In popular culture, college life is often portrayed as a nonstop party full of fun, bacchanalian times. While these portrayals are a bit exaggerated, some colleges have garnered reputations as being particularly festive. This raises the following questions: should you go to a party school? And can you get a good education at a party school? In this article, I'll define what a party school is, provide party school rankings, and explain how you can still get a quality education from a college known for its epic parties. A party school has a very active on-campus party scene. In other words, there are frequent and numerous parties, which are usually well attended and act as popular social events for students. Universities that are described as party schools generally have high rates of student drinking and drug use as well as a large number of fraternities and sororities. Our list below is based on Niche's list of the top party schools in the US for 2022.According to Niche, the biggest party schools are those at which had a variety of nighttime entertainment options both on and off campus, as well as student bodies that are "fun, friendly, and into partying." Most top party schools are large public universities. Because large schools have more students, they often have a more vibrant social scene and more fraternities and sororities. Below, I've created a table with the top 20 party schools, their undergraduate enrollments, and the average range of standardized test scores of admitted applicants. All private colleges are in bold.
What Is a Party School?
The best parties have cake...even the college ones.
What Are the Top Party Colleges?
Rank School Location Undergraduate Enrollment Middle 50% SAT Middle 50% ACT 1 UC Santa Barbara Santa Barbara, CA 22,480 1230-1460 28-34 2 Tulane University New Orleans, LA 8,231 1340-1500 30-33 3 Florida State University Tallahassee, FL 29,072 1220-1350 27-31 4 The University of Alabama—Tuscaloosa Tuscaloosa, AL 27,750 1070-1330 23-31 5 Howard University Washington DC 7,497 1130-1260 22-26 6 University of Wisconsin—Madison Madison, WI 30,063 1260-1460 27-32 7 University of Georgia Athens, GA 27,888 1250-1460 29-33 8 Syracuse University Syracuse, NY 13,832 1180-1380 26-30 9 University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA 18,560 1340-1530 30-34 10 University of Illinois--Champaign Urbana Urbana-Champaign, IL 32,107 1200-1460 27-33 11 West Virginia University Morgantown, WV 18,726 1030-1230 21-27 12 Penn State University Park, PA 39,321 1160-1360 25-30 13 University of Mississippi Oxford, MS 15,485 1010-1230 22-30 14 Ohio University Athens, OH 13,896 1050-1250 21-26 15 Miami University Oxford, OH 16,615 1160-1370 24-30 16 Indiana University--Bloomington Bloomington, IN 31,632 1120-1350 24-31 17 University of Iowa Iowa City, IA 20,227 1110-1310 22-29 18 San Diego State University San Diego, CA 28,084 1090-1300 22-29 19 Florida A&M Tallahassee, FL 6,244 1030-1150 20-24 20 Michigan State University East Lansing, MI 34,500 1100-1300 23-29
In popular culture, college life is often portrayed as a nonstop party full of fun, bacchanalian times. While these portrayals are a bit exaggerated, some colleges have garnered reputations as being particularly festive. This raises the following questions: should you go to a party school? And can you get a good education at a party school?
In this article, I'll define what a party school is, provide party school rankings, and explain how you can still get a quality education from a college known for its epic parties.
A party school has a very active on-campus party scene. In other words, there are frequent and numerous parties, which are usually well attended and act as popular social events for students.
Universities that are described as party schools generally have high rates of student drinking and drug use as well as a large number of fraternities and sororities.
Our list below is based on Niche's list of the top party schools in the US for 2022.According to Niche, the biggest party schools are those at which had a variety of nighttime entertainment options both on and off campus, as well as student bodies that are "fun, friendly, and into partying."
Most top party schools are large public universities. Because large schools have more students, they often have a more vibrant social scene and more fraternities and sororities.
Below, I've created a table with the top 20 party schools, their undergraduate enrollments, and the average range of standardized test scores of admitted applicants. All private colleges are in bold.
Can You Get a Good Education at a Party School?
You can definitely get a good education at a party school. Some of the top party colleges are also some of the best schools in the US. For example, UC Santa Barbara, the #1 ranked party school, was ranked the #7 public school in the US and the #32 national university by US News. It's part of the University of California system, which includes some of the top research universities in the world.
Meanwhile, UCSB, the #16 ranked party school, is ranked both the #5 public school and the #28 national university by US News. It's part of the University of California system, which includes some of the top research universities in the world.
It's also important to note that not all students who attend top party colleges participate in the party culture. Even at party schools, there are many students who don't party. Students who don't party often find a community of like-minded students in their dorms or in various on-campus organizations. Especially at large public universities, there are so many students that you're bound to find plenty of people who aren't party animals.
How Do You Get a Good Education at a Party School?
At almost every college, there are parties and temptation that can get in the way of your studies. At party schools, there's even more temptation because there are more parties and more students who like to party.
Personally, I don't think there's anything wrong with doing some partying in college, but you have to take care that you're not letting your partying get in the way of your academic success.
As long as you do the following, you'll be able to enjoy the occasional party and get an exceptional education.
#1: Manage Your Time
Regardless of whether you party or not, time management is essential when you're in college. For many students, college is the first time they don't have their parents regularly telling them what to do and when to do it.
If you've got a test Friday morning, you need to have the discipline to not stay out late partying on Thursday instead of preparing for your test and getting a good night's sleep. If you've got a big paper due Monday, maybe you shouldn't spend all weekend partying and start your paper Sunday evening. Even though some students can get away with this behavior, I wouldn't advise it.
To manage your time more effectively, I recommend establishing a routine each semester that will enable your academic success. Many of my Stanford peers would dedicate themselves to studying Monday-Thursday nights, relax and have fun Friday nights and Saturdays, and spend most of the day on Sundays on their academics.
The amount of time you need to spend studying and doing classwork will vary depending on your class schedule and academic strengths, but it's imperative you develop habits that will allow you to be successful.
If you're working part-time or participating in athletics or other extracurricular activities, you'll have less available study time, so you'll have to manage your time exceptionally well.
At Stanford, I was on the gymnastics team and had an on-campus job. Because my free time was limited, I knew that I had to take advantage of the hours I had available to focus on my academics. I did a decent job of managing my time, so I was ultimately able to have ample time for fun, too.
#2: Remember Your Priorities
Reminding yourself why you're in college can help prevent you from letting parties take precedence. You probably worked hard in high school and chose to attend college to get a quality education and useful opportunities.
What's more, college is a costly investment. If you neglect your studies to party, you're not getting the most out of your educational opportunities.
For 2022-23, the total cost of attendance for one year at Tulane—the #2 party school—is more than $82,000. Hopefully, you wouldn't want to pay that much money just so you can go to Mardi Gras with your friends!
#3: Choose Your Classes Wisely
When you're choosing your class schedule, try to pick the classes that interest you and will help you graduate with your desired major.
Too many students try to avoid Friday classes or early morning classes so that school won't interfere with their partying. Because of your other responsibilities and time commitments, you might not be able to take every class that interests you, but, ideally, you won't allow your intended partying schedule to influence the classes you take.
Admittedly, I didn't like early morning classes and preferred not to take them because I'm not a morning person. However, I still ended up taking all the classes I needed and wanted to take.
#4: Maintain Balance
In college, you're likely going to have to juggle a number of responsibilities, in addition to the parties you might be attending.
Many college students go to class, work, and participate in extracurricular activities. They can't party so much that it takes away from their other responsibilities, but they're able to find the time to be able to work hard and play hard.
On the other hand, there are many students who spend so much time in the library that they forget to have fun and interact socially with their peers. I definitely encountered some of these students during my time at Stanford. I recommend that you make sure to have fun while you're in college and enjoy yourself.
I'm not advocating breaking any laws, but some of my greatest memories are from my social activities with my friends while I was in college. Parties can help form and strengthen friendships, and they can give you some quality stories you'll cherish when you're older and all your friends are too busy to party.
Conclusion: Should You Go to a Party School?
Even though you're not in college to party, parties can be a large part of the college experience, regardless of the school you attend. While party schools have more parties more often, they still offer quality educations.
One of my friends who went to the University of Illinois excelled during his undergraduate years and ended up getting a PhD in Engineering from UC Berkeley. On the other hand, another friend who went there spent too much time partying and lost his athletic scholarship due to drug use.
Similarly, even at a college that's not considered a party school, you can party too hard and suffer academic, legal, or health consequences due to irresponsible partying.
In large part, the quality of your education and your future success is dependent on the choices you make while you're in school. If you make wise choices and prioritize your time, you can get an exceptional education—and have fun doing so!
Interested in colleges where your acceptance is nearly a sure thing?Check out the 100+ colleges that are easiest to get into.
Want to attend a college that aligns with your political views? Read through our guides to the most liberal colleges and the most conservative colleges.
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About the Author
Justin has extensive experience teaching SAT prep and guiding high school students through the college admissions and selection process. He is firmly committed to improving equity in education and helping students to reach their educational goals. Justin received an athletic scholarship for gymnastics at Stanford University and graduated with a BA in American Studies.
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New Orleans' Tulane University tops the country as the No. 1 party scene among all U.S. schools, according to Niche. Students can find parties almost every day of the week, but no celebration tops that of Mardi Gras, where students join locals for parades, bead-throwing, and King Cake-eating.What is the #1 party school in America? ›
New Orleans' Tulane University tops the country as the No. 1 party scene among all U.S. schools, according to Niche. Students can find parties almost every day of the week, but no celebration tops that of Mardi Gras, where students join locals for parades, bead-throwing, and King Cake-eating.What colleges have the happiest students 2023? ›
Earlier this year, the Review had released its Best Value Colleges–with Princeton University coming in No. 1 on the private side and UC Berkeley tops among public schools. The happiest students on the 2023 Best Colleges list attend Tulane University in New Orleans, according to students themselves.Which Ivy League has the happiest students? ›
Brown is ranked by the Princeton Review as the 10th happiest campus in the country and the happiest school in the Ivy League, and has a general reputation for being the “Happy Ivy.” But why does Brown have this reputation?Which Ivy League is the biggest party school? ›
If you're wondering which Ivies have the best party scenes, this guide breaks it down. The best Ivy League party schools are Dartmouth and Penn, followed by Cornell. But if you put yourself out there and meet the right people, you can have an incredible social life at any of them.What is the biggest partying college? ›
- The Pennsylvania State University. ...
- University of Texas at Austin. ...
- West Virginia University. ...
- Colorado State University. Fort Collins, CO. ...
- University of California, Santa Barbara. Santa Barbara, CA. ...
- University of Iowa. Iowa City, IA. ...
- Tulane University. New Orleans, LA. ...
- Syracuse University. Syracuse, NY.
Among the institutions with the lowest acceptance rate, colleges included, UCLA is the only public university with the lowest acceptance rate while the college with the lowest acceptance rate is Dartmouth College. The rest of the U.S. higher educational institutions with low acceptance rates are privately-owned.What is the most impressive college to go to? ›
- Princeton University.
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
- Harvard University.
- Stanford University.
- Yale University.
- University of Chicago.
- Johns Hopkins University.
- University of Pennsylvania.
Although junior year often holds the most challenging classes, it is not always the most difficult. Students are able to take what they have learned from their previous two years of schooling to better prepare themselves for the more strenuous classes.Where do the smartest students go to college? ›
|School||Students IQ Test Score Estimate||Percentile|
|University of Virginia||138.8||99.52|
|University of Michigan||138.1||99.45|
IIT Kharagpur, NIT Srinagar, Sikkim Manipal Institute of Technology, IIT Delhi, and BITS Pilani Goa are some recognised universities that provide the best campus life to the students studying there.What is the biggest mistakes college students make? ›
- Skipping the reading. ...
- Taking on way too much. ...
- Sticking to what you know. ...
- Trying to work in a distracting environment. ...
- Memorizing without understanding. ...
- Procrastinating until crunch time. ...
- Skipping sleep. ...
- Ignoring expenses.
- Cornell is considered the "easiest" Ivy League to get into because it has the highest Ivy League acceptance rate. ...
- Harvard is the oldest institution of higher education in the US and consistently ranks #1 hardest Ivy League to get into. ...
- Students from around the world dream of studying at Columbia University.
The most challenging Ivy League school to get into is Harvard, established in 1636 and based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. According to Harvard Admissions, only 2,008 out of 43,330 candidates were accepted to the college.
Texas Christian University is the happiest university in the U.S. — three in four (76.47%) faces tagged there on Instagram are happy, according to AI analysis.What is the most fun ivy? ›
Campus happiness: Brown is widely known as the happiest Ivy, perhaps because of students' freedom to choose courses with almost complete autonomy. Students report feeling less competition amongst themselves and an overall sense of campus community.How is the most insecure Ivy League University? ›
How Is the Most Insecure Ivy League University Also the #1 Party School in America? An Investigation. The University of Pennsylvania has the least distinctive identity of any prestigious college in America.What is Playboy's top party school? ›
Playboy did describe the University of Wisconsin as "the party school" in a September 1968 issue, and deemed the University of California, Los Angeles "tops in campus action" in 1976.What colleges have the least parties? ›
- Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.
- Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois.
- U.S. Military Academy, West Point, New York.
- Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan.
- Thomas Aquinas College, Santa Paula, California.
- College of the Ozarks, Point Lookout, Missouri.
- Gordon College, Wenham, Massachusetts.
According to a study by Niznik Behavioral Health, about 27 percent of polled college students attend college with the intention to party.
Texas A&M University is a party school. However, unlike others, it doesn't dominate top party school rankings. For instance, it's just #132 in Top Party Schools in America by Niche. The same ranker ranks TAMU #10 in Top Party Schools in Texas.What GPA is too low for college? ›
Unofficially, 2.0 is the lowest GPA accepted into a standard college, so while there's a chance that college admission is possible, it's not likely at more than a few institutions.What college has a 100% acceptance rate? ›
Academy of Art University
The Academy of Art University is located in San Francisco, California. It was founded in 1929 and is a proprietary institution. The school is located in an urban setting. Tuition and fees amount to approximately $29,190, and the academic year is based on a semester calendar.
Typically, colleges will not accept a GPA below 2.0 to a four-year program, but there are options for students with a GPA lower than this to succeed in being accepted.Where do the richest go to college? ›
- Stanford University. ...
- Harvard University. ...
- Princeton University. ...
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) ...
- University of Southern California (USC) ...
- University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) ...
- Duke University. ...
- University of Pennsylvania.
- San Diego State University.
- Stanford University.
- Swarthmore College.
- University of Colorado Boulder.
- University of Notre Dame.
- University of Vermont.
- University of Virginia.
- University of Washington.
- Psychology. ...
- Statistics. ...
- Nursing. ...
- Physics. ...
- Astrophysics. ...
- Biomedical Engineering. ...
- Astronomy. ...
- Dentistry. Dentistry, like medicine, is an important profession, and if you wish to study it at university you must be prepared to undertake high volumes of both theoretical and practical work.
Your first year and sophomore year affect your cumulative GPA, which is important to most colleges. However, a solid academic record in your junior year is likely to carry more importance with an admissions committee.What is the oldest age to go to college? ›
The age of 25 is not too late to start college, as it is never too late to start college. Many of the most successful college students are older learners and working professionals. Oftentimes, these older college students bring several advantages to the classroom.What is the average IQ go to college? ›
Traxler reports medians and quartiles for various types of colleges, but our interest here is in his data for the four-year liberal arts colleges. He reports, for this four-year college group, a median IQ of 109, a Q3 of 117 and a Qx of 102.
85 to 114: Average intelligence. 115 to 129: Above average or bright. 130 to 144: Moderately gifted. 145 to 159: Highly gifted.What college is ranked #1 for happiest students? ›
- College of William and Mary (Williamsburg, VA) The College of William and Mary will often appear high up on college rankings for the happiest colleges in the country. ...
- Vanderbilt University (Nashville, TN) ...
- University of Dallas (Irving, TX) ...
- Brown University (Providence, RI)
Harvard, Stanford and Princeton, unsurprisingly, are America's toughest colleges to get into in 2023, according to Niche's most recent rankings.What is the most high end college? ›
|1. Franklin & Marshall College||$65,652|
|2. Columbia University||$65,524|
|3. Reed College||$64,450|
|4. Vassar College||$63,840|
|State||Overall Rank||Final Score|
- 1. " I regret the field I went into. ...
- 2. " I met a guy my first year, and we were inseparable. ...
- 3. " I really wish I had gotten out of my comfort zone more socially and tried to socialize with people I normally wouldn't have. ...
- 4. " ...
- "I wish I had been more social. ...
- 6. " ...
- 7. " ...
- 8. "
As of 2021, nearly 40% of adults who went to college regret their choice of major, according to a Federal Reserve survey. Humanities and arts majors were the most likely to rue their decisions, with nearly half (48%) saying they would choose a different field of study today.What should I avoid in college? ›
- Being disrespectful.
- Having bad hygiene.
- Drinking/partying too much.
- Skipping classes.
- Reigniting high school drama.
- Buying from the bookstore.
You should also have a 4.18 GPA or higher. If your GPA is lower than this, you need to compensate with a higher SAT/ACT score. For a school as selective as Harvard, you'll also need to impress them with the rest of your application. We'll cover those details next.What is the lowest GPA ever accepted Ivy League? ›
And maybe, you can get into a top tier college with a low GPA. We've always stated that the lowest GPA student we've ever helped get into an Ivy League school had a 3.3 unweighted GPA. And we're not saying that we could get anyone in with a 3.3 GPA. But it has happened before – and the student was Asian American too.
None of the Ivy League schools have a minimum GPA requirement for applications, which means anyone can apply with any GPA.Which Ivy is the most stressful? ›
Two Ivy League colleges made the list of the most stressed college towns and they both happen to be in the top 10 – Harvard University (#2) and Cornell University (#10).What is the hardest non Ivy League school to get into? ›
Claremont McKenna College, in Claremont, California, has a 13% acceptance rate.What GPA do Ivy Leagues like? ›
If you're aiming for a top university such as one in the Ivy League, Stanford, MIT, or others of the same caliber, a 4.0 GPA — or close to it — is expected.Which Ivy has the best social life? ›
UPenn: Commonly called 'The Social Ivy'. Students from here often attend its top business school, and are active in Greek Life. Many reports suggest students from here have a rich social life, love to party and still achieve excellent grades while they do so.What is America's happiest city? ›
Cities across the United States vary greatly in their environment, income, citizens' overall well-being and community. For 2023, California dominated the list of the happiest cities in America, while Fremont, California, topped the list for the second year in a row.What is the most party school in the US? ›
New Orleans' Tulane University tops the country as the No. 1 party scene among all U.S. schools, according to Niche.What was the #1 party school in the US in 2010? ›
1. Penn State University, State College, Pa. 2. University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla.What was the #1 party school in the US in 2016? ›
The University of Wisconsin-Madison was crowned the number one party school in America for 2016-2017. It's the first time UW-Madison has taken the top slot in the party school rankings, with last year's “winner,” the University of Illinois, coming in at number three.What was the #1 party school in the US in 2015? ›
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign topped the Princeton Review's annual list of the biggest party schools for 2015.
Today, America is a multi-party system. The Democratic Party and the Republican Party are the most powerful. Yet other parties, such as the Reform, Libertarian, Socialist, Natural Law, Constitution, and Green Parties can promote candidates in a presidential election.What is the biggest college party school in the US? ›
Richard Humphreys established the African Institute (now Cheyney University) in 1837 in Pennsylvania, making it the oldest HBCU in the United States. Its mission was to teach free African Americans skills for gainful employment.Are Big 10 schools party schools? ›
The Big Ten was represented more than any other conference on Playboy's annual list of Top 10 Party Schools.Where is the oldest public school in the US? ›
The Boston Latin School, established in 1635, was the first school in what is now the United States. Although it has changed locations, the public school is still operating today. On April 23, 1635, the first public school in what would become the United States was established in Boston, Massachusetts.What is the biggest minor party in the US? ›
In the United States, there have been numerous "third parties". The largest since the mid-20th century are the Libertarian and Green Parties.What is the second largest US party? ›
Since the 1850s, the two largest political parties have been the Democratic Party and the Republican Party—which together have won every United States presidential election since 1852 and controlled the United States Congress since at least 1856.What was the first normal school in America? ›
In 1823, Reverend Samuel Read Hall founded the first private normal school in the United States, the Columbian School in Concord, Vermont. The first public normal school in the United States was founded shortly thereafter in 1839 in Lexington, Massachusetts.What was America's best high school in 2015? ›
|1. School for the Talented and Gifted (TX)||6. Carnegie Vanguard High School (TX)|
|2. BASIS Scottsdale (AZ)||7. Academic Magnet High School (SC)|
|3. Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (VA)||8. University High School (AZ)|
The first parties were anti-federalist and federalist.
A one-party state, single-party state, one-party system or single-party system is a sovereign state in which only one political party has the right to form the government, usually based on the existing constitution. All other parties are either outlawed or only enjoy limited and controlled participation in elections.What do Democrats believe in? ›
From workers' rights to protecting the environment, equal pay to fighting the special interests, Democrats believe we can and should make life better for families across our nation. fairness, justice, and equality for all by standing up for all middle-class Americans and those struggling to get there.What does liberal stand for? ›
Liberalism is a political and moral philosophy based on the rights of the individual, liberty, consent of the governed, political equality and equality before the law.