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Q. My oldest child is beginning to look at colleges. My younger brother died in a drinking-related incident at college. I don't want to be over-protective but I want to give my child the best opportunity to survive his college years. Is there a way I can find out how much drinking goes on at the schools we visit?


A. This must be a frightening time for you. You are brave (and wise) to consider letting him go away to school. You must trust your child to make good decisions but  it's also your responsibility to make sure he's not going to be in an unhealthy, unsafe or uncomfortable setting. 

Just recently, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (www.madd.org ) announced that they will begin ranking colleges based on how well they curb student drinking. The list could be ready for Fall, 2001. 

In the meantime, here are a few things to look for when you begin the college tour: 
Watch for posters advertising cheap drinks at bars. 
Watch for empty beer cans in dorms. 
Time your visits so that you arrive on Thursday and stay overnight. 
Stroll on the campus near midnight (not alone!) and observe. 
Ask officials about school policy (do they notify parents of alcohol violations?)

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Last Updated 05.20.2002 | Email Parenting is Prevention | Privacy Policy