The 25 Smartest Colleges In America

Schools are constantly ranked on everything from the beauty of their campuses to their party scenes, but rarely on their students’ intelligence.
Exclusively for Business Insider, Dr. Jonathan Wai, a Duke University Talent Identification Program research scientist and psychologist, computed a new ranking of America’s colleges and universities based purely on smarts, as shown by the student body’s average scores on standardized tests.

Though these tests are often criticised, research shows that both the SAT and ACT are excellent measures of general cognitive ability, and the scores of a school’s student body give an accurate snapshot of their abilities.

Cognitive training company Lumosity took a crack at this last year, ranking

more than 400 schools based on students’ performance on brain-training games. There were a couple of problems with its list, however, as they only had data available from students who played the games, meaning some of the smartest schools got ignored, and there is no peer-reviewed research showing their games are a reliable and valid measure of smarts.

Now, for the first time, we present the real smartest colleges in America (Read more about our methodology and reasoning here).

23. Carleton College (Tie)

Location: Northfield, Minn.

Average test score: 1430

U.S. News Ranking (Liberal Arts): 7

Lumosity Ranking: Unranked

These rankings are based on the average of each school's reported SAT scores (maths plus verbal) and ACT scores (converted into equivalent SAT scores) of first-year, degree-seeking students in 2012 as reported to U.S. News. See the explanation of our methodology and reasoning here. For comparison, we've included U.S. News' overall rankings (which split universities and colleges) and Luminosity's ratings based on brain games.

23. Bowdoin College (Tie)

Location: Brunswick, Maine

Average test score: 1430

U.S. News Ranking (Liberal Arts): 4

Lumosity Ranking: 40

These rankings are based on the average of each school's reported SAT scores (maths plus verbal) and ACT scores (converted into equivalent SAT scores) of first-year, degree-seeking students in 2012 as reported to U.S. News. See the explanation of our methodology and reasoning here. For comparison, we've included U.S. News' overall rankings (which split universities and colleges) and Luminosity's ratings based on brain games.

16. Pomona College (Tie)

Location: Claremont, Calif.

Average test score: 1445

U.S. News Ranking (Liberal Arts): 4

Lumosity Ranking: Unranked

These rankings are based on the average of each school's reported SAT scores (maths plus verbal) and ACT scores (converted into equivalent SAT scores) of first-year, degree-seeking students in 2012 as reported to U.S. News. See the explanation of our methodology and reasoning here. For comparison, we've included U.S. News' overall rankings (which split universities and colleges) and Luminosity's ratings based on brain games.

16. Rice University (Tie)

Location: Houston, Texas

Average test score: 1445

U.S. News Ranking: 18

Lumosity Ranking: 46

These rankings are based on the average of each school's reported SAT scores (maths plus verbal) and ACT scores (converted into equivalent SAT scores) of first-year, degree-seeking students in 2012 as reported to U.S. News. See the explanation of our methodology and reasoning here. For comparison, we've included U.S. News' overall rankings (which split universities and colleges) and Luminosity's ratings based on brain games.

16. University Of Notre Dame (Tie)

Location: South Bend, Ind.

Average test score: 1445

U.S. News Ranking: 18

Lumosity Ranking: 34

These rankings are based on the average of each school's reported SAT scores (maths plus verbal) and ACT scores (converted into equivalent SAT scores) of first-year, degree-seeking students in 2012 as reported to U.S. News. See the explanation of our methodology and reasoning here. For comparison, we've included U.S. News' overall rankings (which split universities and colleges) and Luminosity's ratings based on brain games.

13. Dartmouth College (Tie)

Location: Hanover, N.H.

Average test score: 1455

U.S. News Ranking: 7

Lumosity Ranking: 7

These rankings are based on the average of each school's reported SAT scores (maths plus verbal) and ACT scores (converted into equivalent SAT scores) of first-year, degree-seeking students in 2012 as reported to U.S. News. See the explanation of our methodology and reasoning here. For comparison, we've included U.S. News' overall rankings (which split universities and colleges) and Luminosity's ratings based on brain games.

7. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Tie)

Location: Cambridge, Mass.

Average test score: 1490

U.S. News Ranking: 7

Lumosity Ranking: 1

These rankings are based on the average of each school's reported SAT scores (maths plus verbal) and ACT scores (converted into equivalent SAT scores) of first-year, degree-seeking students in 2012 as reported to U.S. News. See the explanation of our methodology and reasoning here. For comparison, we've included U.S. News' overall rankings (which split universities and colleges) and Luminosity's ratings based on brain games.

5. Harvey Mudd College (Tie)

Location: Claremont, Calif.

Average test score: 1495

U.S. News Ranking (Liberal Arts): 16

Lumosity Ranking: Unranked

These rankings are based on the average of each school's reported SAT scores (maths plus verbal) and ACT scores (converted into equivalent SAT scores) of first-year, degree-seeking students in 2012 as reported to U.S. News. See the explanation of our methodology and reasoning here. For comparison, we've included U.S. News' overall rankings (which split universities and colleges) and Luminosity's ratings based on brain games.

2. Yale University

Location: Chicago, Ill.

Average test score: 1495

U.S. News Ranking: 5

Lumosity Ranking: 16

These rankings are based on the average of each school's reported SAT scores (maths plus verbal) and ACT scores (converted into equivalent SAT scores) of first-year, degree-seeking students in 2012 as reported to U.S. News. See the explanation of our methodology and reasoning here. For comparison, we've included U.S. News' overall rankings (which split universities and colleges) and Luminosity's ratings based on brain games.

2. Harvard University

Location: Cambridge, Mass.

Average test score: 1500

U.S. News Ranking: 2

Lumosity Ranking: 2

These rankings are based on the average of each school's reported SAT scores (maths plus verbal) and ACT scores (converted into equivalent SAT scores) of first-year, degree-seeking students in 2012 as reported to U.S. News. See the explanation of our methodology and reasoning here. For comparison, we've included U.S. News' overall rankings (which split universities and colleges) and Luminosity's ratings based on brain games.

2. Princeton University

Location: Princeton, N.J.

Average test score: 1500

U.S. News Ranking: 1

Lumosity Ranking: 39

These rankings are based on the average of each school's reported SAT scores (maths plus verbal) and ACT scores (converted into equivalent SAT scores) of first-year, degree-seeking students in 2012 as reported to U.S. News. See the explanation of our methodology and reasoning here. For comparison, we've included U.S. News' overall rankings (which split universities and colleges) and Luminosity's ratings based on brain games.

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