18 year-olds’ thoughts before entering college: “Decisions, decisions, decisions. What major should I pick? How do I avoid that extra 15lbs everyone talks about? Should I try to meet new people or just stick with the friends I have from high school? What about alcohol? Is it really that big of a deal?”
As your student transitions into college life, they will face many choices about the kind of life they want to live. The choice about whether to use alcohol and/or other drugs is an important one that every young adult is faced with. The consequences of these decisions will directly impact the success of their academic and personal goals.
We encourage you to provide guidance and advice to your child during this transition. You are one of your child's best resources and your expectations regarding alcohol use matter to them. In fact, in a recent survey of North Dakota college students, 80.4% believe that their parents’ expectations or rules about alcohol is an effective way to limit their alcohol consumption; proof that parents talking to their children about alcohol use does in fact help.
Generally speaking, colleges expect your child to have fun, to be responsible, and to obey the law as well as their college-specific policies regarding alcohol and other drugs.
If your student is found in violation of local law or campus policy, there may be consequences beyond the legal system. These vary from campus to campus and can include sanctions such as mandated alcohol education, alcohol and other drug counseling, community services, academic and behavioral probation, administrative fees, loss of housing contract, or suspension. Your child’s academic program may have additional consequences which can impact your ability to enter you future career field.
Legal and long term penalties can include: citations, court hearings, community services hours, felony charges and worse, depending upon the situation.
Talking with your child about these expectations and consequences, as well as your own personal expectations of your child, is the best way to ensure the success and overall health of your child.
Knowing about the affects alcohol has on the body, overall life, and academic success is a great place to start. Understanding how alcohol works will help inform your child’s decisions, and will help you with the conversations you have with them. It is especially important to know what happens when your child or someone they know uses alcohol in high risk ways.
To learn more visit, "What do I say" to your college student.
ND University System. (2013). NDCORE 2012 Aggregate Alcohol and Other Drug Survey Report. Bismarck, ND: ND Higher Education Consortium for Substance Abuse Prevention.
Parents Matter: Talking with your College Student about Alcohol Use.