Dangerous drinking on college campuses is a significant public health issue. Over the last decade, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have called on universities, community leaders, policymakers, parents and students to work together to develop effective, research based alcohol prevention and/or intervention programs. Despite such calls, parent-based prevention programs are relatively rare on college campuses, and there is a paucity of research on the ways in which parents influence their emerging adult children's drinking behaviors. The present project is designed to help address this need. Grounded in social cognitive theory, this exploratory study focuses on alcohol communication and poses numerous questions regarding the alcohol messages exchanged between college students and their parents, as well as how such messages associate with college students' dangerous drinking. Undergraduate students ages 18 to 25 who were enrolled in communication classes were recruited for the study and asked to recruit a parent. The sample included 198 students and 188 parents, all of whom completed an online survey. Results indicated the majority of college students have had alcohol conversations with a parent since the student graduated from high school. Parents viewed such conversations as significantly more open, direct, and ongoing than did students; though both generally agreed on the content of their alcohol communication, reporting an emphasis on the negative aspects of drinking, particularly the dangers of drinking and driving and the academic consequences of too much partying. Frequent discussions of drinking risks had significant, positive associations with students' dangerous drinking, whereas parents' reports of discussing rules about alcohol had a significant negative association with students' alcohol consumption. There were strong significant associations between the types alcohol topics discussed and students' perception that their parents approved of their drinking, as well as parents' actual approval. Perceived approval had a significant, positive association with students' dangerous drinking; however, actual parental approval was not a significant predictor of students' drinking outcomes. Parents' alcohol consumption had a significant positive association with students' alcohol consumption. Implications for parents, public health practitioners, and future research are discussed.