Welcome to The Prospect’s latest series to help you stop being a confused motherfudger staring blankly at all those acceptance letters. Yeah, did you seriously think you wouldn’t get in anywhere? Really?

Well, now you’ve dug yourself into a hole: too many colleges to choose from, and a lot of them are pretty similar. They’re all in large towns or have the same number of people in the student body or all have a goat as their mascot. How do you sift through them all and pick a college?

Never fear, the Real College Checklist is here to help you look at the stuff that actually matters in college. No more of this “oh, factor into your decision how many books the library has!” crap. We know you want the juicy stuff.

Today’s topic: nightlife venues on campus (aka WHERE DO YOU PARTY?).

“Lily, this isn’t a new topic. Of course I know what the party scene is like at these schools. It’s good and stuff…”

HA! Spoken like a true high school student who needs to hear about the importance of variety in social settings, event space woes, and the awful taste that fills your mouth when the word “Dubra” comes into conversation (which I hope it never does).

Venue Diversity: It Tells You More About a College Than You (or They) Think

Even if you’re not some crazy kid who gets to get jiggy with it on four days a week, nightlife still makes a difference. But the real question at hand is this: where are parties/concerts/charity events/Greek life shenanigans/other shindigs held? Nightlife is more than drinking or smoking culture, hookup culture, or whatever over “culture” sociologists throw around to explain social construct. It’s about where college life take place.

For example, schools like Wesleyan and Vassar have pretty vibrant music scenes. I can speak from experience as a Wesleyan student that there are at least 2-4 concerts every week (MGMT ARE ALUMNI HOLLAAA). Despite the fact that I’m not the most indie of music listeners, I still love that we have this huge music following on campus. It doesn’t just add sound; it adds event spaces. Because we have such a heavy music focus at Wesleyan, we have a plethora of venues that can be rented out for music (or any other event) purposes. Even better? These venues are typically student-run spaces. Translation? Peace out, administration!

BOTTOM LINE: LOOK AT WHERE PEOPLE PARTY. Admissions officers will always tell you, “Ohhh, there’s so much to do here on the weekends!”, but if there are no student-run/students-only spaces to hold events, those shindigs can’t happen. And as we all know, the real night begins when the administration goes to sleep.

Think about this: Is there more to do on the weekend and the “weekend” (Wednesday and Thursday) than just go to a house party or pregame in your dorm? Variety matters more than you think it will. Boozing it up in the same sketchy kid’s dorm room will get boring after a couple months (let alone a couple of years), and I promise you’ll want something more. All colleges will have parties, but is there diversity in what types of parties or events they have? Again, these are just things to think about.

Looking for a way to get the real scoop on your colleges via THE INTERNETZZZ? Websites like College Prowler and Unigo can be extremely helpful in deciphering what actually goes down in the nighttime at different colleges.

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the author

Lily Herman is a junior at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. Besides bopping around on The Prospect, Lily is a columnist for USA TODAY College (read the Quad Report, yo); an editorial intern for The Daily Muse; a contributing editor for the campus blog Wesleying; a national contributing editor for Her Campus; and an editorial/marketing intern at HelloFlo. When she is not studying or awkwardly waving at people around campus, Lily enjoys eating Sour Patch Kids and re-watching the Friday Night Lights series finale (she's Team Saracen, by the way). Also (shameless plug alert), feel free to follow her on Twitter, or email her at lherman(at)theprospect(dot)net.

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  1. Chris C. on March 17, 2013

    Great article! Dubra is a way of life, though!

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