The 123 of the Academic Index or the AI
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The 123 of the Academic Index or the AI

Admission Counselling :
  • Written by UnivAdmitHelp
  • Category: Admission Application
  • Published on 18 Aug 2020


The Academic Index is a numerical value derived from all the scores that  a candidate submits in his application. It is based out of 240 based on the averages of the SAT Reasoning Test and Subject Test scores, and class rank.

While the maximum on an AI is 240, any number between 230-240 is considered strong. It helps to screen all students on one platform and is usually the first screening procedure that applications are put through. 

Most colleges don’t publicize how they calculate the Academic Index. What we do know is that there is no known formula which can be verified by an admissions officer. Moreover every college has a different formula. 

What we really know is that there are usually three components to the Academic Index(AI):

  • The first is an applicant’s GPA and class rank. 
    • Your GPA, or Grade Point Average, is a number that indicates how well or how high you scored in your courses on average. It is meant to score you usually on a GPA scale between 1.0 and 4.0. Under the AI formula, a head boy or valedictorian with an unweighted GPA of 4 on a 4.0 scale would receive 80 points toward a maximum AI of 240.
    • Schools calculate a student’s class rank by taking their GPA and assessing it in relation to individuals from the same graduating class. If your grade has 100 students, and your GPA is better than 90 of them, then you are ranked number 10 and you’re in the top 10 percent of your graduating class. Not all schools do it, not all students report a class rank. The benefit of class rank is that it allows college admissions officers to evaluate how students performed in relation to their classmates.
  • Next a student’s SAT / ACT standardized test score is used. Applicants who score a perfect score of 1600 / 36 would receive 80 points. Read here for a brief insist on SATs and ACTs.
  • Finally, SAT subjects are used (if the college asks for them). The total score of SAT subjects is divided by two to give an applicant the final leg of his or her AI. So if an applicant scores an 800 on Math 2 and 800 on biology, he or she would have 80 points to add to their final AI. 

The above guidelines are not carved in stone. They are not the same for all schools, and they are open to change on a regular basis (hello, COVID!). Colleges like MIT have stopped considering SAT Subjects. Other colleges are test-optional. (As of today August 2020, most colleges have announced that they are test-optional for the coming cycle of admissions, to be revised at a later date.) All this means that the Academic Index that they create is fluid and subject to change. 

In the end, all that we do know is that there is no known constant except excellence and integrity. So the aim of a student should be to be consistent in his hard work and to maintain a high standard at a constant level throughout his studying years. The Ivy Leagues will follow.

Go back to the previous article.


Further Reading:

How are Ivy Leagues different from the others

What to write in your College Resume / Student CV

How to make a compelling College Resume / Student CV

Who is a Good Mentor