Student Life

Top 10 Party Schools of 2018

Elizabeth Hoyt

August 12, 2018

Top 10 Party Schools of 2018
Whether you hate-to-love or love-to-hate the list, it’s vital to keep in mind that there’s much more than meets the eye (or ranking) at each of these schools.

**This article is outdated! Looking for Top Party Schools of 2020?**

It’s been a highly anticipated (or highly dreaded list) of students and college administrators across the nation since 1993: the Princeton Review’s annual list of top party schools. 2018’s rankings are out and, while many students will immediately rush to submit their applications to the schools that party the most, others are turned off at the mere mention of the college party scene.
The methodology behind the rankings is fairly simple and straightforward. According to the Princeton Review, the data is compiled from surveys of 137,000 students at the 382 schools and rankings reflect the tallied results. SPOILER ALERT: Tulane University is the new top party school in the nation, bumping last year’s top party school, UW-Madison to number five this year. Absent from this year’s top ten: University of Mississippi (last year ranked #7), University of Iowa (last year ranked #6) and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, which has continually dropped in party school status for the last few years; last year at #3 and the year before at #1.
Whether you hate-to-love or love-to-hate the list, it’s vital to keep in mind that there’s much more than meets the eye (or ranking) at each of these schools. Keep in mind that all of these schools have a lot to offer...other than a great party scene.

10. University of Maine – Orono, ME

The University of Maine just made it into this year’s top ten. It was not ranked within the top ten last year, though! This smaller school has just over 9,000 undergraduates, the majority of which are in-state students.
In addition to landing #10 party school, the University of Maine was also listed on “The Best 382 Colleges,” the “Best Northeastern’’ Colleges and “Green Colleges.”

9. Lehigh University – Bethlehem, PA

Somebody toned down the party scene this year. Last year, Lehigh University landed the #4 party school spot. As a small, urban university, the school is home to just over 5,000 undergraduates. Clearly that doesn’t stop students from having a great time in college – but Lehigh has gone up and down on the party school’s ranking for a few years now. Perhaps that’s due to Greek life: the school landed #3 within the “Lots of Greek Life” list. It was also ranked by The Princeton Review as a “Best Northeastern College,” among “The Best 382 Colleges,” “Colleges That Pay You Back,” and “Green Colleges.” Lehigh’s other Princeton Review College Rankings include the #4 spot for “Best Science Lab Facilities” and the #4 spot on the “Lots of Beer” list.

8. Colgate University – Hamilton, NY

The nearly 2,900 undergraduate students in attendance at Colgate University must be doing something right. Not only is the school ranked #8 on the “Party Schools” list, but the school is also known for its very rigorous academic curriculum. In fact, 48 percent of admitted students have a 3.75 GPA or higher! It sounds like these students know how to work – and play – hard. The university’s undergraduate student body is comprised of a vast majority, 73 percent, of out-of-state students. In addition to holding the #8 party school spot, which was a jump from last year’s #10 spot, Colgate University also landed on plenty of brag-worthy Princeton Review College Rankings this year, including being ranked at #3 for “Great Financial Aid,” #4 for “Best Financial Aid” and #6 for “Best College Library.” Colgate University additionally made the cut for other ranked lists which include “The Best 382 Colleges,” the “Best Northeastern’’ Colleges, “Colleges That Pay You Back,” “Green Colleges.”

7. University of Colorado - Boulder – Boulder, CO

Sliding into the top ten this year, the University of Colorado – Boulder didn’t make rank the top ten on last year’s party schools list. The school is home to nearly 28,000 undergraduate students, 92 percent of which are full time students. The school ranked on other lists, too: #12 on the “College City Gets High Marks” list and #19 on the “Most Beautiful Campus” list. It was also ranked by The Princeton Review as a “Best Western College,” among “The Best 382 Colleges,” “Colleges That Pay You Back” and “Green Colleges.”

6. University of Delaware – Newark, DE

Landing at #6 this year, the University of Delaware didn’t even make the top ten in last year’s party schools ranking. The University of Delaware hosts over 17,000 undergraduate students. The school ranked on other lists, too: #5 on the “Lots of Greek Life” list and #18 on the “Most Popular Study Abroad Program” list. It was also ranked by The Princeton Review as a “Best Northeastern College,” among “The Best 382 Colleges” and “Colleges That Pay You Back.”

5. University of Wisconsin - Madison – Madison, WI

This university calmed down the party scene this year. The University of Wisconsin - Madison fell from last year’s number #1 spot all the way to the middle of the list this year. Commonly known as UW Madison, this university offers it’s over 31,000 undergraduates much more than just a party scene. The university boasts high rankings by the Princeton Review in important areas for students, also taking the #1 ranking on the “Best Health Services” list and #9 on the “Great Financial Aid” list. It was also ranked by The Princeton Review as a “Best Midwestern College,” among “The Best 382 Colleges,” and “Colleges That Pay You Back.”

4. Syracuse University – Syracuse, NY

Syracuse University jumped from having coveted #8 “Party Schools” last year. But this university isn’t just home to just over 15,000 dedicated undergraduate partiers – they’ve got spirit, too. The school landed the #1 spot on “Students Pack the Stadiums” list. Syracuse also holds two top ten spots within media lists, for those of you looking to pursue careers in those fields: #1 for “Best College Newspaper” and #5 for “Best College Radio Station.” Plus, Syracuse University is also named one of The Best 382 Colleges, amongst the “Green Colleges” and a “Best Northeastern” college by the Princeton Review. And, believe it or not, none of that has to do with partying on campus.

3. Bucknell University – Lewisburg, PA

Jumping from the #5 spot last year to the #3 spot this year, Bucknell University students may have amped up the party scene a bit. With just over 3,500 undergraduates, Bucknell is a small private liberal arts university which was founded in 1846 as a “literary institution.” Today, it offers much more than its original literary roots – the school has expanded to offer academic programs in everything from the arts and humanities to social and natural sciences. The school’s size allows for an impressive student-to-faculty-ratio (9:1) and classes and labs generally are small enough to allow for individualized attention. Perhaps this is why the university also boasts impressive graduation rates: 84 percent of Buckell’s students graduate in four years and 88 percent within five. There’s a massive Greek life presence on the small village-like campus – the Princeton Review ranks the university at #1 on the “Lots of Greek Life” list. In fact, 39 percent of the student body joins a fraternity and 46 percent join a sorority. Bucknell’s other Princeton Review College Rankings this year include the #2 spots on the “Most Beautiful Campus” and “Most Active Student Government” lists. It was also ranked by The Princeton Review as a “Best Northeastern College,” and listed on “The Best 382 Colleges,” “Colleges That Pay You Back,” and “Green Colleges” lists.

2. West Virginia University – Morgantown, WV

West Virginia University, commonly known as WVU, was ranked as the #2 party school last year, too. WVU was ranked at #1 in 2013, 2008 and 1998 – so they’re slowly but steadily regaining their party school status. A little over 22,000 undergraduate students call West Virginia University home, over 90 percent of which are full-time students. But, WVU does offer more than just a great time. The school boasts a wonderful sense of school spirit, with a student body that seems to unanimously describe a sense of pride they feel for their school. WVU’s rankings make it clear that students definitely know how to throw a great bash, but the school has plenty of other great aspects, too. It’s also listed as among the “Best Southeastern’’ Colleges as well as the “The Best 382 Colleges.”

1. Tulane University of Louisiana – New Orleans, LA

Tulane University comes in at #1 this year and, while the school has been ranked on previous party school lists (Tulane also ranked #1 in 1993). It’s rating really bumped up from last year’s #9 spot on last year’s “Party Schools” list. The university is well-known for a lot, including being known for its research worldwide, being a historical institution (the university was founded in New Orleans in 1834), and being one of the most well-respected universities in the United States. The school’s nearly 7,000 undergrads come from all over – 76 percent are from out of state along with students from 48 different countries. The university was also ranked #1 on additional Princeton Review College Rankings lists: #1 “Most Engaged in Community Service” along with #1 on the “Lots of Hard Liquor” and #1 “College City Gets High Marks” lists. At least these students know how to balance their lifestyles! But, Tulane’s rankings didn’t stop there. Tulane University also landed other college ranking spots, too. Tulane came in at #4 on the “Happiest Students” list and #4 on the “Best-Run Colleges” list. Tulane University also ranked on other lists including “The Best 382 Colleges,” the “Best Southeastern’’ colleges, “Colleges That Pay You Back,” and “Green Colleges.”

PLEASE NOTE: Princeton Review rankings (and all college rankings, for that matter) should be taken with a grain of salt, a sense of humor and the awareness that rankings are opinion-based and not factually-based. The Princeton Review surveys students and their answers determine how the school ranks. These rankings are compiled solely based on student opinions and should be taken as such. To learn more about the methodology used in the Princeton Review survey or how ranking is determined, please visit the Princeton Review’s College Ranking Methodology page.

Does the top party schools list make any difference to you? Are there schools on here that you think should or should not be listed? Let us know what you think! Tweet us @PayingForSchool using #TopPartySchools to join the conversation.

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