Each year, the Princeton Review releases a comprehensive list ranking American colleges in numerous categories that include academics, sports, politics, extracurriculars and the like. But let’s be honest, the only list anyone REALLY wants to see is the one that reveals the top party schools in the nation.
The rankings are based on a nationwide survey and take into account each school’s respective drug and alcohol use, the prevalence of fraternities and sororities, and the average amount of time spent studying. Landing near the top of the list usually means two things; school officials scramble to convince parents they are more than just a party school, and students celebrate with a drunken pride so legendary that it assures the school remains on the list for years to come.
5 Syracuse University
Nothing makes you forget the fact that it’s 2 degrees outside quite like getting blind drunk. Students of upstate New York’s Syracuse University are known to enjoy taking in a basketball game as much as any of the top programs in the country, but their true passion is the massive party that goes on before, during and after the games. Syracuse students can proudly lay claim to a steady climb up the list, after 12th and 10th place finishes in each of the last two years.
4 West Virginia University
If you’re only exposure to the great state of West Virginia was the short-lived MTV show Buckwild, you likely assumed the state wasn’t home to any institutes of higher learning. Or that if they did have colleges, they were small “schools” that offered courses like “The Science Of Mudding” or “Tractor Repair.” However, WVU is actually a beautiful campus and storied institution with a rich history. They also party like absolute maniacs. The Mountaineers sat atop this list in 2012, and have been known to culminate a night of drinking by tossing a flaming couch or two out a high-rise window.
3 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Illinois’ Wheaton College was named as the second most “stone-cold sober” school in the country, and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign students weren’t about to let that great shame hang on their state. Balancing out Wheaton’s buzzkill reputation, Urbana-Champaign boasts one of the country’s biggest drinking days, known simply as “Unofficial.” Celebrated each year on a Friday shortly before St. Patrick’s Day (since St. Patty’s usually falls in their Spring Break), “Unofficial” sees the local bars open at 8 a.m., and then doesn’t see much else because no one remembers it.
2 University of California, Santa Barbara
Turns out Santa Barbara isn’t all snobby wine enthusiasts and kitschy shops, there’s also a whole mess of hammered kids running around. After placing seventh on the list in 2012, the Gauchos made a run toward the top thanks mostly to their packed beaches and notorious main party drag along Del Playa Drive, home to the massive annual spring break event, Deltopia. So, while there are plenty of quiet beach spots and quaint wine tastings to be enjoyed in Santa Barbara, tourists should mind which corners they turn, lest they be sucked into the UCSB party maelstrom.
1 University of Iowa
People in other parts of the country may not realize it, but Iowa doesn’t mess around. The seemingly quiet state is know for three things; corn, ghost baseball and serious ragers. Apparently, the Hawkeyes took landing in second on the 2012 party list as a challenge, and it was one they met with gusto and swollen livers. Taking the crown in 2013 is an accomplishment that shouldn’t be overlooked either, considering they did so in the face of Iowa City changing the mandatory age for entering bars from 19 to 21 in hopes of curbing the school’s binge drinking ways. If there’s one thing to be said for Iowa University, it’s that they truly chug in the face of adversity.