Can kids be smart and popular with their classmates at the same time? Apparently so: English researchers have found the secret of how high-achieving students can avoid being called "nerds." First: be attractive (and/or athletic) ...
Research in nine state secondary schools in England found that the vast majority of "alpha" girls were thought of as physically attractive by classmates, had long straight hair, wore make-up to school and used lots of hair accessories, when this was allowed by the uniform code.
The "alpha" boys, were perceived to be "cute". Many had gelled or styled shorter hair, carried banded sports bags and wore their ties in a "jaunty" or casual way.
Bright boys' prowess on the playing field was also an important factor in ensuring they avoided derision.
... and two: have a "fall guy" as a friend:
Researchers also identified a "fall guy" phenomenon whereby alpha pupils gain kudos by having a best friend who is more disruptive at school, while avoiding facing the discipline that is meted out to the friend.