Many people associate the college experience with partying and experimentation, which also includes drinking.
The American College Health Association’s National College Health Assessment found in its fall 2009 survey that 59.8 percent of women used alcohol within the last 30 days, while 58.6 percent of men had the same answer. Also, fewer women than men were found to have never used alcohol, although the difference was not very significant. If you assumed the statistics represented the actual college population, there are slightly more men who haven't tried alcohol in college than women.
It seems that more people assume men drink alcohol, but college women also seem to participate in this sometimes dangerous social experience.
For example, 10.1 percent of college women had seven or more drinks at the last party or social event they attended.
Kevin Prince, an alcohol and drug education program coordinator at the University of Texas at Austin, said students have the most problems with underage and binge drinking.
At his university, incoming freshmen and transfer students have to take an alcohol education course.
“When students go through a program like that, they tend to make better choices for themselves,” Prince said. “The program’s not meant to say ‘You bad little kids, you shouldn’t be drinking.’ It really just informs them to correct their misperceptions about drinking.”
He said some misperceptions are that everyone is getting drunk and partying and staying up all night, when that's only a minority.
Besides educating students beforehand, sometimes their own experiences and consequences will teach them.
“While we don’t like our students to be arrested…the stories they have after being arrested by the police are actually sometimes more powerful than the education they will receive from the very beginning,” Prince said.
When referring to binge drinking, Prince means four or more drinks for women in one sitting and five or more drinks for men. This includes a shot of liquor, a 12-ounce can of beer or a five-ounce glass of wine.
“There’s a lot of misperception out there about how much drinking you should do,” Prince said.