More people are attending—and graduating college than ever before. In 2020, more than 23 million students will be enrolled in college in America. While many are looking for a quality education to help them achieve employment in high-paying jobs, many are simply looking for a place to bide their time for the next four years of their lives. Some may just want a reprieve from the grind of academia. Either way, many are simply looking for the most they can get out of their bachelor’s degree—a good time included. These 21 colleges are considered the best places to get both a quality education and maybe have a little fun on the side.
1. Syracuse College (Syracuse, NY)
It’s cold as hell, but the nightlife certainly isn’t.
As one of the snowiest, coldest places in the continental U.S., Syracuse may surprise you as a hotbed for college ragers. But those long winter nights have the student body looking to warm itself up somehow, and the logical fix seems to be shots of liquor, ACC basketball and packed house parties.
2. University of Iowa (Iowa City, IA)
The Hawkeyes drink ‘til they have crossed eyes.
“Iowa? Really?” may be the reaction of many upon seeing how high up on party school lists the University of Iowa is year after year. But if your days are filled with textbooks and lectures paired with the fact you’re living in Iowa, you’d probably find a way to keep yourself as occupied as possible too.
3. Tulane University (New Orleans, LA)
Where the real Green Waves are shots of Dekuyper Green Apple.
Even for those of us considering ourselves to be more mature than your average college student, New Orleans is a place for people of all walks of life to let loose and get downright irresponsible. Only five miles from Bourbon Street, Tulane is another landmark of the city’s feel-good landscape helping to keep the city’s festive rep alive.
4. University of California – Santa Barbara (Santa Barbara, CA)
Source: College Fill
“Work hard, play hard,” is the motto at one of America’s best public universities.
Distinguished as one of the “public ivies,” UC Santa Barbara’s student body is a studious and sloshy one, throwing down the pencils and calculators in favor of throwing down with tightly-rolled j’s and beer bongs on the weekends. Adjacent to the Pacific, there’s potential for some serious beach parties as well, the campus one of three in the nation with its own piece of coastline.
5. West Virginia University (Morgantown, WV)
Source: 10 Worthy
The Mountaineers can crush mountains of beers.
A perennial top party school pick, the center of West Virginia’s public university system is the pinnacle for kids in the state looking to party while receiving a degree. Plus, the football team’s inconsistent success provides quite a bit of incentive for the student body to drown their sorrows on Saturday nights.
6. University of Georgia (Athens, GA)
UGA=Using Gallons of Alcohol
The University of Georgia has long had a reputation as one of the coolest universities in the entire country. Great sports, its location in a great town and an overall awesome party culture has kept the Bulldogs at the top of every top party school list since education became a secondary connotation of university life.
7. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Champaign, IL)
Urbana-Champaign’s Drink Of Choice? Whatever’s Cheap, Bro.
Where Champagne is often a hallmark of class, Champaign’s tastes typically skew a little more towards the Champagne of Beers. The party center of one of America’s finest public university systems, Urbana-Champaign has certainly earned its crown as a key way station along the Midwestern party trail.
8. Ohio University (Athens, OH)
After a few drinks, people tend to get really philosophical in Athens.
Athens in Greece was once considered the intellectual center of the ancient world. While you’ll find some smarts in Athens, OH, on the weekends you’re likely to find those straight-A students hugging a toilet in a frat house bathroom or passing a doobie around a circle, talking about the corrupt systems at play behind America’s foreign policies.
9. Lehigh University (Bethlehem, PA)
Le-get-high, no lie.
Buried in the Poconos is one of the finest kept secrets of private education in the Northeast. Their reputation for wild parties, on the other hand, tends to leak out over the mountain ranges, bringing people from all walks of life up into rural Pennsylvania for a good time.
10. University of Wisconsin (Madison, WI)
You know what goes great with Wisconsin cheese? Beer. Lots of beer.
Madison is often considered the prototype for the American college town. Lots to do, a supportive community and most of all, a college that knows how to throw down on the weekends. Badgers in the wild don’t hibernate, and even in the coldest nights of Winter, the Wisconsin Badgers never slow down.
11. Penn State University (University Park, PA)
WE ARE… F*CKED UP.
The legend of Penn State goes from the gridiron to the bars, with little needing to be said about the culture at the school other than the fact it’s fun as hell. As one of the biggest schools in the country with more than 95 thousand students, there’s certainly a lot of people looking to get wild on the weekend.
12. Miami University (Oxford, OH)
The action’s so hot here, you’d think it was Miami, FL.
If you want to impress an employer, tell them you got your degree from Oxford. Just don’t tell them it was from Oxford, OH, or they may get the image of you deep in a weeklong bender as opposed to an all-nighter at the library.
13. Bucknell University (Lewisburg, PA)
Pennsylvania’s third school on this list certainly holds it down for the whole state.
Pennsylvania’s public schools all have storied party reputations, especially among its smaller institutions. But whoever thinks a private school Pennsylvanian doesn’t know how to party has clearly never heard of Bucknell. Though the town of Lewisburg is small and rural, the students there do their best to kick things up a notch.
14. University of Florida (Gainesville, FL)
The Gator Chomp is best executed with a drink in each hand.
Though one of the school’s most famous alumni, Tim Tebow, was rarely spotted at parties, his alma mater is notorious for producing generations of hard-partying academics. Located in the sunshine state, there’s plenty of daylight available for day-drinking and general mischief on campus. Or studying, if you’re into that.
15. University of Colorado – Boulder (Boulder, CO)
Get Rocky Mountain high in Boulder.
It’s often said fortune favors the bold, but good times favor those in Boulder. Located in the state of Coors Brewing Company, it’s also in the state of recreational marijuana, meaning partying is not only easy to do, but pretty much completely legal as well.
16. Florida State University (Tallahassee, FL)
F*ck Sh*t Up at FSU.
The Seminoles know how to get it on. One of the wildest places in the country to get an education, Florida State takes recreation pretty seriously. Tallahassee is a wild town on its own, so when the students and the townies clash on the streets, the scene that results is often a pretty festive one, especially when the ‘Noles win.
17. College of Charleston (Charleston, SC)
Raging face since 1770.
27. That’s the number of Greek life organizations there are on campus. Add that to a beautiful campus and a super-intelligent student body, and you’ve basically got the perfect college campus and the ideal setting for some of the wildest parties available at an American university.
18. DePauw University (Greencastle, IN)
Here, the kids party DePauw night long.
The tiniest school on this list with 2,400 students, this liberal arts and music college plays host to a creative, forward-thinking and innovative student body. Naturally, all that progressive thinking can take a toll on the mind. Weekends often find Greencastle’s streets rife with kids resting their minds with cheap liquor and good times.
19. California State University – Chico (Chico, CA)
Chicos, Chicas, all go hard in Chico.
Nearly half the population of Chico is between the age of 18 and 44. The youth of the city often means there’s quite an energetic population looking for things to do on the weekends. The student body is no different, sharing the wild downtown scene with the locals, taking shots side-by-side.
20. University of Mississippi (University, MS)
If you can still spell the name of the school, you haven’t had too much to drink.
We certainly know one thing; it’s hard to forget where you’re living when you go to Mississippi. They certainly know how to party down south, and no number of shots of SoCo will give you a better sense of the meaning of Southern Comfort than can be found at this school.
21. University of Vermont (Burlington, VT)
Chase your honey jack with maple syrup and nobody bats an eye.
Burlington is very well-known as one of the chilliest places in the northeast. But on the weekends, you need yourself a change of pace, which often comes courtesy of the wild student body at the University of Vermont.