average SAT (or converted ACT composite) the third component. Again, keep in mind for NON recruited athletes, colleges definitely expect high SAT subject test scores!

If you are not a recruited athlete, please take the rating with a grain of salt as really your RANK in class still is the most important criteria followed by SAT subject tests, SAT/ACT results and AP/IB scores. The formula is slanted to help recruited athletes make the cut, but you can still get a rough idea of how you rank compared to other applicants.

Use our NEW College Admissions Calculator, based upon what admissions officers are currently using, to determine your Academic Index ranking.

Onward to the calculator: