The 10 Best Party Schools in New York

For many students, the university experience is about much more than academics, career opportunities, or developing skills in a particular subject area. 

It’s also about having fun. 

For a handful of years, college allows students to meet new groups of people they could never have met anywhere else. 

College gives students so many opportunities to develop the kind of unique, lifelong memories which will allow people to say that they enjoyed their youth to the fullest extent. 

Alongside considerations regarding a school’s academic affordances, students will inevitably consider what kind of experience they will be signing up for when they choose a particular college. 

And when it comes to judging what sort of university experience one may find most appealing, for many people, whether or not they will be able to participate in large, high-energy social experiences will be an essential factor. 

Thus, it’s only natural that students will be curious to know which schools are best known for their party scenes. 

For students who enjoy immersing themselves in a school’s party scene, parties are often a cornerstone of the college experience, as they are an invaluable opportunity to meet new people and develop lifelong memories. 

And few states have as active a party scene as New York. 

New York City is considered by many to be the nation’s best city when it comes to its nightlife, and U.S. News and World Report ranked NYC as the #4 city in the nation for its party scene. 

And the excitement one finds in NYC permeates throughout the entire state, with Forbes ranking New York state as the 4th best state in the nation for its nightlife. 

So today, this article will be breaking down the 10 of the best schools in New York state where students might have the chance to participate in the kind of exciting experiences one can only find in New York. 

Within this list, any one of these schools is sure to give students interested in the college party scene ample opportunities to make the most of their college experiences.

Hofstra University (Hempstead, NY)

Hofstra University
Antony-22, Hofstra University dormitories 2021, CC BY-SA 4.0

One will get a taste of Hofstra’s party scene right away during their first couple of months on campus. 

That’s because Hofstra hosts what may possibly be its largest social event during the month of October during their Fall Fest.

Recently, T-Pain performed at Hofstra’s Fall Fest, and each year famous musical artists visit campus for a campus-wide concert. 

With a carnival as well, and plenty of parties across the campus during the week, students will not only have a chance to break into their college experience during Fall Fest, but they will get a feel of what Hofstra parties are like. 

The second largest campus-wide party comes in the form of MusicFest, an event hosted in late April/early May. This event hosts various concerts with famous musicians from around the world.

SUNY Oswego (Oswego, NY)

SUNY Oswego
Public domain photo via Wikimedia Commons

According to Niche, around 13% of SUNY Oswego students report that they know of a party on campus every day of the week.

Although 13% may seem small at face value, this number implies that, on any day of the week, anyone wanting to experience Oswego’s party scene will be able to ask around and find somewhere to go. 

Oswego’s largest, and most famous, campus-wide party is the Bridge Street run. 

The week before finals, students attempt to stop at every pub on Bridge Street to have their shirt signed by someone at said pub. 

HarborFest, another famous social event, is a festival over the summer with events for all ages. 

As a part of this festival, there are over 30 concerts and a variety of games and dances throughout the festival’s duration. 

The New School (New York, NY)

The New School
Tdorante10, The New School University Center, CC BY-SA 4.0

The New School is the first university on this list located in New York City, New York. 

As such, when New School students were asked where to look to find the party scene at the New School, 10% of respondents responded, understandably, “It’s NYC. Go find a party.”

The New School prides itself on its efforts to bring together a diverse group of creative, passionate students. 

With over a thousand public programs every year, and a variety of events throughout New York city which will aid students in discovering some of NYC’s most exciting locations, students are sure to find a wonderful, artistic social community at the New School.

Part of the New School’s ethos revolves around creativity, artistry, innovation, and big thinking, and so naturally, all of these things also aid in the New School assembling a student body that knows how to have fun and is looking for adventurous experiences in NYC. 

St. Lawrence University (Canton, NY)

Don’t let the smaller size of Canton, New York fool you. 

This close-knit community of students is one of the best throughout New York when it comes to coming together to make sure they have some of the best social events in the state. 

St. Lawrence has dozens of campus traditions which are sure to allow students to make connections with one another and have one-of-a-kind college experiences. 

One of the first such traditions that students will experience is the First Year Cup.

This friendly competition has first-years competing with one another in teams to win the coveted first-year cup. 

This is a wonderful opportunity to build a social network during one’s first semester at St. Lawrence—all while having the ability to earn the glory of the coveted first-year cup. 

Then, students can expect many community-building events throughout the school year at St. Lawrence, whether it be a senior week, traveling to the mountains during Peak Weekend, or the campus-wide parties of Fallfest and Springfest.

University At Albany (Albany, NY)

University At Albany
Beyond My Ken, University Hall UAlbany, CC BY-SA 4.0

In the year 2018, the University at Albany hosted the world’s largest foam party with the Foam N’ Glow performance company. 

Although Foam N’ Glow tours internationally, the 2018 performance—what might have been the largest party hosted by the University At Albany to date—is a wonderful example of the kind of exciting events students can look forward to at this university. 

Whether it be the Parkfest concert festival, or the Lark Fest art and music festival, there’s always something going on on campus that students can take advantage of to make lasting college memories. 

Colgate University (Hamilton, NY)

Colgate University
Stilfehler, Colgate University 23, CC BY-SA 4.0

Colgate University has a reputation for being one of the New Ivies — a university that has all the academic rigor of a traditional Ivy League school despite not being a part of that group of universities. 

But their academic prestige and the high GPAs of their student body doesn’t mean that students don’t find the time to engage in some of the most exciting social events in the state. 

Colgate’s party scene is so robust that the university even hosts an official “Spring Party Weekend.”

Alongside parties being hosted across the campus by students, the university itself brings bands, festival activities, and competitions to campus so that this weekend truly is one of the biggest college parties in the nation. 

Furthermore, around 39% of students say that they know of at least one party on any given day of the week at Colgate. 

SUNY Buffalo (Buffalo, NY)

SUNY Buffalo
Davidhar, Parker 2, CC BY-SA 3.0

Anyone researching a college’s party scene will know that, oftentimes, a university’s athletics and a university’s party scene go hand-in-hand. 

Whether it be tailgating, celebration parties after a big win, or going to the games themselves, college athletics often provides a perfect opportunity around which students can organize wonderful social events. 

This is, most assuredly, the case at SUNY Buffalo. 

The Buffalo Bulls were ranked by Nunes magazine as the third best college sports team in the state of New York, and their national reputation assures that each game is surrounded with much fanfare and student engagement. 

Alongside sports-related parties, SUNY Buffalo is particularly well known for its vibrant Halloween weekend and its Fall Fest campus-wide festival. 

SUNY Binghamton (Binghamton, NY)

SUNY Binghamton
Greynol1, Academic A, School of Management, Binghamton University, marked as public domain, more details on Wikimedia Commons

SUNY Binghamton has a handful of unique party traditions. 

What might possibly be the largest of these is Parade Day. Around St. Patrick’s day, the streets of Binghamton fill with bright colors and hundreds of paraders and parade watchers. 

This, of course, is followed by some of the best St. Patrick’s day parties in the country. 

Parties organized around a series of parades are just one of the unique party experiences offered at SUNY Binghamton. 

Another fun tradition revolves around Santacon. This gathering in the winter asks students and partygoers to dress as Santa and show their holiday spirit. 

And, of course, traditional campus-wide events, such as the Spring Fling and Homecoming, are also sure to keep students busy throughout the entire school year. 

New York University (New York, NY)

It’s New York City, and NYU is not only one of the largest universities in New York, but in the entire nation.

And while Top Universities ranked NYU as the second best university in the state of New York when it comes to academics, NYU has also earned its reputation as a wonderful party school.

Some of the largest university parties anywhere in the nation can be found in this New York City school, with NYU’s welcome week standing out in particular as an event that brings together tens of thousands of students to celebrate the return to school. 

With so many students in such a large city, anyone interested in finding a party at NYU will not only have plenty of options available to them, but students will be able to find within NYU the perfect community with whom to experience these parties. 

Syracuse University (Syracuse, NY)

Syracuse University
Public domain photo via Wikimedia Commons

Syracuse doesn’t just top the charts for the state of New York when it comes to party schools, but nationally it is considered one of the best universities in the country—and even the world—for its nightlife. 

Niche ranked Syracuse as the 7th best party school in the nation, with a whopping 57% of students reporting that there are parties across campus Wednesday through Sunday.

The three big weekends for Syracuse’s party scene are Halloweekend, Juice Jam, and Mayfest. 

Halloween is everything one would expect—hundreds of costume parties across campus. 

Juice Jam is a massive concert festival which has historically brought to campus the likes of Jack Harlow and 21 Savage

And Mayfest might even be bigger—a campus-wide party with concerts, festival activities, and more. 

With fantastic nightlife, frequent concerts, and robust campus traditions, students will be sure to find ample opportunities to experience the full breadth of the college party experience at Syracuse.