How International Parents Can Research U.S. College Safety

Even from thousands of miles away, parents of international students can help keep their children safe.

Use the Internet to research campus safety before sending your student to the United States.

Use the Internet to research campus safety before sending your student to the United States.

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5. Attend orientation: Many U.S. colleges offer both student and parent orientation programs to acclimate the incoming class with university policies. It's also a particularly crucial time to familiarize new students with safety procedures, notes UC—Boulder's Koster. 

If you're able, make the trip to attend orientation with your student, recommends counselor Cohen. That will ensure you're up to speed on campus and dormitory safety as well. 

[Get tips for parents at college orientation.]

6. Continue to check in: Dropping by for weekend visits probably won't be possible, so make a plan to stay in touch with your student in other ways, Cohen recommends. A weekly or twice-weekly check-in, perhaps over the phone or via Skype, is a manageable target for both students and parents, she says. 

If your student's college offers an online portal for parents, take advantage of the opportunity to stay abreast of school news, Cohen recommends. Messiah College in Pennsylvania, for example, operates a parent portal that "disseminates important information on everything from health services to housing, and course registration to finances," according to the school's international parent Web page, which can help to keep you in the loop. 

"The safety thing is not just an international issue, but the tough thing with international parents is that they feel somehow more helpless because they're father away," Cohen notes. "Being in touch with the school, even virtually, is going to help them feel more connected to their child and not so helpless." 

For more international student tips and news, explore the Studying in the United States center.