6 Ways to Stay Safe on College Campuses

Parents can't camp outside college dorms, but there are ways to ensure your student is safe.

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College campus safety is a big issue. You can probably think of several instances in the last few years when campus safety issues were in the news.

The good news is that most college campuses take the safety of their students very seriously. Here are some ways that parents and students can partner with schools to keep students as safe as possible.

JULIE:

Probably no topic is of more concern to most parents than their child's safety on campus. A big part of the process of letting go is realizing that your student is in charge of his or her own safety now.

And since we can't camp outside of their dorm (as much as we might like to), here are a couple of ways to ease your mind while passing the responsibility onto your child:

1. Know the safety offerings: Know what your child's campus offers in the way of safety services. Things like safe rides and campus emergency phones are pretty standard fare on most college campuses today.

Your child's school should advertise the available services on their website and in campus literature, but make a special point of asking about it at times like campus tours and parent orientation. It's less likely your student will.

[See 36 more questions you should ask on campus tours.]

2. Provide details: Offer information about the services in conversations with your child. If he or she mentions walking on campus after dark, talk about staying in groups and taking advantage of the safe ride option.

3. Discuss staying connected: If your child's school offers an emergency notification system (and it's very likely it does), make sure that your student is signed up to receive E-mails and text messages.

LINDSEY:

As a young woman on a large college campus, I have become especially conscious of safety in the past year. The University of Kansas, like most college campuses, is generally very safe, but it's still important to be aware of your surroundings.

[Find out what makes a college large or small.]

Here are some of the ways I make sure my friends and I stay safe:

1. Avoid walking on campus by yourself: This is especially important at night. It's easy to become so comfortable on campus that you let your guard down, but bringing a friend (or multiple friends) along with you when you're going to the gym or the library is always a smart idea.

2. Know your safety resources: Keep them handy in case you ever need them. I have my school's campus safety hotline programmed into my phone, and take note of the emergency phones around me when walking on campus.

3. Stay safe off campus as well: Use basic safety tips when going anywhere in your college's town. Ask a friend to walk you home; keep the door to your dorm room locked; and check the backseat of your car before getting in.

Be smart and aware. Even if you consider your campus safe, you still have to avoid putting yourself in risky situations.