Right-- the point of seeking out an elite college is that the only way-- other than sheer random luck-- to find other HG+ individuals (who are, for PG people, at least close enough in ability to have shared perspective) is to look for places that are "enriched" in those individuals to begin with.

The odds of finding a fellow HG+ student at a school with an average SAT score of 500/500/500 is lower than it is at an institution of the same size and focus whose SAT average is 750/750/750, basically. The students at the former school are going to be mostly average to MG, and the students at the latter are going to be mostly bright-to-MG+. It's a statistics game.

The other thing that an elite institution does for PG people is provide lifelong opportunity. Choices, in other words. The ability to WALK AWAY from toxic situations by virtue of seldom having just the one choice.

I'm well aware that HG+ kids can and do wind up at public universities whose stats would not suggest that they are there... and that one can find 'pockets' of those students, often in math and physics, at any post-secondary institution. But finding ENOUGH of them can be a problem, particularly for a polymath.

Why is state college a more viable option if you intend to major in math or a physical science?

The Audacious Epigone: IQ estimates by college major

And if one looks further to GRE scores as a proxy of IQ (which, okay, has some sampling methodology problems, but hey-- the TRENDS are probably true, in any case):

Steve Sailer's estimate of IQ by actual (not just intended) college major

One important reason for the latter's estimates being different from the former, clearly, is students who change majors or do not complete a degree. Presumably those who are taking GRE's are successful, and they are, by definition, seeking to attend graduate school.

What is interesting is that about half of those students in many disciplines are gifted people. Most are in MG territory, given where the mean is at, but there ARE large concentrations of gifted people in some disciplines.

It is deeply unfortunate that the analytical section of the GRE has ceased to exist. That was probably the single best proxy of IQ in all of standardized achievement/aptitude testing. Totally unscientific, but it's my opinion that there is a 1:1 correlation there among people I've known who took it, and the LSAT still correlates VERY well with IQ. Not coincidence that the analytical questions are similar to some IQ measurement tools.

More on this subject from a College Confidential thread:

Average Harvard IQ?

Even if one were to assume that this is somewhat inflated, HALF of the students at Harvard (and presumably similar institutions) are MG, which means that one might reasonably quadruple the incidence of HG+ students in that population relative to the general population, as well. So at Generic State, the rarity of PG students might be little higher than in the regular population-- about 0.02-0.05%, say. If the rate at a place like Harvard is more like 0.2%, that seems to me to be a significant increase which improves a student's odds of finding true peers... who can become a lifelong support network.

Assuming, of course, that the other elements of the environment support that kind of thing. If it's too cut-throat, then it doesn't matter because those people are merely competitors and not colleagues.

ETA: yes, Sailer. Ironic coming from me, I know. Disclaimer: I'm not saying that I agree with his CONCLUSION, just citing him here because it's one of the few sources of actual data on the subject of IQ and institution/majors, and it seems pertinent to the current trend in the thread. I disagree vehemently with him re: race, SES, and the Bell Curve. That has not changed, but I see no reason to doubt the conclusions to be drawn with this particular data, which says nothing spurious that I can see. Particularly in the GRE-associated data.

Last edited by HowlerKarma; 07/21/13 12:16 PM. Reason: to correct a typo in SS's name.

Schrödinger's cat walks into a bar. And doesn't.