Alcohol Use Self-Evaluation

Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students

Basics Logo

BASICS helps you explore your alcohol and drug use in a non-judgmental environment. The program’s only goal is to reduce risky behavior and the harmful consequences of alcohol abuse.


Who is BASICS for?

BASICS is a “drinker’s checkup” that helps you examine your use, identify changes that could work for you and reduce your risk of future problems. It’s not therapy or substance abuse treatment.

Any student who’s concerned about their alcohol or other drug use can choose to attend BASICS. Students who violate St. Olaf’s alcohol and drug policies, are medically transported for alcohol or drug intoxication, held in protective custody, or are court-sanctioned may be mandated to attend BASICS.

What happens in BASICS?

In BASICS, you’ll complete an online assessment, creating a personalized profile of your use.  The online assessment instrument is the Alcohol e-CheckUpToGo and is accessible on a link at the bottom of this page. You will then schedule an appointment with a BASICS team member and bring the personalized profile to the interview.  The BASICS team member will talk with you about these results, helping you identify consequences of your choices and explore ways to reduce risks.

How long is BASICS?

BASICS will generally consist of an initial feedback and exploration interview and a second follow up interview to see how you are doing with altering problematic use patterns and/or reducing associated risks.  Further meetings can be set up based upon the desires and goals of a given student.

How do I make an appointment?

If you’re mandated to attend BASICS, you’ll receive an e-mail with instructions on scheduling your appointment. If you want to take part on your own, Diane Von Ruden at the Counseling Center can assist you at extension 3062. You can also e-mail Diane at

Is there a cost?

There is no cost to students for this service.

Who will know that I’ve used BASICS?

Your work online and with the prevention specialists is confidential.  Documentation of attendance is generally required if you are mandated to complete BASICS.

What is the BASICS team?

BASICS team members consist of a group of staff from the student life division who are trained in motivational interviewing and the delivery of the BASICS program.

If you have any questions about the BASICS program you can e-mail us at

Where did BASICS come from?

St. Olaf College’s BASICS program is based on research conducted at the University of Washington and was launched in January of 2011.  The e-CheckUpToGo is an interactive online survey developed by the San Diego State University Research Foundation. It  provides personalized information about a given student’s drinking patterns and risk factors.

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BASICS wins national award

BASICS is one of only four college programs nationally to receive a 2009 Science and Service Award from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

The SAMHSA award recognizes exemplary implementation of evidence-based interventions that have been shown to prevent and/or treat mental illnesses and substance abuse. Twenty-seven agencies nationwide were recognized in this year’s competition.

In 2008, BASICS received national recognition and nearly $200,000 in federal funds as part of a U.S. Department of Education model program competition. It was one of only two such programs in the nation rated as “exemplary” by the competition’s peer reviewers.