Parental advice for college students never out of style


Stay alert whenever you’re walking on campus, but especially at night.


Parents of college students may feel that their safety messages are on repeat – every time they remind their young adults to be safe, they get the eyerolls and shrugs. But no matter how many times you’ve said it, it doesn’t hurt to say it again: Remind your students to practice personal safety on campus!


An array of valuable campus safety advice is available online, but here are a few key safety tips:

  • Never walk alone at night. Always abide by the buddy system, so you’re not on your own.
  • Don’t let cell phones, headphones or other technology interfere with awareness of your surroundings. If you’re plugged in, you’re unaware.
  • Park in well-lighted areas. When returning to the parking area, approach your car, look around and look into the car. After you’re in the car, that’s not the time to make a call, text or go through your backpack or purse. Get in the car, lock the doors and leave.
  • Stairwells are an ideal crime spot. Take the elevator.
  • If you feel like you are in trouble, do not hold back. Run, scream, kick, bite – whatever it takes – to get to safety and draw the attention of anyone nearby.
  • Campus life can give a false sense of security. Don’t get too relaxed in your dorm or apartment environment. Lock your doors and windows, especially when alone or sleeping.
  • Carry pepper spray on your key chain.
  • Let your friends know where you are going, who you are going with and when you should return.
  • Most importantly, the uncomfortable reality is that most campus violence is not perpetrated by unknown attackers. Instead, it’s by people the students have met, and it primarily occurs in the supposed safety of indoors. Some key pointers:
    • When out, keep together with friends and do not get separated. Do not leave with someone you have just met or do not know well.
    • Only accept drinks from someone you trust. Never leave your drink unattended.
    • Trust your instincts. If you’re somewhere or with someone that makes you feel uneasy, leave. Now.

The U.S. Department of Education’s Campus Safety and Security site

The U.S. Department of Justice’s Not Alone: Together Against Sexual Assault page

The U.S. Department of Justice’s Dating Violence page


This loss control information is advisory only. The author assumes no responsibility for management or control of loss control activities. Not all exposures are identified in this article.

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