College town locals rank their relationship with students a poor 6/10, survey finds.

The quintessential “college experience” for many includes living independently for the first time, meeting new people and learning new things. However, it has also become synonymous with heavy drinking. And while many students are looking forward to returning to college this fall after the extensive challenges of remote learning and virtual classes, locals who reside in major college towns might not share their enthusiasm., a leading provider of addiction treatment resources, surveyed 3,423 locals living near colleges, asking them to rank their relationship with college students on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being the worst; 10 being the best). The survey discovered that overall, college town residents rank their relationships with students a mere 6/10. 


When broken down by state, these relationships were found to be strongest between Alaskans and college students, with local residents here ranking them their relationship at 8/10. Also near the top of the rankings were residents of Washington, such as those living close to Pullman, who appear to have somewhat solid relationships with students from Washington State University, ranking them at 7/10.  


Lower down in the rankings were those who live in college towns in Michigan, such as East Lansing and Charlotte near MSU, who ranked their relationships with college students in the area at 6/10. The worst relationships were found to be among locals who live in North Dakota, such as those living close to Fargo and North Dakota State University, ranking theirs at 5/10. Perhaps residents here preferred the serenity of online learning during the pandemic, rather than in-person classes and students’ return to campus. 



When questioned, nearly half (42%) of respondents agreed with the statement that ‘the college experience is synonymous with heavy drinking.’ Many parents also have that same sentiment with nearly half (44%) of indicating they’re concerned about their child’s alcohol consumption when at college. Interestingly, in an effort to evade their parents’ radar, 40% of college students admit they have created an entirely separate, private social media account where they can post the content of their antics unbeknownst to their folks.  


More than half (53%) of respondents said they’ve had a bad experience while around drunk college students, which is likely why 1 in 4 think colleges should have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to student drinking.  


The survey also uncovered that more than 1 in 10 (13%) respondents who went to college said they were drunk during a class at some point during their university days. Additionally, more than 1 in 4 (27%) past and current students also admit they’ve felt pressured to participate in heavy drinking. Types of environments which can lead to this kind of peer pressure may include during college sports games, sorority or fraternity parties, after midterms or finals, or after a big assignment hand-in date. 


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