Students and Alcohol

It's Never Too Late for Parents to Talk to Their Students about Alcohol 

The first year of college is a time of major changes for your son or daughter.  Your student is transitioning from being a teen to being an adult.  It may be the first time that your student is living away from home.  College is a time of meeting many new people, experiencing new social and economic pressures, and making adjustments to new and rigorous workloads.   Your son or daughter will need to develop a new set of skills to make the adjustment to college life.   Given the increased freedom and autonomy that occurs with collegiate life, students will benefit from trusted source of information  – you.   

Parents should never assume that it’s too late for to talk about alcohol.  In a 2013 study published 
in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, Penn State’s Robert Turrisi and his colleagues mailed parents of incoming freshmen a 22-page handbook that included general information about college student drinking and its consequences, information on alcohol’s physiological effects, and suggested communication strategies.

The results showed that if parents followed the handbooks’ recommendations and talked to their students before they started college, those students who were abstainers or light drinkers were more likely to remain so, while those who were heavy drinkers were more likely to drink less. The best time, the researchers found, was during the summer, before students arrived on campus.

We encourage you to partner with us to have conversations about alcohol use with your son or daughter prior to their arrival at Macalester.  During August, incoming Macalester students are required to complete an alcohol abuse prevention online module entitled “Alcohol.Edu”.   As a parent, you can sign into the Alcohol.Edu course and explore it for yourself.    Remember this course does not open until August 4, 2014.  You can find the web address here:

Registration Code:  P173902PARENT

We will continue these conversations with your student during Orientation.  You are welcome to join the Parent Orientation workshop, Absolute Reality, which further explores the college health scene and discusses ways we can partner together to make Macalester a healthier place to live and learn.  

If you are interested in more information about talking to your student about alcohol use, you may find these resources helpful:

Talk, They Hear You  

What Parents Need to Know About College Drinking

Alcohol and College Students: A Guide for Parents

We look forward to having you join the Macalester community,

Lisa Broek, Health and Wellness Center