When people think of the college experience, many might remember wild parties with lots of alcohol and debauchery. But it isn't like that for everyone. If fact, many students choose alcohol-free colleges where they can focus on their schoolwork instead, reducing their chances of being distracted by late-night parties or raucous keggers. Some students choose the dry campus route for their academic futures, while others are motivated by religious reasons. Others simply want to attend that particular school and don't mind abstaining from alcohol to do so.
Two decades ago, 1 in 3 American college campuses were dry, according to a Harvard study detailed in a 2005 article published in The Economist ("Booze control"). Without any official organization tracking the numbers, it's hard to say what the figures are today, but there's certainly no shortage of campuses with hefty alcohol policies. Some campuses are completely dry, prohibiting all beer, wine, and liquor, while others allow specific types of alcohol or permit it in designated places. For example, Brigham Young and the College of the Ozarks are both 100% dry with strict consequences for students caught violating their policies. American University and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, on the other hand, are "permit only" campuses where permission can be granted on special occasions for pre-designated events. Stanford University and the University of Minnesota allow some types of alcohol, but have bans on hard liquor.
Interestingly, there is some evidence to suggest that campuses where alcohol is permitted have fewer alcohol-related arrests. One theory behind this phenomenon, if true, is that students who drink underage or break other rules on “wet” campuses tend to receive a warning first before the police get involved, lowering the number of public citations. At dry universities, by contrast, there are fewer measures in place to handle drinking incidents, and the police are more likely to be called, resulting in more arrests. These universities may also take the offense more seriously and therefore alert the police more often.
Whatever the case, dry campuses remain popular. To give an idea of the range of alcohol-free schools out there, Stacker has rounded up 20 of the best dry campuses in America, ranging from strict zero-alcohol policies to mixed-use policies.