OPINION | Tulane deserves its top party school ranking

Charlotte Zera, Contributing Columnist

(Will Embree)

“Ole Miss formal is a Tulane Tuesday.” Once again boasting their status as a top party school, this jab was found on a banner hanging from a Tulane University student’s home the day Tulane’s football team played the University of Mississippi.

A “Tulane Tuesday” typically lives up to its reputation. Tulanians can be found at local clubs, bars and restaurants any and every night of the week. However, is this small, private university worthy of being at the top spot? Or, is Tulane’s consistent high ranking due only to its convenient placement in one of the top-rated party cities in the world?

Mardi Gras, likely followed by Jazz Fest and Bourbon Street, is New Orleans’ major attraction and earns the city its party reputation. On top of being located in this notoriously lively city, certain aspects of Tulane, like its balance of bar and Greek life, make it deserving of its title as the number-one party school.

Niche.com is a commonly referenced website for ranking colleges. This year, Tulane topped the list as the best party school in the United States. 

Niche’s formula determines these rankings based on five factors. Self-reported student surveys make up 70% of the score. Access to bars makes up 10%, determined by the number of bars near campus and access to bars per capita.

Athletics makes up 7.5% and is measured in terms of how many national championships the school has won, the athletic department’s revenue and student surveys regarding the school’s athletics.

Greek life comprises 7.5% of the score, determined by measuring student involvement and student surveys. 

Finally, access to restaurants makes up the last 5% of the score and is measured in terms of proximity and availability, like bars.

Tulane’s location in the most bar-dense city in America provides countless opportunities for students to participate in the city’s vibrant nightlife. Many other schools, like the University of Illinois or the University of Alabama, are ranked highly as party schools, but simply have fewer bars due to their more rural locations. The lower number of bars per capita at these schools and Tulane’s lack thereof is yet another reason Tulane deserves the top spot.

Another influential component of a school’s nightlife is Greek life, which students may use to get involved socially on campus. Niche.com also ranks Tulane highly for its Greek life, putting it at the 11th spot in its 2022 rankings. 

Although participation in Greek life can provide a high volume of social opportunities, the lack of necessity for students to partake in it is the key difference in determining why Tulane’s party scene is so vibrant. 

42% of Tulane’s student body participates in Greek life, but students strike a balance between attending Greek life-affiliated events, which are closed-invite, and socializing at bars or clubs that anyone can get into. 

This means that while Greek life may dominate the social scene at other schools, Tulane’s nightlife is not restricted to only closed-invite and Greek life-oriented nightlife, allowing students to choose when and where they want to go out.

Mardi Gras is a necessary mention in analyzing Tulane’s ranking as the #1 party school. Although its rich history, gastronomy and architecture put New Orleans on the map, the city’s name recognition is ultimately thanks to Mardi Gras and the city’s surrounding tourism. 

Tulanians live in the city where Mardi Gras brings in tourists from all corners of the world. Tulane has a leg up against other schools that do not have the same kind of attraction. However, it would be inaccurate to attribute the school’s entire nightlife and reputation to this attraction, because while Mardi Gras is only two weeks long, Tulane’s vibrant nightlife is active year-round. 

Besides hitting local bars every weekend, Tulane students can take advantage of living in one of the most common tourist destinations in the country by attending festivals and other celebrations year-round.

Tulane’s returning title as the number-one party school may cause dissent from other schools that pride themselves on their own wild party scenes. Nonetheless, its diverse and inclusive nightlife, combined with its famous location, makes Tulane itself a New Orleans attraction.