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How important is a good AIME score for college admissions?

PandasAreCutePandasAreCute 9 replies8 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
Is it about the same "level" as having a 4.0 GPA or good SAT scores or does it look a lot better? I don't mean in the sense of counteracting a bad GPA or SAT score, but when in addition.
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Replies to: How important is a good AIME score for college admissions?

  • skieuropeskieurope 38898 replies6872 threadsSuper Moderator Super Moderator
    Unimportant. Most applicants, even to top schools, don't sit for AIME.
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  • PandasAreCutePandasAreCute 9 replies8 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Sorry if I'm slow, but what does "don't sit for" mean?
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  • skieuropeskieurope 38898 replies6872 threadsSuper Moderator Super Moderator
    Sorry if I'm slow, but what does "don't sit for" mean?

    Don't take
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  • PandasAreCutePandasAreCute 9 replies8 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Thank you. Do most applicants to top schools take any academic competition?
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 33560 replies367 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Some are on hs teams (eg, math team,) that go to regionals or better. Where will you apply? What major?

    If it's a holistic college, it's not about better or more awards. No boost. It can be more important, if you're a stem wannabe, to participate in collaborative math-sci ECs in the hs. Then, add some relevant outside experience. Along with non-stem ECs.
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  • ProfessorPlum168ProfessorPlum168 3986 replies86 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I think you phrased your question a little off. Having a AIME score of say 6+ will obviously help as an EC, just like say winning a national tennis tournament or getting a national title in chess, as examples. Might be a tip. (Probably not a hook unless you do well in USAMO). But not having an AIME score wont hurt either in the grand scheme of admissions.
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  • CT1417CT1417 4362 replies22 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I only recall MIT asking specifically for AIME score. I don't think my son had one until after apps were submitted Sr year, although I tend to confuse all of those competitions acronyms. (USACO, USAMO, NACLO, etc)

    IMO, it is just one more EC. A measurable one, but it won't tip the scales on its own.
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  • theloniusmonktheloniusmonk 2378 replies5 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited July 28
    Cal Tech also asks and and MIT does, so you can guess their importance. It doesn't mean that it's a requirement, but there's no way for these schools to differentiate among the many 800s in Math and Math 2 subject tests they get.

    "Some are on hs teams (eg, math team,) that go to regionals or better."
    These math teams are typically formed by how kids did on the AIME or AMC.

    "If it's a holistic college, it's not about better or more awards. No boost."
    I'm not sure you can absolutely say no boost, making the Olympiad is a boost, maybe it's not a hook as professorplum noted, but people that are on AMO do well with the MIT, Stanford's of the world. It is not causation but it is correlation.

    Stanford has hosted the AIME, why? From their website:
    The Stanford Math Circle, in cooperation with the Stanford Math Department and the Stanford Pre-Collegiate Studies Program, will once again be offering the AMC 10/12 contests to Bay Area students who are not otherwise able to participate...most high schools, and even some middle schools, already give the AMC contests. We would like to make it possible for everyone to take these contests.

    Make possible for everyone to take it, because Stanford has the same problem that MIT, Cal Tech has, they cannot distinguish between the top students at least to wrt math capabilities for their stem programs. Stanford also hosts math contests, they like them and the message is they want high schoolers to take them.
    edited July 28
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  • yearstogoyearstogo 646 replies30 threadsRegistered User Member
    Anecdotal for sure but for the past several years the top kids from our local math circle (that would all have decent AIME scores but few made AMO) have all done very well in college admissions. DS is hoping he can have similar success in admissions in a few years.
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  • mathKidsmathKids 18 replies0 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I second @theloniusmonk. Many kids score 800 on Math Level 2 (21%), yet only 2.5% (AMC 10) or 5% (from AMC 12) of participants qualify for AIME. The median AIME score is usually 5 or 6. Scoring 6+ indicates strong math knowledge.

    Team results often reflect the performance of the strong team members, especially in competitions like ARML where team has 15 members.

    As mentioned above, there are at least a few schools that pay attention to AIME scores. CMU is also one of them.

    Just this past week my two kids received a college mail from University of Michigan that specifically talks about their outstanding performance on AIME (10+ in their case) and invites them apply to the honors program in mathematics at LSA and to look at their several scholarship and grants. I am not sure if my oldest got more AIME related college mail in the past, but since this was the first college letter for my rising sophomore, I actually read it :smile: At the very least it shows, that some universities consider it worth seeking students that perform strongly on AIME.

    Bottom line, if you are applying to any of the schools mentioned above, then AIME score will be considered. If not one would hope a strong AIME score will be helpful, and USA(J)MO participation will make one stand out.
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  • mathmommathmom 32248 replies159 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    My son had a mediocre AIME score (3), got into Harvard and CMU, deferred and then rejected at Caltech and MIT. Waitlisted at Harvey Mudd. Quite a while ago. I assume it was slightly in the plus column, but really just confirmed he was more interest in CS than math. He never studied for any of those math competitions.

    I don't think of taking the AIME as an EC in and of itself. It's just an award you can list.
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 33560 replies367 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    In holistic, the answer to the volume of perfect scorers isn't to look for which of them then scored highest in AIME. That wouldn't be holistic.

    Of course, kids driven to be top math performers, if they're savvy, have other assets that drive them as well. Or not.
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