According to a new survey of 1,070 U.S. teens, about one in six high school students drinks during overnight college visits. The survey was conducted by the Center for Adolescent Research and Education at Susquehanna University (CARE) and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD).
Teens also reported engaging in sex or sexual behavior (17 percent), using drugs other than alcohol (5 percent), or driving while impaired (2 percent) during their stay. For some teens, the college visit was the first time they’d engaged in these behaviors. 51 percent of teens who reported drinking during their stay said they had never done so previously. 52 percent of those who reported engaging in some form of sexual activity said it had been their first time.
“This information offers a cautionary tale to parents and college administrators,” said Stephen Gray Wallace, director of CARE and an associate research professor at Susquehanna University. “Colleges and universities should examine their policies on campus visits to ensure the safety of young visitors and their hosts.”
“These results speak to parents about the importance of communicating about risks and setting expectations for their teens in advance of new and potentially challenging experiences,” said Penny Wells, SADD’s president and CEO.