Preparing For Your First Semester — Essential College Student Safety Tips

Although campus safety technology continues to evolve, that doesn’t mean first-time college students should feel intimidated. No matter where students plan on attending school, it’s crucial they know the basics of personal safety. This is especially true for freshmen who are embarking on a new way of life. 

While these college student safety tips may seem obvious, they are worth reviewing as the fall semester approaches. Parents should encourage their students to adopt these safety strategies as second nature before heading off to school. 

Staying Safe Every Semester — Safety Tips For First-Time College Students  

Bolster Safety With The Buddy System

While a significant part of going to college is becoming more independent, that doesn’t mean they should take unnecessary risks. For instance, it may feel natural to walk alone on or off campus at night, but that’s never the best choice. This is especially true for first-time students who may not know their way around. 

The easiest way students can boost their safety while walking around is to use the buddy system. Wherever students are venturing out at night, it’s always safer to go as a group. 

FYI: A few colleges like Rutgers recently introduced Buddy System On-Demand services where students can meet with a volunteer who will accompany them across campus. You should research whether your college offers similar services.

Can’t Walk With a Buddy? Call Someone! 

Traveling with a group is the ideal safety strategy, but sometimes students may need to go somewhere by themselves. In such cases, students should always inform friends or family where they are going and when they expect to be back. 

If possible, students should chat with a friend on their phone if they’re walking alone. This way, if something were to happen to a student, that friend could instantly contact the police. 

Again, these strategies aren’t as safe as walking with a group; however, they can help enhance safety when students need to get around alone. 

Know How to Ride-Share Safely 

There’s no denying the ubiquity of Uber in contemporary college life. While ride-sharing has its pros, students definitely need to know how to use these services. Sadly, there have been cases where fake ride-share drivers have lured unsuspecting students into what appeared to be legit vehicles. 

First off, students need to take advantage of Uber or Lyft’s many screening protocols before hopping into a vehicle. Students should always verify the license plate on their ride-share car matches the one on their phone. 

Services like Uber also have a share status feature that allows students to send their friends ETAs. This simple feature will keep others up-to-date on a student’s whereabouts. 

Students should also never share any personal details with the driver. Customers will have everything they need to reserve and pay for a ride-share service on their app. 

If students feel threatened in any way, they should use their ride-share app’s Emergency Button to alert authorities. Before students use Uber or Lyft for the first time, they should review all of these safety features.  

Keep a Low Profile Online — Tips Regarding Online Safety

Cyberspace has become second nature in our high-tech society. While the Internet offers many benefits, students should be careful about what they do and the information they share while online. This is especially the case on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

Most importantly, college students should be wary of posting too much personal info on social media. Even seemingly minor things like a student’s class schedule could give potential thieves valuable information. Students should also enhance the privacy settings of their social media accounts to restrict access to strangers. 

For extra security online, students may want to research tools like a VPN and Two-Factor Authentication. These tools could significantly reduce the risk of hackers getting access to sensitive information. 

Pay Attention on Long Campus Walks! 

Music can be a great motivator, especially if students love to jog, hike, or bike. However, it’s not a safe idea for students to rock out with headphones while strolling around campus. Since headphones block out much of the outside world, they can make students more prone to severe accidents. Many states have outlawed using headphones while biking due to the increased incidence of crashes.

If students feel the need to pump their tunes while working out, a controlled environment like the campus gym is probably the best option. 

Make Time for Mental Health…and Sleep! 

Seasoned college students recommend taking mental health seriously. One college student featured in a Buzzfeed article shared a great tip to manage stress, study, and sleep: “Carve out time in your week when you’re going to do your schoolwork. ‘I’ll just do it later’ generally results in all-nighters, writing 10-page papers in one day, and a lot of unnecessary stress.” So, if students are serious about stress management, they should put a foolproof study plan into place ASAP. 

Keeping tabs on your mental health is an essential life skill—especially when transitioning to college. Remember that colleges offer mental health services and counseling if needed.

In addition to visiting mental health counselors, students should consider their sleep schedule. As another Redditor posted, “The occasional late night while you’re studying is fine, but chronic sleep deprivation makes everything so much harder.” Often, new students have a difficult time adjusting to a new sleep and study schedule. While it may seem tempting to cram for an upcoming test, the truth is it’s way better to establish a reliable routine.

Be Prepared for On or Off Campus Emergencies with the Umergency App

No matter where students go, chances are they’ll have their phone on them. So, if students want to be prepared for any emergency situation, they should download the Umergency app. Available on iOS and Android, Umergency gives students instant access to emergency health and safety services wherever and whenever they need it. Plus, parents who download the Umergency app will be prepared and stay connected to their student.For more info on Umergency’s numerous safety features, be sure to visit this webpage.  

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