Get Schooled

Your source to discuss and learn about education in Georgia and the nation and share opinions and news with Maureen Downey

Which campus boasts Georgia's smartest students based on test scores? Georgia Tech.


We can debate the value of a ranking that determines which colleges are the "smartest in America"  based on their student SAT and ACT scores, or we can celebrate how many Georgia campuses make the cut.

I vote for the latter on this lovely fall  morning. (I am being positive after spending an hour on this post and then having it disappear, never to be seen again. This is my second effort, and I hope it sticks.)

Business Insider asked Jonathan Wai, a Duke University Talent Identification Program researcher, to look at 1,339 schools. It created its list of the 600 smartest colleges as reflected by the students' average scores on standardized tests.

The publication acknowledged the debate over using test scores as surrogates for intelligence, writing, “These tests are often criticized, but research shows that both the SAT and ACT are good measures of general cognitive ability; and the average scores that schools report to U.S. News gives a reasonable snapshot of the brainpower level of that school. We updated our ranking from last year by including all the schools in the national universityliberal arts collegeregional university, and regional college lists that reported SAT or ACT scores in the latest U.S. News ranking. “

At No. 38, Georgia Tech lands the highest ranking of any Georgia public or private institution, including Emory, which earn the 47th spot.

On the basis of its student scores, Tech outperforms many notable private campuses, including Davidson, Boston College, NYU and Smith. Tech also boasts higher student scores than several highly selective public campuses, including the University of Virginia, the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and the University of California, Berkley.

While the University of Georgia does not break the top 100, it ranks a respectable 153rd, outperforming some esteemed schools around the country.

When Business Insider looked at scores at public colleges among the top 600, Georgia Tech ranks first in the nation for smartest students. UGA ranks 33rd. Georgia College & State University ranks 94th.

Here are the other Georgia colleges that landed among the top 600 and their rankings:

Berry College: 196

Mercer University: 241

Agnes Scott: 284

Georgia College & State University: 334

Georgia Southern University: 388

Southern Polytechnic State University: 474

Kennesaw State University: 524

Georgia State University: 591


Reader Comments ...


About the Author

Maureen Downey has written editorials and opinion pieces about local, state and federal education policy since the 1990s.