Staying safe in college is a number one concern for almost all parents and students. Relocating to a new city and a new campus can be a little bit scary, but making smart decisions and being aware of your surroundings can go a long way toward staying safe.
Here are a few college safety tips for both new and experienced students to keep in mind:
Know your way around campus. You might think you are perfectly safe as long as you stay on campus, but you’re not. Always know where you are going and do some research into what parts of campus are more likely to experience crime.
Know where campus emergency systems are. These are those tall poles you can use to call for security. Be sure to utilize these if you feel lost, uncomfortable or in need of an escort.
Become familiar with your campus safety office. Every school has a campus security department that your tuition helps to pay for. Make sure to use this resource whenever necessary.
Carry cash, but not a lot. You should always carry some cash in case an emergency comes up and you need it. Try not to carry more than $20 at a time, though, because you might lose your wallet or be targeted for a crime.
Don’t walk alone. There is always safety in numbers, so try to travel in groups as much as possible. Students who walk alone - especially at night - are more likely to be targeted for assault or robbery.
Know where you are going. Walk with purpose and always go straight to your destination. Students who look lost or like they don’t belong are more likely to be targeted for assault or robbery.
Practice self-defense. Know how to defend yourself and carry protection as often as possible. This can be pepper spray, a whistle or even just car keys to ward off potential attackers.
Stay close to your friends. You might think you are safe around fellow students, but this isn’t always true. Be sure to check in with your friends on a regular basis to see how things are going and make it known that you are not alone.
Don’t accept drinks from strangers. Never accept a drink from someone you have never met or you don’t completely trust. Always make your own drinks and don’t be afraid to leave early if something doesn’t feel right. Also, don’t leave your drink unattended around strangers.
Know your limits. Always remain in control of yourself when you are at a party. Don’t drink so much that you make yourself sick and can’t walk straight.
Leave with the people you came with. Never leave a party with a group of strangers. If you do leave with somebody other than who you came with, make sure to tell your friends exactly where you are going, who you are going there with, and let them know when you get there.
In Your Dorm or Apartment
Keep the doors locked. Even if you are living in a complex surrounded by fellow students, break-ins are a very real possibility. Always keep your doors and windows locked, even if you are home.
Keep your valuables out of plain sight. Make sure electronics and other valuables are hidden out of plain sight. These items should never be visible from the window or doorway. If you have guests over, make sure to tuck these items away somewhere safe.
Have some safety and emergency supplies stashed away. Always have a first aid kit and some self-protection in your home. These can include medical supplies, a flashlight, pepper spray or anything else that might be useful in a worst-case scenario.
Keep social media profiles private. Keep your social media profiles private so that only your friends and family can view your information. Nobody likes to be cyberstalked.
Don’t give anyone your full name or address. Never give your full name or address to anybody on the internet. Cyberstalking can quickly turn into real-life stalking.
Don’t give away too much personal information. Keep your updates fairly general and try not to include any specific details about where you work, your class schedule or your regular hangout spots.
Staying Safe in College
Staying safe in college really shouldn’t be a huge challenge for most students. It just takes a little bit of awareness, foresight and common sense to keep yourself out of harm’s way. As long as you don’t isolate yourself, make sure to keep your doors locked, make smart decisions about who you go home with and don’t party too hard, everything should be fine.
Looking for more college advice? Check out our favorite College Success Tips.
Interested in the all inclusive college experience?