Smartest Colleges

Smartest Colleges

Which schools have the smartest students and faculty?

When deciding on a college, one of the finest indicators of excellence can be found in the quality of the university’s students and college professors.

And part of that high quality is a campus that has the best and brightest at their disposal. So, just what does that mean?

Saying what’s “smart” and what’s not can be highly subjective. But we’ve decided to take a look at a few measures that are quantifiable including:

  • Test Scores
  • Number of Rhodes and National Merit Scholars
  • Number of Nobel Laureates

Read below to find out which colleges top our list...

Which College Has the Best Student Test Scores?

Though it is somewhat difficult to get exact data on accepted students’ SAT scores, from a few sources it seems that Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and California Institute of Technology (Caltech) students have the highest average SAT scores. With ranges in the 2100 to 2300 zone, both of these schools’ students end up in about the 90th to 95th percentile of all SAT test takers.

Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Stanford trail not far behind these leaders.

You might be surprised to know that some other schools such as Swarthmore College, Rice University, Northwestern University and The University of Chicago have nearly the same numbers.

Colleges with the Most Academically Distinguished Graduates

The Rhodes Scholarship is generally considered to be one of the most esteemed honors a graduating college student can receive. Based off of academic ability, leadership, and upstanding morals, only 32 U.S. citizens are chosen per year.

But some colleges seem to produce more Rhodes Scholarship winners than others. Harvard, for example, has been honored with 323 Rhodes Scholarships. Yale comes in second for most winners, followed by Princeton, West Point and Stanford.

Another important honor a student can receive is the title of being a National Merit Scholar, which is awarded while in high school, based off of academic achievements. Harvard tops the list of most accepted National Merit Scholars, followed by Yale, Princeton, Stanford, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and University of Pennsylvania.

Where Do the Smartest Professors Teach?

If you want the best that education has to offer, then you want to know where the finest faculty members teach. Faculty honors and awards are one way to measure this.

If you’re looking just at the number of honors, Columbia University is the winner in the Nobel Prize category, with 60 of its professors earning Nobel Laureate accolades during their time at the college.

Other schools with large numbers of Nobel Laureates include Cambridge University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University and University of California, Berkeley.

The The University of Chicago currently has eight Nobel Laureates on its faculty, as well as 23 current and former MacArthur “genius grant” recipients.

The University of California Berkeley has 13 Nobel Prize winners, four of which are currently on staff, and twelve faculty members that have been awarded MacArthur grants.

Stanford University boasts an award-winning faculty with 16 Nobel Prize winners and four Pulitzer Prize winners currently on its faculty. Stanford has also produced eight Nobel Laureates from among its alumni as well.

Other “Smartest Colleges”

While Ivy League schools and other elite, well-known colleges have earned their reputations, they are not the only “smart” colleges out there. For just a couple examples, take a look at these two other schools that can also join the ranks of “smartest colleges.”

Pomona College in Claremont, California, with a tough acceptance rate of 16.1%, draws in extraordinary faculty like Deborah Burke - one of the nation’s leading researchers in the field of memory and aging.

The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill is another smart college that extends beyond its campus. The town of Chapel Hill has been ranked as one of the smartest, with 47% of its population holding a graduate degree or higher. And, on top of that, six of its faculty members are Nobel Laureate recipients.

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