How important is social atmosphere in college choice?


So-called "party schools" are both an attraction and a deterrence for high schoolers when deciding on prospective colleges.

If a college is known as a “party” school does that make it a “bad” college?

Potential high school graduates factor a number of different aspects in to the decision making process as to which college is the best for them.  When it comes time to choose the college that is the best fit, most primarily focus on academics. However, in addition to the yearly ranks colleges get based on their academic offerings, it has become a new tradition to also explore where colleges rank on the various lists of “top party schools.”

Although some people do want the “party” atmosphere and social life, most students look towards academia as the deciding factor. The final question comes down to: “If a particular college has the label of a “party school,” would one view that college differently?” 

One might ask what makes a specific college a “party school.” The characteristics that makes up that kind of school include heavy alcohol and drug use, Greek life, and inclusive gamedays.  A social atmosphere goes a long way in determining college choice for many.  

As more schools start to incorporate a more prominent social atmosphere, more students opt for those specific colleges.  Although, at the same time, these schools need to compete with the schools whose main focus is academia. This brings us to the question: can a college be focused equally on the academic and party life?

Olympic Heights students have a wide range of opinion regarding college and their life after high school. Junior Jordan Denker has started to think about college this year, stating, “Going to a college where partying is popular has been a goal of mine, but when it comes down to it, going to [a college] where grades matter is more important.”  Denker has considered her options and has made the ultimate decision that a school focused on academics is her primary factor to picking a school.

On the the hand, senior Brandon Oken believes more in the social aspect of college, “When thinking about where I want to attend college the party atmosphere is a big deal.  [Obviously] grades matters a lot also, but I’m more excited for game days.” Many other students feel this way as well. 

It is clear that academics versus the social/party life at college is a big deal for many OH students. Many high schoolers are unclear what they want in the upcoming four years. As seniors start applying to colleges and juniors begin the decision making process, they will need to take these factors into account.  

There are various lists that have been compiled ranking the top “party schools.” One, compiled by Niche, can be found at this link.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email