The legal age for consuming alcohol in the United States is 21.

If you have lived outside of the United States, your experience with alcohol may be different.  It is important to familiarize yourself with the Wellesley College Alcohol Policy for further information about what conduct constitutes a policy violation, and how to access resources on and off-campus for alcohol related concerns.

In early August 2013, you will be given access to eCHECKUP To Go, a personalized, online alcohol education and prevention program.  The program takes 20-30 minutes to complete, and you must complete it prior to your arrival on campus.  

Women and Alcohol  

Some facts about women and alcohol that may be of interest:

  • There are biological differences in the ways men and woman metabolize alcohol.  Women have a smaller amount of the enzyme dehydrogenase and absorb more alcohol into their bloodstream than men do. The average woman's body mass is composed of more fat and less water than the average man's. As a result, even if they consume the same amount of alcohol over the same amount of time, a woman will get drunker faster than a man.
  • The menstrual cycle and hormonal contraceptives (the Pill, the Patch, the Ring, etc.) affect a woman’s ability to metabolize alcohol. Women can become intoxicated more quickly just before their menstrual cycle and immediately following their menstrual cycle and if they are using hormonal contraceptives.
  • Both prescription and over-the-counter medications may interact negatively with alcohol.  Mixing alcohol with anti-anxiety or antidepressant medications increases the medications' sedating effects and causes serious dizziness. Antihistamines for allergies may also cause excessive sedation when mixed with alcohol.  

Many Wellesley College students do not drink alcohol, and those that do take precautions to reduce their risk of negative consequences.  For additional information about alcohol, other drugs, and women's health, see:

Wellesley Health Service
Wellesley College Drug Policy
National Institute of Health
Phoenix House
Go Ask Alice