Each year students at universities nationwide await the arrival of the Princeton Review’s top party schools list to claim their bragging rights, but is that reputation something that should be sought after? Some Ohio State representatives don’t think so.
The 2013 edition of “377 Best Colleges” ranks schools in 62 categories, with the rankings based off answers from student surveys, including one for the top party schools.
According to the Princeton Review website, more than 122,000 students at universities across the country answered an 80-question survey on their own colleges, with questions varying from student life to academics. The results are then compiled and ranked.
The list puts Ohio University and Miami (Ohio) as No. 3 and No. 9, respectively, and West Virginia University as No. 1. With two Ohio schools at the top of the list, many noticed the absence of OSU.
Students and faculty from the three Ohio universities have differing opinions on what it takes to make that list.
Alyssa Johnson, a third-year OU student, attributed OSU’s size to its absence on the list.
“I feel that campus is so big, that they have such a wide variety of people, that collectively they aren’t known for partying,” Johnson said.
She also said that Miami’s, as well as OU’s, small-town feel, might also have something to do with their party school reputations.
“There really isn’t much to do in Athens unless you drive 15 minutes to the (movie) theater, and I’ve heard Miami is the same,” she said.
OSU’s assistant vice president of media relations, Gayle Saunders, agreed.
“We have a wonderful wealth of opportunities, there are so many different things for our students to embrace,” she said.
Heather Nicholson, a third-year in speech and hearing science, said a high ranking on the list wouldn’t necessarily help OSU.
“I think it would get some students really excited, others not so much. I bet it would probably affect admissions for those who don’t want to be a part of that,” she said.
Rachael Ahler, a second-year Miami (Ohio) student whose school did make the list, said she believes Miami’s strong greek life played a role in Miami’s new top 10 spot.
“I think that initially prompted Miami to make the list, with that, the amount of sororities, more importantly fraternities…getting kicked off, it helped move us up in the rankings,” Ahler said.
According to previous Lantern articles, only about 7 percent of OSU students are involved in greek life, compared to 33 percent at Miami (Ohio) and about 10 percent at OU, according to respective university websites,
Claire Wagner, associate director of university communications at Miami (Ohio), said she is not familiar with the Princeton Review’s criteria, but agreed the students’ involvement in greek life could be an influence.
Zack Eckles, a fourth-year OU student, said he thinks OU made the list for one reason: “We party.”
OU is a veteran among party school rankings, but OU interim vice president for student affairs Ryan Lombardi is weary of that reputation.
“We are disappointed in this ranking, as it does not match the data we have collected on campus regarding high-risk behavior nor is it indicative of the Ohio University experience,” Lombardi stated in a press release issued after the Princeton Review’s ranking was published in August.
Eckles said he knows a lot of students attend OU based on the habitual top-10 party school reputation, but “people who come here solely for that reason seldom stay in school.”
That reputation was not on Johnson’s mind when applying to OU.
“I had heard of the ranking, my grandparents constantly teased me with it, but I thought everyone partied in college so it couldn’t be that different from other schools,” Johnson said.
Ahler said she believes the Miami (Ohio) party reputation may deter some students.
“The new ranking might impact admissions just because parents may not want to send their kids somewhere that is nationally ranked ‘a party school,'” she said.
Correction: September 10, 2012
An earlier version of this story stated Rachael Ahler, a second-year Miami (Ohio) student was quoted saying that the high number of fraternities and sororities contributed to Miami’s ranking. In fact, she said that the number of sororities and fraternities getting kicked off campus contributed to Miami’s improved rankings. Also, Clair Wagner, associate director of university communications at Miami, was quoted saying there was not much to do in Athens, Ohio. In fact, that quote belonged to Alyssa Johnson, a third-year Ohio University student.