For many students, the first year of college represents the first time they’ll be off on their own. This is a time for personal growth, but as a parent, you want to ensure that your child embarks on this new academic journey safely. Before your son or daughter ventures off to college, share and discuss few essential pointers to keep your child safe and happy all school year long.
6 college campus safety tips
Be aware of your surroundings.
One of the most essential tips you can share with your children is to be conscious of their surroundings. And, if traveling at night, to use the old-fashioned buddy system. While college campuses can be relatively safe environments, it’s important to educate your child on the importance of using well-lit travel routes and public transportation after dark. And, of course, they should always walk with confidence; that way other people will know they are in control and aware of their surroundings. If your children find themselves in a troubling situation, make sure they know to find an occupied area and report any suspicious behavior or circumstances to campus safety and the police.
Lock your dorm room and your car.
One of the best ways to stay safe on campus is to use basic safety precautions, such as locking the door. Your children may be tempted to leave the door unlocked if they are expecting a friend to visit, but just to be safe, encourage them to always lock up—and to take the same precaution if they have a car on campus.
Add campus security numbers to your cell phone.
All colleges and universities have emergency and non-emergency contact numbers. Advise your child to import those numbers into his or her cell phone. Some campuses even have emergency units that provide instant two-way communication to the police or campus safety. So even if students lose or misplace a cell phone, they can still get in touch with an emergency contact.
Share your schedule.
Advise your children to share their schedules and a reliable contact number with you, friends, roommates, and significant others. This will be especially helpful in the event of an emergency.
Never walk alone at night.
This is especially important if your child plans to travel off-campus. Not only will your child feel more comfortable traveling back to the dorm, but he or she will also increase safety on and off campus. In addition to the buddy-system, many colleges offer free campus area transportation systems—a safe and convenient way for students to travel.
Reach out to those around you.
If your child feels stressed out—or perhaps has a question about safety—encourage him or her to reach out to you, campus safety officials, or a trusted adult on campus, such as a professor or advisor. Finally, look into self-defense courses or classes. Many colleges and universities offer such courses, which are not only an opportunity to learn to importance of safety, but also a chance to build a number of other skills. Contact your child’s school for more information.