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Top Party Schools Named in New Rankings

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

This is the time of year when many college freshmen are getting their first introduction to campus life. For some, conversations could sound a little like this.

(Soundbite of "Animal House")

Ms. KAREN ALLEN: (As Katy) Is this really what you're going to do for the rest of your life?

Mr. PETER RIEGERT: (As Boon) What do you mean?

Ms. ALLEN: (As Katy) I mean, hanging around with a bunch of animals, getting drunk every weekend.

Mr. RIEGERT: (As Boon) No. After I graduate, I'm going to get drunk every night.

INSKEEP: That's the 1978 movie "Animal House."

But drinking is a serious issue at many schools. The federal government says that college drinking contributes to 1,700 deaths every year. In a moment we'll hear from some college students about drinking on their campuses.

MONTAGNE: First, though, we'll be joined by Robert Franek of The Princeton Review, whose guide to colleges comes out today. Colleges fiercely compete to be number one for most of the categories in the guide. That's not the case for the dubious distinction of top party school in the nation.

Mr. ROBERT FRANEK (The Princeton Review): The University of Wisconsin has been the usual suspect on this list for a number of years, and it's certainly earned the number one position this year. How we come up with the party school list specifically is we ask about drug consumption on campus, alcohol consumption on campus, popularity of fraternities and sororities on campus and then hours of study spent per student outside of the classroom.

MONTAGNE: Huh. Interestingly, the State University of New York at Albany was the top party school last year, and they've dropped to fifth this year. Would this be a case of the school cracking down on partying, or even alcohol consumption?

Mr. FRANEK: Yeah. I mean, it's an important point to bring up. SUNY Albany was number one last year, and actually the year before, the University of Colorado-Boulder was number one. They're now completely off the list. So many schools, and certainly schools on our party school list, get very savvy about then trying to educate their students about safe drinking and drug use policies. You know, number one on our list this year, University of Wisconsin-Madison, has a whole portion of their Web site devoted to providing safe parties, house parties off of their campus.

MONTAGNE: Robert Franek is the author of The Princeton Review's Best 361 Colleges, and it's out today.

Thanks very much for talking with us.

Mr. FRANEK: It's a pleasure to be here. Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.