Academy is among America's 'smartest public colleges' Published Oct. 31, 2014 By Amber Baillie U.S. Air Force Academy Public Affairs U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (AFNS) -- The Air Force really does attract America's best and brightest. According to Business Insider's recent list of the smartest public colleges in America released Oct. 28, the U.S. Air Force Academy ranked fourth, topping 96 other public schools across the nation. The list features 104 colleges, with Georgia Institute of Technology ranking first, the University of California-Berkeley coming in second and College of William and Mary ranking third. The list was determined by average ACT and SAT test scores schools report to U.S. News. The Academy ranked above the U.S. Naval Academy and U.S. Merchant Marine Academy for smartest public schools. The Academy also surpassed the U.S. Military Academy and U.S Coast Guard Academy, although both schools did not supply all students' scores. Admission into the Academy remains highly competitive due to its prestigious academic programs. Candidates are generally not competitive for an appointment if they receive scores below 580 in verbal and 560 in math on the SAT Reasoning Test, and below 24 in English or reading and below 25 in math or science reasoning on the ACT. According to the Academy Admissions website, students recently entering the Air Force's Academy are generally in the top three percent of their high school class.