BASICS (Brief Alcohol Screening & Intervention for College Students) is a two-session assessment and feedback process that allows you to:

  • Evaluate your own alcohol and other drug use in comparison with other students
  • Explore in a judgment-free environment how your alcohol / drug use may be affecting your life
  • Assess your own risk factors
  • Identify potential changes that could help reduce your risk for developing future problems

How it works

Session I is a 20- to 30-minute introductory appointment where you will receive information about the program and instructions for accessing and completing a web-based questionnaire.

Session II is a one-on-one feedback session where you will receive a personalized profile based on the results of your questionnaire. The profile will reflect how your alcohol / drug use compares with that of other students. During this confidential session students will have the opportunity to discuss their results with a trained professional in a judgment-free environment. Sessions typically last approximately 60 minutes.

Why students participate in BASICS

Some students choose to participate in BASICS to learn more about their own behavior and how it compares with that of other students, especially if they are concerned about their drinking or drug use.

Other students may be required to participate in BASICS when found in violation of Cornell’s Code of Conduct or House Rules.

Who may participate in Cornell's BASICS program

Eligible: Students who elect to participate in BASICS, or are required to participate in BASICS as a result of a campus violation, may take BASICS at Cornell Health. Students must be physically located in New York State in order to use Cornell Health's telehealth services. 

Not eligible: Students who have been mandated by the Ithaca City Court – or any other court – to complete BASICS cannot fulfill this requirement at Cornell Health. They may do so at the Alcohol & Drug Council of Tompkins County (607-274-6288).


BASICS is offered at no cost to students, including those who are required to participate in BASICS as a result of a campus violation.


COVID-19 services update:

BASICS appointments are currently being provided by secure Zoom platform, accessed through our patient portal, myCornellHealth. (Phone appointments may be available for those who are not able to use Zoom.)

To schedule a BASICS appointment, please call us Monday-Friday during business hours at 607-255-5155.

If you have to cancel or reschedule your appointment, please do so by calling before 8:30 am on the day of your appointment.


  • 2nd BASICS appointments: Please complete your online assessment at least 48 hours before your appointment, or you may be asked to reschedule.
  • Missed appointments: Due to the high demand for BASICS scheduling, students who miss two BASICS appointments will be ineligible to participate in BASICS at Cornell Health. BASICS staff may refer these students back to their referral source.


The Cornell version of BASICS is based on research conducted at the University of Washington and Western Washington University. Its aim is to reduce high-risk use of alcohol and other drugs as well as the potentially harmful problems associated with such use. In the words of the authors who conceptualized BASICS, “it is non-confrontational, non-judgmental, non-authoritarian, and non-labeling."*

* Dimeff, L., Baer, J., Kivlahan, D., & Marlatt, G. (1999). Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students. The Guilford Press.