20 Top Party Colleges: Can You Still Get a Good Education? (2023)

20 Top Party Colleges: Can You Still Get a Good Education? (1)

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.

What Is a Party School?

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.

20 Top Party Colleges: Can You Still Get a Good Education? (2)
The best parties have cake...even the college ones.

What Are the Top Party Colleges?

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.

RankSchoolLocationUndergraduate EnrollmentMiddle 50% SATMiddle 50% ACT
1UC Santa BarbaraSanta Barbara, CA22,4801230-146028-34
2Tulane UniversityNew Orleans, LA8,2311340-150030-33
3Florida State UniversityTallahassee, FL29,0721220-135027-31
4The University of Alabama—TuscaloosaTuscaloosa, AL27,7501070-133023-31
5Howard UniversityWashington DC7,4971130-126022-26
6University of Wisconsin—MadisonMadison, WI30,0631260-146027-32
7University of GeorgiaAthens, GA27,8881250-146029-33
8Syracuse UniversitySyracuse, NY13,8321180-138026-30
9University of Southern CaliforniaLos Angeles, CA18,5601340-153030-34
10University of Illinois--Champaign UrbanaUrbana-Champaign, IL32,1071200-146027-33
11West Virginia UniversityMorgantown, WV18,7261030-123021-27
12Penn StateUniversity Park, PA39,3211160-136025-30
13University of MississippiOxford, MS15,4851010-123022-30
14Ohio UniversityAthens, OH13,8961050-125021-26
15Miami UniversityOxford, OH16,6151160-137024-30
16Indiana University--BloomingtonBloomington, IN31,6321120-135024-31
17University of IowaIowa City, IA20,2271110-131022-29
18San Diego State UniversitySan Diego, CA28,0841090-130022-29
19Florida A&MTallahassee, FL6,2441030-115020-24
20Michigan State UniversityEast Lansing, MI34,5001100-130023-29

20 Top Party Colleges: Can You Still Get a Good Education? (3)
marsmettnn tallahaassee/Flicker

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.

20 Top Party Colleges: Can You Still Get a Good Education? (4)

#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.

20 Top Party Colleges: Can You Still Get a Good Education? (5)
dennis crowley/Flickr

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!

20 Top Party Colleges: Can You Still Get a Good Education? (6)

What's Next?

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.

Which college rankings are actually important to look at?We've compiled a list of every college ranking that's worth your time!

Want to improve your SAT score by 160 points or your ACT score by 4 points? We've written a guide for each test about the top 5 strategies you must be using to have a shot at improving your score. Download it for free now:

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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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20 Top Party Colleges: Can You Still Get a Good Education? ›

You can definitely get a good education at a party school

party school
The term party school is used to refer to a college or university (usually in the United States) that has a reputation for heavy alcohol and drug use or a general culture of licentiousness at the expense of educational credibility and integrity.
https://en.wikipedia.org › wiki › 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.

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.

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 college has the nicest people? ›

Friendliest Colleges in the US
  • Vanderbilt University – Nashville, Tennessee. ...
  • Rice University – Houston, TX. ...
  • Tulane University – New Orleans, LA. ...
  • College of William and Mary – Williamsburg, VA. ...
  • Colby College — Waterville, ME. ...
  • Clemson University – Clemson, SC. ...
  • University of California-Santa Barbara – Santa Barbara, CA.
Jan 1, 2023

What colleges have the least partying? ›

Top 10 Most Sober Colleges
  • Wheaton College. ...
  • United States Naval Academy. ...
  • Gordon Christian College. ...
  • Thomas Aquinas College. ...
  • Calvin College. ...
  • City University of New York, Baruch College. ...
  • United States Military Academy. ...
  • City University of New York, Hunter College.

What is the biggest partying college? ›

Top Party Schools
  • 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.

Is Texas A&M a party school? ›

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 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.

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?

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 the hardest college to get a? ›

Harvard, Stanford and Princeton, unsurprisingly, are America's toughest colleges to get into in 2023, according to Niche's most recent rankings.

Which college has the happiest students? ›

Happiest Colleges in the US
  • 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)
Mar 9, 2023

What is the number 1 college town in America? ›

1 Alfred, NY.

What is the least fun college? ›

Xavier University of Louisiana has been named the unhappiest university campus in America, keeping the unwanted title for a second consecutive year.

What is the least accepting college? ›

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.

Are college parties fun if you don't drink? ›

Contrary to popular belief, not drinking doesn't mean you have to pass up college parties altogether. Drinking is not a requirement to have fun at a college party. I went to every type of party there was in college — house parties, dance parties, frat parties, and more.

What is the biggest party dorm in the US? ›

2305 Sheridan Road. Once dubbed the biggest party dorm in America, Bobb-McCulloch is one of Northwestern students' favorite residence halls.

How many people go to college just to party? ›

According to a study by Niznik Behavioral Health, about 27 percent of polled college students attend college with the intention to party.

Is partying a big part of college? ›

Partying will likely be a part of every student's college social experience and can be a great way to let loose, have a good time, and meet new friends.

Is LSU a party school? ›

LSU, as well as the University of Alabama and the University of Texas climbed in the rankings just above last year's king of the party, Florida State University. “Between the football, baseball and the tailgating, we're definitely No. 1,” said Todd Duhon, the owner of the Stadium Club, located near LSU.

What GPA do you need to get into Texas A&M? ›

Undergraduate students who meet the following general admission requirements at the time of application are assured admission to A&M-Central Texas: Minimum 2.0 cumulative transfer GPA on a 4.0 scale; Minimum 30 academic, college-level transferable semester hours.

Is Texas State still a party school? ›

Texas State University

#5 Top Party Schools in Texas.

What is the easiest ivy? ›

Cornell is considered the "easiest" Ivy League to get into because it has the highest Ivy League acceptance rate. While it's easier, statistically speaking, to get into Cornell, it's still challenging. It's also important to remember that students apply directly to one of Cornell's eight undergraduate colleges.

What is the most laid back ivy? ›

Brown. Located in Providence, Rhode Island, Brown is more commonly known as the laid-back Ivy League.

Which Ivy League 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.

Which Ivy has the prettiest campus? ›

The Ivy League with the best campus is Princeton. It's reputed as having the prettiest campus. But beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.

Which Ivy is the most generous? ›

Among the very best universities in the world, Yale University is the one that statistically offers the most generous financial aid. The following statistics from Yale Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid demonstrate the financial aid that first-year students in the Class of 2023 received on average.

What is the safest Ivy League school? ›

Princeton is one of two Ivy League colleges on our list (the other being Dartmouth). As much as it values its academic rigor, it also clearly values the safety of its students.

Are Ivy League students more depressed? ›

Ivy League schools are comprised of high achieving students that can be three times more anxious and depressed than the average pupil. This can result in elevated rates of substance abuse and delinquent behaviors.

What is the hardest year for college? ›

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.

What is the top 5 hardest course in college? ›

What are the hardest degree subjects?
  • Aerospace Engineering. Aerospace Engineers study the design, manufacturing and testing of aircrafts. ...
  • Architecture. Architecture is one of those degrees that we wish was easy. ...
  • Pharmacy. ...
  • Psychology. ...
  • Statistics. ...
  • Nursing. ...
  • Physics. ...
  • Astrophysics.

What is the most prestigious college in the world? ›

World University Rankings 2023
RankName Country/Region
1University of Oxford United Kingdom
2Harvard University United States
=3University of Cambridge United Kingdom
=3Stanford University United States
21 more rows

What is the biggest mistakes college students make? ›

Common academic 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.
May 2, 2022

Which university has the best social life? ›

The University of Sheffield

Offering over 350 societies for students to join, the Uni of Sheffield has finally won the Clubs and Societies award, after ranking second in 2021.

Which college has the most successful graduates? ›

Harvard also ranks first in the number of ultra-high net worth alumni with assets greater than $30 million. Harvard's total number of ultra-high net worth alumni is more than twice that of the next highest ranking institution, Stanford. These figures have not been adjusted for the relative size of these institutions.

What is America's friendliest college town? ›

Known for friendliness

Students and employees enjoy a better quality of life while on campus. Oklahoma State University sits in the heart of America's Friendliest College Town of Stillwater, Oklahoma.

What is the safest college in America? ›

In a new ranking of the safest college campuses in America, a Midwest school was dubbed top of its class. According to Niche, a website that offers reviews of schools and colleges across the country, the safest college campus in the U.S. is Concordia University in St. Paul, Minnesota.

What is the least stressful major in college? ›

According to the annual National Survey of Student Engagement, software engineering, computer science and astronomy majors enjoy the least stressful college experience, and spend the most time relaxing and socializing, including hanging out with friends, playing video games and going online.

What is the easiest field in college? ›

Business isn't just one of the easiest college majors — it's also the most popular major. You'll study core topics like accounting, management, and organizational behavior. You can specialize your skills with upper-level courses in logistics, training and development, or entrepreneurship.

What is the easiest to go to college for? ›

As the most popular college major since 1980, business encompasses a variety of sub-disciplines, such as finance, accounting, and marketing. It's also considered to be one of the easiest college majors. With a business degree, you could also work in fields like healthcare, human resources, or public administration.

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.

What college degrees are not worth getting? ›

20 Most Useless Degrees of 2023
  • Advertising. Pursuing an advertising major could lead to potential career paths in digital marketing, e-commerce, or sports marketing. ...
  • Anthropology And Archeology. ...
  • Art history. ...
  • Communications. ...
  • Computer Science. ...
  • Creative Writing. ...
  • Criminal Justice. ...
  • Culinary arts.

What college has the best dorms? ›

But where can you find the best college dorms in America? The Princeton Review recently released its 2022 ranking of the best college dorms, based on student ratings of their dorms and residence halls. Taking the top spot is Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.

What not to do at a college party? ›

The Do's and Don'ts of College Partying
  • Do stick with the pack. ...
  • Don't drink on an empty stomach. ...
  • Do know your limits. ...
  • Don't leave your drink unattended. ...
  • Do understand what “consent” means. ...
  • Don't drink and drive. ...
  • Don't drink and walk either. ...
  • Do have fun.
Mar 11, 2016

What are the downsides of partying? ›

Risky partying can have long-term effects too. If you regularly drink too much alcohol or use drugs, then you risk developing serious health conditions (cancer, cirrhosis of the liver, brain damage), memory loss or sexual dysfunction.

How to survive college without drinking? ›

Some ways that you can have fun without alcohol or drugs can include:
  1. Throwing sober parties. You can invite friends over to watch movies or TV shows, to dance, talk or even take time to be creative and paint or craft together.
  2. Exploring the town. ...
  3. Dining out. ...
  4. Experiencing the arts.
May 8, 2023

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.

Is USA one party country? ›

Political parties are not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution (which predates the party system). The two-party system is based on laws, party rules, and custom. Several third parties also operate in the U.S. and, from time to time, elect someone to local office.

What was the first black school in 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.

What school is paying for the party about? ›

Drawing on findings from a five-year interview study, Elizabeth Armstrong and Laura Hamilton bring us to the campus of “MU,” a flagship Midwestern public university, where we follow a group of women drawn into a culture of status seeking and sororities.

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.

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.

Where was the first public school in the United States? ›

The first public normal school in the United States was founded shortly thereafter in 1839 in Lexington, Massachusetts.

What are the oldest US political parties? ›

The Democratic Party is one of the two major political parties of the United States political system and the oldest existing political party in the country. The Democratic party was founded in the 1830s and 1840s. It is also the oldest active voter-based political party in the world.

What was America's best high school in 2015? ›

Founded in 1933, U.S. News is headquartered in Washington, D.C.
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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)
2 more rows
May 12, 2015

What were the first 2 US political parties? ›

The followers of both of the first political parties, the Federalists and the Democratic Republicans, were organized in loose alliances led by members of the social elite who served in Congress or the executive branch.

What is the party school of America? ›

What Are the Top Party Colleges?
1UC Santa BarbaraSanta Barbara, CA
2Tulane UniversityNew Orleans, LA
3Florida State UniversityTallahassee, FL
4The University of Alabama—TuscaloosaTuscaloosa, AL
16 more rows
Dec 10, 2022

How many states are one-party? ›

Thirty-eight states of the US and the district of Columbia have adopted single-party consent: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, D.C., Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New-Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, South ...

Which is the largest and strongest political party in the world? ›

Parties with over 50 million members
1Bharatiya Janata Party Indian People's PartyBJP
2Chinese Communist PartyCCP CPC

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.


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