Curve Breakers, Record Takers, and Money Makers


Curve Breakers, Record Takers, and Money Makers

How did the Class of 2024 come to make the grade? As students navigated college decisions, advanced placement classes, and the rigors of high school, their experiences often varied along lines of wealth, legacy, and varsity status. The recently-renamed School of Public and International Affairs was a favorite among newly minted Tigers, many of whom are seeking to further their work in the nation’s service with a finance certificate. As valedictorians and astrophysicists, Questbridge Scholars and AP devotees, the Class of 2024 took many roads to Old Nassau.

Athletes, legacies, and wealthy students represented an outsized percentage of respondents who reported early admission. Over half of survey respondents received a coveted December spot.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, graduation honors, strong test scores, and long study hours in high school were common among University admits.

Slightly more than 28 percent of respondents reported acceptance at another Ivy League school. Ten percent of respondents to the question, or 74 students, indicated they gained admission to Columbia, a higher number than any other Ivy. Harvard had the smallest class of Tiger cross-admits, at just 24 students, or 3.3 percent of respondents. All the same, those who became Tigers were often devoted to Old Nassau, with over three-quarters of respondents reporting the University as their top choice school.

Thirteen respondents indicated that they were admitted to five or more Ivies, a majority of institutions in the League, while another two reported offers from all eight.

Athletic commits may have followed a more expeditious path to Old Nassau than most, as 92 percent of recruited athletes indicated they were admitted through Early Action. Athletes comprised a full 20.6 percent of respondents who received early admission, and no varsity respondents were waitlisted.

Similarly to athletes, students with higher reported household incomes were overrepresented in early admissions. Only 34.9 percent of respondents with annual household incomes of $80,000 and below were admitted early, compared to 61.9 percent of those in the $80,000 and above bracket.

Early acceptance percentages remained relatively consistent among the income brackets of $80,000–$125,000, $125,000–$250,000, and $250,000–$500,000, but an overwhelming 80.4 percent of respondents who reported an annual household income of $500,000 or above were admitted early — nearly 20 percentage points higher than the next closest income bracket.


Students with parents or grandparents who attended the University comprised an outsized proportion of early-admit respondents. Of those who reported legacy status, 76.4 percent indicated they were admitted to the University early — representing 23.2 percent of respondents who gained early admission.

When it comes to college admission tests, respondents scored medians of 1530 and 34 on the SAT and ACT, respectively. A handful of students attained the highest possible achievement on the exams in question, with 12 reporting a perfect SAT score and 73 reporting a perfect ACT score. Five students, just over half a percent of the sample, reported top scores on both.

As with early admission, test scores break down discretely along the axes of athletic status, legacy status, and income. Legacy students outperformed the overall median by 20 points on the SAT and one point on the ACT, while recruited athletes underperformed by 140 points on the SAT and two points on the ACT.

The median number of AP courses taken by a respondent was eight, but 43 students reported taking 15 or more, with one respondent indicating they took 22. Succeeding in those classes took work — respondents reported studying a median of 14 hours a week in high school.

For a number of respondents, academic efforts resulted in graduation honors. Among respondents, 18.6 percent were named valedictorian of their graduating class.

Some respondents took a less-than-honest path through high school. Were the University’s Honor Code in effect at their high schools, at least 52 percent of respondents would have violated its terms. Of that group, 1.1 percent would have done so by just cheating, plagiarizing, otherwise gaining impermissible advantage on an assessment, 72.9 percent by not reporting a peer who cheated, and 26 percent by doing both.

Per Tigerbook data, the School of Public and International Affairs, Computer Science, and Economics were the most popular concentrations both among University students at large and survey respondents. The 2024 respondents also favored certificates in Finance, Applied and Computational Mathematics, and Statistics and Machine Learning.

Socioeconomic disparities emerged across intended academic disciplines. Those planning to declare as humanities majors were disproportionately likely to be paying full tuition. Only 47.8 percent of respondents intending to concentrate in the humanities reported receiving need-based financial aid, compared to 65.3 percent in the natural sciences, 71.2 percent in the social sciences, and 72 percent in engineering.

Prospective engineers were more mathematically savvy than their social science counterparts, with twice as many having taken multivariable calculus or a higher math course in high school.