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by Vault Education Editors | August 02, 2010


It's that time of year again. Princeton Review has released its 2011 ranking of the Top American Party Schools. As usual, the list is based on a survey of over 100,000 students who ranked different schools in categories that included: "Reefer Madness", "Scotch and Soda, Hold the Scotch", "Lots of Beer", "Major Frat and Sorority Scene", etc.

University of Georgia: UGA DogIt should come as no surprise that most of the Top Party Schools are large Southern universities with strong football programs. Lots of school spirit + big classes + warm weather = party school. That said, there was a little bit of a shake-up in the Top 20 list this year, as Union College, University of North Dakota, Tulane University and Arizona State University fell out of the winners' circle. The University of Alabama, University of Maryland and Michigan State University stepped up however, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign made its triumphant return. That said, there was some flip-flopping in the Top 10, as Penn State moved from No. 1 to No. 3; the University of Florida from No. 2 to No. 7; Ohio University from No. 5 to No. 2; and the University of Georgia from No. 4 to No. 1. Gooooooooo Dawgs! Sic 'em! Woof, woof, woof, woof…

Princeton Review Top 5 American Party Schools

  1. University of Georgia
  2. Ohio University
  3. Penn State University
  4. West Virginia University
  5. University of Mississippi

So what does this mean for your career? Will potential employers assume you were a hard-drinking frat brother who tailgated every weekend? Probably not. In fact, being an alumnus/a of a college or university with a party reputation can be a good thing--as long as you stay positive and don't dwell. Here are some ways to make the most of a Top Party School spot:

  • In an interview, use the ranking to highlight your time management skills. For example, "A work/life balance is important to me, but I know where my priorities lie. I attended every UGA football game and still maintained a 3/97 GPA."
  • Use the ranking to bond with alumni. A fellow alumnus/a will understand the school's culture and likely remember his/her college days fondly. Chatting about school traditions can put you both at ease in an interview or at a networking event.
  • Use the party ranking as a networking ice-breaker. Everyone, regardless of alma mater, is curious about who made the Top Party School list. A one-minute discussion of your rank will get attention, and the "but seriously" turnaround into your academics and serious extracurriculars will keep it. But beware! Don't get caught talking about parties and never get to the "but seriously" turn.

Princeton Review Top 20 American Party Schools

  1. University of Georgia
  2. Ohio University
  3. Penn State University
  4. West Virginia University
  5. University of Mississippi
  6. University of Texas at Austin
  7. University of Florida
  8. University of California, Santa Barbara
  9. University of Iowa
  10. DePauw University
  11. Florida State University
  12. University of Wisconsin-Madison
  13. University of Alabama
  14. Sewanee: The University of the South
  15. Indiana University
  16. University of Colorado at Boulder
  17. University of Missouri
  18. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  19. University of Maryland
  20. Michigan State University


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