Debunking the Princeton Review

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Dear Friends of the University of Iowa:

You may have read recent news reports about The Princeton Review (a private company that sells test preparation products and services and college guides) naming the University of Iowa a “top party school.” Putting aside that the ranking is based on a couple hundred non-representative surveys out of a student population exceeding 30,000, the university recognizes and takes very seriously the risk alcohol use poses to the health, safety and success of our students.

Since 2009, our campus has taken a highly proactive approach to reducing high-risk drinking by implementing multiple, mutually reinforcing, research-based strategies on campus and in collaboration with our community partners. Those efforts are paying clear, measurable dividends.

For instance, each year we administer the National Collegiate Health Assessment to a representative sample of our undergraduate students. Every measure we watch has improved. Since 2009, the proportion of students engaging in high-risk drinking in the two weeks preceding the survey is down 17 percent, to the lowest level in 20 years; the average number of drinks consumed per drinking occasion is down 20 percent; and the proportion of students reporting any drinking in the 30 days preceding the survey is down nearly 12 percent.

We realize there is much more work to do, and we continue to develop initiatives to promote healthy, thoughtful lifestyle choices. Thankfully, the University of Iowa has wonderful partners in local businesses and city government, and a lot of help and guidance from students themselves.

I also invite you—our alumni, donors and friends—to join us in encouraging young people in your circles of influence to delay drinking at least until they’re legally allowed to consume alcohol—and after that, to drink responsibly. You can help in another way, as well. The Princeton Review rankings don't accurately reflect our reality. You know that we have great students engaged in great programs here at the University of Iowa. Please help us spread the word.

In the meantime, here are links to some helpful resources that shed more light on our efforts, and successes, in encouraging students to drink legally and responsibly:

We welcome your thoughts, suggestions and feedback. Please send comments to me ( or Kelly Bender, the University's Coordinator of Campus and Community Alcohol Harm Reduction Initiatives, at


Tom Rocklin
Vice President for Student Life
Co-Chair, Partnership for Alcohol Safety

At the University of Iowa, we remain committed first and foremost to student success and safety. While the Princeton Review recently named the University of Iowa a “top party school” we want to continue to focus our efforts on ensuring our students are safe, successful, and proud Hawkeyes.

Below please find links that highlight the proactive approach the University of Iowa has taken toward ensuring student safety and success both on and off campus. We encourage you to review these

Student Safety

Student Success

These are just a few of the countless programs that the University of Iowa has put in place to help students strive to be outstanding scholars, leaders on campus, and involved with the Iowa City community.