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The 50 Best Party Schools In the U.S., Ranked and Reviewed

By / 04.03.13

Princeton Review has a list, Playboy has a list, Newsweek has a list, College Prowler has a list, Fiesta Frog has a list. Dozens of no-name college-themed blogs have lists. A student may toast his university's inclusion on these lists, and a college administrator may cringe when his academic institution makes one. (Even more so if his school is at the top.)

But…. As viral as these college party school rankings are, each one is subjective and never seems to define the clear-cut criteria for how it ranks each school. Princeton Review bases its “Top Twenty Party Schools” list on “a combination of survey questions concerning the use of alcohol and drugs, hours of study each day, and the popularity of the Greek system.” How many average college students have actually filled out a Princeton Review survey? Why does Indiana's tiny DePauw University, with 2,400 students, make it every year, when much bigger schools with bigger partying reputations—JMU, LSU, UDel, and WSU—do not?

Playboy's Party School ranking, though typically taken seriously amongst a student body's partying public, is a relatively new trend, only existing annually since 2009. Previously, the magazine had only ranked party schools in 2006, 2002, and 1987, when CSU Chico topped the list. It's been more of a newstand event for Playboy, presumably with the selections handpicked by editors based on Playboy's projection of a lifestyle. No wonder Hef's school selections tend to be from warmer climates where scantifly clad coed bodies are the norm. We're looking at you, ASU and FSU.

Meanwhile, party school arbiter up-and-comers, including Newsweek, College Prowler, Fiesta Frog, and I'm Shmacked throw their hat in the ring to further muddle the mess. 

How can we cut through the madness to establish a true, reigning party school ranking?

We have solution: A BCS system. 

In an effort to properly define who truly goes the hardest, we've created the BroBible Party School Index. Partying at many colleges and universities is typically embedded deep within a school's cultural DNA. It's not just based on one raging kegger or a few tailgates during football season in the fall. So think of the BroBible Party School Index as a thermometer for gauging and ranking a college's party school reputation over the last 10 years, if not longer.

Key word: Reputation. That's what the BroBible Party School Index is intended to measure.

Here is the formula for how we created each school's score:

  • We took the schools on Princeton Review's Top 20 Party Schools list since 2002 and applied a weight for where each school fell on the list over the last 12 rankings. A #20 ranking = 1 point. A #1 = 20 points. 2002's edition was the oldest one we could find. 
  • We applied the same weight to Newsweek's 2012 and 2011 Top 25 Party School Rankings. #25 ranking = 1. #1 ranking = 25 points.
  • We also applied the same weight to Playboy's list, although, in some years, Playboy released the ranking as a Top 25 (2006, 2002, 1987), other years as a Top 20 (2011, 2012), and other years as a Top 10 (2009, 2006). To keep the weight accurate for all Playboy schools, we made Top 10 years #10 = 10 points, #1 = 20 points.
  • Each school on Fiesta Frog's Top 100 Party Schools list recieved .05 points depending on its position on the list. 
  • Each I'm Shmacked school received 5 points simply for being an I'm Shmacked school. 
  • Because it's a given that schools with successful football and basketball teams (and, thus, a sports culture in general) tend to party harder than most (..something about all those tailgates), we've included a weight for sports. A school received 5 points for going to a BCS Game from the 2001/2002 season through the 2011/2012 season, 10 points for winning a BCS Game, 10 points for going to BCS Championship, and 20 points for winning a BCS Championship. College hoops schools were weighted lower: 5 points for going to a NCAA Tournament Championship since 2002. 10 points for winning.
  • Finally, each of BroBible's five full-time editors blindly ranked their Top 10 party schools based on general partying reputation (as college bloggers, we see a lot of what you're up to out there) and personal experience (we've lived it, Bros). The schools were weighted #10 = 1 point, #1 = 10 points.
  • Then we simply added up the score for all 164 schools to come up with a BroBible's unique Party School Index. 

Now that we've explained our methodology, we imagine some of you will have your disagreements with where your school fell on our index. Or its omission, since we know many of you rep. hard. But we believe our ranking of top party schools is the best we can do—besides going to every single campus in the country and counting empty beer cans on Sunday mornings. 

So where did your school fall?

 

 

To submit a testimonial to BroBible about the party scene at your college, e-mail us here.

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Related BroBible Features: 

The 100 Best College Bars for Bros

The 15 Best College St. Patrick’s Day Parties in the U.S.

The 10 Ugliest Colleges in the United States


TAGScollege listscollege partiesparty collegesparty schools
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