The 2015 college school year is beginning and students are arriving on campus. Cars are fully packed with everything a student will need for the year. Freshmen will begin exploring campus to find where their classes will be located and traveling all over campus at night for fun. One area that is often overlooked in a family discussion is college safety.
College Affordability tries to give students and parents a broad view of the entire financial decisions facing families as they move through the process. If your future college student is like my children, they think they are invincible and that nothing bad will ever happen to them or their possessions. As parent we know how untrue that is and need to have a discussion with them. It may prevent some possible mistakes and stolen items.
One of the first things a student should do once on campus is to put the campus security number into their phone and familiarize where campus security office is located. The student will also have the ability to sign up for the emergency notification system. This will give the student emails and text messages during emergency situations. It is also a good idea for the student to review the College’s annual security report. Click here to link to the government website. This will give the student an idea of what is happening on the campus.
Your child’s new home for the year may be college housing or off campus living. One of the easiest ways a student can protect themselves and their possessions is to make sure the door to their dorm room and also the building is locked at all times. Often there may also be a security person inside the building entrance. Have the student report if they find the door unlocked or if the security person missing. As well as locked doors, lower windows in a dorm room should also be locked when the student is out of the room.
We think it is a good idea for students to never to leave valuable items lying around a dorm room. Put them away and hide them if possible. Freshmen, your new friends are really strangers at this point. It takes time to really know someone. Don’t tempt anyone. This is also why a student should always be careful with their keys and not give them to anyone.
Another safety idea is to identify the safety call boxes on your various walking paths in case of emergency. These are special phones that go directly to campus security. Often at night they may be lit in a different color than the normal street lights. It is also important to note that most colleges have these call boxes in college buildings. Students often think that they will never have to use this system but phones do get lost and stolen. Be prepared.
Keeping your books, computer and iPad safe is the student’s responsibility. This means when you are at the library or cafeteria your personal possessions cannot be left unattended. In the time it takes getting a soda your possessions can be taken.
One of the most important things a student can do for themselves at college is to use good judgement and be aware of their new surroundings. This means traveling at night with a group of people. It also means letting other people know where you will be going and when you will be returning. Students should paying attention when walking around campus. Keep ear phones out of your ears and your phone in your backpack. If you find that you do need to walk somewhere at night by yourself call campus security and get an escort.
Raising awareness of possible problems that can occur while away at college is the best way to help prevent them. The above tips are all common sense ideas that can help the college student stay safe. Enjoy your college experience but always use good judgement and following your instincts if you are unsure of an area or experience.