Every year, Playboy publishes a seemingly arbitrary list of the country’s top party schools, and every year, the schools that appear on the list must live up to their title. Which can be intimidating, nerve-racking, annoying, and just plain exhausting. But worst of all is having to deal with the frustration of not knowing how your fellow Badgers, or Tigers, or Mountaineers truly feel about their placement on the list, and being forced to keep your own feelings bottled up inside.
On Whisper, students can say what’s truly on their mind, free from judgement. Whisper can uncover which student body actually enjoys writhing, and flexing, and having shots imbibed off its navel, and which student body just wants to curl up with a good book.
2013’s Top Party Schools according to Playboy magazine:
10. University of Maryland
9. Arizona State University
8. University of Georgia
7. Louisiana State University
6. University of Texas
5. Florida State University
4. University of Southern California
3. University of Colorado
2. University of Wisconsin
1. West Virginia University
A note on methodology:
To ensure accurate results, my first step was to match Whisper usage figures to enrollment numbers at each respective university. The number of Whisper users at each campus strongly correlates with the number of overall undergraduates, thus providing a representative sample of students.
Next, I compiled a list of keywords that would best capture the true nature and mood of each campus versus the ostensible nature and mood it projects as a so-called “party school.”
The results of each search were weighted against the number of enrollees in each university to ensure fairness in comparison.
1. Virgin, virgins, and virginity.
The most noteworthy stat that emerges is the striking number of times that virginity is mentioned at Louisiana State — over twice as often as the University of Wisconsin. But finding Wisconsin in the number two spot is even more noteworthy: it was ranked the number two party school in the country by Playboy.
2. Going out versus staying in.
To further test the theory that party schools don’t actually party as often as they let on, I decided to run a search for instances of the phrase “going out” against a search for instances of the phrase “staying in.”
First in number of students either going out or talking about wanting to go out is Louisiana. It is also one of the only universities with more students wanting to leave their dorms than wanting stay inside. This makes sense given the number of students at Louisiana looking to get laid.
But staying in doesn’t necessarily mean avoiding a good time. Here’s a search of the term “bored” among students at each of the top 10 party schools.
The University of Wisconsin — again, the No. 2 party school in the country — leads with the highest total number of students complaining about being bored. Meanwhile, however, the University of West Virginia continues to live up to its Playboy ranking, coming in seventh in the number of bored students, after coming in ninth in the number of virgins.
Now we come to chewy center of any good party school: Parties. For this, I ran a search on the words “party,” “parties,” and “partying,” just to be safe.
Arizona State, which Playboy considers to be second to last in its list of top party schools, beat its rivals in the battle for party-animal status. Louisiana once more held its own, coming in second, but West Virginia nearly bottomed out.
So what are those West Virginia students doing to keep themselves from being bored?
4. Drinking and drugs.
To put together a chart of the schools’ drinking habits, I combined the search results for “alcohol,” “drinks,” and “beer” — the beverage of choice among most party-school-goers:
Louisiana continues to emerge as a true contender for the top party-school spot, while the University of Wisconsin gains some lost cred with the No. 4 position.
Some interesting preferences emerged from a search for the words “drugs,” “drug,” and “high” (combined as “drugs”), “pot” and “weed” (combined as “pot”), and “molly.”
Wisconsin, the most bored university, had the second-highest instances of the words “pot” and “weed,” and the fifth-lowest instances of the word “molly.” Make of that what you will.
To determine the predilection for sexual congress among America’s most party-ready students, I searched on the phrases “hook up,” “hooked up,” and “hooking up,” as well as on the word “sex.” To make it more interesting, I also searched the words “STD” and “STDs.” Here’s what I found:
Wanting to understand the discrepancy between mentions of STD and sex at the University of Wisconsin, I decided to run another search for the word “herpes.” A possible explanation emerged:
But just why are Wisconsin students so concerned with contracting STDs when they’re not confessing to nearly as much sex as, say, Louisiana? Maybe because they’re just as horny:
Bored, high, and horny?
Now that’s a party school.
While Playboy got some things very right — University of Maryland, Florida State, Wisconsin — it got other things very wrong. West Virginia didn’t quite live up to the hype, and neither did USC. Louisiana, on the other hand, appeared to be the natural choice for No. 1. While this data, too, doesn’t paint an exact picture, it does help to illustrate the starting point, which is “don’t judge a party school by its Playboy cover story.”
Neetzan Zimmerman is the Editor-In-Chief of Whisper, a BuzzFeed partner.