In addition to student surveys about the party scene and nightlife, Niche researchers assessed a school’s access to bars and restaurants as well as previous Niche grades in athletics and Greek life.
Of the nearly 1,440 colleges on the list, Tulane University in New Orleans earned top honors. The phrase Tulane students say describes their school best: "Work hard, play hard."
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No. 2: University of Georgia
Second only to Tulane is the University of Georgia, situated in one of the country's top-ranked college towns: Athens.
At UGA, 62 percent of polled students said Greek life is a significant part of college culture at the Southern school. Nearly half of students said varsity sports are also a big component of campus life.
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In fact, Athens has been recognized as the second-best college football town in America by USA TODAY. The University of Wisconsin in Madison ranked first.
The city is also home to nearly 100 bars and some world-renowned restaurants.
In 2010, when the Georgia school was ranked the top party school in the nation by the Princeton Review, university leaders were not pleased.
“UGA has been on the party school list for a while, but it’s one we prefer not to lead," spokesman Tom Jackson said in a statement. “We’d rather focus on the Green Honor Roll listing as a top environmentally conscious campus or the top 50 ‘Best Values' listing.”
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The Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in May published new research about the long-term effects of heavy drinking, common at schools known for party culture.
According to the study, more than 37 million Americans (or 1 in 6) reported binge drinking (four or more drinks in a setting for women; five or more for men) approximately once per week in 2015.
In fact, binge drinkers on average consume seven drinks in a single setting.
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But the costly habit is on the decline at some colleges, including at UGA. According to a previous AJC report, UGA drinking rates have decreased over the past five years, and about 55 percent of incoming students this year identified as abstainers or non-drinkers.
“Parents may think they are the last people their kids will listen to when it comes to drinking but all evidence says teenagers do listen to their parents on this,” Britany Newton, coordinator of Voices for Prevention and advocate for substance abuse prevention, previously told The Atlanta Journal Constitution. “Have those conversations with your kids about going to a party and if a keg shows up at a party and they are uncomfortable, establish a code word so parents know when their kids want to be picked up.”
According to the CDC, binge drinking account for more than half of the 88,000 excessive drinking-related deaths in the country.
No other Georgia colleges cracked Niche’s top 40.
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Here’s how the other Georgia schools fared:
No. 42: Clark Atlanta University
No. 54: Morehouse College
No. 59: Georgia Southern University
No. 81: Georgia State University
No. 99: Spelman College
No. 103: Georgia Institute of Technology
No. 116: Savannah State University
No. 177: Albany State University
No. 234: Georgia College & State University
No. 249: Valdosta State University
No. 282: Emory University
No. 294: University of West Georgia
No. 351: Savannah College of Art & Design
No. 384: Mercer University
No. 389: Oglethorpe University
No. 494: Fort Valley State University
No. 539: Columbus State University
No. 551: Life University
No. 587: Paine College
No. 665: Kennesaw State University
Explore the full ranking and its methodology at Niche.com.