First-Year Conversion Rate

About the First-Year Conversion Rate

AlcoholEdu for College is administered annually to incoming first-year classes beginning in mid-August prior to students arriving on campus. Students complete a follow-up survey approximately 6-8 weeks after the start of Fall quarter to measure their drinking behavior after being on campus. The graphic below shows the changes in quantity/level of drinking from the pre-arrival survey to the level of drinking approximately 6-8 weeks after arriving on campus. All answers are according to behavior within the past 2 weeks of taking each survey.
This diagram depicts our first-year “conversion rate” which identifies the change in drinking level from pre-arrival to mid-fall quarter.

You will find data from the classes arriving on campus in Fall 2015, 2016, and 2017.

Of Note:

  • Historically, 30-35% of incoming first year Northwestern students identify as Abstainers prior to starting the academic year.
  • In 2016-2017, our High-risk and Problematic conversion rates were 2.5 times greater than that of the national conversion in these categories.
  • Northwestern consistently has a lower percentage of Abstainers and higher percentage of Nondrinkers coming to campus to that the national average.

Drinker Categories Defined

  • Abstainer: Consumed no alcohol in the past year
  • Nondrinker: Consumed no alcohol in the past two weeks, but may have consumed in the past year
  • Moderate Drinker: On the day of highest alcohol use in the past two weeks, the student had 1-4 drinks (male) 1-3 drinks (female)
  • Heavy Episodic Drinker: On the day of highest alcohol use in the past two weeks, the student had 5-9 drinks (male) 4-7 drinks (female)
  • Problematic Drinker: On the day of highest alcohol use in the past two weeks, the student had 10+ drinks (male) 8+ drinks (female)