STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Penn State University is now the nation’s No. 1 party school.
The school known partly for its football tailgate weekends and fraternity and sorority scene snatched the title away from the University of Florida in the 2009 Princeton Review survey of 122,000 students nationwide. Florida, last year’s winner, finished second in the annual survey released Monday.
It’s the first time Penn State has finished first in the dubious category. The school has been on the list the last seven years and ranked third in 2008. The listing covers Penn State’s main University Park campus in State College.
“These rankings are not more than popularity contests,” said university spokeswoman Annemarie Mountz. She noted that groups on the social networking site Facebook have urged members to make Penn State the top party school.
“It’s a badge of honor at this point. Nationwide, kids want to pump their schools in these surveys,” Mountz said. “It’s not connected to reality.”
The rankings were part of the Princeton Review’s “The Best 371 Colleges” annual guide. On average, there were 325 respondents to the survey per school, which Mountz said amounted to less than 1 percent of the University Park campus’ enrollment of 43,000 students.
Penn State also finished first in the categories “lots of beer” and students who pack the stadium. Beaver Stadium is one of the country’s largest sports facility, seating more than 107,000 for football games.
After Penn State and Florida, the top five institutions on the party schools list were the University of Mississippi, the University of Georgia, and Ohio University-Athens.
Guide author Robert Franek said every school in the survey offered “great academics.”
But the guide does not rank schools academically, Franek said in a statement, because the goal is to “help students find and get into the best school for them … It’s all about fit.”
The annual rankings also list the country’s “Stone-Cold Sober Schools.” Brigham Young University in Utah topped that list for the 12th straight year.
The Princeton Review is a New York company known for its test preparation courses, educational services and books and is not affiliated with Princeton University.
List of top party schools by Princeton Review
The nation’s top party schools, according to Princeton Review’s 2009 survey of 122,000 students.
1. Penn State University, State College, Pa.
2. University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla.
3. University of Mississippi, Oxford, Miss.
4. University of Georgia, Athens, Ga.
5. Ohio University, Athens, Ohio
6. West Virginia University, Morgantown, W.Va.
7. University of Texas, Austin, Texas
8. University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wis.
9. Florida State University, Tallahassee, Fla.
10. University of California-Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, Calif.
11. University of Colorado, Boulder, Colo.
12. University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa
13. Union College, Schenectady, N.Y.
14. Indiana University, Bloomington, Ind.
15. DePauw University, Greencastle, Ind.
16. University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tenn.
17. Sewanee: The University of the South, Sewanee, Tenn.
18. University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, N.D.
19. Tulane University, New Orleans, La.
20. Arizona State University, Tempe, Ariz.
The Associated Press