UF drops in party-school rankings, topped by FSU
Published: Monday, August 1, 2011 at 1:32 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, August 1, 2011 at 1:32 p.m.
Florida State University has beaten the University of Florida in a well-known national ranking, but this is an instance in which UF officials are celebrating rather than mourning.
The Princeton Review's guidebook, "The Best 376 Colleges: 2012 Edition," ranked colleges and universities in 62 categories. The University of Florida placed in the top 20 in the following categories:
Best Career Services: No. 1
Jock Schools: No. 1
Students Pack the Stadiums: No. 2
Lots of Beer: No. 6
Best College Newspaper: No. 9
Party Schools: No. 9
Best Health Services: No. 10
Students Study the Least: No. 14
Best Athletic Facilities: No. 16
Lots of Hard Liquor: No. 18
Everyone Plays Intramural Sports: No. 19
Complete party school rankings:
1. Ohio University
2. University of Georgia
3. University of Mississippi
4. University of Iowa
5. University of California Santa Barbara
6. West Virginia University
7. Penn State University
8. Florida State University
9. University of Florida
10. University of Texas
11. University of Illinois
12. Syracuse University
13. Louisiana State University
14. University of Wisconsin-Madison
15. DePauw University
16. Indiana University
17. Arizona State University
18. University of Maryland
19. University of Vermont
20. University of South Carolina
The Princeton Review has ranked UF as the No. 9 party school in the nation, continuing the university's decline in the survey since its No. 1 ranking in 2008.
Florida State placed eighth in rankings released Monday, rising two places from last year. Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, was the top party school.
UF fared better in rankings for best career services and top jock schools, taking first place in both categories.
UF ranked as the No. 7 party school last year and No. 3 in 2009. Maureen Miller, coordinator for alcohol and other drug prevention at UF's GatorWell health services, said she doesn't put much merit in the party-school ranking but was glad to see UF's continuing decline.
"It's much better to be known as a top-10 academic institution rather than being a so-called party school," she said.
The Princeton Review is a test-preparation company that is unaffiliated with Princeton University. The rankings are listed in its guidebook, "The Best 376 Colleges: 2012 Edition," which goes on sale today. It ranked colleges and universities in 62 categories based on online surveys from about 122,000 students at 376 schools.
UF's No. 1 ranking for career services is the second time in three years it took the top spot in that category, which ranks services helping students obtain jobs. UF's Career Resource Center provides services such as job fairs, mock interviews and online services helping students determine possible careers.
"I think the students that discover us, they really find it useful," said Kevin Guthrie, the center's assistant director for marketing and communications.
UF's top ranking in the jock-school category comes after a fourth-place finish last year. The category is based on survey responses about the popularity of intercollegiate sports, intramural sports and the Greek system.
UF placed No. 2 in "students pack the stadiums," a category based solely on the popularity of intercollegiate sports. Other top-10 rankings for UF include No. 6 for beer usage, No. 9 for best college newspaper and No. 10 for best health services.
The party-school category ranks schools where students report a high usage of alcohol and drugs, low daily study hours and high popularity of the Greek system. UF ranked 14th in the lowest number of study hours and 18th in the use of hard liquor.
Miller questioned the scientific validity of the survey, noting that it includes individuals who choose to participate and might not be representative of the study body at large. She pointed to UF surveys that found decreasing binge-drinking levels since 2004 as more accurate indicators of alcohol use by students.
Efforts against excessive drinking on the campus and beyond have had an impact, she said, but university officials continue to fight a party-school image.
"I don't know if that will ever go away, but I think it's gotten better over the years," she said.
Other Florida schools placing highly on the survey include Florida Southern College Lakeland, which ranked as the most beautiful campus. New College of Florida in Sarasota placed first for "Birkenstock-wearing, tree-hugging, clove-smoking vegetarians" and "dodgeball targets," the latter category ranking schools where sports are unpopular or nonexistent.
UF's party-school ranking is its latest dubious distinction. Last month, GQ magazine placed UF at 10th on its newly updated list of the 10 douchiest colleges in America.
"I kind of take it with a grain of salt when I see things like that," Miller said.
Contact Nathan Crabbe at 338-3176 or email@example.com.