Top 12 Party Colleges


No other student’s party like a college student.

We’ve presented you with the top biggest parties by college students in the country, and now you’ll get to see which colleges are the top partiers.

According to Classes and Careers, college students attend 62 parties a year (and 88,750 get arrested during Spring Break – it doesn’t take a genius to know that these involve parties gone out of control).


Parties are already part of the college experience. College is where students are usually far from home, living with people their own age, and making major decisions on their own.

Sometimes it’s because of the stress. Other times it’s simply to have fun and be with friends.

Whatever the reason, college students are known for wild parties, so it’s no surprise that the Princeton Review has published its list of top party colleges for 2016-2017.

The survey asked students to rate their college according to the parties that go on and how hard the drinks are!

According to studies in the National Survey on Drug Use and Health for 2014, 2 out of 3 students, aged 18 to 22, binge-drink in a month.

A 2009 study shows that almost 2,000 college students have died from alcohol-related injuries.


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With these statistics in mind, many colleges are actually trying to slip down the list of top party colleges.

But you might be surprised to learn that many of these party colleges are also smart schools. Let’s see how the party scene is really like.

#1 – University of Wisconsin-Madison

Location: Madison, Wisconsin

Type of College: flagship university/public university

Remember that Mifflin Street Block Party that gets around 20,000 visitors every May?

Well, the students behind that usually come from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

When the students are not being the best at Real Estate, or when they’re done being brilliant chemical engineers-to-be, they go out into the streets to party!

Mifflin Block Party Makes a Comeback

The University of Wisconsin-Madison is actually considered a Public Ivy.

The college started out as a University of the Territory of Wisconsin, and has seen several student protests through its history. Its students have always been active and vocal.

They rallied against the chemical company that supplied the napalm used in the Vietnam War.

They protested against the army mathematics research center that was rumored to be supporting the US Army’s presence in Vietnam.

There were also incidents where the students used a bomb to scare the research center.

It should also be noted that the Mifflin Street Block Party is not a college-sanctioned party.

In fact, the university has been trying to stop this party from happening, but it is no longer under their control, and even though the party caused disturbance and many controversies, it still continues to this day.

It has probably to do with the fact that UWM students are pretty liberal.

The college has been ranked No. 4 in LGBTQ-friendliness and No. 10 for best college newspaper.

#2 – West Virginia University

Location: Morgantown, West Virginia

Type of College: public university

The West Virginia University started out as Agricultural College of West Virginia in 1867.

It became West Virginia University a year later to cater to a broader range of education. How did it become a party college?

college party alchohol arrests

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West Virginia University has made 20 arrests, but you might be surprised to learn that WVU has a nationally renowned Forensics and Investigative Science program, founded through the school’s partnership with the FBI.

The program is an exciting one, since it actually includes crime-scene houses and vehicles that are used to help students develop investigative and research skills.

It’s like a malleable laboratory for students taking the forensics program.

WVU is well-known for its “I’m Shmacked” videos from its students every time there’s a big celebration or event where alcohol is involved.

Also, have you ever heard of a college town that actually gives out free drinks once every week?

Well, there are several bars around the college that offer free liquor to college students every Thursday!

Imagine that! No wonder WVU kids get wasted every week.

Also, there have been more than 2,000 arrests related to alcohol use around the university campus.

Bars are just a few steps’ away, and Morgantown has a lively night life.

In fact, many of its private clubs allow students as young as 18 years old to drink and party.

I’m Shmacked The Movie: WVU St. Patricks Day ft. Huey Mack

But with all the partying, its academic standing is still pretty good. It’s ranked No. 99 in Top Public Schools, No. 150 in Business Programs, and No. 183 in National Universities.

#3 – University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Location: Urbana & Champaign, Illinois

Type of College: flagship university/public research university

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is the main university of the university of Illinois system, and is a founding member of the Big 10 Conference.

It has one of the best engineering programs in the world, and its library system is second only to Harvard University.

The college isn’t all serious studies, though, as it’s the 3rd party college in the country.

Many students do bar crawls during weeknights, and the abundance of a night life is difficult to resist, especially for college students who have 12 bars to visit on campus alone.

Also, the Greek life at the university is astounding. There are several parties every night, and students are always ready to get involved!

University of Illinois Named Top Party School by Princeton Review

You might wonder about the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, but it’s actually pretty good.

It is No. 44 in National Universities

  • No. 27 in Best Colleges for Veterans
  • No. 10 in Top Public Schools
  • No. 2 in Accounting
  • No. 6 in Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs
  • No. 3 in Biological Engineering
  • No. 1 in Civil Engineering, and more!

According to the US News and World Report, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is a pretty balanced school, where students party hard and study harder.

#4 – Lehigh University

Location: Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Type of College: private research university

Lehigh University is one of the Hidden Ivies in the country.

It was founded by a businessman in 1865, and grew in size thanks to a huge endowment of $500,000, the largest amount given to a higher education institution at that time.

What makes Lehigh a party college is the fact that many of its older students who live off-campus throw house parties, especially fraternities and sororities.

This is so prevalent, though, that there is very little social interaction among students on campus, outside of drinking parties.


Lehigh Dayglow Party- image courtesy: Lehigh Valley Transplant

Almost every night (especially after tiresome tests and projects), students go out to drink and have fun.

Many don’t opt for in-campus activities, when there are other options.

  • Lehigh University is ranked No. 44 among National Universities
  • No. 38 in Best Value Schools
  • No. 49 in High School Counselor Rankings

Lehigh doesn’t emphasize its party college reputation, though.

It offers a CHOICE housing, a residential community where students swear off alcohol and illegal drugs while in their residence halls

Living in CHOICE, they also are not allowed to return to their halls intoxicated. This hadn’t been a bad thing, though.

In fact, from 2014 – 2015, there has been a 10% increase in first year students living in CHOICE, and 4% increase in upperclassmen choosing the same.

The university administration is also bringing the party back to the campus, where third year students, aside from the first and second years, will be required to live on campus.

Drinking restrictions will also be loosened so that students can have a bit more fun on campus grounds.

#5 – Bucknell University

Location: Lewisburg, Pennsylvania

Type of College: private liberal arts college

Bucknell might be small (just 3,600 undergraduate students and 50 graduate students), but they have a large Greek presence.

The university was founded in 1846, and is also considered a Hidden Ivy.

It’s one of the colleges with the most powerful alumni connections in the country, also owing to its tight-knit fraternities and sororities.

Bucknell Knows How To Party

Although Bucknell University had allowed women to study college through its Female Institute in 1883, it had a strange tradition:

while studying together, women would face east while men would face west. Thankfully, that practice is long gone. It would certainly make partying harder, after all.

Bucknell is a notable college, though.

According to US News and World Report Bucknell is No. 32 in National Liberal Arts Colleges

  • No. 7 in Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs
  • No. 2 in Civil Engineering
  • No. 3 in Mechanical and Electrical Engineering

But you’ll be surprised to know that Bucknell parties just as hard!

Students at Bucknell take partying seriously.

They even have themed parties on weeknights like spent at “Shark Tank” or “Taj Mahal”. Their “Super Saturday” parties are always a blast, leaving people with a massive hangover the next day.

Plus, their House Party Weekend always happens with booze and music.

#6 – University of Iowa

Location: Iowa City, Iowa

Type of College: flagship university/public university

As a public university, the University of Iowa has a very large student body.

And guess what?

They also hold the largest college party in the country, with over 75,000 participants.

The U of I used to hold the VEISHEA (Veterinary Medicine, Engineering, Industrial Science, Home Economics, and Agriculture) festival, a celebration that included music, drinks, and booze.

Because of this, the University of Iowa had actually been the top party college in the country. The administration wasn’t happy about that.

Several arrests had been made on students who went over .200 alcohol content in their blood (enough to get these kids killed).

So, in 2014, the college decided to get rid of VEISHEA.

No other celebration has taken its place, and that’s why this university has dropped down a few places.

However it’s still among the top party colleges in the country because of its large fraternities and sororities that throw parties even during weekdays and even before classes officially start!

Iowa State Tailgate

  • The University of Iowa is No. 32 in Business Programs
  • No. 33 in Top Public Schools
  • No. 63 in Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs
  • No. 82 in National Universities

#7 – University of Mississippi

Location: Oxford, Mississippi

Type of College: flagship university/public research university

The University of Mississippi or Ole Miss is a top school for cheerleading.

This college supports its athletes, and of course, whenever they get top spots in sports, they celebrate with good food and hard liquor.

After a game, everyone is welcome to house parties at Frat Row. Tailgating is popular, too. It’s not just a mere event.

It’s practically a tradition of its own at Ole Miss. Before a game, there are tents and portable toilets set for students and fans.

Although the drinking is controlled (no liquor bottles; people may only drink from blue and red cups), there is still a lot of partying, especially during the night.

It’s not a small event – it’s a celebration for the entire community, even if the college doesn’t win a game.


University of Mississippi at a party- Image courtesy:

Pool parties are all the rage, and fraternities like Sigma Nu throw the craziest parties and events.

Owing to its large student body (around 23,000), parting at the University of Mississippi is always fun.

Ole Miss has some Southern charm, although it has been criticized for not being as open or accommodating to the LGBTQA community.

The university was chartered in 1844 and was the first school in the Southeast to hire a female teacher in 1885.

The university is ranked No. 64 in Top Public Schools

  • No. 114 in Business Programs
  • No. 135 in National Universities
  • No. 170 in Engineering Programs (Doctorate)

#8 – Syracuse University

Location: Syracuse, New York

Type of College: private research university

Syracuse University students party a lot, usually after winter break and this huge party that runs street-long is free!

Every yard has drinks and food to share, and students hop from yard to yard until they end up at the Block Party, which includes musical performances by well-known artists such as Kesha.

Mayfest is also huge among Syracuse students, who give out free food and drinks.

The university also holds Juice Jam, a large concert-like celebration at the beginning of the school year. And the pubs around the college?

The drinks are either cheap or free!

No wonder Syracuse students love to party. After all, it’s still New York, where everyone knows how to have a good time.


Syracuse students camping outside the Dome before a big game- image courtesy:

And because Syracuse University loves basketball season, it’s fraternities usually host tailgating and parties before the actual games.

Also, have you heard of “Bleeding Orange”? It’s the Syracuse spirit, and is most apparent as a Syracuse rite of passage where students camp outside the Dome the night before a really big game.

Sure there are donuts and coffee for the freezing fans, but who won’t miss the opportunity to slip in some warm liquor?

  • Syracuse is ranked No. 36 in Best Colleges for Veterans
  • No. 44 in Best Value Schools
  • No. 43 in Business Programs
  • No. 60 in National Universities

#9 – Tulane University of Louisiana

Location: New Orleans, Louisiana

Type of College: private research university

There are various fun bars near Tulane University, which is why it doesn’t take a genius to see how Tulane became a party college.

One such bar is The Boot, which is always crowded.

It’s the best college bar in the area, and has a Wednesday Happy Hour, where students as young as 18 years old can get drinks, which basically means anyone in college!

Tulane students love football season.

Aside from the hype of the game and cheering people on, it’s a great excuse to drink during the day and party over at frat houses.

Because it’s New Orleans, the university gives students two days off for Mardi Gras!

Because it’s a fun parade celebration, you can bet your bottom dollar that Tulane students will be up and down the street with either a camera or a drink in hand.

New Orleans has tons of celebrations and its residents love festivals, so Tulane students find themselves partying, not because they have no other fun thing to do, but because the parties are everywhere in the neighborhood!

Mardi Gras at Tulane

The university started in 1834 as the Medical College of Louisiana.

It became the University of Louisiana, but after it closed during the Civil War, it became the Tulane University of Louisiana in 1884.

One of its colleges, the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine is the only specialty school of its kind in the entire country.

It is ranked No. 23 in Best Colleges for Veterans

  • No. 39 in National Universities
  • No. 48 in Business Programs
  • No. 69 in Best Value Schools

#10 – Colgate University

Location: Hamilton Village, Hamilton, New York

Type of College: private liberal arts college

No, it’s not named after a toothpaste brand.

But it is named after one of its trustees, William Colgate, who ran a soap company, and eventually founded the Colgate toothpaste company.

The college started out in 1819, and was known as the Hamilton Literary and Theological Institution.

Then, it became Madison University, and then finally Colgate University in 1890.

It’s very rural, with only a small number of students (undergraduate student population doesn’t reach 3,000), but it certainly beat other big schools when it comes to having fun.


Colgate students at a party

Because it’s a small college, students know one another and social circles overlap, so many people can get invited to frat parties, bar-hopping, and dancing during the weekends and even during the weekdays.

It should also be noted that Colgate, although a small school, is rigorous in its academics.

  • It’s been ranked No. 10 in High School Counselor Rankings
  • No. 12 in National Liberal Arts Colleges
  • No. 18 in Best Value Schools

So even if students do party hard, they don’t let their studies slide. Also, many of them subscribe to the belief of “work hard, party harder”!

#11 – University of California-Santa Barbara

Location: public research university

Type of College: Santa Barbara, California

California people sure know how to party, especially when it involves the beach and booze.

The UC Santa Barbara was the college that started Floatopia, which involved simply having fun and floating on the water along the beach.

California can be pretty hot, and the beach scene is constantly filled with college students.

Now, the beach parties are called Deltopia.

It’s not a college-sanctioned party, though, so students get to keep doing the parties (only without the booze on the beach now, since law enforcement authorities have kept a tight lid on beach security).

But the students aren’t bummed out. The college is in Isla Vista, and there are house parties every week!

When Halloween comes calling, everyone has a blast. Its night-life is fun, owing to the location itself.

Deltopia 2014

There are many bars that offer drinks to college students. Celebrations on the streets always end with night parties on lawns and yards.

All this partying might make you think it’s all UCSB students do. The college has a 49% acceptance rate, which is selective, compared to other colleges.

It is part of the University of California system, and is ranked 48th in the world, according to Times Higher Education.

According to the US News and World Report University of Santa Barbara is No. 8 in Top Public Schools

  • No. 9 in Materials Engineering
  • No. 37 in National Universities

Those are top ranks! So, even with the party scene, the academic life at UCSB is something to be proud of.

#12 – University of Delaware

Location: Newark, Delaware

Type of College: private research university (with public funding)

The University of Delaware is the largest university in the state, and although it’s privately governed, it does receive public funding because of its land-grant, sea-grant, space-grant, and urban-grant.

It’s one of the oldest colleges in the country, having been founded in 1743, but it wasn’t chartered until 1833.

However, it’s still one of the historical higher education academic institutions in the country, considering 3 of its first alumni went on to sign the Declaration of Independence.

But it’s not stuck in the past.

The University of Delaware has seen some of the most controversial college parties in entire country.

Just this year, college students from UD who were under 21 years old were arrested in a house party by a fraternity.

There are 48 social groups from the University of Delaware, and during weeknights and weekends, students can be seen spilling from houses into the sidewalk to either puke or continue drinking.

In 2013, the college’s rugby team was suspended for 5 years after its party went out of control and the goers started jumping on cars!


Delaware college students going on a rampage- image courtesy:

The college is notorious for parties, but it’s also well-known for its science and engineering programs.

  • University of Delaware is No. 10 in Chemical Engineering
  • No. 30 in Top Public Schools
  • No. 79 in National Universities


Rob Clark admin staff managing editor

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