Work Hard, Play Harder: The Top Party Schools in America
How close can you get to the 'Animal House' experience? Just visit some of these top party schools in America.
Before we get started, let's be perfectly clear: There is a huge difference between partying and violence. There is also a huge difference between partying and self-harm. College parties too often end with sexual assault and alcohol poisoning. That's not the kind of partying we're talking about here.
But if social life and Greek life are as (or more) important to you as academics, then there are certain colleges and universities you should look into. What are the top party schools in America? Let's find out.
Every year The Princeton Review releases its rankings for colleges and universities across the country. One of the lists they generate is a list of the top party schools. The Princeton Review named Tulane University the biggest party school of 2018.
It's not hard to imagine why. Mardi Gras alone is enough to make Tulane a top spot for partying. But New Orleans doesn't just do it up for Fat Tuesday—every holiday is bigger in Louisiana. Halloween, Jazz Fest, and the famed Bourbon Street and French Quarter make this city a prime location for partying.
This one may surprise you, as Syracuse is frequently buried in snow, but this campus is actually one of the most lively in the country. This university's Greek life is booming. With nearly 70 fraternities and sororities to choose from, it's safe to assume that Syracuse will never be lacking a party.
Plus, their mascot is an orange. Why wouldn't anyone want to celebrate that?
West Virginia University
WVU is not subtle. They have a YouTube series called "I'm Shmacked," showing off all of the party moments that make this school one of the top party schools in America. It's probably fair to say that West Virginia University is more of a rave than an academic institution.
WVU is also one of the "Big 12" college football teams in the country. College students don't just go crazy for their team in the stadium, though; it's all about the tailgating.
University of Wisconsin–Madison
The University of Wisconsin-Madison has been in the mix of The Princeton Reviews top party schools for years. Even though Tulane University was ranked the number one party school in America, the University of Wisconsin-Madison has previously held not only that title, but is also known as the country's number one "lots of beer" school. And yes, that is actually a category in The Princeton Review. Any college student with a love of hops would be happy here.
University of Illinois
The University of Illinois has long had a reputation for partying. However, being one of the top party schools in America might not be a good thing. The university's biggest party of the school year, dubbed "Unofficial St. Patrick's Day" or simply "Unofficial," has been the pride of student life for years. In 2017, though, celebrations came to an abrupt end when 23-year-old Jonathan Morales died during the festivities.
The young man suffered a fall from a fourth-floor balcony, prompting all officials on campus to call for an end to "Unofficial." This circumstance is an unfortunate reminder that while nothing is wrong with having a good time, excessive and reckless partying can have terrible consequences. So make safe decisions!
Type in "Lehigh University partying" to Google and you'll find a number of articles discussing the student body's so-called "drinking problem." Feel free to take that in whatever way you will; but if a school has that kind of reputation, they probably earned their spot on the top party schools in America, fair and square. The majority of Lehigh University students have reported that their school is a "work hard, play harder" kind of environment, and it looks like they're not wrong.
Bucknell students take their partying so seriously that they've created a weekly holiday: Super Saturday. The University used to have an official House Party Weekend, too; and by official, we mean the University helped support and finance it.
Every year there would be one spring weekend when Greek Life was in max party mode. In 2013, though, the University ceased funding for the celebrations. The House Party Weekend remains in some form, but it is no longer an official, school-sanctioned event.
University of Iowa
The University of Iowa is another one of the top party schools in America that loves its football team—one of the "Big 10" in its conference. Naturally, the University of Iowa's party scene is amongst their own "Big 10" as well.
Aside from the tailgating, drinking is a huge part of the social culture; so much so that it has stirred big reactions from it's town of Iowa City. Iowa City even voted on and passed a city-wide ordinance in 2010 calling for local bars (of which there are many) to not let anyone under the age of 21 inside after 10 P.M.
University of Georgia
Students of the University of Georgia can't hype up the downtown Athens, GA bar scene enough. That, combined with the university's focus on Greek life and tailgating, is what makes this school legendary for its partying. The campus's 61 fraternities and sororities dominate the social life for UGA; so if you plan on attending, you better have a sense of school spirit.
University of Mississippi
The University of Mississippi, otherwise known as Ole Miss, has produced a plethora of professional athletes, including the famed quarterback Eli Manning. It makes sense, then, that the party scene here is completely intertwined with its sporting events and sense of school spirit. If you're not a sports fan when you arrive, you certainly will be when you leave.
Of course, as one of the top party schools in America, students also love patrolling the town of Oxford's nightlife and bar scene.