Colleges right here in Texas and across the country will soon be back in session. Students will be returning for another year as a new class of Freshman begin their college life. These students are our sons and daughters and we want nothing more than to ensure their safety while they are away at school.
Most campuses take student security very seriously and make it a top priority, but here are 10 safety tips that you can ask your child to study before they head off to college.
1. Be aware of your surroundings
Today’s society has a bad habit of staring at their mobile devices far too often. It is especially prevalent with our youth. It is too easy to become consumed in a social media feed or texting back and forth while walking from class to class or home. This not only makes students susceptible to accidents like tripping, falling or walking into something, but it also makes them an easy target for someone wishing to do them harm.
Instead of walking with your eyes glued to a screen, put the device away and pay more attention to your surroundings. We promise there is more than just the security benefit of being aware when you pay attention to the world around you.
2. Do not walk alone at night
If you have ever watched a scary movie, then you know not to go out alone at night. It is always best to ask a friend to walk with you if you need to venture out in the evening. There are also often escort services that are offered by campus security for any student that must walk alone at night.
3. Lock doors in cars and at home
It can be easy to become distracted or too relaxed in college life and students often let habits slide. Habits like locking the door in your car and at home. Do not make the mistake of becoming an easy target by something that could have been prevented. Always lock your car doors and certainly keep the doors at home locked always. If you have roommates, you may want to consider a lock on your bedroom door just for an extra layer of security when you are away or sleeping.
4. Stash some emergency cash
It is better to have it and not need it then need it and not have it, the old saying goes. Credit cards aren’t always an option and you don’t want to get yourself in a situation that you can’t get out of. Cash is still king, so you should carry a little on you always, just in case.
5. Know the locations of emergency buttons and phones
College campuses everywhere have adopted emergency alert systems for students to use. They are distributed across the campus. Keep your eye out for these emergency locations and keep a mental note of where they are should you need help in the future.
6. Learn your way around campus
One of the best things you can do for yourself while away at college is to learn your way around campus. Not only does it make it easier getting from class to class, but it also doesn’t make you look like a victim by looking lost. If you look like you have a destination and know where you are going, you’re a less attractive target to criminals. Plus, if a situation does arise, you will know the best way to get out of there and away from trouble.
7. Never stay at a party when your friend leave
We came together, we leave together. That should be the motto for all students attending parties. It doesn’t mean that your entire group of friends must stick together the entire evening, but always make sure you have at least one person you can trust nearby to keep an eye on each other.
8. Don’t get drunk and out of control
Students tend to let loose on occasion in college. Get too out of control and you are setting yourself up for disaster. Personal injuries and assaults are much more commonplace when students become inebriated beyond control. Sober is the new black so try to keep it at least dark gray.
9. Designate I.C.E. contacts in your phone
I.C.E. stands for “In Case of Emergency”. Make sure you designate your emergency contacts in your mobile device. Assign your parents, other relatives and at least one contact person on campus should there be an emergency. It’s one of the first things hospitals check if you’re admitted alone because they can bypass your pass code to access your contacts.
10. Ask for Help
If at any time you feel unsafe or afraid for your security or personal being, reach out for help. There are agencies across campus that are trained to handle crisis situations for students. Residence hall advisers, health professionals, and campus police officers are all there to help the student body. If you are in immediate danger, dial 911.