The misuse of alcohol by both underage students and students over 21 remains a problem for some in spite of laws, campus policies and college programs. So, when talking to your son or daughter about choices with regard to alcohol, you may want to discuss the differences between low-risk and high-risk drinking and abstaining.
- Thinking about whether you will drink and what you will drink before the party
- Being 21 or older
- Eating a meal before drinking
- Drinking no more than one drink per hour; maximum three for women, four for men
- Always knowing what you are drinking
- Alternating alcohol-free drinks throughout the evening
- Before you go out, knowing how you will get home safely
- Knowing that abstaining is the safest choice
- Chugging, playing drinking games, drinking shots and drinking anything out of a punch bowl, trough hose, or funnel
- Drinking to get drunk (intoxicated)
- Driving after drinking or riding with someone who is under the influence
- Drinking too much or too fast on an empty stomach
- Going to parties where people drink too much
- Not knowing what is in your glass or leaving it unattended
- Mixing alcohol with medications or illegal drugs
How to Talk About Drinking at College
Have you talked with your son or daughter about drinking in college? Follow these guidelines from The Century Council.
Before They Get to College
Share realistically your own experiences with drinking, both positive and negative. Be clear in what you expect from your son or daughter about the following:
- Attending class
- Drinking and driving
- Financial responsibility
- Choices regarding drinking
- Study time vs. social time
- Staying in touch
Here are conversation starters you may want to use:
- How will you decide whether or not to drink at college?
- What will you do if you find yourself at a party with only alcohol to drink?
- What will you do if your roommate only wants to drink and party?
- What will you do if you find a student passed out in the bathroom?
- How will you handle it if you are asked to baby-sit someone who is very drunk?
Once They're at College
Because the first six weeks of college are a very high-risk time for first-year students, you may want to call, write or email frequently and be supportive. Ask questions such as the following:
- How are you doing?
- Do you like your classes?
- What is the party scene like?
- What kind of activities are available?
- Are you enjoying dorm life? Why?
- Do you see others making friend or just drinking buddies?
- How are you getting along with your roommate?
- Are you feeling overwhelmed?
- What can we do to help?
- Family beliefs and values regarding alcohol
- How to get help on campus
- How to refuse a drink
Most college students make responsible decisions about the use or non-use of alcohol. However, we know the following:
Availability of alcohol + Absence of parents + Desire to fit in = Potentially risky drinking decisions.
For further information, contact Student Affairs or Health and Counseling Services.
Please help us spread the knowledge of alcohol poisoning symptoms. Call 911 if a person exhibits any of these symptoms:
- Unconscious or semiconscious
- Breathing less than 10 times per minute or irregular breathing (check every two minutes)
- Cold, clammy, pale or bluish skin
- Can’t be awakened by pinching, prodding or shouting
- Vomiting without waking up