UCSB is ranked No. 10 on Playboy’s annual “Top Ten Party Schools” list, dropping two spots from last year.
The campus was first noted in the magazine in 2002, coming in at No. 22, before claiming second place in the party ranking in 2006. UCSB fell off Playboy’s radar until 2010 when the publication ranked the college as the eighth party school in the nation, describing the university as the “Harvard of Santa Barbara.”
The University of Colorado-Boulder was ranked No. 1 this year, upsetting 2010 winner University of Texas-Austin which dropped to fifth. Pennsylvania State University was ranked second while Arizona State University followed at No. 3.
According to Toria Levi, a second-year psychology major, UCSB’s infamous party reputation does not bother most of the student population.
“I think it is awesome Playboy talked about us,” Levi said. “And I definitely think Santa Barbara knows how to party.”
Associate Vice Chancellor for Development Gary Greinke said the campus is often associated with revelry because of its ideal party location.
“To me, the fact that we’re located on the ocean and by the beach makes people automatically assume we’re a party school,” Greinke said. “However, our Nobel laureates and outstanding student activities far outshine our party reputation. It’s an outstanding campus with a mixture of high quality world leadership, outstanding faculty and entrepreneurship.”
Greinke said UCSB’s active social scene forces students to learn how to balance their schoolwork and personal lives.
“Our young alumni are very successful,” Greinke said. “They are noted for working well and are more successful for working hard.”
Levi said Isla Vista’s bustling nightlife pushed her to reach out to her peers and join the party.
“I did know about the reputation,” Levi said. “It made me a little apprehensive to come here at first, but now I love the scene. It made me come out of my shell.”
David Tam, a first-year mechanical engineering major, said the university’s party reputation initially intimidated him, but proved to be a minor component of the school’s culture.
“I was skeptical at first about going to a school with party animals because I wanted to focus on my education,” he said. “But after researching what the school had to offer and the rankings the school has, I realized UCSB is more than just a party school. I realized that UCSB offers not only academic opportunities, but it also provides great social experiences that many ‘top’ schools might not have. In the end, I chose UCSB because I wanted a more rounded college experience.”
Janier Myles, a second-year English and sociology major, said UCSB’s party standing didn’t influence her decision to attend the university.
“I knew that people said UCSB stood for ‘U Can Study Buzzed,’ but I knew this is where I wanted to go,” Myles said. “I knew it was on the beach, close to home and it was beautiful.”