The Do's and Don'ts of College Partying

If you find yourself at a college party, following these do's and don'ts can help you enjoy yourself and keep you safe.

It’s no secret: college kids party. Not everyone does of course, and no one is legally allowed to drink until they are 21. But if you do find yourself at a party—on campus, at a friend’s house, at a frat, on spring break, wherever—following these do’s and don'ts will help keep you safe and sound.

Do stick with the pack

You’ve heard of “Leave no man behind.” Well, it doesn’t just apply to the military. It’s important to look out for one another when you’re going out with friends too. Start the night off as a group, whether you’re walking, taking a cab, or riding with a DD so you all roll in together. When you’re at the party, you don’t have to hold each other’s hands, but you should keep an eye on everyone in your group. Check in with each other throughout the night, and if you want to leave, never leave alone. The buddy system can really help prevent unfortunate situations that could happen if you wander off without anyone knowing.

Don’t drink on an empty stomach

A wise man once said, “If you’re gonna drink, you’ve gotta eat.” If you choose to drink, having something solid in your stomach will slow down the absorption of alcohol in your bloodstream. If you skip dinner and then drink, you’ll feel the effects of the alcohol much faster, which is not good news for your liver, digestive system, or personality. Eat before you go out, don’t be afraid to snack at a party, and be sure to drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.

Do know your limits

You don’t want to be “that person” at a party. Be aware of your personal limits, take it slow, and be observant of your body and what’s happening around you. Enjoy other aspects of the party: meeting new people, catching up with friends, eating, dancing, etc. And don’t feel pressured to drink more than you intended to—or to drink at all! You know what makes you feel comfortable, so don’t let anyone question those choices.

Don’t leave your drink unattended

It’s easy to set down your cup real quick when you’re at a crowded party. But creeps have been known to mess with unattended drinks, even if you are away for just a second. Hold on to your beverage at all times, and don’t accept a drink from anyone unless you see what he or she is pouring. This is cliché, but it holds true: better safe than sorry!

Do understand what “consent” means

You’ve been flirting with someone all night, and now you’re alone with them. You both need to give consent before anything sexual happens. If he or she is passing out on the bed and isn’t coherent, that means no. If you agree but then change your mind a few minutes later, your partner needs to stop what they’re doing, because that also means no. No means no, and not answering doesn’t mean yes—only “yes” means yes.

Don’t drink and drive

I repeat: don’t drink and drive! It’s dangerous, it’s illegal, and unfortunately it happens way too often. Find a designated driver, order an Uber, hide your keys on yourself, see if your school has a pickup or shuttle service for getting students home safely at night. Just don’t get behind the wheel if you’ve been drinking. Ever. (But what if—NO. Never.) The consequences are not worth it.

Don’t drink and walk either

Not so fun fact: statistically, mile for mile, you are more likely to get hurt walking drunk than driving drunk. Obviously, drinking and driving can have catastrophic consequences, especially when it comes to injuring others. So, again, don't do it. But don't make the mistake of thinking it's totally fine to walk/stumble home from that party across town either. If you don't have a designated driver, take a cab, Uber, Lyft, etc. A lot of colleges will pay for your ride, or they might be able to send a shuttle. Just call the check-in desk at your dorm or the campus safety office.

Do have fun

That is the point of going to a party, right? These do’s and don’ts are serious, but they aren’t meant to bring you down or make you want to stay locked up at home like a hermit. College can be some of the best years of your life, so just be smart, stay safe, and enjoy yourself!

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now

Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
Heather McCarty

Heather McCarty

High School Class of 2020

CollegeXpress has helped me with the college application process. The tips and tricks for important essays were so helpful. I also gained useful knowledge about college life. Even though I’m fully online, CollegeXpress has helped me develop a sense of how college is in person. The experiences from college students that were featured on their Instagram page have shown the good, the bad, and the “secret” life on campus from a reliable perspective. Not to mention, they relieved my feelings of anxiety about the workload. I can now understand how it can be stressful, but it takes self-control and willpower to get assignments completed on time and with quality.

Rose Kearsley

Rose Kearsley

High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress has seriously helped me out a lot, especially when it comes to scholarships and studying for tests like the ACT. I also really love the financial help. It’s a little harder to pay because I live with a family of eight, so any help is appreciated. Thanks for this opportunity!

Tariq Adam Khatib

Tariq Adam Khatib

High School Class of 2022

CollegeXpress helped me a lot. I am a Tanzania boy who finished my high school studies in Tanzania. I never knew I could get an opportunity to get a scholarship to study abroad. I am happy that now I know how to find the school to study abroad through CollegeXpress.

Nazira Abdelkhalek

Nazira Abdelkhalek

$2,000 Community Service Scholarship Winner, 2014

I am very honored to be this year’s recipient of the Multicultural Student Community Service Scholarship! This scholarship is vital to helping me achieve and fulfill my dreams, and gives me confidence and motivation as I begin my college career. The CollegeXpress website has been invaluable over the past year as I planned my educational and professional goals. I highly recommend it to all students as they begin to focus on their college and career interests. The website is a wonderful guide to schools and scholarships.

Maya Ingraham

Maya Ingraham

October 2021 Mini Scholarship Winner, Class of 2022

CollegeXpress has given me more confidence in my college process. With easy-to-access resources and guidance such as the CX Weekly Roundup, I have been able to find the best colleges for me. Most importantly, there’s a surplus of scholarship opportunities for every student to support their education.

College Matches

Colleges You May Be Interested In

Colorado State University

Fort Collins, CO

Linfield University

McMinnville, OR

Vanderbilt University

Nashville, TN