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WVU is among the best party schools in the U.S.

The 26 best party schools – and how to convince your parents to send you

The next crop of college freshmen don’t start class for another four months, but that means application time has already begun. And it’s a tedious process.

Applying for college might be a bit more fun, though, if you know you’re going somewhere fun. Every year, Playboy Magazine, the Princeton Review, and the Daily Beast rank the hardest-partying schools in America. High school seniors love to peruse that list – as do parents. The latter want to know where not to send you.

As a public service, Debt.com has combined all three party school lists and added the price tag — we’re talking about tuition in and out of state, room, and board. For whatever reason, none of the lists contain the information.

Then, for good measure, we added what else the school is known for – by overlaying yet another list. U.S. News & World Report conducts the most thorough (i.e., non-party) college ratings each year. So if you really want to sway your parents, check out the details and practice your pitch.

Before diving in, here are the highlights…

  • Cheapest party school in the nation: The University of Florida, where annual tuition and fees total $6,263 if you live in state. The cheapest out-of-state tuition belongs to Ohio University at $19,344.
  • Priciest party school in the nation: Tulane University, with tuition and fees running $46,930 both in and out of state.
  • The biggest party schools of them all: Only two schools made all three lists: West Virginia and Wisconsin. Why? We’d guess laziness. These lists aren’t exactly scientific, and because both West Virginia and Wisconsin appeared on last year’s Playboy lists, the odds of them being named in three lists this year were…better. Math!

And now, here’s our exhaustive research on the best party schools in America…

USC is among the best party schools in the U.S.

Instagram from uscedu

Playboy’s Top 10

Playboy says its editors used data from resources including “the National Center for Education Statistics, the NCAA, and the U.S. Economic Census, as well as feedback from Playboy’s more than 12 million social media fans.”

Although the magazine first compiled its now-famous list in January 1987, it hasn’t been annual. While it released a list in October 2013 and October 2012, before that they appeared in May 2011, May 2010, May 2009, May 2006, and November 2002.

1. West Virginia University

Tuition and fees: $6,456 in-state, $19,632 out-of-state
Room and board: $9,318
Go here if: You’re looking for a medical graduate school. U.S. News & World Report ranked WVU the No. 3 college in the country for its graduate program in rural medicine.

2. University of Wisconsin

Tuition and fees: $10,403 in-state, $26,653 out-of-state
Room and board: $8,354
Go here if: You want to be an engineer. The Badgers rank 18th overall in U.S. News & World Report’s ranking for engineering colleges, and the school ranks No. 3 overall for nuclear engineering and No. 6 in chemical engineering.

3. University of Colorado

Tuition and fees: $10,240 in-state, $32,008 out-of-state
Room and board: $12,258
Go here if: You want to be a green lawyer. The university ranks No. 5 for its environmental law program, according to the U.S. News & World Report.

4. University of Southern California

Tuition and fees: $46,298 in and out of state
Room and board: $12,902
Go here if: You want be an accountant or an actor. USC’s undergraduate accounting program came in No. 4, while its graduate program ranks No. 8. The university’s School of Cinematic Arts graduated both Judd Apatow and George Lucas.

5. Florida State University

Tuition and fees: $6,537 in-state, $21,703 out-of-state
Room and board: $9,912
Go here if: You want to be a cop. The Seminoles rank No. 7 in criminology.

6. University of Texas

Tuition and fees: $9,790 in-state, $33,824 out-of-state
Room and board: $11,362
Go here if: You want be an accountant or a special ed teacher. UT ranks No. 1 in both undergraduate and graduate accounting, while the school’s special education program is ranked No. 4.

7. Louisiana State University

Tuition and fees: $7,873 in-state, $25,790 out-of-state
Room and board: $10,804
Go here if: You’re looking for a good ceramics program. LSU’s ceramics program ranks No. 9 overall.

8. University of Georgia

Tuition and fees: $10,262 in-state, $28,472 out-of-state
Room and board: $9,246
Go here if: You want a degree in insurance or education. Georgia’s insurance program ranks No. 1 overall, while it places No. 3 in secondary education, No. 5 in elementary education, and No. 6 in higher education.

9. Arizona State University

Tuition and fees: $10,002 in-state, $23,654 out-of-state
Room and board: $9,340
Go here if: You’re looking for a fine arts degree, or if you just like to be around tons of people. ASU’s fine arts programs ranks No. 5 in printmaking, No. 7 in ceramics, and No. 11 in photography. As an added bonus, ASU’s enrollment of 59,382 is the largest in the country.

10. University of Maryland

Tuition and fees: $9,162 in-state, $28,348 out-of-state
Room and board: $10,280
Go here if: You’re studying criminology or sociology. Maryland’s criminology program is ranked No. 1, while its sex and gender program (under sociology) is ranked No. 6.

UW-Madison is among the best party schools in the U.S.

Instagram from uwmadison

Princeton Review’s Top 10

The Princeton Review (no, it’s not associated with Princeton University) surveyed 126,000 students at 377 colleges, so it’s certainly more exhaustive than Playboy. But that’s still not as thorough as the U.S. News and & World Report, which looked at 1,800 colleges and spent seven pages explaining their methodology. Seriously.

1. University of Iowa

Tuition and fees: $8,061 in-state, $26,931 out-of-state
Room and board: $9,420
Go here if: You want to be a nurse or study speech. Iowa ranks No. 2 overall for its nurse practitioner program and No. 2 for nursing service administration. Its speech-language pathology program is No. 1 in the country.

2. University of California-Santa Barbara

Tuition and fees: $13,746 in-state and $36,624 out-of-state
Room and board: $13,805
Go here if: You want to invent time travel. The Bears rank 10th overall for its physics major, and in the program, the university ranks No. 3 for “condensed matter,” No. 5 for quantum physics and No. 8 for “elementary particles.” UCSB also ranks No. 2 in the country for materials engineering and No. 9 for chemical engineering.

3. University of Illinois at Urbana

Tuition and fees: $15,258 in-state, $29,640 out-of-state
Room and board: $10,636
Go here if: You want to be a chemist or a librarian. The university ranks No. 1 in the country in library and information studies and No. 6 in chemistry, including top-10 rankings for analytical chemistry (No. 4), inorganic chemistry (No. 5), and organic chemistry (No. 7).

4. West Virginia University

Tuition and fees: $6,456 in-state, $19,632 out-of-state
Room and board: $9,318
Go here if: You’re looking for a medical graduate school. U.S. News & World Report ranked WVU the No. 3 college in the country for its graduate program in rural medicine. There are 422 people currently in the program, compared with the University of Washington’s 908.

5. Syracuse University

Tuition and fees: $40,458 in and out of state
Room and board: $14,054
Go here if: You want to work in public affairs. Syracuse ranks No. 1 in the country for its public affairs major, including No. 1 rankings for public finance and for public management administration.

6. University of Florida

Tuition and fees: $6,263 in-state, $28,541 out-of-state
Room and board: $9,520
Go here if: You want to study biological engineering or tax law. The Gators come in No. 3 in the country both for their biological engineering program and for their tax law program.

7. Ohio University

Tuition and fees: $10,380 in-state, $19,344 out-of-state
Room and board: $11,274
Go here if: You want to study ceramics or rehabilitation counseling. Ohio ranks No. 5 in the country for its ceramics major and No. 45 for its rehabilitation counseling program.

8. University of Wisconsin

Tuition and fees: $10,403 in-state, $26,653 out-of-state
Room and board: $8,354
Go here if: You want to be an engineer. The Badgers rank 18th overall for engineering colleges, and the school ranks No. 3 overall for nuclear engineering and No. 6 in chemical engineering.

9. Penn State University

Tuition and fees: $16,992 in-state, $29,566 out-of-state
Room and board: $10,090
Go here if: You’re looking for philanthropy or to be a geologist. Penn State has 15,000 students that volunteer in THON, a student-run volunteer organization that raises money for pediatric cancer awareness and is the largest of its kind in the country. The Nittany Lions also rank No. 3 for its geology program.

10. Lehigh University

Tuition and fees: $43,520 in and out of state
Room and board: $11,560
Go here if: You want to study civil engineering. Lehigh comes in at No. 19 in the country for its civil engineering program.

IU at Bloomington is among the best party schools in the U.S.

Instagram from iubloomington

The Daily Beast’s Top 20

This is the Daily Beast’s first foray into ranking party schools, and they went with 20 instead of 10. Their methodology includes weighting not important factors such as affordability and on-time graduation, but also stuff like weather, off-campus dining, and nightlife. It chose from nearly 2,000 universities.

1. University of Illinois at Urbana

Tuition and fees: $15,258 in-state, $29,640 out-of-state
Room and board: $10,636
Go here if: You want to be a chemist or a librarian. The university ranks No. 1 in the country in library and information studies and No. 6 in chemistry, including top-10 rankings for analytical chemistry (No. 4), inorganic chemistry (No. 5), and organic chemistry (No. 7).

2. University of California-Santa Barbara

Tuition and fees: $13,746 in-state and $36,624 out-of-state
Room and board: $13,805
Go here if: You want to invent time travel. The Bears rank 10th overall for its physics major, and in the program, the university ranks No. 3 for “condensed matter,” No. 5 for quantum physics and No. 8 for “elementary particles.” UCSB ranks No. 2 in the country for materials engineering and No. 9 for chemical engineering.

3. Miami (Ohio) University

Tuition and fees: $13,799 in-state and $29,589 out-of-state
Room and board: $10,900
Go here if: You want to be a head football coach. That’s right. Most people associate Miami (as in South Florida) with football success, but it’s the Miami in Ohio cranking out professional football coaches: Super Bowl-winning head coaches John Harbaugh (Baltimore Ravens) and Sean Payton (New Orleans Saints), along with former national championship-winning coaches Woody Hayes, Jim Tressel, and Bo Schembechler all started coaching here or attended school here.

4. Colgate University

Tuition and fees: $46,380 in and out of state
Room and board: $11,510
Go here if: You’re a liberal arts major. U.S. News & World Report ranked Colgate University No. 20 in the country for liberal arts, and for good reason: The university’s enrollment is just 2,871, which means 66.9 percent of the classes house 20 students or less.

5. University of Georgia

Tuition and fees: $10,262 in-state, $28,472 out-of-state
Room and board: $9,246
Go here if: You want a degree in insurance or education. Georgia’s insurance program ranks No. 1 overall, while it places No. 3 in secondary education, No. 5 in elementary education and No. 6 in higher education, according to the U.S. News & World Report.

6. University of Massachusetts

Tuition and fees: $13,258 in-state, $27,974 out-of-state
Room and board: $11,166
Go here if: You’re studying computer science or audiology. A Ph.D is required for audiologists (they handle ear- and balance-related problems) in 15 states, and UMASS’s graduate audiology program is ranked No. 20 in the country. It’s also No. 20 for computer science.

7. West Virginia University

Tuition and fees: $6,456 in-state, $19,632 out-of-state
Room and board: $9,318
Go here if: You’re looking for a medical graduate school. WVU ranks the No. 3 college in the country for its graduate program in rural medicine.

8. University of Wisconsin

Tuition and fees: $10,403 in-state, $26,653 out-of-state
Room and board: $8,354
Go here if: You want to be an engineer. The Badgers is No. 18 in the country for engineering colleges, No. 3 for nuclear engineering, and No. 6 in chemical engineering.

9. Syracuse University

Tuition and fees: $40,458 in and out of state
Room and board: $14,054
Go here if: You want to work in public affairs. Syracuse ranks No. 1 in the country for its public affairs major, including No. 1 rankings for public finance and for public management administration.

10. Indiana University

Tuition and fees: $10,209 in-state and $32,350 out-of-state
Room and board: $9,149
Go here if: You’re a business major. Indiana cleans up in the business section of U.S. News & World Report’s rankings this year: The Hoosiers took home No. 4 for entrepreneurship, No. 4 for marketing, No. 9 for finance, and No. 10 in overall best undergraduate business programs.

11. Tulane University

Tuition and fees: $46,930 in and out of state
Room and board: $12,522
Go here if: You’re looking to study tropical medicine or environmental law. Tulane’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine is the only one of its kind in the country, according to the U.S. News & World Report, so look no further. Meanwhile, the university’s environmental law graduate program ranks No. 6.

12. University of Iowa

Tuition and fees: $8,061 in-state, $26,931 out-of-state
Room and board: $9,420
Go here if: You want to be a nurse or study speech. Iowa ranks No. 2 for its nurse practitioner program and No. 2 for nursing service administration, while its speech-language pathology program is No. 1 in the country.

13. Ohio University

Tuition and fees: $10,380 in-state, $19,344 out-of-state
Room and board: $11,274
Go here if: You want to study ceramics or rehabilitation counseling. Ohio ranks No. 5 in the country for its ceramics major and No. 45 for its rehabilitation counseling program.

14. Penn State University

Tuition and fees: $16,992 in-state, $29,566 out-of-state
Room and board: $10,090
Go here if: You’re looking for philanthropy or to be a geologist. Penn State has 15,000 students that volunteer in THON, a student-run volunteer organization that raises money for pediatric cancer awareness and is the largest of its kind in the country. The Nittany Lions also rank No. 3 for its geology program.

15. Florida State University

Tuition and fees: $6,537 in-state, $21,703 out-of-state
Room and board: $9,912
Go here if: You want to be a cop. The Seminoles rank No. 7 in criminology.

16. Rutgers University

Tuition and fees: $13,499 in-state, $27,523 out-of-state
Room and board: $11,578
Go here if: You’re looking for an English degree. Rutgers ranks No. 17 in the country for its English graduate program, while its 18th-through-20th-Century British Literature program ranks No. 8.

17. University of Alabama

Tuition and fees: $9,200 in-state, $22,950 out-of-state
Room and board: $8,650
Go here if: You’re looking to study law or play wheelchair basketball. The Crimson Tide rank as the No. 21 law school, while the university also has a men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball program– one of only four in the country.

18. University of Florida

Tuition and fees: $6,263 in-state, $28,541 out-of-state
Room and board: $9,520
Go here if: You want to study biological engineering or tax law. The Gators are No. 3 in the country for both their biological engineering program and for their tax law program.

19. University of Delaware

Tuition and fees: $12,112 in-state, $29,932 out-of-state
Room and board: $11,500
Go here if: You live in Delaware or want to study physical therapy. According to the U.S. News & World Report, more than 90 percent of Delaware residents who apply get in, while just 46 percent of out-of-state applicants are granted admission. The university’s physical therapy program ranks No. 2 in the country.

20. Louisiana State University

Tuition and fees: $7,873 in-state, $25,790 out-of-state
Room and board: $10,804
Go here if: You’re looking for a good ceramics program. LSU’s ceramics program ranks No. 9 in the country.


Top photo: Instagram from westvirginiau

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