Move out QS and THES, now PLAYBOY too in the ranking game… However, I bet the Universities don’t want to top this ranking…

The term party school is used to refer to a college or university (usually in the United States) that has a reputation for heavy alcohol and drug use or a general culture of licentiousness. The best-known[1] list of alleged party schools is published annually by The Princeton Review. The magazine Playboy also releases a list of party schools on an irregular basis. Many schools bristle at the party school label, and the lists have been condemned by groups such as the American Medical Association for promoting dangerous behavior.

This article is sourced from wikipedia though there are several news-articles too available that are reporting the rankings of US University based on “party” parameters released this week.

The Princeton Review

The 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“.[2] The 2012–13 rankings were contained in The Princeton Review’s book The Best 377 Colleges and were based on responses from 122,000 students. Topping the 2012–13 list was West Virginia University, followed by the University of IowaOhio University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and theUniversity of Georgia.[3]

The Best 377 Colleges also included a list of “Stone Cold Sober” schools, led by Brigham Young University.


The magazine Playboy has published a list of party schools in 1987, 2002, 2006, and every year since 2009.[4][5][6] The 1987 list included forty schools, with sixteen honorable mentions; California State University, Chico ranked first, a distinction that, according to the magazine, some students considered a burden.[7] In 2002, the list featured twenty-five schools and ten honorable mentions and was topped by Arizona State University.[8] The University of Wisconsin–Madison placed first among ten schools in 2006,[9] and in 2009, the University of Miami gained the top spot out of 25, ranking highest in the “brains” category, as well as in the “bikini” category.[4] The University of Texas at Austin took the top ranking in 2010.[5] In 2012, the University of Virginia was ranked #1.[6]

It is widely believed that Playboy released additional lists of party schools in the past, but this claim has been debunked by[8] Playboy did describe the University of Wisconsin as “the party school” in a September 1968 issue, and deemed the University of California, Los Angeles “tops in campus action” in 1976. However, the magazine did not actually rank schools until January 1987.[10] In 2009, Playboy announced it would make the list an annual feature in the magazine.

McGill University, in Montreal and the University of Western Ontario,[11] in London, Ontario, are the only Canadian schools to have made the list.

Criticism of party school lists

In 2003, the American Medical Association requested that the Princeton Review remove the party school rankings from its college guides. Dr. Richard Yost, director of the AMA’s Office of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse, said, “The Princeton Review should be ashamed to publish something for students and parents that fuels the false notion that alcohol is central to the college experience and that ignores the dangerous consequences of high-risk drinking. College binge drinking is a major public health issue and a source of numerous problems for institutions of higher learning.”[12] The accuracy of The Princeton Review’s rankings has also been questioned, especially with regards to the larger schools. Experts argue that the sample size of students surveyed at each college (three hundred students, on average) is not enough to provide a truthful depiction of student behavior. “It’s positively unscientific,” said Dr. Henry Wechsler of the Harvard School of Public Health College Alcohol Studies Program.[12]

Administrators, professors, and many students at so-called “party schools” have tried to disassociate themselves from the rankings. For example, West Virginia University presidentMichael Garrison refused to give interviews about his school’s appearance in the 2007–08 Princeton Review list. “I’ve talked to thousands of our students over the weekend and during the first days of classes. Their concerns are with their education, with their futures, and with the great year we have ahead at WVU,” he said in a prepared statement.[13]


The following table shows a comparison between the top 10 colleges in the 2012 Playboy ranking and the 2012–13 Princeton Review ranking.[5][3]

# Princeton Review Playboy
1 West Virginia University University of Virginia
2 University of Iowa University of Southern California
3 Ohio University University of Florida
4 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign University of Texas
5 University of Georgia University of Wisconsin
6 University of Florida University of Georgia
7 University of California, Santa Barbara Vanderbilt University
8 Florida State University Tulane University
9 Miami University Texas Christian University
10 Syracuse University Ohio State University

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