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20 Songs to Make Sure You Know Before Your First College Party

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

I'll admit, I didn’t know all of the “cool songs” when I went off to college. My years of musical theater in high school and my summer country concerts didn’t prepare me for the world of college parties in the slightest. But I now have two years of college under my belt, and I’ve come to know many of the hottest college party songs. I’ve grouped these bops into three categories: the oldies – that everyone loves to scream and jump to – good old college fun, and current party hits you might hear on the radio. 

While now isn’t the time for partying with your closest friends (or the strangers down the hall), it’s a great time to familiarize yourself with what are bound to be some of the more popular hits that'll be gracing your party playlists as soon as it’s safe to have one again! 

The “Oldies”

To start, I wanted to throw in a few of the oldies that really get the crowd going. Everyone sings their heart out when one of these songs comes on, because for some reason college kids love classic music. 

1. “Take Me Home, Country Roads” by John Denver    

 If you’re not going to a southern school, “Take Me Home, Country Roads” might not be as much of a staple, but in Virginia, we sing it loud and proud! 

2. “Dancing Queen” by Abba 

This is another classic my friends and I love to belt along to. We may not all be 17 years old anymore, but that won’t stop me from dancing to this song. 

3. “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond 

Another classic everyone should know… need I say more? 

Good Old College Fun 

You probably won't hear any of these on the radio, but they’ll definitely make appearances at the best parties!

1. “All Night Longer” by Sammy Adams   

I had never heard this song before college, but I can guarantee you'll be hearing it every Friday night. As a bonus, it makes for a great getting ready song! 

2. “I Love College” by Asher Roth 

Here's another one I didn't know before college, but I hear it all the time now. 

3. “Jordan Belfort” by Wes Walker & Dyl   

Despite being released in 2015, I'm still hearing this all of the time.

4. “Hotel Room Service” by Pitbull 

People WILL scream “Hotel, motel, Holiday Inn!” when this comes on and in all honesty, that's the most important part to know. Extra points if you know the other words, but I don’t and I’ve survived this long. 

5. “Buy U a Drank” by T-Pain and Yung Joc   

T-Pain and Bryce Vine came to my school in the spring of my freshman year. I’m not sure if the whole world was as in love with them as much as we were, but we listened to a lot of T-Pain. This one’s a classic! 

6. “Young, Wild, and Free” by Snoop Dogg, Wiz Khalifa and Bruno Mars 

Those three words really do describe many college students. While not everyone is doing exactly what Snoop Dogg suggests in the lyrics, “Young, wild, and free” is all many of us want to be.

7. “Mr. Brightside” by The Killers 

This classic college party song is one of my personal favorites. It’s easy to sing along to, and it's a definite crowd favorite. Look out for the occasional remix, which will sometimes sneak up on you. Either way, they're both bops! 

8. "Empire State of Mind" by JAY-Z and Alicia Keys  

"I go to school in New York City and it's almost guaranteed that every time we go out they'll play this song," says Carlianne Brennan, a Junior at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Even outside of New York, we still love belting these lyrics. 

9. “Baby” by Justin Bieber and Ludacris  

“It's a fun pop song that everyone knows the lyrics to,” says Salma Ledezma, a senior at James Madison University, and I couldn't agree more. 

10. “Year 3000” by The Jonas Brothers  

“It’s really nostalgic for our generation, and it’s so fun to let loose and sing because we all grew up with it and know the lyrics by heart,” says Kate Fox, a senior at The University of Nebraska Lincoln. 

11. "Breaking Free" From High School Musical  

"It's always a big party hit, because everyone loves this song," says Elizabeth Karpen, a junior at Barnard College. While you probably already know the words to this one, it's always fun to brush up a few times on your favorite Disney Channel songs. 

Related: 5 Concerns Every Student Has About Returning to Campus 

Current hits 

I haven't been to a college party since TikTok really exploded and since March, many new songs have come out. Spotify’s Top 50 playlist is a good place to start to brush up on the current hottest tracks, but here are a few guesses as to what'll hit the hardest when they make their college party premieres!

1. “Rockstar” by DaBaby and Roddy Ricch  

This song has been sitting at the top of the charts for a while, so it doesn't look like it's going anywhere soon!

2. “UCLA” by RL Grime and 24 Hrs  

This song is super fun and played often. Please, if you go to UCLA, let me know if this is your anthem! 

3. “Roxanne” by Arazona Zervas 

Its TikTok fame has surely earned this one a spot on most party playlists. 

4. “SICKO MODE” by Travis Scott ft. Drake  

I don’t know what it is about this song, but it's always on! 

5. “Blueberry Faygo” by Lil Mosey 

TikTok really helped this song gain its popularity, and it's currently enjoying great radio play and sitting pretty at the top of the US charts.

6. “Low” by Flo Rida and T-Pain  

“It reminds me of good times, and is super fun to dance to,” says Bela Olson, a junior at James Madison University. 

Related: How to Prepare for Your First Year of College During Lockdown 

This list was made all in good fun, dreaming about a time when we'll once again get to hear all of our friends belting them at the top of their lungs all together. That being said, it's important to remember that there's so much more to college than parties. College is about learning, growing and making friends. While parties are a large part of college culture, there are so many other ways to have fun with your friends. Make sure you don’t put yourself or anyone else at risk during these scary times, and remember that going to a party isn’t worth potentially spreading COVID-19. Be safe, have fun, and make good decisions!


Grace is a Senior Media Art and Design major at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. She has lived in Virginia her whole life, but plans on moving to New York City after graduation. Gracie loves to travel and plans on being a travel writer post-grad. Her favorite places to visit were either Munich, Germany, or Cusco, Peru. Besides Her Campus, Gracie is in Gamma Phi Beta, works as the Creative Coordinator for Bluestone Communications JMU, and writes for the culture section of The Breeze, JMU's newspaper.
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