College parties are the stuff of legend. You can imagine the red plastic cups filling up with beer, the laughter spilling out into the night, and the memories that are made. But what makes a party school? Is it the size of the campus? The location? The weather?
The answer is yes to all of those things — but most importantly, it’s the students. A party school is only as good as its students’ willingness to party. And luckily, there are plenty of incredible party schools in the United States.
School doesn’t have to be a miserable slog. In fact, it rarely is. School is where you meet your best friends, where you learn about yourself, and where you have some of the best experiences of your life. So why not make it a party?
And you don’t have to sacrifice your academic career to do so. In fact, some of the best party schools in the United States are also some of the best academic institutions in the world.
In this article, you are going to learn which are the best party schools in the United States. You will also get some tips on how to make the most of your college party experience.
What Exactly is a Party School?
A party school is a university or college where social activities, particularly drinking, are emphasized. Party schools are often ranked by magazines and websites and are considered a rite of passage for many students.
The term can also be used more generally to refer to any institution of higher education that has a reputation for heavy alcohol and drug use among its students. Or, more generally, a school that holds a lot of parties.
Now, do we endorse any of these activities, or think they are necessary to have fun? Certainly not. However, we understand that for many students, college is a time to let loose and have some fun. And if you’re going to do that, you might as well pick a school that will guarantee you a good time.
Getting the Most Out of a Party School
If you want to get the most out of your party school experience, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
First and foremost, don’t let partying interfere with your studies. It’s important to remember that you’re at college to get an education. So while it’s okay to let loose on weekends, make sure you’re still getting your work done during the week.
Second, be safe. This should go without saying, but we’ll say it anyway: don’t drink too much, don’t do drugs, and don’t put yourself in any dangerous situations.
Third, take advantage of your location. If you’re at a school in a big city, there will be plenty of things to do on weekends. If you’re at a school in a smaller town, there’s still plenty to do — you just have to get a little more creative.
And finally, don’t forget to have fun! College is supposed to be the best years of your life, so make sure you take advantage of all the opportunities that come your way.
So, without further ado, here are the best party schools in the United States.
The 10 Best Party Schools in the U.S.
To make this list, we looked at a variety of factors, including the schools’ party reputation, their location, and the quality of their academics. We also took into account what students are saying about these schools on the internet.
1. Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana
Tulane University is a private, nonsectarian research university located in New Orleans, Louisiana. It was founded in 1834 as the Medical College of Louisiana.
Tulane is one of the most selective universities in the United States. For the undergraduate class of 2020, Tulane accepted 11.1% of its applicants.
If you want to party in the Big Easy, there’s no better place to do it than Tulane University. Located in the heart of New Orleans, Tulane is known for its Mardi Gras celebrations, which are some of the biggest and best in the country.
The life of a Tulane student is a never-ending party, and there’s always something to do on campus. If you get tired of partying, you can also take advantage of Tulane’s excellent academics. Tulane isn’t just a party school — it’s also one of the top academic institutions in the country. It’s ranked No. 42 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, and its business and law programs are particularly well-regarded.
2. Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Harvard University is a private Ivy League research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Founded in 1636, Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and one of the most prestigious universities in the world.
Despite the common stereotype of good academic institutions being “stuffy” and “boring,” Harvard knows how to party.
In fact, Harvard has a reputation for being one of the best party schools in the Ivy League. And it’s not hard to see why — with its excellent location in Boston and its stellar academics, Harvard has everything you could want in a party school.
Harvard students are some of the most fun-loving people you’ll ever meet, and they know how to show visitors a good time. If you’re looking for a party school that’s also one of the best academic institutions in the world, Harvard is the place for you.
Warning: You must still take your schooling seriously. Not only is getting into Harvard extremely hard, but it’s also one of the most expensive institutions in the States. Party all you want, but mind your GPA.
3. Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida
Florida State University is a public space-grant and sea-grant research university in Tallahassee, Florida. It is a senior member of the State University System of Florida.
Florida State University is one of the best party schools in the country, thanks to its stellar location in Tallahassee, Florida. Tallahassee is known for its beautiful weather and its many bars and nightclubs.
Florida State students know how to have a good time, and they’re always up for a party. If you’re looking for a school where you can party hard and still get a great education, Florida State is the place for you.
Scoring an A+ in the ‘Party Scene’ category on Niche, you know Florida State takes their party scene seriously. FSU students have access to some of the best bars and clubs in Tallahassee, and they know how to make the most of them. If you want to party like there’s no tomorrow, Florida State is the school for you.
Just remember — with great partying comes great responsibility. Make sure you study hard and party responsibly, or you might not make it to graduation.
4. University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California
The University of Southern California is a private research university in Los Angeles, California. Founded in 1880, USC is the oldest private research university in California.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that USC is so high on this list — after all, it is located in the heart of Los Angeles, one of the most glamorous and exciting cities in the world.
USC is one of the best party schools not just in the U.S., but in the world. Thanks to its location in LA, USC students have access to some of the best clubs, bars, and parties that the city has to offer. The school itself hosts a number of excellent parties and events, and the students are always up for a good time.
If you’re looking for a party school that’s also located in one of the most exciting cities in the world, USC is the place for you. Just be prepared to spend a lot of money — USC is one of the most expensive schools in the country.
5. University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin
The University of Wisconsin–Madison is a public research university in Madison, Wisconsin. Founded in 1848, UW–Madison is the official state university of Wisconsin and the flagship campus of the University of Wisconsin System.
UW-Madison is one of the best party schools in the country, thanks to its excellent location in Madison, Wisconsin. Madison is known for its lively downtown area, which is full of bars and nightclubs.
And with such a thriving nightlife, you can expect students at UW-Madison to make full use of it. You’ll forge friendships and memories that will last a lifetime at this party school, while also getting a world-class education.
Note: Just be warned — the winters in Madison can be brutal. Make sure you’re prepared for some cold weather if you decide to go to UW-Madison.
6. University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The University of Pennsylvania is a private Ivy League research university in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is one of the nine colonial colleges founded prior to the Declaration of Independence (in 1740 to be exact) and the first institution of higher learning in the United States to refer to itself as a university.
The party culture at UPenn is so strong that the magazine Playboy itself ranked it 9th best party school in the United States in 2020. Partying hard goes well with academic achievements – provided you don’t exaggerate.
UPenn is not only one of the best party schools in the U.S., but it’s also one of the most prestigious. There are parties almost every day around campus, and the nightlife in Philadelphia is nothing to scoff at.
However, partying isn’t all that UPenn has to offer. The school also has a world-class education, and it’s one of the Ivy League schools. If you’re looking for a party school that will also help you get a great job after graduation, UPenn is the place for you.
7. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan
The University of Michigan is a public research university in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Founded in 1817, U-M is the oldest university in Michigan as well as one of the founding members of the Association of American Universities.
U-M also has a strong party culture on campus, with a number of excellent parties and events throughout the year. The University of Michigan is one of the best party schools in the U.S., thanks to its excellent location in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Ann Arbor is a vibrant college town with a lively downtown area full of bars and nightclubs. Again, these are the biggest prerequisites to a successful party school. You need places to hang out with your peers and blow off some steam.
U-M also has a strong party culture on campus, with a number of excellent parties and events throughout the year. If you’re looking for a party school that’s also located in one of the best college towns in the country, U-M is the place for you.
The biggest downside of U-M is that it’s located in Michigan, which means that the winters can be brutally cold. But if you can tough it out, U-M is a great party school with a top-notch education.
8. Howard University, Washington, D.C.
Howard University is a private, historically black university in Washington, D.C. It is classified among “R-II” doctoral universities by the Carnegie Classification and ranked tied for 83rd among National Universities in U.S. News & World Report’s 2022 rankings. Located in our nation’s capital, Howard University offers students a unique college experience.
As the only HBCU on this list, Howard University is different from the others. But the party scene still gets an A+ on Niche. The school’s location in Washington, D.C. means that there are plenty of opportunities to party and have fun, after all it’s the capital we’re talking about.
Howard University is known for its lively and vibrant campus life, and there is always something going on around campus.
The downside of attending Howard University is that it’s located in Washington, D.C., which can be a bit expensive. But if you can afford it, Howard University is a great choice for a party school.
9. University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama
The University of Alabama is a public research university in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Founded in 1820 as the first public college in the state of Alabama, UA is one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the southern United States.
If you’re after partying hard and having a great time, the University of Alabama is the place for you. There are a lot of parties at the University of Alabama. People drink and have a lot of fun, and the school has a great party atmosphere.
However, the University of Alabama is also a very large school, and it can be easy to get lost in the shuffle. There are also a lot of rules and regulations that can make it difficult to have fun. If you’re looking for a party school that’s also very large and bureaucratic, UA is the place for you.
Plus, there are plenty of bars and nightclubs in Tuscaloosa, and the University of Alabama students know how to have a good time.
Warning: The school is also located in a dry county, so you’ll need to buy your alcohol before you go out.
10. University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia
The University of Georgia is a public research university in Athens, Georgia. Founded in 1785, UGA is one of the oldest public universities in the United States. The university is classified as a Research I institution by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.
What makes the University of Georgia special as a party school? Well, for starters, it’s located in Athens, Georgia, which is a great college town. There are plenty of bars and nightclubs in Athens, and the University of Georgia students know how to have a good time.
In addition, the University of Georgia has a strong party culture on campus. There are a number of excellent parties and events throughout the year. If you’re looking for a party school that’s also located in one of the best college towns in the country, UGA is the place for you.
But What About Your Education?
We hear you – you’re not at college just to party. You’re also there to get an education. And we completely understand that.
You can—and will—have both. All of these party schools are also reputable and well-ranked universities. So you can party hard and get a great education at the same time. It’s the best of both worlds.
Naturally, you have to decide what’s important to you. If getting a great education is your top priority, then you might want to avoid the party scene altogether. But if you’re looking for a school where you can have both an excellent education and a great time, these are the best party schools in the country.
After all, what better way of relaxing after a hard week of studying than by letting loose with your friends?
However, no matter how great the party scene at your school, make sure to not go overboard with the partying. It’s important to find a balance between partying and studying. You don’t want your grades to suffer just because you’re having too much fun.
There is no shortage of excellent party schools in the United States. Whether you’re looking for a large school or a small one, there’s a party school that’s perfect for you.
College is a great time to forge lifetime relationships and have lots of fun. It’s just not the same when you’re an adult with a million responsibilities. So if you want to party hard and have a great time, consider attending one of the schools on this list. Just remember to stay safe and don’t let the partying get in the way of your studies!
And, if you’re planning to party hard, budget a little higher for your living expenses. Alcohol gets expensive when you’re going out multiple nights per week! You have to take into account the cost of cover charges, drinks, and Uber fares. All of that can add up quickly.
But, at the end of the day, it’s up to you to decide what kind of college experience you want to have. These are just some suggestions for the best party schools in the United States. It’s your responsibility to make sure you have a great time – and stay safe! – while you’re in college. Have fun and party hard, but don’t forget why you’re there in the first place: to get an education.