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Top 12 Party Schools

While many students choose a college based on its academic focus or reputation, their chosen field of study, or location, some choose based upon a school’s reputation as a school for partygoers.

Party schools are colleges and universities that have significant number of students engaging in alcohol and drug abuse, typically during large scale parties. Although these schools do not promote this dangerous lifestyle, they present potential sources of temptation for young adults to engage in risky and unhealthy behavior, including substance abuse.

Ranking the Schools

This list of the top party schools comes from the most recent Princeton Review ranking of colleges. The Princeton Review surveys current college students about the school that they attend and uses this data to compile several different lists of rankings, including best career services, great financial aid, most beautiful campus, LBGT friendly, and party schools. The surveys contain 80 questions about various aspects of the schools, divided into four different categories: the academics and administration, life and culture, the student body, and the person taking the survey.

The party school rankings are based on the questions regarding drug and alcohol use, the amount of time spent studying, and the popularity of the Greek system. Based on student feedback, schools on the list have a high amount of drug and alcohol abuse, low numbers of total individual study hours, and a popular fraternity and sorority system. The reputation for being one of the best party schools can last longer than actually being included on the list.

The Problem with Party Schools

In 2003, the American Medical Association (AMA) formally denounced the ranking of party schools because it propagates the idea that drinking and using drugs is part of the college experience, rather than acknowledging the health risks involved in substance abuse. Many schools that have been deemed party schools have tried to disassociate from the rankings, and overturn their reputation as a party school.

Colleges and institutions around the country acknowledge there is a growing problem with students binge drinking and heavy drinking. Heavy drinking is drinking more than two drinks a day, or 14 per week for men, or one drink per day or seven per week for women. Binge drinking is defined as when a person drinks to where his or her blood alcohol concentration level is at .08 percent or more, which typically relates to drinking five or more drinks at one occasion (typically within two hours) for men or four or more for women. According to surveys, around four out of five college students drink, and about half of those who drink engage in heavy drinking. About two out of every five college students, or 40 percent, have engaged in binge drinking in the past two weeks.

Risks of Binge Drinking

The US Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS) calls binge drinking by college students a major public health problem. Along with the USDHHS, many college campuses around the country have tried to find ways to educate college students about the health problems and risks involved with this behavior, and reduce the amount of binge drinking.

There are many risks involved with heavy drinking and binge drinking. Drinking copious amounts of alcohol leads to intoxication, which can cause a person to make bad decisions and engage in risky behavior, such as driving while intoxicated and getting into accidents. It can also lead to risky sexual behavior that increases the chance of an unwanted pregnancy or contracting a sexually transmitted disease.

Alcohol abuse can also cause health problems, some of which could lead to irreparable damage. Studies have linked excessive drinking with more than 60 diseases, including high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, pancreatitis, gastrointestinal problems, neurological damage, liver disease, weight gain, obesity, and diabetes. Heavy drinking and binge drinking can also cause alcohol poisoning, which can lead to serious health problems and even death. Substance abuse also contributes to a higher risk of becoming addicted to drugs or alcohol.

Treatment for Substance Abuse at DTRC

Binge drinking and heavy drinking are dangerous behavior problems that are not only found on college campuses. People of all ages, races, socioeconomic status, gender, and background engage in this risky behavior. Although some people can easily stop engaging in this behavior, many people require help. Drug Treatment and Rehab Centers (DTRC) offers state-of-the-art, evidence-based treatment for substance abuse and addiction, as well as mental health problems and dual diagnosis. We treat the individual, not the disorder, to reduce the risk of relapse. Our holistic approach includes individual and group therapy combined with complementary alternative therapeutic activities such as yoga, meditation, equine therapy, art therapy, and music therapy. You can learn more by calling our Admissions team at (951) 221-4018.

The Top 12 Party Schools

Despite the backlash against the party school rankings and the health risks of alcohol abuse, the Princeton Review continues to publish its annual list. The following 12 schools are the places to go for partying, according to their students. However, just because these schools have a reputation for being a party school does not mean that a student must engage in drinking or drug abuse to enjoy his or her time at the school. Many of these schools are party schools with good academics and diverse educational opportunities for students.

University of Iowa

At the top of the party school list this year is the University of Iowa, located in Iowa City, Iowa. This university boasts having a small-college atmosphere while offering many exciting opportunities for students, including diverse academic programs. There is a student body of around 22,000.

University of California Santa Barbara

The University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) is located in the idyllic beachside city of Santa Barbara on the coast of California. There is a total enrollment of around 19,000 students. Students enjoy the weather and scenery while receiving a high-quality education. UCSB has one of the top ranked chemical engineering departments in America, as well as a highly ranked mechanical engineering program and strong science programs.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is located in Urbana, Illinois, and has around 33,000 students. The university has diverse opportunities and numerous resources, which allows students to find the academic programs they want.

West Virginia University

West Virginia University, located in Morgantown, West Virginia, has an enrolment of around 23,000. Students enjoy the great combination of the social environment and academics at this university.

Syracuse University

Syracuse University, located in Syracuse, New York, has a total enrollment of 15,000 students. It has a robust school spirit, strong academics, and a vibrant social life.

University of Florida

About 33,000 students attend the University of Florida, located in Gainesville, Florida. The students of the University of Florida are passionate about their school, which contributes to a strong alumni network. It features great academic programming and research opportunities.

Ohio University – Athens

For the 23,500 students enrolled in Ohio University—Athens, the school has a diverse academic programming to fit with any student’s individual desire. Located in Athens, Ohio, the school offers a strong engineering program, as well as one of the best journalism schools in the country.

University of Wisconsin – Madison

Some call the University of Wisconsin—Madison, “the best college in the Midwest.” Around 31,000 students attend the school in Madison, Wisconsin. The school offers a diverse academic programming, in addition to its social environment.

Pennsylvania State University – University Park

Around 40,000 students are enrolled in Pennsylvania State University – University Park. The school offers an excellent academic program, especially the business, engineering, and education majors. The university’s honors program is one of the top in the nation, making it one of the smartest party schools.

Lehigh University

Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania has almost 5,000 students who enjoy this small school’s premier academic program. Set in an intimate atmosphere, it is rich in resources. About 98 percent of students from the university find a job within six months of graduating.

University of Georgia

Athens, Georgia, is home to the almost 27,000 students enrolled at the University of Georgia. Students enjoy receiving individual attention, along with high-quality academic programming.

Florida State University

The 32,000 students at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida, enjoy the great weather of Florida. Many of the students and alumni of Florida State University are passionate about the school’s sport programs, and the academic offerings are also excellent.

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