It’s the list no school wants to be on.
But every year, for better or for worse, The Princeton Review publishes its provocative ranking of the Top 20 “party schools.” And college officials whose schools land on the list wince and often vehemently argue how unfair and undeserving they are of the dubious honor.
It’s based on a combination of survey questions completed by students on the use of alcohol and drugs, the average number of hours of study each day, and the popularity of the Greek system.
Predictably, schools that make the party ranking attack the credibility of the list along with The Princeton Review. “Among all the rankings published by various media outlets, the Princeton Review’s stand out for their complete lack of objective, scientific methodology,” UI spokesman Tom Moore told the Iowa City Press-Citizen. “Their rankings are based almost exclusively on anecdotes and random, subjective feedback.”
Well, yes and no. The ranking is based on extensive online surveying of current students on college campuses. Each year, tens of thousands of students on hundreds of campuses are asked to answer more than 80 questions. As far as the University of Iowa goes, it has the dubious distinction of making the Top 20 party school list for at least five consecutive years. In fact, 13 schools have made the list in each and every one of the past five years.
Of course, it’s easy for one-year anomalies to crop up that could unfairly get schools on a list like this. So we’ve taken a longer, five-year perspective to examine how the list has changed from 2014 to 2010.
Here’s the “party schools” that tend to show up again and again.
Ranking The ‘Party Schools’ From 2014 to 2010
|2014 Rank & School||2014 Rank||2013 Rank||2012 Rank||2011 Rank||2010 Rank|
|University of Iowa||1||2||4||9||12|
|University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign||3||4||11||18||NR|
|West Virginia University||4||1||6||4||6|
|University of Florida||6||6||9||7||2|
|University of Wisconsin-Madison||8||13||14||12||8|
|Penn State University||9||11||7||3||1|
|University of Georgia||11||5||2||1||4|
|Florida State University||12||8||8||11||9|
|University of Mississippi||14||14||3||5||3|
|University of Texas-Austin||15||15||10||6||7|
|University of Maryland-College Park||17||16||18||19||NR|
|University of Vermont||19||NR||19||NR||NR|
|University of Oregon||20||NR||NR||NR||NR|
|University of South Carolina||NR||17||20||NR||NR|
|James Madison University||NR||18||NR||NR||NR|
|University of Maine||NR||19||NR||NR||NR|
|University of Tennessee||NR||20||NR||NR||16|
|University of Alabama-Tuscaloosa||NR||NR||NR||13||NR|
|Sewanee-The University of the South||NR||NR||NR||14||17|
|Louisiana State University||NR||NR||13||NR||NR|
|University of Colorado-Boulder||NR||NR||NR||16||11|
|University of Missouri||NR||NR||NR||17||NR|
|Michigan State University||NR||NR||NR||20||NR|
|Union College (NY)||NR||NR||NR||NR||13|
|University of North Dakota||NR||NR||NR||NR||18|
|Arizona State University||NR||NR||17||NR||20|
Source: The Princeton Review