There are many things that students look for when choosing a school.
Some look at the school’s reputation, hoping to walk the hallowed halls of a respected Ivy League institution.
Others consider the school’s alumni, the leaders who paved the way toward success and fame.
Still, others prioritize the quality of instruction offered by the school, hoping the challenge themselves by studying under the best of the best.
But other people just want to have a good time. They want a school with the best party atmosphere.
That might sound frivolous, but it’s important to remember that schoolwork makes up only part of college life.
Liberal arts colleges strive to make well-rounded individuals, which means strengthening the mind and developing social schools. Having fun and meeting others is just as crucial as sitting in a classroom or researching in a lab.
In fact, social activities are so important that every major university has a student life department. These departments bring in artists, host events, and provide students with things to do, helping them improve those social skills. They know that learning happens on every part of campus, not just in the classroom.
That learning can also extend to nearby bars and restaurants, where students can meet others and enjoy fine cuisine and drinks.
So if you’re looking to exercise your mind and have a good time, then these are the schools for you!
Here are our picks for the 10 best party schools in the US.
10. University of Dayton (Dayton, OH)
Located in central Ohio, the city is quite a drive from the Great Lakes, let alone the ocean. But thanks to the work of the University of Dayton’s student activities committee, the city is vibrant and exciting.
One of the best examples of the exciting elements of the University of Dayton is the school’s Multi-Ethnic Education and Engagement Center (MEC). Every semester, the MEC stages events that not only allow people to share their culture with one another but are also a lot of fun. Dinners, dance parties, and concerts bring people together to celebrate their being together.
The school’s community living emphasis strives to make U Dayton a home for everyone. With a strong family focus, the community living program finds ways for students to enjoy games and activities together.
9. University of Georgia (Athens, GA)
In the 1980s, it was hard to think of a town hipper than Athens, GA. The birthplace of defining bands such as R.E.M., the B-52s, and the Vigilantes of Love, Athens was a hotspot for unique lifestyles and advanced culture.
Today, the University of Georgia continues this proud tradition with its active involvement network. The network strives to use University resources to bring to campus a variety of presenters and cultural figures.
Some of these involve lunch and learn events, which expose students to the most innovative ideas while enjoying a meal. Others are murder mysteries and escape rooms, games that students can play together.
The UGA Performing Arts Center regularly brings in some of the most exciting artists working today. Concerts at UGA include jazz innovators Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn and bluegrass trio Time for Three.
As these examples show, there’s never a dull moment on UGA’s campus.
8. Southern Methodist University (Dallas, TX)
The name Southern Methodist University hardly screams “Let’s have some fun!”
But SMU earns its position on this list thanks to one word: Dallas.
One of the largest cities in the world, Dallas gives SMU students access to all the dancing, culture, and nightlife they could possibly want.
Popular places for SMU students include the exotic Don’t Tell Supper Club or the stately pub The Mitchell.
These establishments not only provide students with a cosmopolitan selection of drinks and food but the opportunity to hobnob with one another while expanding their palate.
Concert venues such as the House of Blues Dallas or the Opening Bell Coffee house, places to see everything from arena concert acts to new independent artists.
As impressive as these are, students don’t necessarily need to leave SMU campus to have a good time.
The Meadows School for the Arts hosts several exciting events for students, including film showings, concerts, and dance events. Each of these not only lets students have fun and enjoy their experience, but also learn and increase their knowledge.
7. West Virginia University (Morgantown, WV)
For some, the tag “party school” can raise suspicion. Some assume that if students are partying, then they aren’t paying attention to their studies.
But Morgantown’s West Virginia University earns its designation thanks in part to its strong sense of school spirit. Students at WVU love their Mountaineers.
Football and basketball games are always packed with fans dressed in blue and old gold, their chants echoing through the halls. Even away from those frenzied events, WVU gear is sold throughout the country, making it one of the most recognizable colleges in the U.S.
Of equal esteem is the school’s annual Fall Fest event. More than just a traditional campus happening, Fall Fest has featured concerts from some of the most electrifying artists working today. Past guests have included Kanye West, Juliana Hatfield, Kendrick Lamar, and more.
6. University of Mississippi (University, MS)
Like WVU, the University of Mississippi earns its party school reputation thanks to its rabid fanbase, especially when it comes to football. Before every home game, Vaught Hemingway Stadium transforms into a carnival, in which students and fans come together to prepare to support their team by tailgating. Music, food, and outrageous costumes mark the communal celebration of the Rebels.
But you don’t have to be a sports fan to have fun at Ole Miss. The school’s reputation as a party school is inextricably tied to its beautiful campus. With beautiful landscaping and regal buildings of historical significance, visitors to the campus experience a sense of joy before a DJ sets up and drinks are distributed.
Between these two elements, Ole Miss excels in fun and enjoyment, on the field or the quad.
5. Tulane University (New Orleans, LA)
As one of the premier institutions in the ultimate party town New Orleans, it should be no surprise that Tulane University shows up on this list.
But Tulane doesn’t earn its ranking by reputation alone.
Rather, it earns its spot thanks to the happiness students report at the school.
According to interviews performed by the Princeton Review, students at Tulane love the school’s flexible classes. While these classes are certainly academically challenging, students have multiple options for taking the courses and interacting with professors.
This flexibility allows students to succeed while still leaving plenty of time to have fun and interact with one another.
While that fun certainly includes enjoying the local New Orleans nightlife, it also consists of the activities provided by the university.
The most popular activities are part of the Tulane After Dark program. Tulane After Dark offers several ways for students to blow off steam, from watching movies to playing trivia to even knitting. No matter how you like to have fun, you’ll be able to do it at Tulane.
4. Arizona State University (Tempe, AZ)
For as long as outlets started ranking party schools, Arizona State University has made the list. In fact, you could argue that ASU sets the standards for all other party schools to follow.
When schools foster an energetic, fun atmosphere and direct students toward the host city’s cultural offerings, they’re meeting the standard set by ASU.
ASU developed this reputation thanks to its active Greek Life. Over 70 lettered fraternities and sororities call ASU home and have for more than 80 years.
Rather than rest on their historical achievements, ASU continues pushing forward with its innovative “New American Fraternity and Sorority Community” initiative, creating welcoming and values-based organizations.
Thanks to the Greek Life support provided by the University, ASU offers many fun and exciting events. These events culminate during homecoming week, which gives students lots of opportunities to celebrate together.
3. Michigan State University (East Lansing, MI)
Located in the city adjacent to the state’s capitol, Michigan State University has a surprisingly diverse set of bars and restaurants for students to visit.
After spending a hard week studying, students can relax by visiting the renowned Crunchy’s, which offers an amazing karaoke scene. Those who want to dance the night away can check out Harper’s, one of the city’s most popular clubs.
But the real parties in East Lansing happen on game day. As a member of the Big Ten conference, MSU has a famous athletic program, especially their championship basketball team.
Decked out in green and white, fans flood the parking lot of Spartan Stadium and the student sections of Breslin Center.
No matter where you look, MSU is brimming with excitement and energy.
2. Florida State University (Tallahassee, FL)
When one thinks about “parties” and “Florida,” the northern city of Tallahassee can’t compete with Miami. And yet, Florida State University perhaps outdoes its sister to the south with a vibrant student life program.
That fun begins with the fantastic range of dining options on campus, ranging from comforting fast food to more exquisite fare, such as sushi and specialized pasta. If you’re still not satisfied, you’ll find great pubs and restaurants nearby, including the inventive Japanese food from Roboto Tokyo Grill.
If your idea of fun involves lasers and gears, then there’s FSU’s Innovation Hub. The Innovation Hub provides a space for people to get together and let their imagination go wild, building insane inventions and pushing the limits of computer science. It’s a party of technical prowess at FSU.
1. University of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA)
Los Angeles is one of the most exciting and glamorous cities in the world. So it’s no wonder that the LA-based University of Southern California would take the top spot on this list. But it’s not in the glittering Hollywood lights where USC makes its party school name.
The center of USC’s party atmosphere is “the Row,” a collection of fraternity and sorority houses on campus. Thanks to the work of the school’s Greek Life department, the Row is not only a place for non-stop fun but also safety and community enrichment.
USC also built its reputation with its many theme parties, events focused around a set of costumes and games. Hosted by the school campus activities board, students can participate in parties from LGTBQ+ mixers to Trojan spirit nights, in which students dress to inspire the football team.