STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Penn State University earned the title of the nation's No. 1 party school in the latest annual Princeton Review survey, and some Kentucky schools earned recognition for their active fraternity and sorority scene, lack of parties or least accessible professors.
In Kentucky, Berea College ranked 17th among stone-cold sober schools, 18th among schools with low usage of hard liquor and 20th for low beer usage in the 2009 Princeton Review survey of 122,000 students nationwide. Results were calculated and the top schools were reported in 62 categories. seventh in the category of least accessible professors, according to the Review. The category was based on students' answers to the survey question, "How accessible are your instructors outside the classroom?"
Transylvania University in Lexington was fourth for major frat and sorority scene, based on students' ratings of the popularity of fraternities and sororities at their schools.
The only other Kentucky college to make the ranking was Bellarmine University in Louisville, which was 17th, a notch above Berea, among schools with low reported use of hard liquor. Penn State, the school known partly for its football tailgate weekends and fraternity and sorority scene, snatched the party school title from the University of Florida. Florida, last year's winner, finished second in the annual survey released Monday.
It's the first time Penn State has finished first in the dubious category. The school has been on the list the past seven years and ranked third in 2008. The listing covers Penn State's main University Park campus in State College.
"These rankings are not more than popularity contests," university spokeswoman Annemarie Mountz said. She noted that groups on the social networking site Facebook have urged members to make Penn State the top party school.
"It's a badge of honor at this point. Nationwide, kids want to pump their schools in these surveys," Mountz said. "It's not connected to reality."
The rankings were part of the Princeton Review's "The Best 371 Colleges" annual guide.