- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 19, 2003

BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — The University of Colorado topped the list of party schools in the nation, while Brigham Young University was “stone-cold sober,” the Princeton Review’s latest survey shows.

The “Best 351 Colleges” survey, based on responses from more than 100,000 students at U.S. campuses, ranks colleges in such categories as “most religious students,” “most beautiful campus” and “best campus food.” The review, which has no affiliation with Princeton University, has been conducting the study since 1992.

Despite a six-year effort to curb binge drinking at the University of Colorado, the school ranked third in widespread use of marijuana, fourth in the prevalence of hard liquor consumption and 11th in the prevalence of beer drinking, Princeton Review reported in its 2004 findings. CU also ranked first among schools where students studied the least.

Last year, it came in at No. 8 on the party list.

Brigham Young University, in Provo, Utah, was ranked the top “stone-cold sober” school in the study, while the Army’s military academy at West Point, N.Y., was the hardest in which to gain admission.

Nearly 63 percent of students at the Boulder school binge drink, said Bob Maust, coordinator of the A Matter of Degree Program, which tried to reduce binge drinking at CU. A Harvard study showed about 44 percent of college students nationwide binge drink.

CU student Alexandra Kass, 21, said her study habits hadn’t suffered at a university that also rated three out of four stars for academics in the survey.

“If someone can’t balance their social life and studying, then too bad for them,” Miss Kass said.

The “party school” category is based on questions focusing on the amount of alcohol and drug consumption, the amount of time students spend studying and the popularity of fraternities and sororities.

University officials questioned the latest Princeton Review report. They said the faculty also includes Nobel Prize winners and that numerous students have won awards.

“If they want to study hard and play hard, they will get a great degree, but if they come here just to play hard, they won’t be here long,” said Ron Stump, CU’s vice chancellor for student affairs.

The American Medical Association has criticized party school listings, saying they legitimize high-risk drinking and portray alcohol as an essential part of student life.

Princeton Review editorial director Robert Franek said the survey merely reports on conditions at the schools.

Other top 10 party schools were the University of Wisconsin-Madison; Indiana University, Bloomington; University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; Washington and Lee University, in Lexington, Va.; University of Texas-Austin; the University of the South, in Sewanee, Tenn.; DePauw University, in Greencastle, Ind.; St. Bonaventure University, in Olean, N.Y.; and the University of Florida, in Gainesville.

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