College is supposed to be a time when you move away from home to focus on your education. In reality it’s also a time when you learn how to drink until 4 in the morning and still make it to your 9:30 AM class (albeit reeking of smoke and beer). Since college is synonymous with partying in much of America’s psyche, it’s only fitting that we asked students which schools amp it up to bacchanalian levels to report the results back to you. Here are the top 10 schools where you never hear the words "last call."
Florida State University is a Tier 1 doctoral research institution that is brimming with school pride, Southern hospitality … and alcohol. Students are unanimous: “This is definitely a party school. There’s not one night a week where there’s not a club / frat party / random house party to go to.” As a result, “it is VERY, VERY, VERY easy to make friends here.” Alcohol flows freely, students are happy, the great weather gives everyone a reason to strip down, and the guys couldn’t be more pleased. “The best thing about FSU is the girls. They are all gorgeous here, and – not only that – they have brains, too.” Another student adds: “Girls, girls, more girls.” Sound like fun? FSU might just be the school for you.
Looking for students who can “out drink and out party anyone, while still maintaining a 4.0 or pulling an A in organic chemistry?” If so, look into Lehigh. A student notes, “It’s amazing watching kids answering challenging questions in class who you also watched down 15 shots the night before.” Students say “You will smoke pot at Lehigh”, as “marijuana is very popular” and “easy to get”, but “the more serious drugs have limited use.” As for alcohol, well, that’s everywhere. “People drink all week,” and “morning cocktails, and tailgates before football games, are huge.” But at least you’re drinking with some of the smartest kids around. “Though they can act superficial when out at parties, or when trying to impress their friends or the opposite sex,” a student says, “at the end of the day, the students at Lehigh are still incredibly smart.”
Penn State is one of the largest universities in America. Can the essence of such a big school be captured in just four small words? According to one student, absolutely. And those four words are: “We. Drink. A. Lot.” “Parties and alcohol pervade the campus.” “Students start partying on Wednesday, and we finish on Sunday … depending on the time of year, Tuesday is a big day, too.” Another student chimes in, “at Penn … a flood of cheap beer and vodka streams ever-plentiful down all the dorm staircases.” Much of this alcohol is consumed by students who are athletes, sports fans, or members of the school’s Greek scene, leading one student to say “after drinking, I know of quite a few girls (and boys) who wouldn’t mind being tackled by a Nittany Lions football player (or two.)” Though another student warns, “don’t go to frat parties if you aren’t friends with anyone in that frat. You will not get beer.” Overall, students seem thrilled with the Penn State party scene. The only thing that seems to be flowing at Penn state more plentifully than the alcohol is students’ “oozing and sugary-sweet school pride.”
The University of California - Santa Cruz is home to some of the wildest pot festivals on record. Simply put, “420 is a big deal to a lot of people here.” On 4/20 itself, almost the whole school gathers together at Porter Meadows to light up … and it’s no surprise most students are stoned during the annual Naked Run, which happens during the first rain of the school year. As one student stated, “as good or bad as it may sound, everyone at UCSC is in some way a hippie, a stoner, a free-loader, a vegan, an environmentalist, a tree-hugger.” And, since the UCSC campus is located on a 2,000-acre defunct timber ranch, the happy students report it’s never too hard to find some “trees.”
The social scene at the University of Georgia is an interesting mix of a giant campus (“the first thing I remember thinking about UGA is WOW, this place is huge!”), school pride, southern charm, a flourishing music community, and a slew of bars and clubs. Add in the final ingredients – sports and liquor – and you have a recipe for fun. “Most traditions here revolve around football season and drinking,” says one sophomore. During big games, “it’s just one big party all week.” “Almost everyone parties,” another says. “I get goose bumps just thinking about it.” “During a big game traffic is crazy, tailgaters take over every open space, parking is near impossible, and everyone is loud all day long. It could be a night game, but the tailgaters still arrive at 8 in the morning.” But at least UGA students have some sense of balance. As a final student chimed in, “Saying we don’t party hard here would be a huge lie. We all do – but the majority of us also know when to be serious. There’s a saying at UGA - we definitely work hard so that we can party hard.”
There’s a saying that the five characters in the Scooby Doo cartoons are based on the stereotypical students at each of the five colleges in Massachusetts’ Five College Consortium. In this saying, the eager and over-excitable Scooby Doo is based on the eager and over-excitable students at the University of Massachusetts – Amherst. And students here have been known to live up to their Scooby-like reputation, with rowdy parties and students who enthusiastically seek out a good time. “The town is small, but the bar scene is really good for college kids.” “There is always a party and the opportunity to go out.” Unlike some other schools on this list where the sports teams regularly take home trophies, there are sports at UMass, but students report they’re mostly used as an excuse to drink. “Honestly, the football team sucks. The best part is tailgating, no-one even goes to the games.” “Hockey is the most popular sport and the team is pretty decent, but you should still mostly expect thousands of drunk kids not paying attention when you get to a game.” That said, the party scene on the whole isn’t too far off from what you would find at some other large, fun-loving state schools. As a final student reported, “I mean, yeah, of course there are parties to go to, but UMASS’s party scene isn’t too different from that of other large colleges. If you want to party, you can always find one to go to, but not all students are crazy party animals! Lol.” Based on that last Lol, we don’t know if we believe them. That sounds like the laughter of a crazy party animal (or a happy Scooby) to me.
Most students seem enamored of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s undergraduate experience. With about 30,000 undergraduates, the state’s flagship university “has everything you'd want out of a college experience: good academics, strong programs with a diverse number of majors, a beautiful campus, big-time athletics … and an outstanding party scene.” What’s that about the party scene? Did you just say Playboy magazine named Wisconsin the nation’s #1 party school? “Well, the University of Wisconsin is a Big Ten powerhouse, and a top-25 fixture in men’s basketball and football ... and athletics often go hand in hand with partying and alcohol.” This is an area where nearly all students agree. “People party a lot.” “We are a bunch of party animals.” “Good-looking, smart, non-stop partiers.” “Students do know how to party.” The students reference partying again and again, more often than any of Wisconsin-Madison’s other strong attributes. It seems, in the end, Playboy got this one just right.
Vanderbilt’s southern charm and Ivy-level academics attract students from all over the country, but – upon arriving – there is “a real social pressure to party hard, we are expected to from our reputation.” It doesn’t hurt that “Nashville is an incredibly lively city full of fun bars and country clubs, and Vanderbilt’s campus is a social hub on weekends with parties, club-sponsored events, concerts, speakers, movies, etc.” As a junior says, “Really, Vanderbilt University is one big party, starting at 10pm every Thursday night.” Greek and non-Greeks alike mingle on Frat Row: “Fraternities are what run all of the parties, and supply most of the social scene. With the fraternities, there are always dozens of parties to choose from each weekend.” Nearly all students party, but – no matter what they looked like when they first arrived on campus – after Vandy has had its way with them, most partiers tend to look the same. “I have a good friend who came to Vandy as a pot-smoking, long-haired, hippie. Finding that he didn’t really fit in (and was thus not experiencing all of the sugary excitement on campus), he returned from winter break with a shorter – and more typically Vandy – haircut. The Bob Marley tee-shirts were soon nowhere to be found…and in their place, a large selection of polos.” “Characteristics of the 'ideal' Vandy girl: thin, tan, southern, blonde, wealthy, pearl earrings, pastel Lilly Pulitzer dresses, classy.” “Characteristics of the “ideal” Vandy boy: pastel polo shirts (Ralph Lauren), khakis, southern, wealthy.” Taking a step back, most students agree on two things. “We have a really good looking campus,” and “Vanderbilt is a party school, plain and simple.”
According to the students at the small and southern Washington & Lee University, W&L could also stand for "White and Loaded” Says one junior, “preppy doesn’t even come close to describing the amount of Vera Bradley, croakies, and J.Crew/Polo outfits …” Another says, “Watching the painstakingly well-dressed students roam the historic Colonnade on their way to class, one could easily mistake this school for a movie set.” But if you think the preppy student body at W&L sounds too polite to party, you’ve got another thing coming. “W&L students are expected to be as aggressive on the dance floor as they are in the library,” a recent grad reports. “Expect to stretch your mind during the day, then blitz it away on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday nights.” An “astounding percentage” – nearly three-quarters - of the student body goes Greek here, and “fraternity parties usually range from cocktail social affairs to full-on keg stands in the country.” Another student chimes in, “one of my most recent and loving memories was when half of the senior class went nude rope swinging together into the Maury.” We guess W&L students know how to get less polite after all. A final student says “at W&L, people go out on average 3-5 nights a week. And they go out hard. If you're awake at 2am on a Tuesday, you are probably drunk eating your Domino's pizza, wondering how drinking all those gin buckets earlier that night will affect your history quiz tomorrow at 11am. At W&L, if you want to do something at night that doesn't involve drinking, it probably won't involve other people.”
At West Virginia University, students are divided into two groups: those who are there to “study hard and get great grades,” taking advantage of WVU’s “dirt cheap” tuition … and those are there to “party and drink a lot.” Let’s focus on the latter students, seeing how WVU ranks at the top of the national party school lists every year. These kinds of students are not hard to find, and most readily embrace their ability to have a good time. “We are the #1 party school in the USA, and we are proud of it!” says one junior. “We get our work done, but we’ll always find the time to keep up our party status.” “WVU is credited for being the #1 drinking college, and it definitely lives up to that name.” Says one student, “Nightlife starts on Wednesday nights … and some weeks, on Tuesdays … but pretty much any night of the week you can find students drinking downtown, in dorms, in houses, in open fields, and pretty much anywhere else parties are happening.” This is pretty much how students roll, “knee deep in alcohol and tequila.” “Professors don’t even expect students to show up for morning classes after football and basketball games. Those were party days, and the next day is get-sober day.” Nonetheless, even the biggest partiers do make time for some studying. “If you want to come to school and have a lot of fun but get a good education, then come here,” But be forewarned: “We all love it here. There’s almost so much school pride that you’ll feel weird at WVU if you don’t bleed blue and gold like I do!”