• College Nightlife

The Top Five Party Schools in the U.S.


While looking for the college that’s right for you, you’ve probably got a running list of priorities in mind academics, campus culture and tuition tend to be near the top. However, there’s one aspect of collegiate life that those colorful pamphlets aren’t exactly quick to highlight the party scene. From major motion pictures to viral social media stories, the antics of young scholars are chronicled just about everywhere these days.

We maintain that going away to college doesn’t mean you have to be swept up in a whirlwind of debauchery there’s always a subset of students who don’t partake in the shenanigans. In fact, some schools couldn’t be less interested in throwing a memorable bash. Chances are, though, you’re reading this because you want to know which universities will get you a degree and ensure you have a wild time doing it. You’re in luck, because we’ve got the top five party schools you’d be crazy to pass up.

The noteworthy Princeton Review declared the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign their top party school in 2015. Approximately 44,000 students attend the university, making it both the state’s largest public institution and a breeding ground for hijinks. One of the biggest contributors to underage drinking and drug use is the state’s legal bar entry age, which is 19 in Urbana and 18 in Champaign. Over 59 fraternities and 37 sororities make for a vibrant Greek community that’s known for throwing some rather outrageous get together’s. Then, of course, there’s the pink elephant in the room. Saint Patrick’s Day. This controversial holiday has led to widespread arrests and even death in the past, but it remains an uproarious affair that’s accompanied by plenty of binge drinking. Administrators are hoping to restore a more positive image to the school. Students seem to have other initiatives in mind.

For many years, Ohio University  nestled away in the hills of Athens was regarded as a force to be reckoned with in terms of parties. Its small town vibe has made way for a thriving bar scene (one where it’s also very easy to drink underage). Festival season arrives every spring, with many wild house parties occurring on off campus streets. Police officers in riot gear have been known to show up when riot like behavior breaks out. Need an example? One year students set a couch ablaze and began hurling glass bottles in the street. What Saint Patrick’s Day is to the University of Illinois, Halloween is to Ohio University. Their annual block party attracts people from all over. Tens of thousands drink, listen to live bands and venture to parties that looks like they’re straight out of a movie.

Playboy Magazine has cited Florida State University as being a party destination for students. Like previous schools on this list, there’s a massive undergraduate headcount here around 37,000. That means that on any given night, the likelihood of a house party in full swing is high. Kegs, liquor and bars that offer unlimited drinking for $5? You bet! Pool parties are a favorite pastime at the university, and they’re known to get out of hand in their own right. There’s also plenty of ogling eyes to be found, because students at Florida State University have been ranked as some of the most attractive in the country. Last but not least, how could we not mention the love for football? During football season, expect the party scene to explode in a way that words can’t begin to describe. Go Seminoles!

Look at a picture of the University of Iowa, and it probably won’t summon images of wild parties the kind that have earned it an untouchable reputation. Don’t be deceived by what may look like your quintessential college campus. Something ferocious lurks beneath the surface. Students claim that the lack of things to do in Iowa has given birth to an outrageous party scene. There’s more bars than we care to name, and they all offer unrivaled drink specials that no broke scholar could resist. During football season, Hawkeyes will tailgate during all hours of the day before making their way to favorite local watering holes. University sanctioned concerts are also known to get a bit raunchy, giving students yet another reason to drink. Despite a visible crackdown on alcohol-related violations, there’s no sign that undergraduates will let up anytime soon.

The University of Michigan rival to list-maker Ohio University has garnered itself a reputation for all things wild. They’re passionate about their sports teams, and a lively party scene has been built around game days (something that a thriving Greek community has made even stronger). If you know anything about the weather in Michigan, then you know it gets incredibly cold. Think this stops the merrymaking in its tracks? Think again. Students flock indoors to out of hand house parties, or spend their nights in nearby dance clubs and bars. The University of Michigan is no stranger to block parties. The annual Greenwood Avenue festivities consume the entire street, attracting thousands upon thousands of party goers. Cops almost always break it up, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t fun while it lasted, right?

Ryan James is a ’13 alumnus of Ohio University’s College of Arts & Sciences with a bachelor’s degree in writing and media. He currently works as a copywriter for a Fortune 500 ecommerce corporation based in Columbus, OH.

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