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Students and Alcohol

It’s Never Too Late for Parents and Families to Talk to Their Students about Alcohol

The first year of college is a time of major changes for your student. 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 student 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 a trusted source of information–you.   

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

The results showed that if parents followed the 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 these conversations with your student prior to their arrival at Macalester. You can access information designed to support your conversations at

You will find:

  • Helpful resources, such as tips on talking to your college student about alcohol, warning signs of an alcohol problem and links to additional resources.

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

We look forward to having you join the Macalester community,

Jen Jacobsen, Director of Health Promotion and Sexual Respect, Macalester College