Talk About Alcohol & Drinking with Your College-bound Student

Parents should talk about alcohol and drinking with their high school seniors long before they leave for college. The Century Council, a nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing drinking abuse, suggests the following conversation-starter ideas:

  • What will you do if you find yourself at a party with only alcoholic beverages to drink?
  • What will you do if your roommate only wants to drink and party?
  • What will you do if you find a student passed out in the bathroom?
  • How will you handle a situation in which you are asked to baby-sit someone who is very drunk?

The Century Council also recommends that parents ask their students how they like their classes, what activities they are engaged in, whether they have made friends or drinking buddies, if they are feeling overwhelmed and what the parents can do to help.

Standard Drinks and Alcohol Equivalence

Learn what they are and why they'’re very important.

It’s also important for young people to have accurate information about alcohol. For example, they should know that standard drinks of beer, wine and spirits all contain equivalent amounts of alcohol. A standard drink is a 12-ounce can or bottle of beer, a five ounce glass of wine, or a one and one-half ounce serving of 80 proof distilled spirits (either straight or in a mixed drink). To a breathalyzer, they’re all the same.


  • The Century Council web site (