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Sure, BYU is dry -- but not boring, students say
It ranks tops in 'soberness' and quality of life

PROVO -- That Brigham Young University has been ranked, for the second year in a row, as the top "stone-cold sober" campus in the country comes as a surprise to exactly no one.

While the BYU community is staunchly proud of that title, it may imply that the school is more like a monastery than a university.Not exactly, BYU students say.

In fact, according to an annual survey conducted by The Princeton Review, the LDS-owned school is ranked first in "best quality of life" as well.

"Because we are rated high in being stone-cold sober, it might be interpreted that our students don't have a good time," said BYU spokeswoman Carri Jenkins. "But this shows that students can come here, have a great time at college and do it all sober."

A couple of hundred BYU students were surveyed last fall on a variety of topics pertaining to campus life, the student body and academics as part of a book published by The Princeton Review titled "The Best 331 Colleges."

In all, 59,000 college students participated in rating their own schools for the book, which has been published annually since 1992. The rankings list the top 20 colleges in more than 60 categories. Besides BYU, no other Utah school made any top 20 rankings. Florida State was named the top "party school."

BYU students reported they don't like never-ending campus construction and lack of parking, but, overall, they love what BYU offers. The school received a quality of life rating of 93 out of 100 from BYU students.

"Who needs drugs or alcohol when you have Mormons?" responded one student.

"People know how to have fun without getting high or smashed," said another. Students mentioned an abundance of activities in which they can participate in when they aren't studying or attending classes -- including hiking, climbing, biking, dancing and bowling.

Of course, dating is an important social activity at BYU, unofficially known as "the happy Mormon Marriage Hunting Grounds," according to one student. Apparently, at least some students don't enjoy the focus on marriage at BYU. One student said administrators and everyone else at the school goes "to great lengths to make sure you feel guilty if you graduate without being married."

BYU also holds the title of having "the most religious students," because its students pray on a regular basis, according to the survey. "I appreciate being able to include God in a discussion and not being thought of as extreme for it," one student explained.

Not everyone totally embraces BYU's staid atmosphere, however. "You can't go anywhere without having someone hold a door open for you," said a student from Georgia. "It drives me crazy. Why can't I have some exposure to weirdo stalkers or something?"

BYU finished No. 1 in a number of other lists, including one called "Scotch and Soda, Hold the Scotch" (hard liquor usage reported low); Don't Inhale (marijuana use reported low); and Got Milk (beer usage reported low).

In addition, BYU placed No. 12 in the Jock School list, its highest ranking ever in that category. The high rating is due in part to the large number of students who compete in intramural athletics.

BYU was also No. 4 on the list of Students Most Nostalgic for Reagan (lean to the right politically) and No. 5 in Future Rotarians and Daughters of the American Revolution. BYU was 15th in the number of happy students and 16th in best campus food.

Not all was positive, though. BYU was 14th in the dubious Dorms Like Dungeons category.

In the academic rating, BYU earned an 84 out of 100. "I highly recommend BYU to all high school seniors ready for college," said a social work major. "It's a great place for physical, spiritual and mental development."

The Princeton Review's survey is intended to assist students who are looking for the right college for them. Jenkins says the annual ratings don't affect who does and does not apply to BYU. "Our students have already been looking at BYU for a couple of years by the time they are high school seniors."