Every year the Princeton Review publishes a list of the top "party schools" in the country, and this year the officials at the school that made the number one slot are not at all pleased about it. According to the Princeton Review, the school whose party culture ranks above the rest is the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a university that, last year, was ranked in the number five spot. While the students at the University of Illinois can now chant "We're number one!" with a purpose, officials question if that reputation is good for the school.
The University of Illinois earned this title after students were surveyed about life on campus and how much "celebrating" occurs at the university. The school is famous for festivities like "Unofficial," a St. Patrick's Day celebration, and most students agree that the UIUC knows how to throw a great party - hence the ranking in the first place. But does that take away from the other great things that students do? School officials think that the party school rep is insulting.
Here's the statement that UIUC spokesperson Robin Kaler gave to USA Today about the new Princeton Ranking:
In a way, I get what this spokesperson means by "insulting." No one wants to have spent four years working crazy hard in their college classes to have their degree scoffed off as one from a party school. At the same time, I do think that most people take this review with a grain of salt - any college degree is a challenge, and it's not one you can achieve by partying through your four years. Some UIUC students may attend crazy parties, but anyone who thinks that it's all every student does has watched Animal House a few too many times.
This is not a scientifically based ranking. It is a promotion for The Princeton Review. Our student body is comprised of the brightest, most hard-working students anywhere. Their graduation rates and achievements in their careers and lives demonstrate that they take their studies seriously and that they are at Illinois to get a world-class education. It is disappointing that, once again, Princeton Review is promoting this pseudo ranking as though it were meaningful. It's insulting to all of our students, since they are here to prepare to become leaders of their generation.
The Princeton Review list may give the world a sneak peek at what social life on campus is life, but we should also trust this silly ranking isn't the only thing that will build the university's reputation.