The 10 Most Intelligent College Towns In America

6. State College, PA

Ranked as the 2nd smartest city in America in 2013 by neuroscience research company Lumosity, State College boasts approximately 40% of a highly intelligent population as having a master’s degree or better. Pennsylvania State University is noted for having an extremely high capacity for research, spending, in 2011, nearly $800,000,000.00 on research and development alone, good for 15th out of all universities in the US. With an economy largely driven by University Park, the primary campus of Pennsylvania State University, many businesses boom in State College, including AccuWeather, the Mount Nittany Medical Center, Penn. State, and a newspaper that has been in publication for over 125 years, the Daily Collegian. Indeed, State College boasts one of the lowest unemployment rates out of any city in America, consistently graduating intelligent students that ascend to employment in the city and beyond.


5. Princeton, NJ

princeton photo

Princeton: Photo by Bob Jagendorf Via Flickr Creative Commons

Home to the well-known Ivy League college Princeton University, Princeton, NJ is also home to a number of other academic institutions, including Rider University’s Westminster Choir College, a music school with a major emphasis on vocal performance and conducting, as well as the Princeton Theological Seminary. The town’s culture is largely driven by the intelligent student body, a student body whose average SAT score is nearly 700 points higher than the national average among colleges. Princeton University itself is home to a number of intellectual offerings, including the Princeton University Art Museum, which has over 72,000 objects in its entire collection ranging from marbles and bronzes to works by Monet and Van Gogh. Home to one of the most selective institutions of higher education in the entire world, Princeton’s student body, which comprises a quarter of the town’s population, are among the most intellectually engaging students in the entire world.


4. Ithaca, NY

ithaca new york photo

Ithaca, NY: Photo by Dougtone Via Flickr Creative Commons

Frequently cited as one of the most intelligent cities in the nation, Ithaca couldn’t be more of a college-town among all college-towns, with 60% of the city’s population being comprised of boisterously proud students of either the top-notch ivy league school Cornell University or the intellectual liberal arts institution Ithaca College. With well over ⅓ of all Ithaca residents boasting a graduate or professional degree, the city’s intelligence is easy to see, with neuroscience research company Lumosity ranking the city in 2013 as the smartest city in America. The city is home to a wide variety of intellectual offerings; according Cornell’s Daily Sun, there are 17.6 arts and entertainment venues per 10,000 residents!

Cornell itself has been affiliated with many of the most intelligent academicians of our time, including 41 Nobel Laureates, 29 Rhodes Scholars, and 34 Marshall Scholars, not to mention nearly ¼ million alumni. Some of their cultural offerings include a civic orchestra, the established Kitchen Theatre Company, and even a hands-on science museum known as the Sciencenter. The city also boasts an incredible 150 waterfalls, which is not exactly a signal of college-town intellect, but hey, who doesn’t like the favorable combination of natural beauty and high citizen intelligence?

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