Although many students come to college already having had experience with alcohol, certain aspects of college life, such as unstructured time, the widespread availability of alcohol, inconsistent enforcement of underage drinking laws, and limited interactions with parents and other adults, can intensify the problem.

The first six weeks of freshman year are a risky time for heavy drinking and alcohol-related consequences because of student expectations and social pressures at the start of the academic year. The protective factor of parent involvement is no longer there.  During these crucial early weeks, parents should stay involved by:

  • Talking with students about the dangers of harmful and underage college drinking, such as the penalties for underage drinking, and how alcohol use can lead to date rape, violence, and academic failure
  • Reaching out periodically and keeping the lines of communication open, while staying alert for possible alcohol-related problems
  • Reminding students to feel free to reach out to them to share information about their daily activities, and to ask for help if needed
  • Learning about the school’s alcohol prevention and emergency intervention efforts and
  • Making sure students know signs of alcohol overdose or an alcohol-related problem, and how to help.

For more information regarding conversations with your young adult or why you should be concerned about underage drinking, visit or