Academic Performance and Alcohol

Poor academic performance among college students is associated with alcohol consumption. Alcohol abuse contributes to students missing class, failing tests, dropping out due to do poor grades, and compromising the academic mission of colleges and universities.

Alcohol Abuse's Influence on Grades

One of the most common consequences of alcohol abuse by students is difficulty keeping up with academic responsibilities. The number of drinks a student consumes is directly associated with the student's grades. Core Institute research shows the following correlation between grades and alcoholic drink consumption:

  • Students with B averages consume 1.1 more drinks per week than A students.
  • Students with C averages consume 2.7 more drinks per week than A students.
  • Students with D and F averages consume 6.4 more drinks per week than A students.

Other Academic Consequences

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, about a quarter of college students report experiencing difficulty with academics due to alcohol use, including earning low grades, doing poorly on tests and papers, missing class, and falling behind.

Even students who don't abuse alcohol may suffer academically as a result of their peers' drinking. The so-called secondary effects of drinking, including taking care of a drunk friend, being the victim of an assault, and putting up with loud parties, can affect the school work of students who don't drink.

These consequences can have dramatic end results. Campus administrators report that a significant number of students who drop out of college do so because alcohol interfered with their academics.

Alcohol Abuse's Influence on the Mission of Colleges and Universities

Alcohol abuse undermines the academic mission of colleges and universities. Heavy drinking and its effect on student performance can lead to a decline in the overall academic performance of an institution of higher education.

As a result, campuses may face declining retention rates, increased expenses due to vandalism, and a diminished reputation. Campuses with reputations of 'party schools' may attract students who engage in high-risk behaviors and may discourage prospective students who are looking for an academically rigorous institution.

Effective Prevention

For the well-being of individual students and the benefit of entire campuses, it is imperative to prevent the far-reaching academic consequences of alcohol abuse. An environmental management approach to alcohol abuse prevention can improve the quality of academic life and help fulfill the academic mission of colleges and universities.

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