Claim: Playboy magazine compiles annual rankings of America’s top party schools.
MIXTURE OF TRUE AND FALSE INFORMATION:
|FALSE: Playboy magazine compiles annual rankings of America’s top party schools.|
|TRUE: Playboy magazine has sometimes printed other publications’ rankings of America’s top party schools.|
|TRUE: Playboy magazine has occasionally published their own rankings of America’s top party schools.|
|TRUE: Other organizations compile and publish their own rankings of America’s top party schools.|
Origins: Since the 1950s, rumors have been aired at every college in the U.S. that Playboy conducted surveys of drinking on college campuses and used them to compile annual lists of “America’s best party schools” (rumors usually spread by students proudly proclaiming that their own school had achieved the
in the latest ranking). However, not until the late 1980s did Playboy actually publish a ranking of this nature, and it was never an annual feature of the magazine.
Through the end of 2006, such a list had appeared in the pages of Playboy only three times: in its January 1987, November 2002, and May 2006 issues. However, there were two precursors to the full-blown list: the September 1968 issue identified the University of Wisconsin at Madison as the most permissive campus (drawn from a sample of
In more recent years Playboy has sometimes republished college rankings compiled by others, such as the annual list of The Top 20 Party Schools as determined by The Princeton Review.
Prior to 2002, Playboy had compiled their own list of “party schools” only once. They gave their reason for reprising this feature in 2002 as:
Campus legend has it that Playboy does a yearly ranking of America’s top party schools. Truth is, we haven’t done such a roundup since 1987, when we tagged Cal State-Chico the craziest campus in the nation. Chico has had bragging rights for
The information for Playboy‘s 1987 list of party schools had been compiled in 1986 from the reports of Playboy staffers who interviewed campus club leaders, dorm rush chairmen, fraternity presidents and other campus social studs at more than
Then there’s the computer bulletin board-fueled story about the magazine (usually Playboy) that was ranking the
Gentle souls that they are, Playboy referenced this bit of folklore (a charming bit of blarney which been told about any number of schools, cheese-enhanced and otherwise, for many years prior to 1987) and did their best console those who were left off the January 1987 compilation by stating, “If your school isn’t listed, it’s probably because we didn’t include professionals.”
For those who really want to know how their institutions of higher learning fare now in the “party school” category, Princeton Review’s latest eagerly-awaited annual ranking of the
- Syracuse University
- University of Iowa
- University of California at Santa Barbara
- West Virginia University
- University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
- Lehigh University
- Pennsylvania State University at University Park
- University of Wisconsin at Madison
- Bucknell University
- University of Florida
- Miami University
- Florida State University
- Ohio University at Athens
- DePauw University
- University of Georgia
- University of Mississippi
- Tulane University
- University of Vermont
- University of Oregon
- University of Delaware
Barbara “party line” Mikkelson
Last updated: 21 August 2014
Barbash, Fred. “This Year’s Top 20 Party Schools — and Other Honors.” The Washington Post. 4 August 2014. Brunvand, Jan Harold. The Baby Train. New York: W. W. Norton, 1993. ISBN 0-393-31208-9 (p. 193). Prato, Alison. “Playboy’s Top 25 Party Schools.” Playboy. November 2002 (p. 89). Roeper, Richard. “Tale of Peanut Butter Spreads Latest Legend.” Chicago Sun-Times. 26 July 1994 (p. 11). Associated Press. “Playboy Picks Wisconsin As Top Party School.” 5 April 2006.
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