Discover Your Island

A Message to Parents

Talk to your College Student about Drinking


The college experience includes new experiences, new challenges and sometimes difficult choices. Drinking is still considered to be a rite of passage for many college students. Peer pressure, availability of alcohol and other drugs, curiosity, and the belief “that nothing bad is ever going to happen to me” may all contribute to students sometimes making risky choices. The pressures of college life may also cause some students to turn to alcohol or other drugs as a way to cope. Unfortunately, the choices that your student makes today could have life long consequences. As a parent, it is essential that you talk to your student about drinking and drug use.

Encourage your student to…..THINK, CHOOSE, GRADUATE.

  • Talk to your student. This is not a time for a lecture or flashbacks of your own escapades, but a time for an honest conversation about drinking and drug use. Let them know what you expect. Find out from them what they are expecting from their college experience.
  • Know the facts about alcohol/drug use and college students. Most students overestimate how much their peers are drinking and/or using other drugs. Students who choose not to drink or drink in moderation (0-3 drinks per week) actually comprise the majority of students at TAMU-CC. For more information on TAMU-CC students, go to the Core Survey Results.
  • Emphasize the importance of having a plan. Encourage your student to have a plan for keeping themselves and their friends safe (e.g. having a designated driver, not leaving drinks unattended, using protective behaviors when partying) and for dealing with potentially risky situations.
  • Discourage dangerous drinking. Drinking games and activities that promote binge drinking can have serious and even deadly consequences. Did you know that alcohol poisoning can cause death? Every year college students across campuses die from alcohol poisoning.
  • Make your expectations clear. College is a major investment of time and money. Underage drinking, illicit drug use, and driving under the influence are illegal and can carry stiff consequences including fines, mandatory education classes, community service, possible eviction from campus housing, academic suspension, loss of driver’s license, jail time, and misdemeanor or felony charges. These consequences can have long lasting effects and affect a student’s future ability to get a job, secure professional licensure, and get insurance. See Office of Judicial Affairs for more information.
  • Encourage them to become involved. Alcohol and other drug use is often linked to low student retention and poor grades. Students invested in school and extracurricular activities generally perform better academically and have higher retention. Being involved on campus also helps to students to build up a support system if problems do arise.
  • Listen to your student. Notice changes in mood, energy levels, friends, participation in organizations. Don’t underestimate depression, anxiety, relationship problems, or loneliness.
  • Lastly, encourage them to ask for help. The UCC offers free, confidential counseling. As a parent, you can also call us. We may not be able to give you information about a student, but we can give you suggestions for handling a situation and especially assist with encouraging a student to come in for help.

See also:

College Drinking - Changing the Culture Website
National Institute on Drug Abuse Website



Address & Other Contact Information

Claudia Ayala LPC-S, LCDC
University Counselor/Coordinator of AOD Programming
Claudia.Ayala@tamucc.edu