The smartest students in the United States may not be at the most prestigious university, according to new data.
If we’re made to believe data released by memory and attention stimulating game creator Lumosity, Washington University in St. Louis has the smartest student body, topping the site’s “smartest colleges in America” list.
MIT came in second, with Princeton University, Northwestern University and Carnegie Mellon University rounding out the top five, respectively.
Here’s the top 50 in its entirety:
1. Washington University in St Louis
2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
3. Princeton University
4. Northwestern University
5. Carnegie Mellon University
6. University of Chicago
7. Rice University
8. Harvard University
9. Yale University
10. Dartmouth College
11. Tufts University
12. Stanford University
13. Georgetown University
13. University of Notre Dame
15. University of Virginia
16. Duke University
17. Bucknell University
17. Vanderbilt University
19. College of William and Mary
19. Boston College
21. Bowdoin College
22. Johns Hopkins University
23. Cornell University
23. University of California-San Diego
23. Georgia Institute of Technology
26. Columbia University
27. Worcester Polytechnic Institute
28. Boston University
29. Wheaton College
30. Case Western Reserve University
31. Trinity College
31. University of California-Berkeley
31. University of Southern California
34. University of Pennsylvania
34. Brown University
36. Washington and Lee University
36. Colorado School of Mines
38. Lafayette College
38. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
40. University of the Pacific
41. The College of New Jersey
41. Colgate University
43. University of Richmond
44. Brandeis University
44. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
46. Bethel University
47. Villanova University
47. The University of Texas at Austin
49. Oberlin College
49. Lehigh University
The list has a few notable omissions, particularly Swarthmore College, Amherst College and William College, all extremely prestigious institutions.
So how did Lumosity come up with this list? Here’s how VentureBeat broke it down:
“Lumosity creates brain-training exercises and since 2007 has amassed the world’s largest and continuously growing dataset of human cognitive performance, made up of 1.2 billion data points from its 50 million users. This particular study examined game play data from 72,388 college students who played Lumosity games that challenge five cognitive areas: memory, processing speed, flexibility, attention, and problem solving.”
Harvard University and Stanford University fell significantly this year, to eighth and 12th after finishing second and third last year, respectively.
Is there something to be said about Lumosity’s college rankings, or are they inaccurate?
“College rankings typically rely on standardized test scores and GPA — what’s unique about our college rankings is that we are able to measure a sample of a student population’s core cognitive abilities, which are important underlying factors that allow you to function in your everyday life,” said Lumosity data scientist Daniel Sternberg, PhD.
Maybe the students at the unnamed institutions were just spending their time doing things other than playing games on Lumosity.