At least that’s according to the Princeton Review’s annual survey.
The University of Iowa is climbing its rankings of top party schools. Iowa is now number 4 on that list, up from 9 last year and 12th the year before that. Ohio University ranked number one, then Georgia and Ole Miss.
The ranking comes as a surprise for many Hawkeye students and faculty, especially after passing the 21 ordinance last year.
“I for sure thought it was going to go down,” said UI business student, Erin Birkholz. “Then we were way up there, even ahead of Madison. Definitely did not expect that.”
It’s not a ranking that has UI leaders celebrating, but Birkholz says it’s kind of cool.
“I think it just gives Iowa credit,” she said, “credit as a cool school to go to.”
Last year, city council members and university leaders passed the 21 ordinance making it illegal for anyone under 21 to be in a bar past 10:00 p.m. The city also raised the fines along with the new law. Officials say it may take time for those efforts to change perceptions.
“This involves a cultural change which takes time,” said UI spokesman Tom Moore. “It may just be that there’s some lag here in the Princeton Review’s survey.”
The review is based on surveys from students like Andrew Hrvol. He visited the UI a few times, sampling the school and nightlife.
“When I would come to visit it was pretty wild, that I can be sure of,” Hrvol said.
Still, Hrvol decided to accept a spot in one of the university's master programs.
“The school is well-known, especially the medical school and teaching hospital here, so I think it shows there is a decent balance between studying and going out and having fun,” he said.
That’s why UI leaders say they’re not worried about prospective students changing their perceptions of what it means to be a Hawkeye.
“When you look at other Princeton Reviews, it shows we have very high achieving students,” said Moore. “So again, there’s a disconnect there. If it’s truly a party school, how can our students achieve at such a high level?”
The guide's rankings are based on email surveys voluntarily filled out by 122,000 students at more than 370 colleges across the country. On average, about 325 students from each campus respond, and university administrators often call the rankings unscientific and say they glorify dangerous behavior.
The Princeton Review, not affiliated with Princeton University, is a Massachusetts-based company known for its test preparation courses educational services and books. It has put out its best colleges guide since 1992.
The nation's top party schools and top stone-cold sober schools, according to Princeton Review's survey of 122,000 students:
1. Ohio University, Athens, Ohio
2. University of Georgia, Athens, Ga.
3. University of Mississippi, Oxford, Miss.
4. University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa
5. University of California Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, Calif.
6. West Virginia University, Morgantown, W. Va.
7. Penn State University, University Park, Pa.
8. Florida State University, Tallahassee, Fla.
9. University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla.
10. University of Texas, Austin, Texas
11. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
12. Syracuse University, Syracuse, N.Y.
13. Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, La.
14. University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wis.
15. DePauw University, Greencastle, Ind.
16. Indiana University, Bloomington, Ind.
17. Arizona State University, Tempe, Ariz.
18. University of Maryland, College Park, Md.
19. University of Vermont, Burlington, Vt.
20. University of South Carolina, Columbia, S.C.
Stone-cold sober schools
1. Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah
2. Wheaton College, Wheaton, Ill.
3. Wesleyan College, Macon, Ga.
4. U.S. Coast Guard Academy, New London, Conn.
5. U.S. Military Academy, West Point, N.Y.
6. U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md.
7. Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Mich.
8. Grove City College, Grove City, Pa.
9. Pepperdine University, Malibu, Calif.
10. City University of New York — Brooklyn College, Brooklyn, N.Y.
11. The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, New York, N.Y.
12. U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point, N.Y.
13. U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo.
14. Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering, Needham, Mass.
15. City University of New York — Queens College, Flushing, N.Y.
16. Thomas Aquinas College, Santa Paula, Calif.
17. University of Dallas, Irving, Texas
18. Agnes Scott College, Decatur, Ga.
19. College of the Ozarks, Point Lookout, Mo.20. Gustavus Adolphus College, Saint Peter, Minn.