Staying Safe in College and University

Everyday Life

Staying Safe in College and University

Whether you’re moving ten, a hundred, or even a thousand kilometres away from home, your personal safety and the security of your possessions are things that you shouldn’t take lightly. Taking precautions to help protect against theft, damage, and injury may not be as difficult as getting an A in chemistry, but it will allow you to enjoy your post-secondary school experience with fewer worries.

If you’re one of the thousands of students across Canada packing up and heading to university or college this fall, consider these simple tips to help keep your mind (and your parents’ minds) at ease.

Protect yourself

  • Look into the guest policy at your dorm and see what kind of security procedures are in place. If you have any concerns, speak to an administrator about creating a more secure environment.
  • Although a dormitory may seem like a fun and safe environment, it’s important that you lock your door (and windows) whenever you leave the room or plan to sleep.
  • Always let your friends or roommates know where you’re going and when you’ll be back.
  • Use the buddy system when going out in the evening. If you’re unable to find someone to walk with, many college and university campuses have buddy services to help people get around campus.
  • Always keep your phone fully charged and make sure to have it on you at all times. Add your campus security and other emergency phone numbers to your contact list so you can be ready to make a call if needed.
  • Walk in well-lit areas and avoid shrubbery or any places where assailants could hide.
  • If you think you are being followed, get yourself to a safe environment quickly. This can be a well-lit area or where groups of people are hanging out.

Student walking down hallway, Carleton University, Ottawa Canada.

Protect your stuff

  • Whether you’re living on or off campus, you should look into the rules and regulations of your home away from home before arriving to ensure you don’t bring anything that is not permitted.
  • Never abandon your laptop. It only takes a few moments for someone to grab it.  Consider investing in a laptop lock to act as a deterrent against thieves, or better yet, keep it with you if you’re going to get a cup of coffee or take a bathroom break.
  • If you’re renting a room or apartment off campus, speak with an insurance provider about tenant insurance to protect your belongings. As a student, you may be covered as a dependant by your family’s policy.
  • Consider having items of high value – like musical instruments, laptops, or bicycles – insured against theft or damage.
  • If you’re taking a car out of the province, check with your insurance company to ensure you’re properly covered. You should also contact the province’s transportation department to see if a change of driver’s licence or license plate is necessary.
  • Don’t leave valuables in your car, especially in plain sight. Put high value items in the trunk or glove compartment where they can’t be seen.
  • Student cards can typically act as more than identification. Meal plans and library accounts are often tied to them, so make sure to keep your card secure and report loss immediately.

Do you have more tips to add?  Share them in the comments below.