With the rapidly rising price of college tuition, many top students are realizing you don't need to pay an arm and a leg for a quality education, and that state schools are just as great.

The College of William and Mary is the public college with the smartest students, according to data put together by Niche. To compile this ranking, we looked at Niche's lists of smartest girls and smartest guys.

We've included student quotes from Niche to illustrate the student intellect and academic caliber of each school.

#20 University of Florida--Gainesville, Florida

"I'm busy! But it's manageable. My program focuses on making connections among peers and professors, so we are a very close-knit bunch that provides each other with support whenever it's needed. Having the same classes with peers and professors allows close bonds to develop that will last a lifetime."

#19 SUNY Geneseo--Geneseo, New York

"This school is very rigorous and hard. However you know that you are getting an amazing education and are being taught by some of the best people. The workload is also tough but it's nothing you can't handle. As long as you keep on top of your work you will succeed."

#18 New Mexico Institute of Mining & Technology--Socorro, New Mexico

"There are a lot of classes and opportunities for extra-curricular activities. There are also a lot of people and professors that are included in the real-world of your future occupation and you can ask them to help you or include you in their research."

#17 California Polytechnic State University--San Luis Obispo, California

"You literally learn by doing and it's the best. I actually remember the things I learn when I applied them in class and labs. It's awesome. Having to take GE's sucks, but it always does. Major courses are super awesome."

#16 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champain--Urbana-Champain, Illinois

"There are many hard working students at University of Illinois. Since there are over 40,000 students, you'll find all sorts of people of your interest and similarities."

#15 University of California, San Diego--San Diego, California

"The quality of people at the university is superb; intelligent, attractive, bright, and all extremely hard-working and sociable."

#14 University of Wisconsin--Madison, Wisconsin

"Everyone here is very intelligent and extremely hard working. With all the hard work does come with a lot of fun ranging from fraternity events to football games to laying out on Bascom Hill, the people at this university are amazing to say the least."

#13 Truman State University--Kirksville, Missouri

"The academics at Truman definitely keep students busy but aren't unmanageable especially with a staff that is, for the most part, open and more than willing in aiding in student success."

#12 University of California, Davis--Davis, California

"My professors are all so knowledgeable and helpful and most TAs are really great and helpful as well. The curriculum are great. I always feel challenged."

#11 Michigan Technological University--Houghton, Michigan


"I love my professors--all of them seem dedicated to their job, as well as understanding. The workload is more than most schools, but the best isn't the easiest!"

#10 University of Maryland, Baltimore County--Baltimore, Maryland

"UMBC is a very good school with heavy emphasis on the sciences. Most students are either science majors or are science majors who want to be doctors. Obviously most students are very serious about their academics."

#9 New College of Florida--Sarasota, Florida

"Unlike most other undergrad programs, New College puts you in direct contact with your professors- who actively encourage you to visit them to talk about the classes and possible projects. If you have a dream, New College will work with you to make it happen."

#8 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill--Chapel Hill, North Carolina

"Heavy workload, but manageable. Professors are simply the best in their field. Popular study areas are biology, psychology, business."

#7 Colorado School of Mines--Golden, Colorado

"Mines is great on the academic side. The work load is difficult but reasonable. The professors are all very invested in your process of learning and provide plenty of help for your success. The curriculum is well known around the country for being one of the best in Engineering."

#6 University of Michigan--Ann Arbor, Michigan

"I'm not exaggerating when I say the academics here are 'the best.' They truly push students to grow and push past limits they place on themselves. The environment is so conducive to learning and there are so many places to meet up with friends, lab partners, or members of a group project to get all your work done."

#5 University of California, Los Angeles--Los Angeles, California

"There are students from different backgrounds whom which I learn a lot from. There is a lot of reading but it's interesting and doable. There are also a lot of internship opportunities, as well as scholarship opportunities."

#4 University of Virginia--Charlottesville, Virginia

"The academics here are stellar. Brilliant, engaging, helpful professors are the norm. Though I don't have experience with faculty in every department, my first hand combined with what I've heard from friends points towards high quality across the board."

#3 Georgia Institute of Technology--Atlanta, Georgia

"I think there is nothing sexier than intelligence in both men and women, and the good thing about Tech is that most everyone is smart here."

#2 University of California, Berkeley--Berkeley, California 


"Berkeley is nationally ranked in almost every academic discipline. If you want great academics at a fraction of the cost of an Ivy, then look no further."

#1 College of William & Mary--Williamsburg, Virginia


"Studying at William and Mary is strongly emphasized. Everyone pushes themselves to work hard and get good grades. Those who go above and beyond are highly respected. We pride ourselves on our studying habits and our willingness to work hard to learn. We like to feel challenged."

Published on: Mar 25, 2014