Here's a financial argument you can make to get your parents to send you to the fun schools.

Each year, college students anticipate the Princeton Review releasing its “379 Best Colleges” list, though not for the academics or extracurricular activities.

They want to know one thing: whether their own school made it onto the list of Top 20 Party Schools. (At my own alma mater, the release of this list alone prompted wild celebration.)

But there are two other lists to contend with: Playboy’s Top Ten Party Schools and the Daily Beast’s list of the top 25 party colleges in the U.S. So how do you know which list to go by? Who has the definitive ranking of the best party schools in America?

We do, because we looked for the schools that made all three lists, then added important details from a fourth source: U.S. News and World Report‘s list of college rankings.


The highlights

The big surprise? There’s only four schools all the lists agree on: Syracuse University, University of Iowa, West Virginia University, and University of Wisconsin.

Some other highlights from the top party school lists…

  • There were a handful of party schools at least two lists agreed on: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of California-Santa Barbara, Lehigh University, Pennsylvania State, Miami University (Ohio), Ohio University, University of Georgia, University of Mississippi, Tulane University, and University of Miami.
  • The priciest place to party is Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania at $48,234 per year for tuition and fees.
  • The cheapest party school in the nation is the University of Florida — if you’re a Florida resident. In-state tuition is $6,313.
  • If you want to get away to get down, the cheapest out-of-state tuition is University of Mississippi at $19,044.

Below are the top four party schools — in the order they appear in U.S. News and World Report’ rankings. We included the party school rankings, and important details from U.S. News like price and what you should study (at least initially) to convince your parents to send you there…

1. University of Wisconsin — Madison

kollege club
Photo credit: Kollege Klub Wisconsin 

Party School Rankings:
Daily Beast — #8
Playboy — #2
Princeton Review — #8

2014-15 Tuition: $10,410 in-state, $26,660 out-of-state

At No. 47, UW-Madison ranks higher on the U.S. News list of best colleges in the U.S. than the rest of the top party schools. It’s also ranked No. 13 on their list of top public colleges.

Go here if: You’re an undergrad studying business — their degrees in insurance, marketing, and real estate are all in the top ten of the nation. You should also consider attending if you’re studying chemical or industrial engineering (ranked No. 5 and No. 9 across the country, respectively), or if you’re a grad student studying education. The school has seven graduate programs in education that rank in the top three across the nation.

2. Syracuse University

Syracuse Party School
Photo credit:

Party School Rankings:
Daily Beast — #18
Playboy — #10
Princeton Review — #1

2014-15 Tuition: $41,886

As the only private university on our list, Syracuse is also the priciest. U.S. News and World Report ranks it as No. 58 on the list of all top colleges in the U.S., and it also boasts top-ranked undergrad programs in journalism and communication.

Go here if: You want to study abroad in Italy. Syracuse has a campus in Florence where both undergrad and grad students can take classes. ‘Cuse also has a No. 1-ranked Public Affairs Masters college, and seven of its programs in that college rank in the top 10 across the country. It’s also in the Top 10 for entrepreneurship and library studies.

3. University of Iowa

Iowa party school
Photo credit: Instagram 

Party School Rankings:
Daily Beast — #7
Playboy — #5
Princeton Review — #2

2014-15 Tuition: $8,079 for in-state, $27,409 for out-of-state

As Playboy’s post about the school says, “Hawkeyes’ commitment to partying is evident in their willingness to brave inhumane circumstance: shatteringly cold winters, then sweltering humidity come warm weather.” The schools ranks 71 on U.S. News and World Report’s list of the best colleges in the U.S.

Go here if: You’re planning on going to law school — Iowa’s law school is ranked No. 27 out of over 200 law schools in the U.S., according to U.S. News and World Report. Its medical school for primary care ranks even better: 16 out of over 100 schools.

4. West Virginia University

Photo Credit: Elite Daily

Party School Rankings:
Daily Beast — #2
Playboy — #3
Princeton Review — #4

2014-15 Tuition: $6,960 for in-state, $20,424 for out-of-state

Its placement in the top five of all party school lists indicates that WVU is definitely a top party school. It’s also the cheapest school on our list, according to U.S. News and World Report; in-state students pay a fraction of what Syracuse charges, leaving lots left over for beer.

Go here if: You want to study rural medicine. USNWR says, “There is a growing need in the United State for rural medicine doctors. Through these programs, students train to be physicians in rural and under-served communities.” WVU’s grad program is ranked No. 11 in the country.


free debt analysis call 855-654-9191

Meet the Author

Jess Miller

Jess Miller


Miller is the former assistant editor of


infographic, millennials, parents

Related Posts

Article last modified on July 23, 2018 Published by, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: Which Party Colleges Should You Apply to? - AMP.