The Top Party School in Pennsylvania Is … Who?!?

All Princeton Review did with this year’s ranking is further erode the shady rep of college rankings. Party on, kids.

Yesterday the Princeton Review released its new 2015 list of the “Top Party Schools” in the nation, and certain parties Are. Not. Happy. In particular, there’s Bucknell University, a tiny (3,600 undergrads) school in will-o’-the-wisp Lewisburg, PA, (population 6,000), nestled along the Susquehanna River. On this year’s list, Bucknell sits in the number four slot, behind only the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (number one), the University of Iowa (number two) and the University of Wisconsin (number three, duh), all of which have, oh, hey, say, 10 times as many students as Bucknell.

Which makes Bucknell’s feat even more impressive, no? Um, that depends whom you ask. Turns out Bucknell made the same list last year, in ninth place. Way to move up, Bucknell, uh, uh … Bucknell what? Brief Wikipedia consultation … Bucknell Bison! Look at you, Bucknell Bison, thundering through a herd of schools much, much larger than you on your way to the top! YOU have the mightiest frat scene, lots of beer and hard liquor, access to drugs, little studying — all of which are factors that play into placement on the party-school list.

Which might explain why, when Bucknell placed ninth last year, school administrators didn’t embrace the fact. In fact, Bucknell spokesman Andy Hirsch told Penn Live, “I can tell you that we agree with the many institutions critical of this and similar ‘rankings,’ the results of which are produced using methodologies called into question by both those within higher education and in the media.”

Those are some sour grapes!

Hirsch noted the considerable efforts Bucknell had recently gone to to educate students about the dangers of binge drinking, pointing out that the school had canceled its annual “house party weekend” bacchanal and revised the student code of conduct to make sanctions more effective. All of which resulted in … a move five spots higher on the list.

But Bucknell needn’t worry. Nobody has taken college party rankings seriously since last autumn, when Playboy declared the University of Pennsylvania tops in the nation in that category. The girlie mag’s touting of Penn’s “notorious undergrad frat scene” and “balls-out war of debauchery” left even the Penn community scratching its head.

“Everyone Thinks It’s Bizarre That Playboy Named UPenn America’s No. 1 Party School” was the headline on a piece in Business Insider that quoted puzzled tweets from the likes of the Penn’s International Affairs Association (“So we’re not sure what happened, but @Penn was named the Top Party School by @Playboy”) to perplexed alums (“I had fun at Penn, but not THAT much fun”) and students (“Either they’ve never visited or they mistook us for Penn State”).

So chill out, Bucknell, and don’t worry too much about your reputation. Have some of that hard liquor, or maybe take a toke or two. This too shall pass. Nobody looking at this year’s rankings and searching for a great party school is going to be racked with doubt trying to choose between the University of Illinois and Bucknell.

Follow @SandyHingston on Twitter.

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