I went to a college that didn't have Greek life of any kind: no fraternities, no sororities, and nothing resembling anything you saw in National Lampoon's Animal House. I don't feel like I missed out on anything in college by not having the option to join a frat. I made friends organically, and didn't have to prove my worth by drinking a handle of vodka or streaking in the quad.

That being said, not all universities are equal when it comes to traditions. Some have secret societies. Some have specific chants. Some have third and fourth generations of family that have attended those schools.

The website Broke Scholar recently conducted a study that looked at some of the "cultiest" colleges in the United States. While the term "cult" has negative connotations, you could look at this list and see it as students and institutions who have strong traditions, or you can simply see the behavior as fanatical. Either way, one Iowa school did manage to rank in the top 50 of Broke Scholar's list, with another just outside the top 50 schools.

The University of Iowa was ranked #41 on the list of the cultiest colleges in the United States. While no write-up nor reasoning was given for Iowa's ranking, here is the methodology Broke Scholar used in the process of curating this list:

  • Community Loyalty
  • Social Prestige
  • Academic Excellence
  • School Spirit

Some of the attributes Broke Scholar examined: how much giving contributes to a school's budget; average amount of gifts; presence of frats/sororities/secret societies; ACT scores; difficultly in getting accepted; etc.

Photo Credit: University of Iowa, YouTube
Photo Credit: University of Iowa, YouTube

Here are some other finds from Broke Scholar's comprehensive study:

  • Iowa State University ranked #55 on the list; University of Wisconsin-La Crosse came in at #177.
  • True Blue University of Michigan Ann Arbor is the country’s #1 cultiest college. Tops for football attendance, hashtagging their school and graduating students on time. #2 is University of Virginia, #3 University of Florida, #4 Texas A&M, and #5 UCLA.
  • 14 of the top 25 culty schools are clustered in the South. With strong Greek systems and community pride, these students are faithful fans.
  • Harvard loyalty lasts long after graduation. You can’t beat the Crimson for its LinkedIn alumni network's strength, coupled with high giving rates.
  • Social prestige rules at Wake Forest. 42.5% of students join a fraternity or sorority for an added sense of belonging.
Photo Credit: University of Iowa, YouTube
Photo Credit: University of Iowa, YouTube

View the results of Broke Scholar's "Cultiest Colleges in the United States" study here.


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