Greetings Wake Forest University Parents

College is an exciting milestone for both you and your student. It is a time of new experiences, a time of transition, and a time to stay connected. If you have already spoken with your Wake Forest student about alcohol great; however, it is a good idea to revisit the conversation. You may need to adjust your communication style as your student develops greater independence. If you have not spoken with your college student about drinking it’s never too late to have the conversation. While we are committed to making a difference with our students, we also understand that you are the first line of defense against alcohol misuse and abuse.

Before coming to campus, all first-year will complete the AlcoholEdu for College curriculum. The content on is designed to support your conversations about alcohol to help shape the decisions your student must make in college surrounding alcohol use.

The content available at includes:

What Can Parents do… A LOT!

  • Talk to your student before they come to college about alcohol and drugs.
  • Review the materials for parents available through AlcoholEdu. The content available at includes:
  • In particular, discuss with your student your family heredity to substance abuse and disordered eating problems. Currently, 90% of tolerance is thought to be hereditary and family history increases your student’s risk of experiencing a substance use problem.
  • Explore the local laws of North Carolina regarding substance use, DUI’s, fake IDs, and distribution to minors with your student and remind them about the legal consequences of these behaviors.
  • Discuss your expectations of your student.
  • An overview demo video that provides you with an overview of the course experience your child will be moving through including the AlcoholEdu for College course structure and key concepts.
  • Helpful resources, such as tips on parents’ roles in transition to collegetalking to your college student about alcohol, warning signs of an alcohol problem and links to additional resources.

Tips for a Positive Discussion

An excellent resource which gives tips about how to have these conversations, as well as more detailed information about alcohol use and abuse in college students, is “College Parents Matter . . . Have the Conversation” produced by the Maryland Collaborative to Reduce College Drinking and Other Problems.  The website is:

Other strategies for having a productive conversation are:

  • Ask open-ended questions – To help facilitate a two-way dialogue, ask questions that cannot be answered with “yes” or “no”.
  • Listen to your student without interrupting – Show respect when your student is talking. This can help strengthen your relationship and may lead to other personal conversations.
  • Give positive feedback – Make positive comments about your student’s responsible choices, and not just the negative choices.
  • Be direct – Be sure your student knows exactly where you stand about studying, free-time, and underage drinking. Ambiguity can lead to mixed messages.
  • Control your emotions – Try to speak in a calm, relaxed voice so you don’t push your student away. Stay focused and keep to the facts.
  • Use summaries – Clarify things your student tells you by saying, “Let me see if I understand…” or “What you are telling me is…”. This shows that you are listening to your student and want to better understand your student’s views.
  • Remember, you know your student better than anyone. Find a comfortable communication method that works for both you and your student. Talk with your student frequently.

High Drinking Times During the Academic Year

  • The first six weeks of school (pressure to socialize and fit in)
  • Right before, during or after midterm exams
  • Major sporting events
  • Relationship break ups
  • Fraternity and Sorority rush/recruitment
  • Bid Day
  • Spring Break
  • After Final Exams
  • Graduation
  • Birthdays
  • Celebrations

Ways to intervene if your student shows signs or symptoms of an alcohol problem:

  1. Share your concern and encourage the student to seek help.
  2. Be aware of the signs alcohol abuse.
  3. If you believe your student is having a problem with alcohol, do not blame them, but find appropriate treatment.
  4. Call, email, and/or visit the Assistant Director of Wellbeing – Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention for support and resources.
  5. If you are really concerned that your student is having troubles with alcohol a visit may be warranted. Ask to meet their friends. Attend Family Weekend and other campus events open to parents.
  6. We want you to continue to stay actively involved in the life of your student. Even though they may be away at college, they continue to be an extension of your family and its values.