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Top 3 Concerns when applying to a Party School

When I recently visited Ohio University in Athens Ohio, I had no idea that it would be named this week as the #1 party school by

Princeton Review! The town of Athens was quite charming, filled with restaurants and shops. Even though I visited during the summer, there were many students on campus, current undergraduates as well as high schoolers. The campus and curriculum seemed to have a lot to offer.

Certainly, with this new ranking, it begs the question . . .

Should college-bound students still apply to a college that has a Party School reputation??

That’s a serious question. While I don’t encourage selecting a college solely on rankings, this particular one is a bit unnerving. According to the Princeton Review, the ranking is based 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.” Oooh!

Before adding a “party school” to your list of arbitrarily removing from your list, here are 3 critical questions that a family should answer:

  • How grounded and self-aware is my teen?
  • Does my teenager typically make their own decisions or follow the crowd?
  • What campus resources will be available for my teen if the academic load is too easy or social influences are negative?

And these questions are part of a whole range of questions that every college applicant must ask as part of their due diligence. There are other questions related to the student’s social well being, academic expectations, and financial support that will determine whether a party school still remains on the list.

In considering these questions, here is a list of the top 20 party schools of 2011 by Princeton Review, along with their rate of admissions and graduation rates. There are only two private colleges among this list and the number of enrolled students ranges from 2,000 at Depauw to 56,000 at Arizona State. These campuses are located in varied settings with 3 in rural communities, 7 suburban, and 10 urban communities!


2012 Party Schools* Graduation Rates Admit Rates
Ohio University 69.7% 77.8%
U Georgia, Athens 77.9% 54.8%
U Mississippi 55.7% 83.4%
University of Iowa n/a 82.3%
U California Santa Barbara 81.5% 54.4%
West Virginia University 55.9% 34.7%
Penn State, University Park n/a n/a
Florida State University 69.5% 46.7%
U Florida 81.6% 41.5%
U Texas Austin 77.8% 43.5%
U Illinois Urbana-Champaign 82.0% 69.0%
Syracuse University 80.1% 52.5%
Louisiana State, Baton Rouge 58.9% 72.8%
U Wisconsin Madison 81.3% 62.8%
DePauw University 85.3% 64.8%
Indiana U Bloomington 72.9% 70.7%
Arizona State 56.0% 82.1%
U Maryland College Park 81.8% 38.8%
U Vermont 71.2% 64.8%
U South Carolina Columbia 66.7% 59.4%


Additional interesting posts to check out:

How to get into the University of Chicago

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About This Blog

This blog is valued by busy parents of college-bound teens. The topics covered in these posts are mined from years of listening to parents talk about their dreams for their children’s education.

This blog is written from the heart… as it’s my passion and life calling!

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