A lot of colleges in the United States are famous for their party culture, with students often living by the "the work hard, play hard" mentality. So if you're wondering what the best school to attend is if you want to party hard, the Princeton Review's annual list of party schools has just been released. And the top party school of 2015 is...drum roll, please... The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign! This branch of U of I is located in Champaign, Illinois; according to the university itself, it "has a rich, committed history to teaching, research, and public engagement." Well, the Princeton Review can definitely confirm the latter to be true.
If you're wondering how the Princeton Review's party school ranking came to be, the first list was released in 1993 with Tulane taking the top spot. Other publications have released similar kinds of lists since, but none has been able to duplicate the same sort of viral power as the Princeton Review's. The qualifications that go into deciding which colleges make the rankings is survey-based, asking students questions related to their drinking and study habits, as well as the popularity of Greek life at that particular university. Granted, sororities and fraternities are often stereotyped for being party-oriented; furthermore, just because you're not studying doesn't mean you're partying, so take the results with a grain of salt.
That said, though, if partying is what you hope to get out of your college experience, the Princeton Review might be a good place to start. Check out the top 10 here, and head over to the Princeton Review for all 20 top party schools of 2015.
1. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Although we already know that UIUC is the country's top party school, here's a bit more relevant info: The university has over 32,000 students enrolled, all of whom boast some pretty solid average SAT scores (the average student scored a 740 on the math portion of the exam). It's also been in a few other Princeton lists, including Best Schools in the Midwest.
2. University of Iowa
The University of Iowa came in the number two spot. Another school with an intelligent student body who like to party a lot on the side, the average student at UI has a high school GPA of 3.6. The campus is a small urban environment with a strong sports culture, which probably accounts for at least some of the partying. "If there’s one thing that undergrads tend to agree on, it’s that 'life is pretty fun at the University of Iowa,'" a student told the Princeton Review.
3. University of Wisconsin-Madison
This school is actually one of the most prestigious in the Midwest; indeed, the Princeton Review calls it one of the top public universities in the nation. The school only has a 50 percent admissions rate, but also manages to rankn number one on the Lots of Beer list. They're known for being LGBTQ friendly, and the students have a reputation for being laid back. “Students don't really have to try to fit in” at Madison, because “there's a niche for everyone,” a student said to the Prineton Review.
4. Bucknell University
This Pennsylvania school is another hard-to-get-into school with a 31 percent acceptance rate. It's also noted by the Princeton Review for having a very active Greek life body and an active student body who is involved in a variety of student organizations and activities.
5. Syracuse University
The university itself practically admits that students are partying hard, as officials told the Princeton Review that the school "provides students with the triple threat of a great reputation, incredible academic programs, and a great social scene.” An undergrad told the publication that students here are known for maintaining a healthy work/life balance — at least they care about something other than beer!
6. University of California-Santa Barbara
UC Santa Barbara has a very strong presence in the sciences; many of its students tend to go into STEM fields. According to a student The Princeton Review spoke to, students are very active in campus life in addition to taking care of their academics. “The typical student is active and involved. Whether it be with sports, or in a community service or environmental club, rock climbing, politics, the list goes on. Students fit in by finding a good group of friends in the dorms and by getting involved in extracurricular activities," the student said. Does beer pong count as a sport?
7. West Virginia University
One student described this school as being “a relaxed, social, and extremely school-spirited environment." A party-rich environment also makes sense; students described the university's population to be "outgoing" and "social."
8. University of Georgia
This school's student body is made up of 26,000 students who "like to have a good time," but also keep their heads on straight. "The typical student at UGA is one who knows how and when to study but allows himself or herself to have a very active social life," one student said.
9. Tulane University
Tulane is one of "the most respected" universities in the country; it also recognizes that learning isn't limited to the classroom. "Much of the learning that takes place in college happens when students pursue interests outside of class. Such learning plays an important role in the Tulane experience," the school told the Princeton Review. Students said the school was "well rounded" and home to many "liberal and opinionated" students.
10. Colgate University
Colgate is known for being academically demanding, so maybe students there need to let off some steam with some partying after their all-night study sessions. As one student put it, "Colgate University has an amazing campus with people who work hard and have goals but also know how to have a really fun time.”