The Smartest Studiers

The smartest studiers across the US: a new look at college rankings.

GUEST COLUMN | by Christopher Klundt

CREDIT StudyBlueIt’s pretty widely accepted that the annual U.S. News & World Report’s college rankings don’t capture everything prospective college students want to know about their schools of choice.

With the cost of attending college continuing to rise (the average student loan debt is $33,000) and high schoolers applying to more schools than ever, students are looking for new metrics to evaluate where they want to spend the next four years of their life. There are several factors to consider when deciding where to attend college — and traditional rankings often don’t paint the full picture.

Analyzing data on the study habits and success rates of 1.3 million students across 203 universities, our report provides a new way for students to determine the right school for them. 

While things like SAT scores, graduation rates, and GPA show the results of individual student efforts, they don’t tell us much about the learning environment on campus. What about the study groups, review sessions or late nights in the library? Are students ultra-competitive or do they use each other as resources? Studies such as this one by Uri Treisman at University of California, Berkeley, prove that choosing a school where you surround yourself with dedicated peers and collaborate with classmates can lead to better results than studying alone.

That’s why my company decided to create the first annual ranking of the ‘Smartest Studiers’ at U.S. colleges and universities to answer these questions. Analyzing data on the study habits and success rates of 1.3 million students across 203 universities who use our app to share and study material, our report provides a new way for students to determine the right school for them.

Here are a few highlights:

It’s not all about the Ivies

State schools dominate the Ivy Leagues on our list of twenty schools with highest percentage of students reaching A-level mastery of their material on our app. At the top of the list is Indiana State University, which boasts 78% of its users reaching mastery, followed by University of Wyoming and Louisiana Tech University.

Our report shows that smart studiers often choose to stay in-state instead of breaking the bank elsewhere. Tuition costs just $8,416 per year at Indiana State University compared to $41,820 per year at Princeton University, the Ivy League university with the highest percentage of our users (52%) reaching mastery.

Sharing is caring at Washington State

Our users have studied and shared over 100 million digital notecards created by fellow learners on every subject imaginable. But the nerdiest notetakers are hiding out at Washington State University – Pullman, the campus that tops our list of twenty schools with the most popular digital notecards used by students outside of their own school.

Do STEM majors really have the most work?

Engineering and pre-med students tend to talk a lot about their heavy workload — but who’s really spending the most time at the library? Our report found that language majors, such as Slavic, Korean, Latin and Japanese, are the ones most likely to have their noses buried in their notes, while students taking statistics and organic chemistry often study the fewest notecards.

Check out the infographic for highlights or download the full report here!

Christopher Klundt is founder and CEO of StudyBlue, a crowdsourced learning app used by over 6.5 million students to master any subject.


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