For every big school that winds up on the Princeton Review’s overhyped list, there are three smaller schools who rage equally as hard, if not harder. Why aren’t they recognized? Why aren’t they loved? As big fans of both underdogs and partying here at COED, we’re happy to announce that once again we’re putting the spotlight on the 20 Most Underrated Party Schools in the United States.
To qualify as an underrated party school, a few things need to happen. First, and most importantly, you need to party. All the schools you see here have student bodies fully committed to the weekends. Second, people need to be talking about how ratchet your ragers get. If people aren’t Tweeting about your parties, you’re not doing it right. Finally, we’re not taking into account the difficulty of curriculum at the schools. There are more than a few institutions on this list that are hard to get into. There are also some that are very easy to get into.
You’ve all had plenty of time in 2013-2014 to leave your mark on the college world, so without further delay here’s our list for the 20 Most Underrated Party Schools in the United States.
#20: Ball State University | Muncie, IN
Number of Students: 21,000
Notable Parties: Tons of house parties (Greek / non-Greek), anything going on in The Village
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There’s something about colleges in the Midwest…students just love to get down harder and more frequently. Schools like Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan are well known for being huge party schools where the alcohol flows like water but Ball State–located in the heart of Indiana–still holds its own amongst the other much bigger schools. There’s a huge GDI presence on campus, so you don’t really need to be in a Fraternity or Sorority to party your a** off on a nightly basis.
Also…you’re only two hours away from Bloomington, Indiana (where Indiana University is). So even if the night is dead, you can always make your way down to turn your night around.
**Fun fact: David Letterman’s party loving self went to Ball State.
100% chance this guy used that tuition money for partying that night.
#19: Clemson University | Clemson, SC
Number of Students: 16,500
Notable Parties: Anything football/tailgate-related, frat houses, Tiger Town Tavern, rush blowout weekend
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Clemson University might be the only school in the ACC that gets no party-school love, a reality we don’t really understand. While there is only one street with bars on it, all that really means is that bar crawls get a lot easier. But when the Clemson Tigers start really rolling is during the fall for football season. That’s when house parties and tailgates (a la Gameday‘s shirtless bro) really start popping off.
Just because there’s no fraternity row doesn’t mean that Clemson doesn’t know how to get fratty. Shotgunning beers in button downs and watching pledges look like fools is still par for the course.
#18: East Stroudsburg University | East Stroudsburg, PA
Number of Students: 6,355
Notable Parties: Spring Fest, Barstool Blackout, Thursday nights, Off-Campus ragers
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Any time that a school comes in third place for drinking related arrests in the country, you know that students are doing something
wrong right. Obviously we don’t wish anyone to spend any amount of time incarcerated, but I’m willing to bet more than some of those students arrested were picked up by their friends with a beer or two. That’s just what we’ve come to expect from that ratchet folks at East Stroudsburg University.
*Admittedly the video below is weak-sauce but that’s probably because everyone’s afraid of being arrested that they don’t want to document any parties.
#17: Gettysburg College | Gettysburg, PA
Number of Students: 2,500
Notable Parties: Springfest, Alumni Week, PDT’s “Water Parties,” PSK’s “Tour De Franzia,” Lacrosse tailgates
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When it comes to partying, the Gettysburg students are known for doing “good work.” Whether its a weekday party at one of the school’s numerous fraternities, a house party at The Big Gay Mansion or Red House, there’s always a beer to be found in G-Vegas. Admittedly a few fraternities have started getting in more trouble as the school’s started cracking down on Greek Life but to counteract that, a few new ones have started popping up.
One word of advice though. If you visit Gettysburg for one weekend, make sure it’s Springfest.
#16: East Carolina University | Greenville, NC
Number of Students: 21,000
Notable Parties: Halloween, Football tailgates, anything at the pool
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ECU would almost certainly be higher on the list if it wasn’t recognized in previous years as being one of the biggest party schools. So while it’s not “underrated” by any means, for some reason the Princeton Review left them off the list this year. That should never happen, ever.
To start with, the Pirates’ football team has been getting better. They also have an outdoor pool where parties are thrown regularly. Yes, some schools have pools that aren’t just used by the swim team. We agree that’s unfair.
#15: University of Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh, PA
Number of Students: 17,000+
Notable Parties: Syllabus Week, Homecoming, Bigelow Bash Block Party
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UPitt is a massive D-I sports school in the middle of one of the biggest cities in the North East, so the fact that it gets passed over as a “party school” really confuses us more than Bio 101. Year after year, their basketball team makes it into March Madness and their football team is only getting better, so there’s plenty of sports to get excited about.
It’s just an added bonus that classes are regularly cancelled because of bomb threats.
#14: Rice University | Houston, TX
Number of Students: 6,000+
Notable Parties: Night of Decadence, Beer Bike
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Located in Houston, Rice University is a hidden gem among Texas party schools. The on-campus drinking laws are such that if you’re 21 and buy the cheap beer from the student co-op, you’re allowed to chill with it on campus which is a huge plus with all the nice weather down there. If you’re not 21, school rules are such that security doesn’t give a crap what you do as long as you’re at a private party and the booze is behind closed-doors.
On top of that, each college in the University is known for throwing a traditional rager–one of which is known as NOD or Night of Decadence. To celebrate the annual party, students put a massive paper-mache dong on the middle of campus (the photo above).
#13: Radford University | Radford, VA
Number of Students: 10,000
Notable Parties: Quad Fest
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Don’t let the fact that Radford University is a dry campus fool you, the Highlanders know how to get down. Most of the sports teams have their own houses and throw down in the off-season (or after a big game) in addition to the numerous fraternities. While it’s true that house parties are where it’s at, good times can be had at bars like Sharkeys or BT’s.
Radford University is hands-down the biggest party school in the whole state of Virginia and is well-known among residents of the state. For this reason, some houses have to be a little stricter at the door due to the amount of freeloaders and townies who come looking for free booze.
#12: California State University – Chico | Chico, CA
Number of Students: 16,000
Notable Parties: Halloween, Labor Day, Cesar Chavez Day
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Going to school in California is always a great decision. You’ve got an awesome terrain, great girls and you’re at least somewhat close to the ocean. Chico state is a great example of a party school that flies under the radar but still goes very hard. There’s a ton of cheap bars close by with drink specials every night (Madison Bear Garden holds the torch for the best all-around). For those of you who aren’t 21 or just aren’t feelin’ the bars, there’s always a house party bumpin’ at this school. Chico…rage on.
#11: Southern Illinois University – Carbondale | Carbondale, IL
Number of Students: 18,000
Notable Parties: “Unofficial” Halloween party, Polar Bear
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Hailing itself as the “Real Party School” on the SIUParty School Twitter page, SIU students know how to get down. The school is 5 hours away from Chicago, so it doesn’t really have any big cities nearby, but that makes no difference, SIU doesn’t need any city distractions. This school is most well-known for their insane house parties and for their infamous strip in town with all the fun college bars.
SIU is not known for their sports teams but the students are known for getting incredibly hammered at the sports games. What’s more important…winning or having a damn good time while you lose? SIU-Carbondale, we tip our beer mugs to you.
#10: Georgia Southern University | Statesboro, GA
Number of Students: 20,000
Notable Parties: Plaza Block Party, Pi Kappa Alpha “Around The World,” Luke Bryan’s annual concert
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There’s a big rivalry between Georgia Southern and Georgia State (hence the hashtags #SouthernNotState or #StateNotSouthern) but as far as partying goes, Southern has this one in the bag. Even their mascot misbehaves every now and then (photo above).
If you’re looking for bars, the good news is that in Statesboro they’re all clumped together so you know which ones are turned up and which ones aren’t. Plus most of them are 18+.
**Fun fact, Ace from Real World went to GSU. So did Miss COED March 2014 Kelly Godfrey.
#9: Elon University | Elon, NC
Number of Students: 5,500
Notable Parties: Festivus (awesome photos here), Oak Hill Block parties, Halloween
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If Elon students aren’t day drinking (can’t put that past ’em), then the parties usually start a lot later than they do at other schools (around midnight). The good news is that this means they also go later. For the most part, parties are run by off-campus theme houses or fraternities which are closer to the school than bars. The school also has a fantastic student-run organization that has designated drivers take students around so that they don’t have to drive.
#8: Coastal Carolina University | Conway, SC
Number of Students: 8,500
Notable Parties: Goodyear parties, Monarch pool parties, Burro Fest (Cinco de Mayo)
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Ask any student why they picked this school and 99% of them will tell you, “the beach.” It’s the perfect party environment where students are raging Monday-Friday at local bars. Saturday is spent drinking at pool parties and 64th street, and at night they bar crawl it at Broadway at the Beach. Finally on Sunday, they attempt to sober up and study. Just kidding–they get drunk on boats and cruise over to Boathouse Bar where there’s a live band, outside bars, and volleyball courts.
So it makes perfect sense when a fraternity gets suspended from this campus, it is for SEVEN years and not four, just to be safe ALL current members have finally graduated. It’s not college, it’s Coastal.
#7: Texas State University | San Marcos, TX
Number of Students: 36,000
Notable Parties: River Fest, anything at the campus pool
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Texas State University really should get more attention from students nationwide. Yes it does have the reputation as being a fall-back school for those who didn’t get into the University of Texas but the truth of the matter is that it might go a little harder than UT. Austin is only 30 miles away but it could be A LOT worse than being stuck in San Marcos. There are tons and tons of fraternities getting wild and on-campus pool that’s always turned up.
If getting wet and drinking is your thing, you can always take advantage of the fact that TSU is on a river town and just go floating down the river with a cooler of beers. Not a bad way to beat the Texas heat.
#6: Bloomsburg University | Bloomsburg, PA
Number of Students: 9,201
Notable Parties: Bloomsburg Block Party, ATO parties
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As a graduate of a Pennsylvania college, I’m well aware of the legendary ratchetness that’s been coming out of Bloomsburg University for a few years now. But after this year’s Block Party which got turned up to an 11.9, their status as a party school has been forever cemented.
During the school year, most of the stuff going on pops off in fraternities. ATO has the best reputation on campus but there are many other solid options for finding bros with beers.
#5: West Chester University | West Chester, PA
Number of Students: 13,000
Notable Parties: Cinco de Quatro
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When the guy who wrote “I Love College” went to your school, you’ve definitely got a bumping party scene. Such is the case with rapper Asher Roth, who attended West Chester University of Pennsylvania. Although Roth was only there for 2 years, the reputation of partying stuck around at the school. West Chester has tons of options for anyone looking to party Wednesday through Saturday and that’s what we like to hear.
Also, the school is only 25 miles outside of Philly, so if you’re looking for a vibrant concert scene, you’ve pretty much got the chance to see any single artist you want when they drop by the City of Brotherly Love.
#4: University of Dayton | Dayton, OH
Number of Students: 8,000
Notable Parties: St. Patrick’s Day, March Madness, Basketball pregames
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Even before the Flyers’ recent epic deep run into March Madness, Dayton and The Ghetto (their student-owned housing area nickname) were on our map for underrated party schools simply because of the massive annual St. Patrick’s Day party that they throw. Their St. Patty’s throwdown is one of the nation’s wildest.
Add that to the newsworthy riots (plural) they had in the streets of Dayton and you’ve got a party school we might have to hold over Ohio State or Ohio University next year.
#3: Western Michigan University | Kalamazoo, MI
Number of Students: 25,000
Notable Parties: Western / Central Michigan weekend, St. Patty’s, syllabus week, welcome week
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The University known as “Wastern” has a few in-state rivalrys going. There biggest one, though, is against Central Michigan. During that football game, 100,000 people come to Kalamazoo and represent their school. It turns into one absolutely ridiculous tailgate party.
When it’s not Western/Central weekend, though, things are still going off. Bars like The Grotto, Y-Bar, Shakespeare’s Pub, the Kalamazoo Beer Exchange, Waldo’s, University Roadhouse, Wayside West, Monaco Bay, Wild Bull, and The Union are usually packed with students. If you’re looking to save money (or maybe avoid someone checking IDs) look no further than what’s called Fraternity Village.
#2: College of Charleston, | Charleston, SC
Number of Students: 10,000
Notable Parties: Georgestock
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Being in Charleston must be nice, but the best part about going to College of Charleston has got to be the nightlife scene there. If you like being fratty, C of C is like your Disney World at the age of 8. Unlike most places with a large greek life, though, it’s the bars that run the show in Charleston. Frat houses and off-campus pads tend to be used mostly for pregames and (then late-night kegs).
If you’re looking for a good time out, head to the watering holes on King Street. Charleston is constantly busy so you’ve got the big-ish city feel to it, but also a little more fun because it’s in South Carolina.
#1: SUNY-Cortland | New York
Number of Students: 6,000+
Notable Parties: CortacaJug, Cornucopia
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A lot of you who don’t live here in New York or go to schools in the North East with legit D-III sports (if that’s even possible) might have never heard of Cortland, but that’s your own d*mn fault because these kids really are on the level of not giving a f*ck when it comes to partying.
Are you familiar with @SUNYPartyStories, one of the most ratchet Twitter handles on the planet? If so, you’ll know that Cortland regularly wins the award for “Best Party Story.” And for good reason, too. After defeating Ithaca in CortacaJug (an annual football game), things got absolutely bananas on the streets of Cortland. Cars flipped, people crowd diving off of balconies… It’s best just to watch the footage below.
But back to the sports. Yes, they’re Division-III but the fact of the matter is that they’re pretty good for D-III sports. That means that not only do you have a lot of off-season meatheads ready to take down a keg or two, you’ve got plenty of reasons to get your school spirit up.
Congratulations to SUNY-Cortland for winning the title of #1 Most Underrated Party School in the United States!