The BMCC #FuturePanther Blog

Explained: The CUNY Proficiency Index


Hello Future Panthers! My name is Jose Altamirano, and I am the Assistant Director of Admissions at Borough of Manhattan Community College. Today I’m going to take a few minutes to talk about your Proficiency Index Score and the role it plays in your admission to BMCC (and other CUNY schools). 

You may hear this term when you speak with a BMCC staff member, an academic advisor, or a CUNY official. It might be referenced as something you are missing, or something that is holding you back. Not to worry! I will help you understand the Index and what your next steps are.

Index Defined

Let’s start with a quick definition: A proficiency index is a numerical measurement of your current skills in Math and English. That’s it! Just a number that tells us, the Admissions and Enrollment staff, something about your knowledge level in these two subjects.

Using your proficiency index

BMCC’s academic advisors use your Index numbers to recommend classes that are the best fit for you in your first semester of college. They take a look at your Index and compare it with a reference chart that shows how index score ranges align with the difficulty levels of classes. Ta-da! Your Index just became a list of classes customized for you.

Calculating your proficiency index

A proficiency index gets made using information about your past school performance. After you submit your CUNY application, you must also submit some official documents showing your high school, high school equivalency, or college grades. (What makes a document “official?” We have a post to explain!) 

CUNY can use these items to calculate an Index Score for you:

  • A high school transcript showing your GPA and the grades you received in math and English classes
  • A college transcript listing English and math courses already taken
  • GED or TASC transcripts with grades for the Math and English sections
  • ACT/SAT scores (If you report College Board data on your application, DOE can pull the data and send to CUNY)
  • New York Regents exam scores for English, Math, and Science

Not ALL of these documents are required to calculate your index, but the more of them you have to send us, the more accurate your Index will be. At minimum, we need to know your high school GPA.

Viewing your proficiency index results

The last part of my explanation of Index is going to be how you can find out if you have one. For that, I’m going to jump into your CUNYfirst Student Center.

Welcome to the Student Center! You are seeing the desktop view of this site right now, things may look a little different from a phone browser.

This page has a lot of information on it. To see information about your Index, look toward the right-hand portion of the screen with lots of blue boxes.

Find the one labeled Milestones. If you see the words Proficient or Placement there in combination with English, math, reading, or writing, you have been indexed! Hooray! Index scores usually appear two weeks after you submit school transcripts.

If you have only one milestone listed, that means we might need more information to calculate a score. If no milestones appear and it has been more than two weeks since you submitted your application, please get in touch through the Contact Form on the BMCC Admissions website.

Who has questions?

So, that is my very quick guide to Proficiency Indexes. If you have questions in general about anything I mentioned in the video or this blog post, please drop those into the comments so we can answer them for everyone who views. If you have a question about your personal situation, please use the BMCC Admissions Contact Form on our website to get assistance from our processing team.

Thanks so much for reading or watching. Have a great semester, Panthers!

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