Why are students going to college? If you ask many students, improving career potential and broadening horizons are on the top of their lists… on the record. Off the record, however, we see a different story. Partying and the drinking that come with it are reaching dangerous levels, even as they are regarded by school officials and even parents as “just part of the college experience.”

Take this story from USA Today in which ten Denison College students overdosed on alcohol in a single night. Here’s an excerpt:

“Ten students at a small, private liberal arts college here were transported to the hospital over the weekend because of alcohol overdoses, officials said… The number of calls was so much higher than normal that [the sheriff’s] department had to request assistance from nearby Newark and Alexandria, Ohio.”

I understand the need for colleges to allow some basic human freedoms to their students. Most of them are adults after all. But values have to be put in perspective with other equally important values. In viewing drinking and excessive partying as “just part of the experience,” schools and parents are failing to set a standard for their students, and they are endangering students in the process.

College is actually about learning and self-improvement. It’s not just something you put on the plaque in front of the dean’s office. It’s time that parents and schools pushed back on holding their students to these standards.

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