Top Party School Is University of Georgia, MIT Best for Studies

The University of Georgia is the top party school, Massachusetts Institute of Technology undergraduates study the most and students at Brown University are the happiest, according to a survey by Princeton Review Inc.

The poll of 122,000 U.S. college students was conducted by the Framingham, Massachusetts, provider of test preparation services for its book, “The Best 373 Colleges.” The 2011 edition goes on sale tomorrow.

The survey tallied student responses in 62 categories, including best teachers (Reed College in Portland, Oregon), the best library (Harvard University, in Cambridge, Massachusetts) and the best food (Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine). While students are considering the quality of life when they look at colleges, they’re also concerned about the cost of higher education, said Robert Franek, senior vice president of the Princeton Review and the book’s lead author.

“Students have become very savvy,” Franek said. “They want to know what the campus will be like but they also want to know what is the value of their education.”

Franek said he added a category for best career services office three years ago. This year, the top office was at Northeastern University in Boston, followed by Pennsylvania State University, in State College, and Yale University, in New Haven, Connecticut.

Career Services

At those institutions, “students are very aware of career services while at school,” Franek said. “It influences the culture of campus and it resonates with the college bound student and their family.”

The survey also asked students how satisfied they were with their financial aid packages. Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering, in Needham, Massachusetts, was rated the best, followed by the University of Virginia, in Charlottesville, and Princeton University, in Princeton, New Jersey. Students at Sonoma State University, in Rohnert Park, California, were the least happy with their financial aid, according to the survey.

The University of Georgia, in Athens, Georgia, beat out Ohio University, in Athens, Ohio, as the top party school -- a ranking derived from questions about the use of alcohol and drugs, the amount of studying and the popularity of fraternities and sororities. Last year’s No.1 party school, Penn State, was third.

For the 12th year in a row, Brigham Young University, a Mormon institution in Provo, Utah, was deemed the most sober school.

Students at MIT, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, study the most, followed by those at Reed and at Harvey Mudd College, in Claremont, California, according to the survey. Those at the University of North Dakota, in Grand Forks, study the least.

The happiest students are at Brown, in Providence, Rhode Island, the survey found, followed by those at Claremont McKenna College, also in Claremont, California, and at Stanford University, near Palo Alto, California. The unhappiest students are at Fisk University, in Nashville, Tennessee, according to the survey.

To contact the reporter on this story: Oliver Staley in New York at ostaley@bloomberg.net

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