Don’t be that freshman: Party etiquette breakdown

Haleigh McGill

Freshman students typically are not old enough to drink yet, but partying is an aspect of college life that many students tend to be really excited about, whether they decide to drink or not.

At this point in your life, you have probably already endured many discussions about how to be smart and safe while drinking at a party. Those points are extremely relevant and important, but there is another set of “rules” to follow while navigating the crazy waters of college partying.


The dress code

Dressing for a full-blown party and dressing for a small kickback are two very different things, though they are not always treated as such.

Girls, you do not want to be that freshman who looks all dressed up with laid back basement drinking as your only place to go. On the flip side, if you know that a party is a bigger deal on the socializing scale, there is nothing wrong with a pair of heels and a little extra lipstick in anticipation of some adorable selfies with your best friends.

It might be a bit surprising, but guys are just as guilty of violating the party scene’s dress code every once in a while. No matter how many drinks you have had, no matter how great your workout was that day, do not take or rip off your shirt in the middle of the party. That being said, it’s amazing how good a guy can look with a clean shirt and a spritz of cologne. And it doesn’t hurt to clean up that five o’clock shadow.

If it is a costume or theme party, go for something clever, funny or tongue-in-cheek instead of trashy or over-revealing. It is possible to be classy and sexy at the same time, I promise.

“Let’s take another shot.”

There is no point in trying to obscure the fact that there will be alcohol at these parties or kickbacks, and your fellow students don’t exactly check every I.D. at the front door.

If drinking is something that you choose to partake in, take it slow if you are unsure of your limit, and don’t push your limits if you are already aware of them. Another wise tip to follow: do not be that person who tries to out-drink everyone else in the room, including the older, more-experienced students. You won’t impress them with your head in the toilet.

You won’t feel all that great, and these experiences are meant to be remembered, not lost in a blackout. Keeping your cool in a new environment is far more effective, and you will find yourself both gravitating towards and attracting the right people.

A large part of having a good time is keeping track of how much you have had to drink. Social drinking can be a really fun way to get to know people and hang out with friends, but the risks surrounding alcohol poisoning are very real.


(Photo Credit: Haleigh McGill)
(Photo Credit: Haleigh McGill)

The socializing

Don’t go into a party with the goal to impress everyone that you talk to. Just be yourself and start a genuine conversation. Being loud and all over the place will get you some attention, but not necessarily the kind that you want. Don’t be that freshman who gets kicked out or is the reason for a noise complaint.

Socializing at a party is whatever you make it to be. Don’t strain yourself to sound like something you are not.

Peer pressure is not cool and can make a lot of people, especially the new kids on campus, feel a little uncomfortable. If you can’t get away from it, don’t feel lame if you decide to leave and find something else to do. Likewise, don’t be that freshman egging on other party-goers to drink more or to “keep up” as a method of attracting new friends. It tends to be obnoxious and something that people try to avoid dealing with.

One last important tip, be respectful to the host’s belongings and listen if they ask you to tone it down a bit.

The bottom line of college party etiquette? Don’t try too hard. The whole point is to hang out and have fun together; it is not about who looks the coolest while doing it or who can drink the most.

Be careful, be aware and have as much fun as you can within these short college years that are about to pass by all too fast.

Collegian Reporter Haleigh McGill can be reached at

Pick up the CSU Move-In Guide on stands now!