25 Top Party Schools that are Still Great Academic Colleges

March 6, 2024

top party schools best colleges

It can seem like an odd question to ask as you prepare for college, but are there good academic colleges that are also good party schools? And if you were to then imagine a party school, what would come to mind? You’ve no doubt seen how party schools are depicted in movies or shows set on college campuses or high schools, which can be – just maybe – a bit of an exaggeration and give you the impression that no work gets accomplished. But the truth is that oftentimes the schools with the most festive campus spirit can be the ones that offer students the most resources to gather together and celebrate through parties. This eventually ranks them as one of the best or biggest party schools. And within that pool, there are still excellent colleges that offer you a great education alongside a vibrant social life.

Top Party Schools in America (Continued)

As you probably guessed, the top party schools across the U.S. traditionally offer parties for students both on and off campus, and are most often public universities because public universities tend to be larger. Whether you’re a partier or not, you’d be right to assume that college parties will include the usual tropes that you’d imagine at the biggest party schools. So it’s best to be aware of what type of school setting you’d want from a prospective college. Do you want to attend a college that has a classic Greek system of fraternities and sororities? While considering this, it’s important to ask yourself questions about what you prefer. This can take into account campus safety rankings, the colleges with the happiest students, or even how beautiful the college campus is.

You might come to find that some of the top party schools are colleges you’d never expect. Here to debunk or confirm any of these assumptions, the list below shows you 25 top party schools that are still great academic colleges, based on their acceptance rates.

25 Top Party Schools 

1 ) Tulane University

Acceptance rate: 10%
Where: New Orleans, Louisiana
SAT score range: 1360 – 1510
ACT score range: 30 – 33
Undergraduate Enrollment: 8,231

2)  University of Southern California

Acceptance rate: 13%
Where: Los Angeles, California
SAT score range: 1410-1540
ACT score range: 30 – 34
Undergraduate Enrollment: 18,560

3) University of California, Santa Barbara

Acceptance rate: 29%
Where: Santa Barbara, California
SAT score range: 1230 – 1460
ACT score range: 28 – 34
Undergraduate Enrollment: 22,480

Top Party Schools in America (Continued)

4) University of Texas, Austin

Acceptance rate: 29%
Where: Austin, Texas
SAT score range: 1230 – 1500
ACT score range: 29 – 34
Undergraduate Enrollment: 42,444

5) Howard University

Acceptance rate: 35%
Where: Washington, DC
SAT score range: 1080 – 1290
ACT score range: 22 – 26
Undergraduate Enrollment: 7,497

6) Florida A&M University

Acceptance rate: 35%
Where: Tallahassee, Florida
SAT score range: 1010 – 1150
ACT score range: 20 – 24
Undergraduate Enrollment: 6,244

Top Party Schools in America (Continued)

7) Florida State University

Acceptance rate: 37%
Where: Tallahassee, Florida
SAT score range: 1180 – 1340
ACT score range: 27 – 31
Undergraduate Enrollment: 29,072

8) San Diego State University

Acceptance rate: 38%
Where: San Diego, California
SAT score range: 1090 – 1300
ACT score range: 22 – 29
Undergraduate Enrollment: 28,084

9) University of Georgia

Acceptance rate: 40%
Where: Athens, Georgia
SAT score range: 1270 – 1450
ACT score range: 29 -33
Undergraduate Enrollment: 27,888

Top Party Schools in America (Continued)

10) Penn State

Acceptance rate: 56%
Where: University Park, Pennsylvania
SAT score range: 1160 – 1360
ACT score range: 25 – 30
Undergraduate Enrollment: 39,321

11) The Ohio State University

Acceptance rate: 57%
Where: Columbus, Ohio
SAT score range: 1250 – 1440
ACT score range: 29 – 32
Undergraduate Enrollment: 51,078

12) Clark Atlanta University

Acceptance rate: 58%
Where: Atlanta, Georgia
SAT score range: 840 – 1040
ACT score range: 17 – 20
Undergraduate Enrollment: 3,224

Top Party Schools in America (Continued)

13) Syracuse University

Acceptance rate: 59%
Where: Syracuse, New York
SAT score range: 1220 – 1400
ACT score range: 26 – 30
Undergraduate Enrollment: 13,832

14) University of Wisconsin

Acceptance rate: 60%
Where: Madison, Wisconsin
SAT score range: 1320 – 1500
ACT score range: 27 – 32
Undergraduate Enrollment: 30,063

15) University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Acceptance rate: 60%
Where: Champaign, Illinois
SAT score range: 1320 – 1510
ACT score range: 27 – 33
Undergraduate Enrollment: 32,107

Top Party Schools in America (Continued)

16) The University of Alabama

Acceptance rate: 79%
Where: Tuscaloosa, Alabama
SAT score range: 1070 – 1370
ACT score range: 23 – 31
Undergraduate Enrollment: 38,645

17) University of Colorado Boulder

Acceptance rate: 80%
Where: Boulder, Colorado
SAT score range: 1170 – 1390
ACT score range: 26 – 32
Undergraduate Enrollment: 30,707

18) University of Dayton

Acceptance rate: 81%
Where: Dayton, Ohio
SAT score range: 1130 – 1330
ACT score range: 24 – 30
Undergraduate Enrollment: 7,918

Top Party Schools in America (Continued)

19) Michigan State University

Acceptance rate: 83%
Where: East Lansing, Michigan
SAT score range: 1100 – 1320
ACT score range: 23 – 29
Undergraduate Enrollment: 34,500

20) Indiana University – Bloomington

Acceptance rate: 85%
Where: Bloomington, Indiana
SAT score range: 1160 – 1380
ACT score range: 27 – 32
Undergraduate Enrollment: 31,632

21) University of Cincinnati

Acceptance rate: 85%
Where: Cincinnati, Ohio
SAT score range: 1150 – 1350
ACT score range: 24 – 29
Undergraduate Enrollment: 38,748

Top Party Schools in America (Continued)

22) University of Iowa

Acceptance rate: 86%
Where: Iowa City, IW
SAT score range: 1130 – 1350
ACT score range: 22 – 29
Undergraduate Enrollment: 21,973

23) Ohio University

Acceptance rate: 89%
Where: Athens, Ohio
SAT score range: 1070 – 1290
ACT score range: 21 – 26
Undergraduate Enrollment: 13,896

24) West Virginia University

Acceptance rate: 90%
Where: Morgantown, West Virginia
SAT score range: 1030 – 1230
ACT score range: 21 -27
Undergraduate Enrollment: 18,726

Top Party Schools in America (Continued)

25) University of Mississippi

Acceptance rate: 90%
Where: University, Mississippi
SAT score range: 1020 – 1230
ACT score range: 22 – 29
Undergraduate Enrollment: 17,302

You can still find other activities to get involved in

Ask around and you’ll soon find that attending one of the biggest party schools does not require you to attend the parties. If partying is not so much your thing, there are still many high-ranking universities that offer their resources to cater to diverse interests, such as the University of Southern California (USC), Tulane University, University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB or UC Santa Barbara), or University of Texas, Austin (UT Austin).

For example, UC Santa Barbara is ranked as #3 on this particular list but is often featured as the #1 party school on many others, and it is also ranked as the #12 public school in the country, as well as the #35 in national universities by U.S. News.

Just because you attend one of the best party schools does not of course mandate you to participate in all the parties if partying is not for you. In general, public universities tend to be larger than private universities, and students are able to find a variety of social groups or community activities both in and off campus to get involved in, even outside of the classic Greek Life.

Pros and Cons of searching for top party schools that are also great colleges

When you first get to college, you are arriving at an entirely new environment, surrounded by new people. Parties are often the best way to meet other students who you’ll be taking classes with or with whom you’ll become friends. But just as it is the case with any new and exciting experience, it can be easy to lose sight of your goals simply because of all the change.

It’s important to prioritize what you want to achieve out of your college experience, which should primarily be your studies, alongside any socializing that will help you grow as an individual and professional. Striking that fine balance between partying and studying is a common road that many college graduates have navigated successfully, despite its inherent challenges.

If you are planning to attend the biggest party school or simply one of the best party schools that offer a great academic education, it’ll help you in the long run if you do the following:

Top Party Schools in America (Continued)

1) Organize your schedule and manage your time

Time management will be the compass to your overall college experience. For instance, if there is a party you’re desperately wanting to join, don’t forget to check for any upcoming deadlines or exams that might coincide with the party. The last thing you want to do is show up for an exam unprepared because you had simply forgotten about it.

2) Prioritize your studies

This might come off as an obvious statement, but it can be easier than you imagine to forget that there is an academic reason you are attending college. Studying and socializing should coexist during your college years for you to make the most of your time. It’s a hefty investment!

Top Party Schools in America (Continued)

3) Stay on top of your goals

Think of the goals you want to achieve, academically and socially. Keeping those in front of mind can help you maximize your college life.

College, in the end, is a massive financial and time investment, so making the most of your undergraduate years will help you achieve your next best step forward. As much as it is alluring and exciting to participate in as many student activities and parties as you’d like to, it’s as important to show up for your classes and coursework. And being aware of all of this is a proactive first step.

It’s just as true that students can become massive partiers without even going to one of the biggest party schools in the country. Finding the right balance might be one of the trickiest endeavors of your prospective college experience, but it’s a lifelong skill that you can utilize far beyond your college years.

Top Party Schools in America – Final Thoughts

Should you choose to attend any one of these top party schools with a strong academic focus, you’re bound to meet more people than you thought you would. These colleges will provide more parties for you to attend compared to schools that are not traditionally considered party schools, and whether you wish to or not is completely up to your discretion.
Is it possible to have a good time at college? Yes. Is it possible to attend a party school that is still a great academic college? Absolutely.