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UF ranks inside top 100 smartest schools

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Posted: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 12:26 am | Updated: 2:52 am, Tue Nov 6, 2012.

UF is the 98th smartest school in the country, according to a study released Thursday.

Lumosity, an online brain training and neuroscience research company, ranked 403 colleges and universities. The University of South Florida’s main campus was ranked No. 215, Florida State University came in at No. 228 and the University of Central Florida was No. 251.

“We’re in the top 25 percent,” UF spokesman Steve Orlando said. “We’re in some fairly good company.”

Lumosity data scientist Daniel Sternberg said the study was unlike others because its results were based on cognitive performance. Rankings by other companies are often based on students’ SAT and ACT scores, and surveys, he said.

The study focused on five areas: speed, flexibility, attention, memory and problem solving.

“As users progress through college, we can look at tracking and how performance changes as a function of being at that university for four years,” he said.

Website users were asked to play brain-training games, Sternberg said. The individual game scores were then combined to create an average for the institution.

Orlando said the study method was interesting even though rankings do not necessarily depict how smart students truly are.

“[Employers] like our students because they’re well-rounded,” he said. “We have a lot of other indicators that show our students are well-prepared when they graduate.”

Meghan Bradley, a 21-year-old finance junior, said she agrees with the ranking because UF offers a variety of opportunities to its students.

“I think it shows we’re pretty smart,” she said. “Many of the schools that made it into the top (25) of each subcategory specialize in technology and science or are Ivy League.”

UF was ranked 52nd for problem solving and 88th for flexibility, Sternberg said, but Orlando said he thinks UF students already do well in those areas.

Bradley said she didn’t understand why UF ranked so low in flexibility.

“We don’t know who took this study to represent UF. Every individual is different, and we all may be stronger in one thing but not another.”

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