CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The college send off. It's about to happen for thousands of teenagers. For parents, it's an emotional time. For teenagers, it's exciting.
But college administrators are urging parents to set aside the emotion and have one important talk with their young students before they drop them off to campus. That conversation? The dangers of drinking.
Studies show more than 70 percent of all college students drink. As many as 2,000 students die each year from unintentional accidents caused from alcohol abuse. The numbers are sobering.
"I actually went to a party the other day where they handed you shots as soon as you walked in the door," said UNC Charlotte graduate student Jackie Mungo.
Mungo teaches students about the dangers of drinking at the Charlotte university. Tyisha Terry also helps students in the Center for Wellness Education at UNC Charlotte.
"The pre game is where it all starts. The pre-game is 'we drink before the party and we go to the party and we drink more,'" she says.
"The first six weeks of college are the most critical weeks of a freshman's life," said Deborah Insley who has lead courses on the dangers of drinking. She says parents should talk to their kids before they leave for that emotional first day of classes and orientation. Insley even has the words for parents who are unsure how the conversation should go.
"You need to learn how to pace yourself. You need to know what you're drinking, the content of what you're drinking and how long you've been drinking,' said Insley.
The mother of two insists she is not advocating underage drinking. She uses the famed Red Solo Cup to show how much is too much. At the bottom of the cup is a small ridge. That first line is the one ounce mark.
"That's an ounce and you can try all day, and it's still an ounce," she says.
Not far up the cup, another line. That is the five ounce line.
Insley says students are often unaware that when they fill a large cup, they're actually drinking two or even three drinks. Anything over four drinks at a time, is considered binge drinking for women.
"You have to give your kids something to arm themselves with when they push the drinks," she says. And she insists, they do push the drinks.
Insley says parents who have honest, open conversations with their teens about drinking are doing their young students a favor: arming them with the truth.