If your child’s college was not on the party school list released this week, we bet you were breathing a sigh of relief. You shouldn’t be.

If your child’s college was not on the party school list released this week, we bet you were breathing a sigh of relief. You shouldn’t be.

Booze rules on college campuses, no matter where they fell in the annual rankings by the Princeton Review. You name the school, the drinking culture is pervasive. That’s why we are surprised an organization with the name Princeton in it could be so dumb when it comes to evaluation.

As if measuring the number of sororities or fraternities on campus (one of the criteria that decide party schools) would tell parents all they need to know about whether their son or daughter will drink.

Short answer? They will.

The key is to keep the lines of communication open. Know the basics of talking to your college-age children about drinking.

Advice from collegedrinkingprevention.gov includes these tips:

- Be calm. Avoid lecturing with ironclad dos and don’ts. College is the first opportunity for many young people to make their own decisions. Once they have the facts, stand back and trust their judgment.

- Make sure your student knows how to access the counseling services on campus.

- Don’t hover but don’t be a stranger. Phone calls, e-mails and text messages are all perfectly appropriate ways to keep in touch during the first six weeks of school and throughout the year.

- Know the school’s alcohol policies and discuss them with your child.

- Know the stakes. According to the National Advisory Council on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 31 percent of college students meet the criteria for alcohol abuse. One in four students said they suffered academic consequences from their drinking — lower grades, poor performance on exams or papers, missing class or falling behind.

Those aren’t the worst consequences. One in three 18- to 24-year-olds admitted to emergency rooms for serious injuries is intoxicated. An Associated Press analysis in 2008 found the number of college-age people who drank themselves to death nearly doubled in six years.

College officials are quite familiar with alcohol problems. Most of them do a good job of educating their students about the dangers of overindulgence. But don’t depend on it. Have a discussion with your children now — before you worry about whether they have enough sheets and towels.

Rockford (Ill.) Register Star