If your child is heading off to college this fall, chances are they have a lot on their minds, from which classes they will take to how they plan to balance work, school and a social life. 

As a parent, you may have different issues to worry about. For instance, will your child be safe? Will they make good decisions? What happens if they make a mistake? For your peace of mind and to protect your child, it can be wise to start talking to them today about avoiding three common mistakes that college students make.

Mistake #1: Drinking 

Many college students drink, even if they have a test the next day or are underage. While parents can’t prevent the hangovers that might follow, you can remind them that drinking alcohol irresponsibly can have criminal consequences. This could be an underage drinking ticket, a drunk driving offense or an assault charge stemming from an intoxicated interaction. 

Mistake #2: Living in a bubble

Living on a college campus can make students feel like they are in their own world, as can being members of groups like fraternities, sororities or sports teams. Thus, they can get caught up in things like hazing, damaging property and even theft with the assumption that all that might happen is getting caught by school officials or campus security. However, these and other common college incidents can lead to criminal charges with real-world consequences.

Mistake #3: Assuming students aren’t adults

College students may still seem like juveniles, but in the eyes of the law, many are adults. Even if your child is in school, bringing laundry home every weekend and borrowing money for gas, he or she will be tried as an adult when they turn 18. In some cases, this could even happen if they are 14 or 16 in Kentucky. This means they can be detained with other adults and face harsher criminal penalties than they would if they were in the juvenile system.

Talking to your kids before the excitement and stress of going to college sets in can be crucial in teaching them why it is so important to avoid these legal missteps.