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Playboy: Penn State NOT #1 Party School

Despite being hailed as the number one party school in the country by the Princeton Review last year (our article), Penn State didn’t even crack the top 10 on Playboy’s 2009 Top Party Schools. Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

The two rankings have significant differences in their methodology for crowning the party king. The Princeton Review’s rankings are based on a survey of 122,000 college students across the country which, while very democratic approach, has lead to the criticism that the rankings are nothing more than a popularity contest.

Playboy’s system is quite less ambiguous and more scientific (Playboy being more calculated than the Princeton Review?). However, their system may be a little biased towards certain schools. They use 5 categories: Bikini, Sex, Campus, Sports, and Brains. Each one of these categories had careful equations applied to them. Here’s how they worked.

BIKINI: We took the highest average temperature on campus in May + the number of days of sunshine + the number of tanning salons near campus + the number of cosmetic surgeons and multiplied that by the girl percentage from the guy-to-girl ratio, then added the number of nursing majors and our rank of their cheerleaders.

SEX: To get this figure we used the ranking from the Trojan Sexual Health Report Card (if none was given, the median was used) + the number of empty study rooms at a random hour in the library (the best place to have sex on campus if your roommate is home) + the numerical value of the College Prowler Strictness Score (A+=98, A=95, A-=92, etc).

CAMPUS LIFE: A beer is only as good as the company you drink it with, so we used these formulas: 2 x (the number of bars + the number of liquor stores + the gallons of beer consumed in the state each year) = N. Enrollment /(the number of clubs + the number of Greek organizations) = Q. Each school’s Q was then subtracted from the highest Q in the set to get Z. 100/N + 100/Z gave us our number.

SPORTS: We counted only the past four years, since current seniors started. (Note: The 2009 NCAA Basketball Tournament occurred after we went to press.) We took the capacity of the largest stadium – enrollment + (the number of times men’s basketball or football made a bowl game or NCAA Division I Tourney x 1,000) + (the number of times either men’s basketball or football won its conference x 5,000) + (the number of times men’s basketball or football won a national championship x 10,000).

BRAINS: We took the average GPA (if none was reported, we used the average of all the schools) + (the freshman retention rate / the number of students for each professor) + (the Princeton Review academic rating /10).

When all of these calculations was said and done, they added up all the numbers and had the top party schools in the country.

  1. The University of Miami
  2. University of Texas at Austin
  3. San Diego State University
  4. University of Florida
  5. University of Arizona
  6. University of Wisconsin
  7. University of Georgia
  8. Louisiana State University
  9. University of Iowa
  10. West Virginia University

And coming in at number 13…Penn State. I think this system is a little biased towards Southern/warm schools (California and Florida). I’m not convinced that the Bikini Index translates into better parties. Here’s the nice thing about the Playboy Index, though–they’re welcoming feedback to adjust the equations for next year.


About the Author

Noah Simmons

Noah is an International Politics major minoring in French. Noah participates in the Mock Trial team, the Sailing Team, and is the president/founder of the Odyssey of the Mind club. Besides pushing the limit of what is journalistically acceptable, Noah enjoys long walks on the beach and football. In a previous lifetime he was William Wallace


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