The first six to ten weeks of college are the most crucial for freshmen. While a student’s participation in underage drinking does not necessarily predict their academic future, it certainly has an impact on it. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) estimates that about 1,519 college students ages 18 to 24 die from alcohol-related unintentional injuries, including motor vehicle crashes, and about 696,000 students ages 18 to 24 are assaulted by another student who has been drinking. Important to note is how the rapid increase in heavy drinking over a relatively short period of time can contribute to serious difficulties with the transition to college. Statistically, about one-third of first-year students fail to return their second year.

In addition to adapting to campus life, first-time college students encounter a vast amount of personal freedom that has the potential to make or break their academic career. Research has found that comprehensive prevention programs that target multiple factors, such as individual attitudes, social norms, and campus culture, tend to be more successful in reducing alcohol-related harms. Additionally, interventions that involve evidence-based practices like personalized feedback have shown promising results. 

By engaging in the online alcohol awareness program Alcohol Wise, incoming freshmen experienced greater knowledge of alcohol consumption and its possible consequences. In the short-term, students demonstrated a general understanding of how their high-risk drinking behavior could harm themselves and others. Alcohol Wise was also successful in that it had a positive impact on first-year college students’ high-risk drinking behavior and attitudes. Overall, they were less likely to engage in binge drinking and drinking games. T

he preparatory Alcohol Wise course offers first-year students the tools they need in order to successfully adapt to college life. By spreading awareness, Alcohol Wise can help limit the risk of alcohol-related assaults, injuries and deaths among college students.