Campus Connection: UW-Madison named among 'top party' and 'least rigorous' schools

2012-08-06T10:55:00Z 2012-08-06T12:21:28Z Campus Connection: UW-Madison named among 'top party' and 'least rigorous' schoolsTODD FINKELMEYER | The Capital Times | tfinkelmeyer@madison.com madison.com

If you like to party and attend a school where students report relatively light academic workloads, UW-Madison just might be the place for you.

Newsweek and The Daily Beast on Monday released their third annual “College Rankings 2012” lists, and UW-Madison ranked seventh in the “Top Party Colleges” category and was No. 17 in the “Least Rigorous Colleges” list.

UW-Madison, which generally shows well in rankings of the top universities across the world, received no mention in the other areas singled out by Newsweek and The Daily Beast. The other categories under which the top 25 colleges were ranked include: least affordable colleges; most affordable colleges; most rigorous colleges; most beautiful colleges (“a picturesque campus, an attractive student body, and consistently bright weather); most liberal colleges; most conservative colleges; happiest colleges; most stressful colleges.

When it comes to assessing the “Least Rigorous Colleges,” the website notes that the following methodology was used: “To assess the rigor of the curriculum at some of the nation’s top colleges, we first whittled an initial list of nearly 2,000 accredited four-year colleges and found the top 200 most selective according to the percentage of applicants admitted and the median SAT/ACT score for accepted students. The most selective schools were then ranked using data from College Prowler on student assessment of workload manageability (out of 10 points) and the student-to-faculty ratio according to the National Center for Education Statistics. (Smaller class size and greater professor oversight are proxies for tougher classes). For the final ranking, the degree of selectivity, workload score, and faculty ratio were each weighted a third.”

Big Ten Conference schools garnered several of the spots in the “Least Rigorous Colleges” list, with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln ranked No. 2, Ohio State 12th, UW-Madison 17th and Penn State 22nd. The University of Central Florida earned the top spot and was followed by Florida State.

As for the “Top Party Colleges” ranking, here is how that category's methodology is explained: “To compile the list of the best schools in the nation at which to party down, we limited the pool of colleges to those that were considered “best-fit” for students interested in attending a “big-time party school” according to College View. From there, we considered the number of on-campus arrests and per-student disciplinary actions for drugs and alcohol that occurred in 2010, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Bonus points were given to campuses that landed on Princeton Review’s most recent rating of the top party schools and top beer-drinking campuses.”

West Virginia snagged the top ranking in this category, followed by Penn State.

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(8) Comments

  1. johnewankenobi
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    johnewankenobi - August 06, 2012 10:46 pm
    I feel like the partying probably follows the rigor. If school does not require a lot of studying, people are going to fill their time partying. I agree with 53703 that much of this is a result of low UW faculty funding, but I think they are doing an excellent job with their resources. Class sizes depend on your major. I majored in Japanese and Env. Studies at the UW, so my classes were small (and relatively rigorous, I might add). Personal responsibility, work ethic, and life goals contribute to partying. As for whining about living downtown and having loud nights, I guess I don't know what people expected. What if you moved to the near east or west side? Maybe you wouldn't be looking down your nose at kids who like to have fun, which is oftentimes going to involve alcohol (hate to say it). 53703, did you go to college, and if so, what year? My understanding of college in the 70s was all about 4-6 years of smoking weed and hooking up, plus school was much less of an investment, so I doubt people took it that much more seriously....
  2. vbwxman
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    vbwxman - August 06, 2012 10:39 pm
    One should trust publications like Forbes, on which the top two state-supported schools are both in Virginia (including my alma mater, William & Mary)! Hark Upon the Gale!
    http://www.wm.edu/news/stories/2012/wm-ranks-among-americas-top-colleges-according-to-forbes123.php
  3. freddiebell
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    freddiebell - August 06, 2012 10:13 pm
    fohledu: You were onto something with your argument until you crash and burn with the last two sentences. The professors are "lazy partiers?" Can you cite some specific evidence to back that up? Have you seen the promotion and tenure requirements lately (hint: much higher and harder than ever)? You should inform yourself better and speak less in terms of unsubstantiated generalizations. Otherwise your comments fall into the realm of mere opinion. We all know how little that is worth.
  4. 53703
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    53703 - August 06, 2012 8:11 pm
    "How about the Farm and Fleet Guide to Colleges"

    Hahahaha, best comment about college rankings ever :)
  5. midwestguy
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    midwestguy - August 06, 2012 1:40 pm
    Should this really be a surprise? As a downtown Madison resident, I witness inebriated behavior from UW students seven nights a week. Unlike the portrayal in the movie "Animal House", this is no longer a cute byproduct of college life, but has become a "standard of living" issue for anyone who resides near the campus. It might help if some of the offending kids' parents didn't excuse their own behavior when they were students, and start holding their progeny economically responsible for their own behavior. And yes, many of these kids would be better served learning a trade, as the value of a liberal arts degree has little use in today's economically chaotic business world.
  6. madgrad
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    madgrad - August 06, 2012 11:56 am
    Will the Cap Times just reprint any silly "study" or ranking that comes down the wires? "College Prowler", seriously?? What next? How about the Farm and Fleet Guide to Colleges.
    The UW publishes results of an actual serious survey of students that is tested and benchmarked against similar schools. It is known as NSSE; the National Survey of Student Engagement. I suggest reading that for some real info. Pathetic.
  7. fohledu
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    fohledu - August 06, 2012 11:52 am
    Far to many kids are now going to college who should be going to technical schools and learning a trade. Society has put this fictional bs out there that everyone should be getting college educations. The kids that are serious about a career in a 'white collar' field work at it. The rest go for the party and experience, knowing full well going in that they don't care one way or the other what type of job they end up, so long as it pays $50,000 starting out. Another crazy dream our colleges put into the kids minds. This is why all of our blue collar jobs are now in another country, or in the hands of illegals. Every kid thinks that just because they get a college diploma, they are now smart and should get paid a bunch of money. The system is broke, and that is why our kids are lazy partiers. Oh, and the professors are too, so it's easy to see why the beat goes on.
  8. 53703
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    53703 - August 06, 2012 11:28 am
    UW also showed up recently on a list of schools where students study the most, so the classes aren't easy. If you look at the criteria for ranking rigor, note that class size is a factor. In terms of workload, this isn't really a good criterion. However, in terms of how much attention your kid is getting from their professor, it's a pretty good indication. If someone is teaching a three classes with 300 students each, they probably don't even know your kid's name. Next time you whine about your taxes, consider that the value of your child's college education and the long-term worth of their degree are correlated to these rankings, which are in turn correlated to public investment in our university.

    As for the party school thing, it's just sad. I don't know what college went from being a place to earn valuable career skills to someplace to get the "college experience" (aka, 4-6 years of drinking, drugs and hooking up), but it really has to stop. In my opinion, fewer people should be going to college, they should be more serious about it, and there should be more public investment per student. The fallout of deciding everyone should have a college education is that generations of non serious students are showing up to get drunk, and the public is helping foot the bill. Invest more per student, but only in the ones who are here to learn something.
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