Higher education is certainly an opportunity to study and learn, but college can also be the most fun four years in someone’s life. There’s good reason for this — college is a time of seemingly endless parties, a constant supply of alcohol, and cherished sports teams to cheer on with fellow students.
In order to find the most fun colleges in the country, we looked at 10 categories from the Princeton Review’s 2014 college rankings.
Many of the schools that made our list share common traits. The typical “fun” school, based on our results, is a large public university with a strong Greek life and competitive athletics.
This is not to say that these colleges are all play and no work. Many of these schools were nationally ranked for their academics as well.
Penn State University was our number one most fun college, but only topped one of the Princeton Review’s lists we used — Lots of Beer. The school was included in a whopping eight of the 10 categories we looked at, including high rankings in Students Pack the Stadiums, Everyone Plays Intramural Sports, Jock Schools, and Party Schools.
There's a lot of alcohol at the University of Wisconsin -- both beer and hard liquor -- and students take advantage of a small, but active Greek scene, as well as other social opportunities in Madison, Wisconsin.
The school has historically participated in two massive annual parties -- the State Street Halloween Party in October and Mifflin Street Block Party at the end of the academic year.
Virgina Tech must be doing something right with their combination of an active social scene and well-loved athletics, as the Princeton Review named it the top school for Their Students Love These Colleges.
Students come out in droves to support the Hokies, and Greeks can always be found tailgating on game days.
Lawrence, Kansas has been hailed as one of the great college towns, with the city's bars supplementing KU's Greek and unaffiliated communities.
KU's co-eds gained some notoriety this year for a Twitter account featuring revealing pictures of Kansas fans' cleavage, yet another way students support the Jayhawks.
Often considered the best tailgate venue in the country, Ole Miss faithful pack 'The Grove' -- a 10-acre area in the center of the University of Mississippi campus -- during every home football game of the year.
Rows of tents, well dressed students, and plenty of food and alcohol make The Grove one of the top places to see a game.
Greek life is an inescapable part of the social scene at DePauw, where over 70% of students join a fraternity or sorority, and one of the biggest events of the year is the Little 500 -- a bike race based off of one held at Indiana University.
Hard alcohol dominates parties, and student outrage recently forced administrators to abandon a plan to ban liquor from registered fraternity events.
Almost half of Lehigh undergraduates are part of a fraternity or sorority, and the Greek scene definitely sets the social tone for the campus.
The school takes part in one of the most revered traditions in college sports -- 'The Rivalry' -- an annual football game against nearby Lafayette College that will see its 150th game in 2014.
KSU students love their school, due in large part to the plethora of sports, both intramural and their Wildcat athletic teams.
Students head off campus to take advantage of 'Aggieville' -- a throwback to KSU's original mascot -- which is an area of Manhattan, Kansas packed with college bars.
Santa Barbara, California
UC Santa Barbara has something very special that sets it apart from most other colleges: its own beach.
Whether surfing, sun bathing, or just drinking on the beach, the waterfront only adds to UCSB's social scene -- especially the house parties on ocean-bordering Del Playa Drive in Isla Vista, where students predominate.
Although Athens, Ohio is a great college town -- centered around the bars on Court Street -- OU students make their own fun with a series of block parties better known as 'fests.'
The largest of these is Palmerfest, a massive block party held annually in May, but students also look forward to #fest -- a BYOB bi-annual music festival.
Urbana, Illinois and Champaign, Illinois
Greek life may be the main social outlet on campus, but everyone at U of I comes out for 'Unofficial,' a pre-Saint Patrick's Day celebration created because students were always on spring break during the Irish themed holiday.
During the rest of the year, students take advantage of the 19-years-old entry age of the bars, although you still have to be 21 to be served.
Clemson, South Carolina
While you don't have to be Greek to have a social life at Clemson, with almost a quarter of students in fraternities or sororities, it definitely helps.
Athletics are a dominating presence on campus -- especially the school's football team, the Fighting Tigers -- and Clemson topped the Princeton Review's lists for both Everyone Plays Intramural Sports and Jock Schools.
Morgantown, West Virginia
A perennial favourite for the top spot on any party school ranking, WVU ranked in the top five for the Princeton Review's lists of Students Study the Least and Party Schools.
The school year kicks off with 'FallFest' a massive concert/party on the first week of classes that welcomes students back to campus.
Syracuse, New York
Syracuse students go crazy for their sports teams -- the Orange -- often pushing the capacity on the Carrier Dome, both the largest on-campus domed stadium and basketball arena in the country.
Greek life sets the tone for the school's social life, with a number of students packing the local bars, and the school year is topped off with Mayfest, a day-long party and concert.
With one of the largest Greek systems in the country, UF's social scene is dominated by fraternities and sororities, as well as an intense love for Gators athletics.
When students want to party off-campus, they head to Midtown -- a bar-laden area of Gainesville, Florida within walking distance of UF.
Iowa City, Iowa
This year's Princeton Review Top Party School, the University of Iowa also had the honour of being the number one school for Lots of Hard Liquor.
Although the school is secluded, students make their own fun with an active Greek community, raucous tailgates whenever the Hawkeyes play, and lots of alcohol -- both beer and the stronger stuff.
State College, Pennsylvania
Penn State, the number one school on our list, was ranked in an impressive eight of the 10 categories we used from the Princeton Review, including top marks for Lots of Beer.
There are always packed house parties and a thriving bar scene during the year, but the school really heats up on game days, when students come out to support their beloved Nittany Lions.
Although drinking traditions like State Patty's Day -- a student-driven alternative to Saint Patrick's Day -- and Daylongs -- day-long fraternity parties -- have come under attack recently, it doesn't change the fact that Penn State still has an awesome mix of sports, Greek life, and a great overall social scene.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.