Why do many underage students drink

The Abitur in your pocket, the student life in front of you: during the day discussing Habermas theories with the roommates, in the evening wandering the pubs, not having to give anyone an account of what they are doing or doing nothing - especially not their parents. This way of life became rarer thanks to the Bologna reform, i.e. well-structured courses of study - but it was basically in place until this winter semester. Now the rule is: on the hand of dad to sign the first rental agreement, on the hand of mom to enroll. Because this autumn, for the first time, graduates of the eight-stage grammar school (G8) are pushing to the universities and thus students who are not yet 18 years old.

Strictly speaking, these are not allowed to be used very much. Minors are not allowed to sign a rental agreement, apply for a library card, or take out student loans, and they are also restricted by labor law when it comes to choosing a possible part-time job. Goodbye, great freedom, welcome parental authority.

The minority of many freshmen affects many areas of student life. For example, the young people have to be specially checked at university parties, as they are not yet allowed to drink alcohol. Barriers must be installed on computers at the universities to ensure that none of the underage users have access to pornographic content.

Many universities handle all of this with a kind of blank power of attorney, a single signature at the beginning of the course, for example on a letter called "Parents information on the study of their underage children". That sounds like a parenting letter in kindergarten, but it serves a crucial psychological purpose.

Many students would be ashamed to have to come to enroll with their parents, so it is very important that you can do this at home in advance, "says Jürgen Gündel from the Student Advisory Service at the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg. And what comes next? Enrolled, integrated? It's probably not that easy with the young first-semester students. Professor Wolfgang Schneider supervises the so-called early studies at the University of Würzburg, in which minors, mostly highly talented students, study at the university on the side.

With a view to the increasing number of underage students, he sees problems in the social area: "Many of the 17-year-olds could quickly skid at the universities. Especially the expected mass events can lead to excessive demands." Even for recognition by the "big ones" one has to fight first, because one can score points with professional competence. Who knows what belongs to it. And the problem of being a minor resolves itself in most of the cases during the first two semesters.

Hopefully the young students will also know how to maintain a little personal freedom. This is only possible if there is not such strict regulation everywhere as at a large German university where the university sports program says: "Children and adolescents under the age of 18 can only participate in events that are explicitly designated as children and Youth sports courses are designated. "