Penn State tops party school list, but is survey flawed?

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — On the subject of partying, Penn State is second to none.

The home of the Nittany Lions ranked as the No. 1 party school among 371 schools in the results of the 2009 Princeton Review survey, released Monday.

Penn State has come close before, ranking third in the party school category last year. But this is the first time it made it to the top of the list, propelled by students' reports of heavy drinking and drug use, not much studying and the popularity of Greek life.

The ranking is one of 62 included in the latest edition of "The Best 371 Colleges," which goes on sale today. The rankings are based on a survey of 122,000 students at 371 colleges.

Penn State dismissed the findings as unscientific, but students didn't seem surprised by the results. "I think it's an accurate description," said Joe Belack, a film and philosophy major from West Chester who is preparing to begin his senior year. "Seven days a week you can always find something going on somewhere."

Belack, 21, said he thinks that's OK for students with self-control.

The survey ranked Penn State as first for "lots of beer" and "students pack the stadium."

Luke Olsen, a philosophy and English major from Erie, said he thinks the heavy drinking that happens is "a shame," but also said there are students who have fun without getting out of control.

"There's definitely a lot of school spirit," said Julie Reisberg, a freshman from New Jersey.

Penn State spokeswoman Annemarie Mountz said the survey is based on responses of students who want to pump up their schools' rankings in different categories, and isn't connected to reality.

She said she found at least 10 Facebook pages urging Penn State students to vote for the university.

"It's obviously nothing more than a popularity contest," she said.