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How Partying Affects College Students

Our Guide To The Effects Of Partying At College 

Partying is part of college campus culture for many students during their downtime from studying, with at least four out of five college students admitting to drinking, but how does this affect student’s performance? 

Well, college students are statistically more likely to binge drink and drink illegally with most being under the age of 21, partying and drinking can have effects on student’s academic performance as well as sleep.

In our guide below, we will discuss exactly what the term party culture means in college, why college students are more likely to binge drink, the effects and some tips for campuses to reduce partying on site.

What Is Party Culture?

Before we get into the effects of partying on college students and why students tend to binge drink, let’s first discuss what the term party culture actually means among young people. 

Party culture essentially means a group of people who get together to do a certain behavior or norm which in this case is partying, this is spread across college students as normal behavior, therefore, more participate to belong to the ‘culture’.

Why Are College Students More Likely To Binge Drink? 

Binge drinking is popular among college students, with only a few drinking in moderation due to the party culture.

The term binge drinking is a pattern of alcohol drinking which causes someone’s blood alcohol percentage to go above 0.08 grams and above. This is classed as four or more drinks in one hour for a woman or five more drinks in one hour for a man.

Individuals who are under 21 at college are more likely to be reckless with their control over alcohol intake and the following factors below make them more likely to binge drink and have negative consequences. 

  • Social pressure – Drinking and partying culture is widespread among colleges, and peers will often judge one another for not taking part in the partying culture and ‘college experience’.
  • Availability – Alcohol is often widely available on campus and not regulated, allowing underage easy drinking and partying.
  • Stress – Stress from studies can cause students to ‘blow off steam’ in their downtime and heavy drinking affecting college performance.
  • Inconsistent regulations – Drinking and partying are not regulated as well as they should be throughout campus.
  • Fewer routines – As a student, there is a less structured routine with more downtime for studying unlike a 9-5 job, this can even encourage weekday drinking.
  • Fraternities/sororities – College students who join fraternities or sororities are more likely to binge drink in comparison to other students due to house parties.

Facts About Partying/Drinking & College Students

Partying and drinking in college are very popular but tend to have negative effects on student’s lives, we’ve listed some facts about students and partying below. 

  • 60% of college students admit to having a drink in the last month. 
  • 1/4 students say drinking affects their studying. 
  • 1800 students die each year due to alcohol poisoning or related incidents. 
  • 700,000 students have been involved in a fight or assault due to drinking.
  • 100,000 students have been involved in date rape or sexual assault because of drinking.

Are Males Or Female Students More Likely To Binge Drink?

Even though all college students are at risk of binge drinking as a common activity, there is a slight gender difference when it comes to who’s more likely to engage in binge drinking. 

Men in college are twice as likely to binge drink than women are. 

Is Mixing Alcohol & Studying A Good Idea? 

Alcohol and parties are not a problem for student’s health, but they can also affect academic performance over time and affect their overall grade point average too. 

For example, students who were engaging in binge drinking habits at least three times per week were 6 times more likely to perform poorly on tests and five times more likely to miss class. 

Mixing alcohol and studying can also lead to fewer study hours and less motivation to study when there is the presence of alcohol among college kids. 

That being said, there have been alternative studies done where drinking in college might help memory recall after studying, but this is when alcohol is drunk in moderation, over the three-drink limit memory impairment is shown.

Effects Of Binge Drinking On Health 

Drinking occasionally during college might not have many poor health effects or academic consequences but if college kids engage in binge drinking, this can have serious consequences for their health. 

  • Injuries – Drinking heavily is classed as alcohol use disorder, this can lead to unintended injuries such as car crashes, falls, burns and poisoning. 
  • Violence – Binge drinking can result in violence such as sexual assault, suicide or even homicide in some cases. 
  • Cancer – Binge drinking and alcohol use disorder has been directly related to mouth, throat, liver, colon and breast cancer. 
  • Chronic diseases – Substance abuse can also encourage the development of chronic diseases such as stroke, heart disease, liver disease and high blood pressure.

How Does Alcohol Effect The Developing Brain?

Substance abuse in young adults can also have bad effects on the brain affecting how it develops structurally and behaviorally. 

  • Prefrontal cortex and cerebral – Drinking throughout adulthood can cause a thinner prefrontal cortex and less white matter development, leading to behavioral issues such as bad decision-making and loss of control.
  • Neurons in the hippocampus – The neurons in the hippocampus area are more likely to get damaged from head trauma or brain disease. 
  • Hippocampus structure – Both functional and structural problems can develop in the hippocampus area.

Is Sleep Important For College Students?

One of the less talked about effects of drinking in college may be sleep, partying and drinking can affect the sleep of college students drastically, and this can then affect study time and class grades. 

Sleep is very important for young adults, on average they need 7-9 hours per night which is essential for learning, attention and memory, allowing the body to recharge before exams and studying. 

Although alcohol can help people to fall asleep faster, the misuse of substances can lead to very poor sleep quality during the night due to it being metabolized at night leading to a high movement of REM patterns. 

Not getting enough sleep during your studies can have a huge affects on your university performance – 

  • Bad concentration. 
  • Learning problems. 
  • Performance problems. 
  • Irritability. 
  • Memory issues. 
  • Bad social function. 

Tips For Reducing Alcohol Consumption In College Students

A big reason as to why college and partying are so prevalent is due to the poor regulation from campuses and universities, we’ve listed some tips colleges can implement below in order to reduce alcohol consumption in colleges.

  • Educate – A good way to reduce alcohol and partying on campus is to educate students about how to spot alcohol overdose and drinking problems in their fellow students. 
  • Potential effects – There are many negative consequences to drinking too much alcohol, some to make students aware of are; overdose, unsafe sex, failure and violence.
  • Outline the rules – Make penalties and rules around drinking clear on campus and how they will be regulated and checked.
  • Offer help – Make help easy to find for busy college students if they are suffering from alcohol addiction or excessive alcohol use behaviors. 
  • Keep communication open – Talk openly to students about partying, alcohol and its effects. 

Frequently Asked Questions About College & Partying 

Do college students intend to party? 

Most college students intend to study and party, unfortunately, due to peer pressure compulsive alcohol consumption can happen which can take over study time.

How can a college student avoid alcoholism? 

Most college students can avoid alcoholism by educating themselves about the risks of consuming alcohol such as memory loss, support systems and hobbies can also deter students from drinking.

What’s the number one party school in the US?

There are some known party colleges in the US, some to name are University of Wisconsin Madison and University of California Santa Barbra.

Do people stop drinking after college? 

Around 72% of people in life go through a heavy drinking period which lasts around 3 years, this tends to be around the college period and fizzles out to moderate drinking then none at all.

Why do students drink a lot of alcohol? 

Increased social pressure, stress and self-pressure can all be reasons why students participate in heavy drinking.

What age does binge drinking peak?

Binge drinking usually peaks during the late teens and early 20s.

What percentage of college students drink alcohol?

Around 80% of college students or 4/5 drink alcohol, and 50% of them also engage in binge drinking which is classed as an alcohol disorder.

Is it normal to party a lot in college?

Although not healthy it is common for college students to party a lot in college due to the party culture, most adolescents tend to engage in binge drinking this time of their life, whether in or out of college, but it is more prevalent in college students.

Final Words

Overall, partying can affect college students due to the party culture, students often engage in binge drinking or moderate drinking due to peer pressure and stress. Binge drinking and partying during college can impact student’s academic performance and also cause a lack of sleep. 


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A Wife, a mum and a Tutor! I am the Lead Editor at TheTutor.Link & also the Head Tutor there. I love teaching seeing young minds flourish. I also love blogging and sharing my experience on the world wide web.