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8 Under-Appreciated College Campuses You Have To Check Out

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There are some of you out there, like myself, who attend colleges that are notorious for being great party schools, or they reside in a town with a great bar scene. Austin, Athens (both Ohio and Georgia), State College, Bloomington, Tempe, and Eugene are just some of the few that come to mind. However, many of you do not go to schools like this. That’s not to say that your school isn’t fun; it’s just overlooked. Or maybe it does suck (College Station). This is meant to highlight the under-appreciated campuses across the country.

BCS Schools

1. Iowa State University (Ames, Iowa)

One of my favorite weekends in college was spent on the campus of Iowa State. One reason it was fun is because I came in with zero expectations of having a good time. That wasn’t the case. It was a football weekend, so the city was buzzing with excitement. The girls from out of state were cute and the girls from Iowa were salivating at the chance to meet anybody from somewhere else and escape. Though they prided themselves on the city’s few bars, Ames was definitely more of a house party town. We explored a few fraternities and found that the guys were relatively cool, excluding a few small town idiots. This isn’t a place I would recommend going to visit nine months out of the year, but if you’ve got a friend in Ames and nothing to do on Labor Day, it’s worth a trip.

Similar school: Kansas

2. North Carolina State University (Raleigh, North Carolina)

Sort of the red-headed stepchild of the research triangle, NC State doesn’t really get a lot of respect as a fun place to visit. With UNC basking in all of the glory 20 miles to the west, NC State is typically referred to as a backup plan in every sense of the phrase. However, I would disagree. NC State has a thriving Greek community and takes a lot of pride in having a good time. Fraternity houses, while not comparable to those at UNC, are still really fun places to hangout. There are some cool bars within walking distance and the school is right next to downtown. For a place that doesn’t get a lot of love because of the other schools in the state, it is still a lot cooler than most shitty state schools with no alternative.

Similar school: Clemson

3. Texas Christian University (Fort Worth, Texas)

We all know about SMU and we all know about Texas. TCU is like their undiscovered lovechild. It has the best looking girls of any school in the region, in my opinion. It has the respected history and old money that you would find in Austin, while it is small enough to meet other people without having to know them beforehand, like SMU. Fort Worth is no Austin, but it has a thriving bar scene. The school doesn’t have fraternity houses, so if you aren’t going to the bars, you’re probably having a house party somewhere. A trip to Fort Worth probably means getting hammered and going to a concert at Billy Bob’s, too. You just can’t go wrong with TCU.

Similar school: Furman University

4. University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa, Alabama)

When it comes to football, nobody ignores the Crimson Tide, but Alabama is often disrespected when it comes to being viewed as a party school. Aside from their really stupid internal “Old Row vs. New Row” struggle, Alabama has a bunch of cool things to offer. The bars on University Ave. are a stone’s throw away from campus and are pretty popular spots. The Booth, Enesfree, and Glory Bound were three bars that I thought were comparable to anything I have ever experienced at UGA or in Austin. The girls are hot, the football is good, the city is pretty. Tuscaloosa sure beats the hell out of spending a weekend at Ole Miss.

Similar school: Tennessee

5. Tulane University (New Orleans, Louisiana)

If you’re resigned to the fact that you’re probably going to get robbed at least once when you visit Tulane, then it’s definitely a good spot to check out. The best part about visiting Tulane is the fact that it has everything New Orleans has to offer but, at the same time, has its own area where you can just hang out with other Tulane students. While Bourbon Street is definitely a must-see at some point in your life, Tulane guys can show you a good time without making you feel like a tourist. The bars are tough on fakes, so if you’re under 21 and going to visit, you better be confident it’s going to work.

Similar school: College of Charleston

Aspiring Mid Majors

6. Qunnipiac University/University of New Haven/Yale (New Haven, Connecticut)

Toads. The only reason these schools are on this list is because of Toads. If you’ve never been to Toads, I can’t accurately explain it. It’s not so much a bar as it is a massive portal to Hell where morality is forgotten. If you have been to Toads, you definitely understand what I am talking about. This is a bar/nightclub that you must check out. People from all three of these schools go to Toads regularly. Quinnipiac actually provides a bus service directly to it. Want a new perspective on life? Visit one of these three schools and make someone take you to Toads for a night.

Similar school: N/A

7. University of Vermont (Burlington, Vermont)

Springfest. The Naked Bike Ride.

Similar School: Colorado

8. UNC- Wilmington (Wilmington, NC)

The only reason UNCW is making the list is because they have some of the coolest beach bars in the country. Red Dawg’s, Lagerheads, and the Palm Room are all some of the coolest college bars you’ll see anywhere. They’re basically right on the water. Chances are you’ve never heard of the school and you probably don’t know anybody who goes there, but it is growing both in popularity and in size. UNCW’s greek life has been on the rise the past five years and the school is notorious for having some of the best looking girls in the southeast. Spending all day at the beach and all night at a beach bar with hot college girls is definitely why UNCW earns a spot on the list.

Similar school: UC-Santa Barbara

Honorable Mentions:

Miami (Ohio)
South Carolina
James Madison
Loyola Marymount
Utah State
College of Charleston
William and Mary
Millsaps College


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writer. lover. bird watcher.

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