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30 Best Party Schools in the US

Ole Miss Rebels

If you've ever been to Ole Miss, you know about their Southern charm. Everybody's a good host and wants to make sure guests have a good time. There's no better example of this than The Grove during football games. Plus, "hotty toddy" is in their fight song. Need we say more?

A lot of the parties are based around the Greek system and tailgating. Honestly, if you're looking for an unforgettable tailgating experience, go to Ole Miss. Football in the south is like water to ducks. 

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Alabama Crimson Tide

Unless you live in Alabama, you have no idea what the tailgating scene is like. Gameday is a blur, especially when they’re going against their rivals, Auburn. Fans go hard, and it’ll be a party you’ll never forget. This rivalry is as old as the schools themselves. 

The school itself was built on the tradition of football and Greek life, and students are serious about keeping it alive. At UA, you'll meet friends for life and party buddies galore. 

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Florida State Seminoles

Florida is Spring Break central. When you live there, every day is like Spring Break, right? Florida State and the University of Florida have long-standing rivalries in numerous aspects, and party culture is no exception.

Though, the 'Noles lose out here to their cross-state competitors. The last time State ranked above the Gators was way back in 2012. Whatever. The school just has to party harder to remain on top. 

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Sonoma State Seawolves

We’re not gonna lie about this one. Greek life parties at Sonoma State are fine and all, but the real party happens at the Snow Club. Frat parties happen almost every week, but cops are usually called and parties are busted up. 

Some people prefer to party in huge groups while others have a small get together to avoid the police. Sonoma State is also known for being very academically inclined, so it’s a balancing game at this university. 

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DePauw Tigers

DePauw's Greek-letter community consistently ranks as one of the largest when measured as a percentage of the student body that participates, which isn't a surprise since this is the home of the first modern women's sorority and two of the longest continuous fraternities in the world.

This large Greek life presence might account for such a high ranking. Then again, as the birthplace of the Society of Professional Journalists, DePauw might simply be full of writers worried about the internet killing the print business.

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Lehigh Mountain Hawks

Lehigh jumped into the rankings at #10 in 2014 and rose to #6 in 2015. That's even after the school introduced a "Lehigh After Dark" program in 2012 to reduce high-risk behaviors. It didn't quite work as well as they wanted. 

Lehigh is a small, competitive school, however, and has also been called a "Hidden Ivy," a nod to the academically rigorous Ivy League. Therefore, some just see it as part of the school's nature: study hard, play hard!

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Maryland Terrapins

When summer rolls around in College Park, many bars and restaurants heavily adjust their hours or close up shop until August rolls around again. That's how big partying is in Maryland. It literally controls the entertainment industry. 

Not only does the college provide an important part of the workforce, but the students are also the patrons. Students must be getting their work done though since not many are sticking around for summer school.

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Miami (Ohio) RedHawks

Miami University is basically in a city created just for itself. The median age of Oxford, Ohio, is just 21-years-old. That's a lot of people who will be wanting to legally raise a glass for the first time on their birthday.

The Miami Redhawks are also huge into Greek life. There are over 50 fraternity and sorority organizations on campus. Basically, things are known to get a little crazy.

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Wisconsin Badgers

We'll cut Wisconsin a break because it's probably not their fault. The state of Wisconsin, as a whole, has a high level of alcohol consumption compared to national averages.

Wisconsin is also part of the "Beer Belly" of America (along with Minnesota and both Dakotas). They have three times as many bars as grocery stores, according to Washington Post. 

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Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Somehow, Wake Forest University beat out every other North Carolina college. Much of this is because students’ social life is heavily wrapped up around Greek life. Most fraternities and sororities have at least one day a week, either Friday or Saturday. 

That isn't to say Wake Forest isn't focused on academics too. They call it "Work Forest" for a reason. Those who work hard have to party harder to relax a little. 

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Iowa Hawkeyes

Party school rankings change greatly from year to year. If a school has a high ranking one year, it usually falls in the rankings the next, usually following changes from the university’s administration.

One school that bucks this trend is the University of Iowa. They’ve consistently stayed among the top four during the past four years. While other schools have come and gone, Iowa sticks around. This truly makes them the kings of campus in this regard.

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Delaware Fightin’ Blue Hens

UD students don’t lack places to drink. There are several bars, taverns, and restaurants with ample happy hour deals to quench any thirst. Dages (aka daytime parties) and bar crawls are common, but the real party happens around St. Paddy’s Day thanks to Shamrockfest. 

The school isn't too happy with their reputation so campus police often have to work with local law enforcement to break parties up. Students don't care much, however. Delaware Blue Hens are stoked and proud of their rep. 

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Maine Black Bears

The Black Bears sure know how to enjoy themselves. The university has made it onto top party school lists from several sources for two years running, and it's something the students want to keep rolling. 

If you’re in the area and wondering what it’s like, go to Maine Day, which happens on May 1st. Most classes are canceled, so students spend the whole day having fun and partying. 

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Penn State Nittany Lions

You might think you were at an SEC school if you visited Penn State on a football game day. But the South doesn't have epic tailgates all to themselves. Students literally camp out for access to the student section.

These students basically invented day drinking. If that's not enough of a party atmosphere for you, don't skip THON. It's the nation's largest student-run philanthropy every year, aka a giant dance marathon.

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Georgia Bulldogs

Many SEC schools appear in the rankings, but Georgia comes in as the conference's #2 party school. It still ranks in the Top 10 for the past five years, but the school has mostly been on its way out due to a renewed focus from the administration.

Georgia peaked at #1 back in 2011 but had dropped down to #15 for 2015. Perhaps this is due to the school's recognition for community service and volunteering the past few consecutive years.

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Florida Gators

The #1 party school in Florida goes to the University of Florida Gators, but that's not without some strong competition from rival Florida State. What sets Gainesville apart is that they also have one of the best college bars: nationally-ranked The Swamp.

What better place to party than the annual Dance Marathon at UF? "How does that work?" you ask. Well, it's a 26.2-hour dance party, of course! It's one of the best times of year in Florida. 

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Syracuse Orange

Syracuse is 2015's #1 party school, but they took their time getting there. They slowly climbed their way to the top of the rankings from spot 11 in 2012. Enjoy it while it lasts, though. #1s don't usually retain their crown from year to year. So what makes Syracuse so party happy? Start with Juice Jam to open the year. It's two stages with six different acts.

Then comes Mayfest, a longstanding school tradition celebrating the end of the spring semester with free food, drinks, and entertainment. And don't forget about Block Party, the night entertainment for Mayfest which has brought Zedd and 2 Chains to campus.

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Tulane Green Wave

When you're school is located in the Big Easy, just steps away from Bourbon Street, how can you not have an active party culture? While they haven't been ranked in the past, Tulane has been coming on strong the past two years.

In the past five years, the under-30 population of New Orleans has swelled 25% so there are even more things for twentysomethings to do. Guess Tulane lets the good times roll over and over and over. 

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Ohio Bobcats

Ohio is another top 5 school that has recently seen it's ranking tumble. They now rank #13 for 2015 after being #1 in 2012. Like all good in-state rivalries, OU tries to party harder than Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

One thing Athens has that Miami doesn't is Court Street: a half-mile block of 23 bars. And just like Syracuse, Ohio has its own spring party known as #FEST.

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Texas Longhorns

With 50,000 students (both undergrad and graduate), UT Austin is huge just like everything else in Texas. That amounts to around 5% of the entire city's population. You might as well start making 6th Street your home away from home.

If you don't see a friend out and about here, you probably aren't really a student. You can't beat Austin with rock-bottom drink prices, great concerts, and music festivals all year long, either. 

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Vermont Catamounts

Vermont pops in and out of the rankings, which might be due to its student activism. The school has a long history of social justice so we can tend to forgive them for being a little crazy, right?

And if you were thinking of "hiding" something in a water bottle, think again. The school was one of the first in the country to ban the sale of plastic bottled water on campus. Now, where did we put our Nalgenes?

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South Carolina Gamecocks

South Carolina only broke into the top 20 twice in the past 5 years. Once they began to rise in the rankings, the college quickly shut this campus-wide party down. Since then, they haven't made the list the past two years.

During the height of the campus party scene in 2011, the school canceled fraternity recruitment across the board. It seems that things have finally settled down a little since then.

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Illinois Fighting Illini

UIUC has remained in the top five of party school rankings for the past three years. The big claim to fame here is the bar scene; campus alone has 12 bars. With specials like Tuesday Wine Night (yes, Tuesday), you get a sense of how the weeks go.

Coming in at #6 for 2015's Top Party Schools, you can bet students will want to up their game to be the best. Drinking is a huge part of student culture whether school officials like it or not. 

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UC Santa Barbara Gauchos

UC Santa Barbara not only has its own lagoon but also a beachfront. That means day drinking is basically required, right? Del Playa Drive in nearby Isla Vista is the center of the college's off-campus party scene.

Local DJs are known to play on the balconies of residences while students wander the streets between houses. Unfortunately, officials were pretty angry at their rep, so the killed the IV Halloween party, but students still party like no tomorrow. 

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West Virginia Mountaineer

West Virginia University peaked as the top party school in 2013, but they’ve slowly fallen down the rankings in the two years since. The one positive thing about the party culture here, WVU has the Morgantown Personal Rapid Transit system. That means you have no excuse for drunk driving or stumbling home.

Don't get us wrong. While they're dropping in party-school rank, they're still one of the top contenders. In 2019, they were still ranked as #4, so they're still one of the top party schools. Nothing can keep a good Mountaineer down!

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Bucknell Bisons

Pennsylvania is apparently the place to be since two of its universities made the list. At Bucknell, it’s a tradition to party on the weekends, but parties also pop up during the week. Fraternities and sororities regularly host “House Party Weekends,” which is where pretty much everyone flocks.

It's pretty surprising that this school beat out some of the others considering they're much, much smaller. That just goes to show size doesn't matter. They have the best frat scene and booze galore. 

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Colorado Buffaloes

Colorado was one of the first states to legalize, so naturally, this university had to be on the list. CU even ranked highly on Playboy’s list of party schools – there’s no doubt in our mind that this is one of the best places to party in the U.S.

Boulder also has four fantastic breweries in town, so a good drink is never far. On top of that, the city has some of the best places to eat in the state. Food and booze go together like peanut butter and jelly. 

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Colgate Raiders

Colgate has a strong fraternity and sorority life, and the party scene is on fire. Being in a rural area, there’s not a whole lot to do but to drink and party for entertainment, and Colgate’s tailgating parties are insane.

Frat parties are pretty huge, although some party harder than others. It isn't unusual for a party to go until the morning. We're not sure how they get anything done, to be honest. 

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Indiana Hoosiers

The university may not love its reputation, but students can’t get enough of the parties. It has one of the largest Greek systems in the country, and when the sports teams suck, students party even harder to make up for what they’re lacking.

The Hoosiers have even been able to attract performers like Rock Ross, Lil Wayne, Wiz Khalifa, and more. That's when you know you have a great party school -- big stars flock to your state. 

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Union Dutchmen

Even though Union College is small, they can party just as hard as any other school on the list. In 2010, the student body had a little over 2,000 students, but they racked up 586 alcohol violations and 129 drug violations. That’s a big oof.

Niche took a survey and students claimed that there are tons of parties almost every night and that there are ample options Wednesday through Sunday. Not everyone partakes, but it's a huge part of the Greek life at Union College.

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