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Mar 28, 2019

America's Brainiest Colleges

In the spirit of March Madness, Lumosity approached the intercollegiate competition from another angle. Check out our list of the Brainiest U.S. Colleges of 2019.


  • Lumosity names the Top 25 Brainiest Colleges
  • How does your school stack up? See our Comparison Tool.
  • How do you compare? Take our Fit Test.

Determining the Top 25 Brainiest Colleges:

Inspired by the athleticism on display during March Madness, Lumosity kicked off a cognitive contest amongst some of America’s most esteemed colleges. We’ve analyzed data from tens of thousands of students taking our Fit Test to determine which U.S. institutions deserve bragging rights. In the spirit of playful competition, we proudly reveal Lumosity’s Brainiest Colleges in America for 2019!

The study examined results from over 75,000 college students who played brain games as part of the Lumosity Fit Test. These games target several different mental abilities including attention, memory, speed, and flexibility. Our analysis draws from Lumosity’s continuously growing database that includes over 5 billion game plays from more than 95 million users.

“Other college rankings, like the ones in US News, are based on factors ranging from academic performance to a school’s endowment. What’s truly unique about the Lumosity rankings is our ability to focus instead on a student population’s core cognitive abilities,” says Bob Schafer, Ph.D., VP of Research at Lumosity. “It turns out that performance on these games is strongly correlated with standardized test scores, and many schools at the top of our list won’t surprise you. But there are also a handful of schools that you might not expect. The student bodies of these schools have memory, speed, attention and flexibility skills that make them stand out.”

This study adjusted for differences in age and gender across different schools, and was restricted to users who completed Lumosity’s three-game Fit Test. Individuals were included if they registered using a .edu email address or connected to Lumosity via an IP address associated with a college or university during the 2017-2018 academic year. In order to improve the reliability of the findings while still providing good coverage across a large number of schools, the list includes only institutions with at least 50 users who met the inclusion criteria; this eliminated a few highly ranked schools, such as Cal Tech.

In addition, the study breaks down the college rankings by game, each of which targets a particular cognitive area. For example, Colorado School of Mines ranked highest in Train of Thought, Carnegie Mellon University students had the best performance in Memory Matrix, and Dartmouth students outperformed other schools on Speed Match.

Here are our rankings for the Top 25 Brainiest Colleges:

  1. Dartmouth College
  2. Carnegie Mellon University
  3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  4. Colorado School of Mines
  5. Harvard University
  6. Princeton University
  7. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  8. Vanderbilt University
  9. California Polytechnic State University
  10. Washington University in St. Louis
  11. Stevens Institute of Technology
  12. University of Notre Dame
  13. Bucknell University
  14. Missouri University of Science & Technology
  15. Stanford University
  16. Tufts University
  17. University of Chicago
  18. Northwestern University
  19. Creighton University
  20. Gustavus Adolphus College
  21. Pacific Lutheran University
  22. Brigham Young University
  23. Eckerd College
  24. Brown University
  25. Calvin College

Want to know how your college compares to a rival? Find out using our Brainiest Colleges Comparison Tool here.

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