The 100 Smartest Public Colleges In America

University Florida Gators Students FansAP Photo/John RaouxDoes your school make the cut?

If you want to be surrounded with some of the smartest students in the US and get the most bang for your buck, you may want to consider one of the following universities.

From our recent list of the smartest colleges in America, we pulled out the top 100 public schools. These colleges offer brainpower and affordability, since the average annual cost of attending an in-state public school is $US8,500, according to US News & World Report. Compare that to the average private school cost of $US30,500 — a difference of $US22,000 a year.

In order to determine a school’s overall smarts, Jonathan Wai, a Duke University Talent Identification Program researcher, analysed the average standardized test scores that schools report to US News. (Those that did not report scores are not included.)

These tests are often criticised, but research shows that both the SAT and ACT are good measures of general cognitive ability and give a reasonable snapshot of the brainpower level of that school.

ACT scores were translated into SAT scores (maths + verbal) using this concordance table, so that all schools could be compared using one metric. Then, an average of the 25th and 75th percentile was computed (see a full description of the methodology and limitations here).

On the following ranking, a (2) next to the school’s name indicates that some or all students aren’t required to supply scores; a (3) indicates that the school did not supply all students it has scores for, or did not tell US News if it had; a (4) indicates that the data is from a previous year, rather than from the most recent year; and a (9) indicates that the school may not require scores from all applicants and that it may not have submitted data for all students.

Here are the smartest public colleges in America:

Smarts Rank School Average SAT
1 Georgia Institute of Technology 1385
2 University of California-Berkeley 1375
3 College of William and Mary 1365
4 United States Air Force Academy 1360
5 University of Virginia 1355
6 University of Michigan-Ann Arbor 1340
6 Colorado School of Mines 1340
8 University of California-Los Angeles 1320
9 University of Maryland-College Park 1310
10 University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill 1305
11 Ohio State University-Columbus 1300
12 Binghamton University-SUNY 1294
13 University of California-San Diego 1290
14 University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign 1285
14 New College of Florida 1285
16 United States Military Academy (3) 1283
17 United States Naval Academy 1280
18 United States Coast Guard Academy (3) 1275
19 University of Pittsburgh 1270
20 SUNY-Geneseo 1269
21 United States Merchant Marine Academy 1267
22 University of Wisconsin-Madison 1265
22 University of Florida 1265
22 University of Minnesota-Twin Cities 1265
22 Missouri University of Science & Technology 1265
26 University of Texas-Austin 1260
26 University of Texas-Dallas 1260
28 University of California-Santa Barbara 1250
28 Stony Brook University-SUNY 1250
30 Clemson University 1245
30 Miami University-Oxford 1245
30 Truman State University 1245
33 University of Georgia 1240
34 North Carolina State University-Raleigh 1235
34 College of New Jersey 1235
36 University of Washington 1230
36 University of Connecticut 1230
36 CUNY-Baruch College 1230
39 Florida State University 1225
39 Auburn University 1225
39 California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo (3) 1225
42 Virginia Tech 1220
43 University of San Diego 1215
44 University of California-Davis 1210
44 Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey-New Brunswick 1210
44 University of Massachusetts-Amherst 1210
44 University of Maryland-Baltimore County 1210
48 University of Colorado-Boulder 1205
48 University of Tennessee 1205
48 University of South Carolina 1205
48 Michigan Technological University 1205
52 Purdue University-West Lafayette 1200
53 University of Delaware 1195
53 University of North Carolina-Asheville 1195
55 St. Mary’s College of Maryland (3) 1190
55 University of North Carolina-Wilmington 1190
57 University of Vermont 1185
57 University of Alabama 1185
57 University of Oklahoma 1185
57 University of Alabama-Huntsville 1185
57 New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology 1185
62 Texas A&M University-College Station 1180
62 University of Central Florida 1180
64 Pennsylvania State University-University Park 1175
64 Indiana University-Bloomington 1175
66 SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry 1170
66 University of South Florida 1170
66 CUNY-Hunter College 1170
69 University of California-Irvine 1165
69 University of Iowa 1165
69 Michigan State University (3) 1165
69 University of Missouri 1165
69 Louisiana State University-Baton Rouge 1165
69 University of Arkansas 1165
69 University of Minnesota-Morris (3) 1165
76 College of Charleston (3) 1160
76 Christopher Newport University (2) 1160
78 University at Buffalo-SUNY 1155
78 Salisbury University (9) 1155
78 University of North Florida 1155
81 George Mason University (2) 1150
81 Florida International University 1150
81 Virginia Military Institute 1150
84 University of Nebraska-Lincoln 1145
84 Iowa State University 1145
84 University of Kansas 1145
84 Arizona State University-Tempe (2) 1145
84 University of Cincinnati 1145
84 University of Kentucky 1145
84 Oklahoma State University 1145
84 University of Alabama-Birmingham 1145
84 University of Louisville (3) 1145
84 James Madison University 1145
84 University of Wisconsin-La Crosse 1145
95 University of California-Santa Cruz 1140
95 New Jersey Institute of Technology 1140
95 University of Houston 1140
95 Georgia College & State University 1140
99 Appalachian State University 1135
100 University of Massachusetts-Lowell 1130

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