Staying Safe at College (Tips for Freshman Women)

Sadly, sexual assault on campuses happen every day. With college just a few months away, I wanted to send some reminders to the young women out there about staying safe at school. Having worked on campuses for 17 years, I know the reality of what can happen, so let me give you a few practical pieces of advice.

My best piece of advice is to find a great group of friends that you can trust. Friends, who will have your back, be there for you and always protect you. Build a community, a “sisterhood” and look out for each other every day. Find this sisterhood on your dorm floor, in your sorority, through your sports team or through your campus job. I don’t care where you find it, just do it!  This is the best safety precaution you will have during your 4 years of college.

Also, here is a list of general precautions. These are recommended by schools, police and actual sexual assault victims. We all want you to enjoy college. We just want you to be safe too.

Post this list in your dorm room as a good daily reminder. 

Don’t walk across campus alone in the dark. Take the path that is well lit. Forget about shortcuts in the dark.

Know where the emergency help boxes are on campus.

Don’t go to parties alone.

Don’t leave your friend (drunk or not) alone at a party, unless she is with good friends.

Keep the number of your local cab service programed in your phone or download Uber.

Don’t leave your drinks unattended at a bar or at a party.

Bad decisions are made late at night. I don’t care how cool or interesting some new guy is… do not go anywhere alone with him @ 2am.

If you have a male study partner, meet him at the library or at a cafe.

Always let at least one friend know where you are. Text with updates often, especially if you feel nervous.

Keep pepper spray in your purse and/or room. (It’s legal in all 50 states.)

Know where campus police is located and have their number programed into your phone.

Dont wait for a bus or train at a badly lit spot and make sure you know when the last one runs each night.

Find some great male allies on campus.

Download the application kitestring to your phone.

Lastly, trust your gut. If something feels off, it probably is.

 

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What Every Parent & Teen Needs to Know About the College Process

Choosing a college can be the first real big decisions you and your child make together. Managing expectations, finding the right schools and honing in on the proper academic program are no easy tasks—especially when you’re negotiating the deal with an eighteen year old child. Please keep in mind that you and your child are allies in the search and not on competing teams. Work together, find out what they are looking for in a college and share with them what is important to you during their college experience. There can be a healthy balance for all involved. I would encourage the college dialog to at least begin after your child’s sophomore year. This way they will grow accustomed to hearing the word “college” and believe it or not this will cause them to start thinking about it as well. Set a time-line for your family. Remember that college applications are mostly due by April of their senior year (the prior December if you are interested in early decision). So, work backwards from this timeline and you’ll be able to keep everyone on track. –

Read more from this article here.

Not Ready for College this Fall? Start in Spring.

Many students don’t think about deferring college till spring because the concept is foreign to them. Since they were 4 or 5 years old, school always starts in September. So it’s more about habit than anything else. They also feel that they are “behind” their other classmates and high school friends if starting in spring.  Once you are on campus, no one knows or cares when you started.  However, there are many benefits to starting college in the spring term instead of fall if needed.

If you just aren’t ready for college, then wait.  Going to college before you are ready can cause a lot of issues once on campus such as lack of focus, poor grades, premature dropping out and changing of majors many times over.  If needed, take some time to think about your future and your career in a “constructive”  way that fall.  One of the benefits of a spring start is that you are competing with fewer students for those required first semester classes and therefore, you are more likely to get them.  Also, your orientation is smaller and you get much more personalized attention from staff and faculty about living on campus and choosing classes. If you feel that your credits are dragging, take a few summer classes to make up for the spring start.  As I said, take advantage of the fall term when everyone else is away at school (September though December) in a constructive way by interning, working and/or meeting with professional in your desired field to make sure it’s the right fit for you.  Then you can start in spring more confident about your choices.  High school to college is a very big switch and some teens are better with change than others.  Taking a semester off isn’t a cop-out, it’s a small choice for some families and students.