WORK HARD, PLAY HARD: The 20 Most Intense Colleges In America (2022)

US Markets Loading... H M S In the news

Chevron icon It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options. HOMEPAGE



Home Education

Peter Jacobs


WORK HARD, PLAY HARD: The 20 Most Intense Colleges In America (1)

Getty Images

College is about balance — yes, it's important to take your classes seriously, but it's equally as necessary to cut loose and have fun during your undergraduate years.

Business Insider has created a list of schools that best embody this dual principle — the "work hard, play hard" mentality that many students look for. We found that there was no typical "work hard, play hard" school, and everything from liberal arts colleges to Ivy League universities to large state schools are represented in the following ranking.

To compile this list, we used data from Niche, looking at its rankings of thebest party schoolsandschools with thebest academics, smartest students, best Greek life.Niche's college section —College Prowler— features close to one million in-depth student reviews on more than 8,000 schools.

We've included a few quotes from each school's Niche profile in our ranking to help illustrate what the student body is like.

No. 20 Washington University

WORK HARD, PLAY HARD: The 20 Most Intense Colleges In America (2)

Via Flickr

St. Louis

"Amazing nightlife compared to peer institutions. Granted, we are no Arizona State but the students here know when to hit the books and when to party hard. There is a great hook up scene if you're into that."

"The academics at WashU are superb. The teachers add fun and an innovative approach to lessons which create an intellectual vibe here at WashU."

Visit Niche for more on Washington University in St. Louis.

No. 19 University of Southern California

WORK HARD, PLAY HARD: The 20 Most Intense Colleges In America (3)

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Los Angeles

"You can find any type of person at one of USC's parties. As long as you are a Trojan, there is no discrimination. Everybody comes together to enjoy the night."

"USC is the best academically successful party school."

Visit Niche for more on the University of Southern California.

(Video) College Rankings: The 5 Tiers of Colleges in America

No. 18 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

WORK HARD, PLAY HARD: The 20 Most Intense Colleges In America (4)

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Urbana and Champaign, Illinois

"The social party scene is top notch and everyone always has a great time. Students are also responsible and know when enough is enough. The bars are always a great place to be to be social and most events occur there."

"The program is great and the advisers and professors are very knowledgeable. The workload is definitely not easy, but my motto is always "work hard and play hard." There are many diverse internship options for students."

Visit Niche for more on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

No. 17 University of California, Los Angeles

WORK HARD, PLAY HARD: The 20 Most Intense Colleges In America (5)

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Los Angeles

"Fun for all students. There is always something to do, even if that means simply going to the party next door or down the street."

"The parties on campus are usually the best on Thursday nights. But taking you to the clubs in Hollywood or other hotspots in L.A. is a lot of fun. They provide buses that take students to and from the dorm area. It's safe."

Visit Niche for more on the University of California, Los Angeles.

No. 16 Georgia Institute of Technology

WORK HARD, PLAY HARD: The 20 Most Intense Colleges In America (6)

Scott Cunningham/Getty Images


"There are 31 fraternity house on campus, so during most weekends at least one of them is throwing a big party. Each person likes a different vibe at different frat houses and it takes time to see where someone fits in best. The parties are a nice stress reliever, after worrying about turning in assignments and studying for tests dancing and talking to other people becomes a necessity."

"I think the greatest thing about nightlife at our school is that its really up to the student to decide, if you want to party and drink, you can find it, for sure. If you don't, however, no one would judge you for staying in and not wanting to go out."

Visit Niche for more on the Georgia Institute of Technology.

No. 15 College of William & Mary

WORK HARD, PLAY HARD: The 20 Most Intense Colleges In America (7)

AP Photo/Scott K. Brown

Williamsburg, Virginia

"William & Mary is a sleeper party school. The frats throw parties pretty much every weekend, which are usually open to all, and people regularly go out to them from Thursday-Saturday night, however ... [the] best parties are usually off-campus, rather they be independent house parties thrown by clubs or parties thrown by off-campus fraternities."

"There is a good party scene at William and Mary, but we are no means a party school. We know how to have fun, but it is reasonable and not excessive."

Visit Niche for more on the College of William & Mary.

(Video) Bailey Zimmerman - Rock and A Hard Place (Official Music Video)

No. 14 Georgetown University

WORK HARD, PLAY HARD: The 20 Most Intense Colleges In America (8)

Rob Carr/Getty Images

Washington, D.C.

"The Perfect Balance — Because Georgetown doesn't have any official affiliation with Greek life, it doesn't dominate campus social life like it does at many other schools. Because of this, sports teams and even clubs will often throw house parties (none of which you have to pay to get into). Area clubs will also have 18 and over events with great dancing (the downside being that you'll generally have to pay a cover fee). Georgetown is a super fun area to be in, and if you're looking to go out on the weekend you will find no shortage of options!"

"Partying every weekend is the norm. Drinking usually begins on Thursday and goes until Saturday, although most people do not go out every night."

Visit Niche for more on Georgetown University.

No. 13 Case Western Reserve University

WORK HARD, PLAY HARD: The 20 Most Intense Colleges In America (9)

Via Flickr


"Since Case is a very tough school academically no one really goes out during the week. You can find things to do on Thursdays but most things happen Fridays and Saturdays."

"Most things happen on the weekends with all the studying being done. People have a lot of fun because all the hosts of parties are creative and enjoy what they do."

Visit Niche for more on Case Western Reserve University.

No. 12 Washington & Lee University

WORK HARD, PLAY HARD: The 20 Most Intense Colleges In America (10)

Screenshot Via YouTube

Lexington, Virginia

"Parties at least four times a week, either at fraternity houses or houses owned by fraternities. They often have bands or djs. There is a small bar/club scene, but the nightlife we have is so satisfying, I've never heard anyone complain."

"The workload is pretty substantial, the academics are rigorous, and the professors are demanding, but they make it entirely worth the while. The opportunities students have to interact with the faculty both in and out of class are astounding."

Visit Niche for more on Washington & Lee University.

No. 11 Lehigh University

WORK HARD, PLAY HARD: The 20 Most Intense Colleges In America (11)

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

"You always have the option of going out any day of the week which is great when you need to blow off some steam from class."

"Lehigh has many parties at Fraternities or off-campus houses that take place every night of the week ... Upperclassmen students will frequent bars ... It's a work hard play hard atmosphere."

Visit Niche for more on Lehigh University.

No. 10 University of Michigan

WORK HARD, PLAY HARD: The 20 Most Intense Colleges In America (12)

Getty Images

Ann Arbor, Michigan

"The party scene is great and there are a variety of options for students. Greek life is rather large on campus and is a nice way to meet people. Club sports are also very active as well as other organizations. There are always a lot of parties during the year but syllabus week has something at least every night."

"No matter what your scene is, there is something to do almost everyday of the week ... Maybe the only downside to nightlife is that it never dies down ... There is always a distraction from studies."

Visit Niche for more on the University of Michigan.

No. 9 Dartmouth College

WORK HARD, PLAY HARD: The 20 Most Intense Colleges In America (13)

Larry French/Getty Images

Hanover, New Hampshire

(Video) Work Hard, Play Harder | Julia Bocian & Nick Weitzel | TEDxSaintFrancisHS

"Very prevalent Greek system but its different than at most schools. Basically all parties are in the frats with a few small parties in off campus houses. All frats are open to anyone with a student ID though and the atmosphere is generally more accepting than what I have seen at other schools. Nights out basically consist of pong (with paddles) or dance parties. There are great parties but if that's not your thing there are also lots of other options and I have never felt much peer pressure. Overall, a very positive experience."

"We study hard and party hard. During exams, there are no parties to be found. Every other night, there will be SOMETHING happening — it also goes without saying that every frat will have some pong in its basement or at least some guys chilling."

Visit Niche for more on Dartmouth College.

No. 8 Cornell University

WORK HARD, PLAY HARD: The 20 Most Intense Colleges In America (14)

Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

Ithaca, New York

"The parties tend to be on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights as most people tend to study on weeknights. However during the week people tend to hang out in smaller groups with their closer friends. I like how you have both options throughout the week."

"It's an Ivy-league school with a reputation to match. The lecturers are great, the homework is challenging. They want you to think. They want you to work hard. I think they want you to learn."

Visit Niche for more on Cornell University.

No. 7 Yale University

WORK HARD, PLAY HARD: The 20 Most Intense Colleges In America (15)

Elsa/Getty Images

New Haven, Connecticut

"Every weekend on Friday and Saturday there is guaranteed to be at least a couple big dorm parties. These are open to usually friends and their friends, suitemates, etc. Yalies are very welcoming and love to open doors to each other's company."

"Great academics, possibilities and there is a lot of support. The competitive nature and the GPA system can be overwhelming but still yield the best results."

Visit Niche for more on Yale University.

No. 6 Colgate University

WORK HARD, PLAY HARD: The 20 Most Intense Colleges In America (16)


Hamilton, New York

"When I think nightlife at Colgate, it's the parties! There are parties everyday except for Sundays and Tuesdays. Colgate goes by work hard, PLAY HARD."

"Colgate students have a motto: "Work hard, play harder." Almost everyone drinks and goes out to parties on the weekends, and on some weeknights. Wednesday and Thursday are the nights to go out during the week. There are certainly kids who did not drink very much in high school and so not go super hard on the weekends, but then again, there are kids that do party pretty hard. Most parties occur at the Frat houses, but sometimes in dorm rooms too."

Visit Niche for more on Colgate University.

No. 5 Stanford University

WORK HARD, PLAY HARD: The 20 Most Intense Colleges In America (17)

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Stanford, California

"There are regularly frat parties and events sponsored by Cardinal Nights, which provide an alternative to drinking on weekends; however, if neither of those is your scene, Stanford students still know how to make weekend nights worthwhile. Find some friends and get creative or look long enough and you'll find something fun to do."

"Stanford is simply the best school in the world. The academics are top notch, and even though it's hard, it's worth it."

Visit Niche for more on Stanford University.

No. 4 University of Virginia

WORK HARD, PLAY HARD: The 20 Most Intense Colleges In America (18)

Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

Charlottesville, Virginia

"Typical weekends start on Thursday and end on Sunday. If you wanted to, you could party every day of the week. As first-years frats are the major scene, which slowly turns into visiting the local bars by the end of first-year and into second and beyond. UVA is the only school I know that has a party in the summer when everyone comes back for one weekend, called 'midsummers.'"

"Academics are definitely a strong point at UVA. Professors are extremely knowledgeable and, for the most part, willing to help. While students know how to have fun, academics never suffer and are understood to be a priority. There is a strong competitive atmosphere when it comes to academics and achieving a 4.0 is sought after, but extremely difficult because of the high caliber of the classes. It's not ranked one of the top public schools in the nation for nothing, UVA deserves all the recognition it gets!"

(Video) 'Hustle Harder, Hustle Smarter' by Curtis " 50 Cent " Jackson Audiobook

Visit Niche for more on the University of Virginia.

No. 3 University of Pennsylvania

WORK HARD, PLAY HARD: The 20 Most Intense Colleges In America (19)

Via Flickr


"For a school with such serious academic students, Penn has some awesome parties, especially during key weekends like NSO, St. Paddys and Fling. Whether its BYOing with your friends, hitting the local bars or clubs, or attending fraternity parties, there is something for everyone."

"There's something to do, almost always guaranteed, Thursday through Saturday. A lot of the party scene centers around Greek life, but you don't necessarily have to be in fraternity or sorority to go to the parties."

Visit Niche for more on the University of Pennsylvania.

No. 2 Vanderbilt University

WORK HARD, PLAY HARD: The 20 Most Intense Colleges In America (20)

Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Nashville, Tennessee

"Nashville is amazing for night life. Students usually start the night on Greek Row and then go to bars in midtown or downtown. Never boring, so many options, so much fun."

"By far, the best nightlife of any of the top 20 academic schools and arguably most colleges in general."

Visit Niche for more on Vanderbilt University.

No. 1 Massachusetts Institute of Technology

WORK HARD, PLAY HARD: The 20 Most Intense Colleges In America (21)

AP Photo/Elise Amendola

Cambridge, Massachusetts

"MIT frat and dorm parties are huge on the social scene. Kids from all over Boston and Cambridge come to our parties. Pub nights and parties are going on Wednesday-Saturday nights and fill up quickly. Frat parties are basically the only big parties that go on, besides the occasional East Campus party."

"We have several mottos at MIT: 'IHTFP,' 'Work hard, play harder,' 'Sleep is for the weak.' Take what you want from each, but with this attitude, you are bound to enjoy some sort of nightlife on and around campus. Be it a late-night psetting-[doing a problem set] turned-beeriocart session, or chairing race through the tunnels, or your typical frat rager (at one of our 25 fraternities housed in brownstone mansions), there are always people looking to have a good time. Unfortunately, there is often so much to do on campus (be it work or play), you forget there are some 70 other universities in the area, not to mention bars and clubs. And even when I venture out of the MIT bubble, I always return cause you just can't party like us nerds ;)"

Visit Niche for more on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Want to check out some more schools that know how to have a good time?

WORK HARD, PLAY HARD: The 20 Most Intense Colleges In America (22)

Mike Nudelman/Business Insider

The 20 Most Fun Colleges In America>>

FOLLOW US! Check Out BI Colleges On Facebook >>

Read next

Listen to The Refresh, Insider's real-time news show


Top editors give you the stories you want — delivered right to your inbox each weekday.

Thanks for signing up!

Access your favorite topics in a personalized feed while you're on the go.

Features MIT College



What does the saying work hard play hard mean? ›

The phrase ”work hard, play hard” refers to the practice of having a good work-life balance and prioritizing both professional growth and personal enjoyment. People who embrace the work hard, play hard lifestyle give equal attention to reaching their career-related and personal goals.

How do you work hard and play hard in college? ›

Work Hard, Play Hard
  1. (1) Planning is Key. Planning your week ahead of time will help to manage your time more wisely and avoid procrastination. ...
  2. (2) Ask for help. Don't wait until you are already behind to seek help. ...
  3. (3) Study More Efficiently. ...
  4. (4) Don't Overfill your Plate. ...
  5. (5) Have a Positive Attitude.
15 Oct 2021

Is work hard play hard good? ›

A Call for Rest

If you do, in fact, have a “work hard, play hard” culture at your company, it means you're—well—working hard. And that can certainly be a good thing. But, as we all know, operating at a pace that's harried for long periods of time usually means you won't be able to sustain that pace forever.

What is the hardest school in America? ›

1. Harvard University — 3.19% With a record-low admission rate of just 3.19% for the class of 2026, Harvard currently ranks as the most difficult school to get into. This rate reflects admission into Harvard College, the Ivy League university's undergraduate school.

Is work hard play hard a red flag? ›

Saying your company has a "work hard, play hard" attitude, for example, can often be "an indication of a burnout culture," said Greggs. Pointing out a "fast-paced environment" can also signal burnout ahead or that the employer is "going to put too much on your plate," said Kibben.

What is another way of saying work hard play hard? ›

What is another word for work hard?
knuckle downslave
beaverbeaver away
get down to itmoil
travailget your head down
25 more rows

Why is it important to work hard in college? ›

Students who work hard and do well in school learn to establish a high expectation level and expect great things from themselves. They decide that they want to strive to become the best of the best and will settle for nothing less. They will carry these standards with them as they get older.

How do you pass a hard college class? ›

We've narrowed it down, and come up with a list of 10 tips for passing college classes that we think are most important to consider.
  1. Take classes you're interested in. ...
  2. Be on time and pay attention. ...
  3. Ask questions. ...
  4. Participate. ...
  5. Read the syllabus. ...
  6. Open those books. ...
  7. Establish a study routine, and stick with it.

What does a hard working student look like? ›

The following is a list of what a hard-working student does and what a teacher likes to see. attend classes regularly and they are on time. they get all of the missed notes and assignments from other students or from the professor. turn in assignments complete and on time.

Is hard work Better or smart work? ›

Result of hard work: While we have seen that smart work is a better option, but what we forget is that smart work is the fruit of hard work. Only when you work hard do you gather the expertise and the knowledge to understand the work at hand and efficiently improve on it and work smartly.

Does hard work really lead to success? ›

Hard Work Helps You Make Your Luck

You need to have goals, dreams, and ambitions, and not only that, you need to have the drive to set them into motion. Success will not happen overnight, but with the right amount of persistence and hard work, the better one's luck tends to be.

Is hard work really the key to success? ›

In the end, hard work is key to success!

Plus your hard work will pay off in dividends as you start to see results in achieving the goals you have set for your life. Hard work is the key to success so don't feel that being hardworking is a waste of time. Keep your eyes on the prize and keep striving!

What is the hardest school degree? ›

20 Hardest Majors: The Ultimate Guide
  1. Chemistry. At number one on the list is chemistry.
  2. Architecture. ...
  3. Chemical Engineering. ...
  4. Computer Science. ...
  5. Aerospace Engineering. ...
  6. Biomedical Engineering. ...
  7. Materials Engineering. ...
  8. Petroleum Engineering. ...

What is the smartest school in America? ›

California Institute of Technology

What is the hardest degree to get? ›

What are the hardest degree subjects? The hardest degree subjects are Chemistry, Medicine, Architecture, Physics, Biomedical Science, Law, Neuroscience, Fine Arts, Electrical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Economics, Education, Computer Science and Philosophy.

Is it attractive to play hard to get? ›

The researchers discovered that making the chase harder increased a potential mate's desirability. “Playing hard to get makes it seem as if you are more in demand—we call that having higher mate value,” says Harry Reis, a professor of psychology and Dean's Professor in Arts, Sciences & Engineering at Rochester.

How can you tell if someone is working hard? ›

Hard-Working Characteristics
  1. Punctuality and dependability.
  2. Initiative and flexibility.
  3. Motivation and priorities.
  4. Learning and self-reliance.
  5. Stamina and perseverance.
  6. Culturally fit.
  7. Team spirit.
  8. Marketable.

What happens if you work too hard? ›

A lack of productivity is often a clear sign of overworking. Whether you're starting to slack with the quality of your work, you've developed a negative attitude, or you're just no longer feeling motivated to do a good job – it could all indicate a burnout. Other clues include tiredness, irritability, and apathy.

How would you describe a hardworking person? ›

industrious; zealous: a hardworking family man.

How do you describe someone who is good with words? ›

articulate: having or showing the ability to speak fluently and coherently. eloquent: fluent or persuasive in speaking or writing. fluent: able to express oneself easily and articulately. expressive: effectively conveying thought or feeling.

How do you work hard play hard? ›

Tips to Work Hard and Play Hard:
  1. Easy access to an internet connection: ...
  2. Avoid distractions of any kind: ...
  3. Make the best use of technology: ...
  4. Focus on work that you do: ...
  5. Take care of the place where you work other than the office: ...
  6. Don't mix personal and professional lives: ...
  7. Create a list of things that you want to do:

What is the importance of hard work in our life? ›

Through hard work we gain experience; it helps us discover many new things. This experience enables us to think smartly to solve a critical problem and achieve success. There is no shortcut to success. Hard work is the only key to achieving it; it teaches us discipline, dedication and determination.

Why hard work is important in our life? ›

Answer 1: Hard work teaches us discipline, dedication and determination. It is certainly important because it is only through hard work that we can achieve the goals of our life. Thus, we all must work hard.

Why is college so hard and stressful? ›

College students commonly experience stress because of increased responsibilities, a lack of good time management, changes in eating and sleeping habits, and not taking enough breaks for self-care. Transitioning to college can be a source of stress for most first-year students.

What is the hardest class to pass in college? ›

It shouldn't surprise you that organic chemistry takes the No. 1 spot as the hardest college course. This course is often referred to as the “pre-med killer” because it actually has caused many pre-med majors to switch their major.

How many students fail a college class? ›

That means more than 1 in 10 undergrads fail a class (since not every student repeats a failed class). What should you do if you fail? Consider repeating the course. Over 90% of colleges allow undergraduates to take a failed class again to improve their grade.

Can you pass a college class with a 70? ›

The cutoff between a pass and a fail differ by college. At some schools, students must earn a C-minus, or 70%, to pass. At other schools, a D counts as a passing grade. Most graduate programs require at least an 80% to pass a class.

What motivates students to work hard? ›

A growth mindset learner, on the other hand, believes that abilities and talents can be cultivated and improved through hard work. Growth mindset students enjoy a challenge and see struggles and failures as necessary parts of growth. Learners with a growth mindset are certainly more motivated to work hard.

What makes a student a good student? ›

There are various ways to describe a good student. Some common expressions are hardworking, submitting work on time, actively participating in class and achieving high grades.

What are the 10 qualities of a good student? ›

Qualities of a Good Student
  • Self-Discipline. Discipline is a must in a student's life. ...
  • Diligent. A student should be determined towards studies or any work allotted to him. ...
  • Punctual. Time is money so every student must value time. ...
  • Courteous. ...
  • Team player. ...
  • Confident. ...
  • Responsible.

Where did the phrase work hard play hard come from? ›

According to a researcher at Google, this phrase originated in 1827 and can be attributed to William Newnham from his essay, “The principles of physical, intellectual, moral, and religious education, Volume 2”.

Whats the difference between works hard plays hard? ›

What is 'work hard, play hard'? By electing to 'Work Hard, Play Hard you are putting yourself through relatively unnecessary hardships. This approach to life encourages that you embrace long working hours combined with a busy social and leisure schedule.

How do you say work hard in slang? ›

synonyms for work hard
  1. hammer away.
  2. keep one's shoulder to the wheel.
  3. peg away.
  4. plug away.
  5. put one's nose to the grindstone.
  6. struggle on.
  7. wade through.

What is hard work called in English? ›

labour. noun. work, especially hard physical work.

Is work hard play hard a quote? ›

We've all heard the quote, “Work hard, play hard,” but what does that really mean, and why is it important? Telling ourselves to work hard so that we can play hard is a way for us to know that there's a reward coming after all of the hard work has been put in.

How do you work hard and have fun? ›

Work Hard, Play Harder! How To Have Fun While Fulfilling Work
  1. If you're new on the job, set boundaries by leaving on time whenever possible. ...
  2. Talk to your boss about your work hours. ...
  3. Don't stop improving your skills. ...
  4. Nurture your relationships outside of work.
3 Jan 2018

How does Smart Play Hard work? ›

16 of the best ways to work smarter, not harder
  1. Stop multitasking. ...
  2. Take more breaks. ...
  3. Front-load your week. ...
  4. Chunk similar tasks together. ...
  5. Schedule tasks based on your energy levels. ...
  6. Cut down your to-do list. ...
  7. Take an afternoon nap (with a cup of coffee) ...
  8. Turn off notifications.
26 Apr 2021

Does play hard to get works? ›

Summary: Researchers examined the effects of playing hard to get, a mating strategy that is likely to instill a certain degree of uncertainty. In a new study they show that making the chase harder increases a potential mate's desirability.


1. Fox Catchers- Work Hard + Play Hard = Fruitfulness Part 2
(New Life Church Online)
2. Work Hard, Play Hard
(Samuel Leach)
3. College Isn't Fair.. Madden 20 Face Of The Franchise #1
(Eli Mack)
4. Infamous: When Comedy Exists Outside of Agenda | Andrew Schulz | #304
(Jordan B Peterson)
5. Vlog 2: Winter in Our Tiny House // Work Hard. Play Hard.
(Tiny House Expedition)
6. 118: Michael Gelb | Culture, Guidance, and Thinking Like Leonardo da Vinci
(Work Hard Play Hard Podcast)

Top Articles

Latest Posts

Article information

Author: Laurine Ryan

Last Updated: 12/05/2022

Views: 6131

Rating: 4.7 / 5 (77 voted)

Reviews: 84% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Laurine Ryan

Birthday: 1994-12-23

Address: Suite 751 871 Lissette Throughway, West Kittie, NH 41603

Phone: +2366831109631

Job: Sales Producer

Hobby: Creative writing, Motor sports, Do it yourself, Skateboarding, Coffee roasting, Calligraphy, Stand-up comedy

Introduction: My name is Laurine Ryan, I am a adorable, fair, graceful, spotless, gorgeous, homely, cooperative person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.