Students party hardy on Del Playa Drive in 2010
Paul Wellman (file)

Despite concerted efforts to buck its reputation as an especially hard-partying college — like cracking down on the massive and infamous Halloween and Floatopia blowouts — UC Santa Barbara was ranked #2 in The Princeton Review’s 2014 list of top 20 party schools in the country. UCSB, which was listed eighth last year, came in second to the University of Iowa, but edged out other notoriously boozy schools like West Virginia University, Syracuse University, the University of Florida, and Ohio University.

The rankings are determined by annual 80-question surveys given to current students at colleges across the United States. On average, 333 students at each school respond to the questionnaire that’s divided into four main sections: About Yourself, Your School’s Academics/Administration, Students, and Life at Your School. The Princeton Review has released its “The Best 378 Colleges” book since 1992 and features 62 separate lists on everything from quality of dorm food to faculty caliber to financial aid accessibility.

UCSB was included on a number of Top 10 lists, earning spots with Best College Newspaper (#9), Happiest Students (#5), Lots of Beer (#9), Lots of Hard Liquor (#3), and Reefer Madness (#5). It was also named a Best Western College and Best Value College by The Princeton Review, whose rankings have been both complimented as a gold standard of assessment and dismissed as subjective and arbitrary.

UCSB spokesperson George Foulsham issued this statement in response to the school’s #2 party ranking: “UC Santa Barbara was recently ranked Number 2 in the world (ahead of Harvard, Stanford and Yale) in terms of research impact by the prestigious CWTS Leiden Rankings, and is recognized as one of the Top 10 public universities in the country by U.S. News & World Report. The average high school GPA of our students is 3.98 and 98 percent of students graduate in the top 10 percent of their high school class. In addition, this year’s incoming freshman class was the most highly competitive/selective in campus history. These figures and the world-class caliber of our faculty are true indicators of the quality of a UC Santa Barbara education.”


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