Top Party Schools 2022
Discover the top party schools in the U.S., find out why each school made our list, and see if attending a party school is right for you.
With advice from mental health expert, Rayelle Davis
As colleges and universities navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, we're continuing our efforts to provide you with useful student resources and the latest online program information. Check our coronavirus resources page to learn more.
www.bestcolleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.
Ready to start your journey?
For many students, college is a time to try new things and meet new people. Going out, having a good time, and making memories are all a big part of the college experience. For some students, finding a school where the campus culture prioritizes fun is an important factor.
Party colleges offer the right mix of excitement and academics for many students. From tailgating to college clubs and bars, these schools offer students a vibrant social life. The best party schools give students an equal opportunity to work hard and play hard, making for a fun and productive college experience.
For the purpose of this ranking, the best party schools are located in larger cities or where a large majority of the town's residents attend the college. These schools tend to have high enrollment with a strong Greek presence and a variety of clubs and organizations.
Top Party Schools 2022
Is your school on this list? Get the BestColleges ranking seal.
Ranking compiled by the BestColleges Ranking Team
Frequently Asked Questions About Party Schools
What is a party school?
Party schools tend to be colleges that have popular sports teams and offer a vibrant Greek life experience. Campus culture usually emphasizes attending parties, clubs, and bars, and engaging in an active nightlife.
What are the top party schools in the United States?
Some of the top party schools in the United States include the University of Wisconsin Madison, Florida State University, Michigan State University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the University of Alabama.
Is it bad to go to a party school?
While these schools may have a bad reputation in some circles, there is nothing inherently bad about attending a party school. All students look for something different out of college, and those who want to prioritize the social aspect of college can benefit from attending a party college.
Can you still get a good education at a party school?
Yes. Many party colleges still offer rigorous academics and boast high graduation rates.
How can drinking in college affect your grades?
Drinking to excess on a regular basis can have a big negative impact on your grades. Students who participate in the party scene need to work hard to balance their social life with their school life so their academic performance doesn't slip.
How We Rank Schools
At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you will make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering school rankings that are transparent, inclusive, and relevant for online students.
Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read our Ranking Methodology. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.
College and Party Culture
Each student is looking for something different out of their college experience. Many variables, including a school's location, academics, athletics, and social scene, can influence this decision-making process. For students who want to have an active social life and lots of fun in college, considering a party school could be a good idea.
Party schools are often located in larger cities or towns where there are many concert venues, bars, clubs, and other gathering places. On campus, the culture is relatively easygoing. While students are still expected to participate in rigorous studies, they are also given ample opportunity to engage in partying, dancing, and cheering on the local sports teams.
As with any type of college, there are positives and negatives to attending a party school. In most cases, these pros and cons depend on a student's needs, wants, and goals, as they relate to the overall college experience.
Meeting People: This can be especially important for students moving out of state for college, where they may not have many existing friends.
New Experiences: While high school may be a fairly sheltered time for some students, a party college offers no shortage of new experiences.
Fun: Getting to meet new people and attend parties, clubs, and sporting events can be a lot of fun.
School-Life Balance: Unlike colleges that focus almost entirely on academics, party schools typically offer students a good mix of fun and activities, along with their studies.
Not for Introverts: Party schools may not be an ideal choice for students who prefer a quieter, more secluded lifestyle.
Overwhelming: With so much partying and late nights, being at a party school can sometimes feel like too much. Especially when trying to maintain a good GPA.
Cost: All those fun times don't come without cost. Attending a party school can put a strain on your budget if you're going out most nights.
Burnout: Even the most extroverted students can feel worn out by the party lifestyle after a while.
College Party Safety
For many students and parents, safety is the biggest concern surrounding party schools. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism more than 1,500 college students ages 18-24 die each year from alcohol-related injuries, and almost 100,000 college students report experiencing alcohol-related date rape or sexual assault. However, despite these statistics, there are ways that students can stay safe at a college party while still having a good time.
Another potential risk for students attending a party school is substance abuse. And individuals with mental health challenges like anxiety and depression may be more likely to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol. With31% of college students reporting symptoms of alcohol abuse, it's easy to see how things might spiral out of control.
Additionally, if you attend a school with a strong party culture, it may feel harder to decline an invitation out with your friends, even if you'd rather stay in your room and study. The impact of peer pressure and wanting to fit in can be significant. Make sure to take this into consideration before enrolling at a party school.
Tips and Tricks for Staying Safe at a College Party
Be aware of your surroundings at all times. Know how you got to the party and make sure you know how to get back home.
Keep your phone and wallet somewhere secure where you can easily reach them and won't lose them.
Ensure your social media is private and that you aren't sharing personal location information with untrustworthy individuals.
Guard your drinks, especially at parties and clubs. Don't let people you don't trust buy your drinks.
Always let someone close to you know where you're going to be. Think about sharing your phone location with a friend.
Avoid drinking to excess. Losing control of yourself can be extremely dangerous.
If you are walking home after a party, don't wear headphones and avoid walking alone.
If you take an Uber home, be absolutely sure you're getting in the right car.
Other Factors to Consider When Choosing a College
While many students prioritize fun when considering college, there are many other factors you can also think about. One of the biggest considerations when choosing a college is often the school's location. Attending an in-state public school can be much more affordable than an out-of-state institution. Additionally, many students want to stay close to family and friends in their hometown.
Another crucial factor to consider when choosing a school is the price of tuition. Many students rely on scholarships and financial aid to pay for college. For budget-conscious students, an online college may be the best choice — online tuition at many schools does not factor in a student's state of residency, which can help out-of-state learners save money.
Factors such as school size and academic quality can also play a big role in decision-making. Smaller schools may offer more individualized attention, which can be hugely beneficial for certain students. Conversely, larger schools may offer more programs and a stronger alumni network.
Alternative Postsecondary Education Options
Some students may not be able to attend in-person courses on campus five days a week. Also, diving into a four-year degree program may not make sense for learners who aren't sure what kind of career they want to pursue. An online community college or trade school may be a more attractive option for these students.
For certain careers, such as computer science, a coding bootcamp may provide a faster pathway into the profession. Trade schools can also be an effective way to enter an in-demand field in less time, and certificate programs may be a better fit than a bachelor's degree for students who want a direct path into their chosen profession without spending four years in school.
Advice from mental health expert Rayelle Davis, M.S Ed., NCC, LCPC
Rayelle Davis, M.S Ed., NCC, LCPC
Rayelle Davis is a nationally board certified counselor and a licensed clinical professional counselor. As a nontraditional student she earned her associate degree in psychology at Allegany College of Maryland. She went on to earn her bachelor's degree in psychology online at the University of Maryland Global Campus. Rayelle earned her master's degree in counseling education with a concentration in marriage, couples, and family therapy from Duquesne University.
She has taught several undergraduate psychology courses. She is currently a doctoral student and teaching assistant at Duquesne University and practices psychotherapy in Maryland.
10 Public Colleges With the Best Return on Investment in 2022
BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.
Compare your school options.
View the most relevant school for your interests and compare them by tuition, programs, acceptance rate, and other factors important to find your college home.