W.Va. University Tops Party School List

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By VICKI SMITH
The Associated Press
Tuesday, August 21, 2007; 2:19 AM

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- To the disappointment of school administrators _ and the pride of some students _ West Virginia University is No. 1 on The Princeton's Review's annual list of the top 20 party schools.

The school has made the list seven times in the past 15 years, despite efforts to curb underage drinking and rowdy behavior.

But not since 1997 have the Mountaineers taken the top spot. Last year, WVU was No. 3, bested by the University of Texas at Austin and Penn State, both of which remain in the top 10 this year.

Senior Katie O'Hara, 22, said WVU is No. 1 because "no matter what kind of party you want it's here _ bars, fraternities, house parties. ... If you want to take shots all night, there's a bar; no matter what you want to do, it's there."

Still, O'Hara said her friends "know how to manage their time. They know when to party and when not to," which wouldn't explain the school's No. 1 ranking in the category of Their Students (Almost) Never Study.

The rankings are contained in the 2008 edition of "The Best 366 Colleges," which is going on sale Tuesday and is based on a survey of 120,000 college students at those schools, mostly during the 2006-07 school year.

No. 2 on the party list was the University of Mississippi, followed by the UT-Austin, the University of Florida and the University of Georgia.

West Virginia's No. 1 ranking is just speculation, said West Virginia sophomore Stuart Sauer.

"I think there's no way to measure that," said Sauer, 20, of Richmond, Va. "Every school's a party school."

Incoming WVU President Mike Garrison focused on the positive rather than the rankings, saying the students he met over the weekend and on the first day of classes Monday are more concerned with their futures "and with the great year we have ahead" than with partying.

"I'm focused on the way this university changes people's lives, the research that we do and the service we provide to the state of West Virginia," said Garrison, who officially replaces David C. Hardesty Jr. on Sept. 1. "This is a special place, and the whole state is proud of it."

The Princeton Review says the guide to the best schools is intended to help applicants who can't visit every school in person.


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© 2007 The Associated Press

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