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7 safety tips for college students

Posted by Catherine Cloutier  August 27, 2013 02:21 PM

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The beginning of college is an exciting time in students' lives. But for many, the prospect of being on their own in a new and unfamiliar environment is frightening.

With the help of the Brandeis and Tufts' police departments, we assembled a list of tips for students to keep them safe--and happy--during the new school year.

1. Lock your doors.

Make sure your dorm room or apartment is safe secure by keeping your doors locked at all times, especially if you are sleeping or out.

If you are moving into an off campus apartment, check the exterior doors and windows to make sure they have good locks. If the locks do not appear sturdy, ask your landlord or building manager to replace them.

For those in campus housing, do not prop open residence hall doors. They are locked to keep you safe.

2. Be aware of your surroundings.

Stay on well-lit and well-traveled pathways. Become familiar with the locations of campus emergency blue-light telephones. Remove ear buds or headphones so you can hear someone approaching. If possible, plan to walk across campus or to late night classes with a friend.

If you are walking to a car, carry your keys in your hand. Before entering the car, check that no one is inside or lingering nearby.

Most importantly, trust your instincts. If you feel unsafe, get out of the area as quickly as possible.

3. Program campus security numbers into your cell phone.

Many colleges offer late night ride services. Add that number, as well the emergency and non-emergency college police department lines, into your cell phone's contacts list.

If you're anxious about walking home late at night, use the ride service. It's there to protect you.

4. Keep an eye on your belongings.

Don't leave your laptop, cell phone, or anything of value on a table in the library or in a classroom. Walk with your purse or backpack fully zipped.

5. Know your limits.

When you're drinking at a party, know when enough is enough. If you're feeling sick, ask your friends to leave with you. If they refuse, call a campus ride service.

Opt for a can of beer instead of a Solo cup. If cups are the only option, pour your own drink or watch the person who does.

6. Report any suspicious activity or people.

Do not let unknown people into your residence hall. If there's a stranger in your dorm or apartment, call the campus police immediately. Do not confront the person.

7. Ask for help.

If you feel unsafe, stressed, or overwhelmed, reach out to those around you. Colleges have a network of support, including residence hall advisers, health professionals, and campus police officers. Take advantage of the services provided on campus.

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