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 16 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).
The Academic Index formula has been modified since it was first developed. As more and more high schools moved away from reporting a class rank—and to make it more favorable to recruited athletes— the Ivies changed the formula by replacing the converted rank score with a simple, unweighted GPA conversion called the “CGS” or converted GPA score. Admissions officers still do however look very closely at rigor of curriculum. To further simplify the recruitment process, the subject test scores had already been effectively dropped from the AI calculation. The College Board’s decision to discontinue the subject tests essentially codified that decision. The updated formula now simply adds together your highest SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing score and Math score (or converted ACT) and your CGS.
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/ACT results and AP/IB scores. The formula is slanted to help recruited athletes make the cut and does not included AP scores, 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: