Starting college is an exciting time for incoming freshmen. For many new college students, this period of their life is one of their first chances to leave home and experience greater independence. Most freshmen choose to live in a dorm during this time. In fact, some colleges and universities outright require that first-year students have a dorm as their residence to encourage a healthy social life and community building on campus.
However, communal living can also have a downside, such as opening the door to a slew of security issues. In dorm life, students can expect to see hallmates, resident assistants, and roommates on a regular basis. While many students thrive in this experience, failing to implement the proper security measures can easily put students and their possessions at risk.
Recent studies from the Clery Center and ADT found that 82% of college students are concerned about personal safety on campus. To help them feel more prepared, parents and educators are responsible for teaching students how to remain safe. Consider implementing the following techniques to help keep your freshman’s dorm safe and secure.
1. Teach Students About Campus Safety
Before college students step foot on campus, it is paramount that they understand basic ways to stay safe on campus. Although this may be a delicate topic, approach the subject with empathy and understanding. By having an open conversation about student safety with your new college student, you show that you care, allowing them to feel safe.
Begin by explaining the importance of becoming familiar with their new surroundings. From the first day of class, students should know where to find the campus police and health center in case an incident occurs in the dorms. This includes learning the location of any emergency phones, resident advisors on duty, or other resources. Furthermore, students should also check their own phone settings so that they can access emergency contacts even when their phone is locked.
You may also want to ensure that your college freshman is equipped with the essentials necessary to defend themselves in an emergency, such as pepper spray. Talk with your teen about self-defense options to discover what they’re comfortable with — and don’t forget to check what’s allowed on campus and in their dorm building.
2. Secure Doors and Windows
For most college students, their dorm offers the opportunity to go down the hall and chat with friends or grab a snack from the vending machines without any concern for their safety. However, this flippant attitude toward safety can place students in a precarious situation.
On move-in day, your freshman should ensure that all windows and doors function properly and are capable of locking to prevent unwelcome intruders. Any time students are away from their unsecured dorm, their personal safety becomes compromised, and their possessions become vulnerable to theft. In a space where roommates and friends are constantly coming and going, students must keep their dorm rooms secure by keeping windows and doors locked at all times.
For added security, students can use a security bar in addition to traditional door locks. There is always a chance that students will forget to lock their doors or leave valuable possessions in plain view, so a security bar acts as an extra layer of protection to prevent intruders from entering your student’s dorm room.
3. Store Prescriptions in Secure Pill Bottles
After your first-year student goes off to college, they are fully responsible for managing their daily lives, including prescription medications. While many students know that they must schedule doctor’s appointments, visit the pharmacy, and take their medications at the proper time, many fail to consider the importance of protecting their prescription medications in the dorm.
Sometimes, students are prescribed medications with addictive qualities or recreational uses, which unfortunately means there is an increased risk of someone stealing their medication.
Take the time to educate your college student about the importance of keeping their prescription medications safe. Of course, students should remain discreet about possessing any prescription medications and store their medicines in areas where others cannot easily access them. However, parents and educational institutions should also provide students with secure pill bottles. Secure pill bottles are complete with a 4-digit code to ensure that no one is able to gain unauthorized access to a student’s prescription medications.
4. Install a Security Camera
Since your freshman’s dorm is likely experiencing high foot traffic, consider installing security cameras strategically. There are small security cameras that college students can put near their doors and windows. These days, high-quality security cameras are relatively inexpensive, with high-definition video and sound. Students can view this content streaming on their phones when they are out and about, ensuring they’re always coming home to a safe environment. By the same token, security cameras are a convenient way for students to protect themselves against theft.
5. Protect Valuable Possessions
In addition to keeping the dorm room itself secure, freshmen should also remember to keep their valuable possessions safe. Students with busy dorm rooms or multiple roommates may find it helpful to lock up important documents, electronics, or other valuables in lock boxes or a small safe.
Safer Dorms Mean Safer Students
The first year of college is often an exciting time for students, but it’s also laced with uncertainty. That’s why it’s the responsibility of parents and educators to ensure that students have all the tools they need to remain safe.
This includes accounting for the safe use and storage of prescription medications. At Safe Rx, we know that medication safety begins with reducing unauthorized access to prescriptions. That’s why Safe Rx locking pill bottles allow students to protect their prescription medications with a secure 4-digit code.
Parents founded Safe Rx to create a safer world for their children, and we encourage other parents to do the same. If you’re interested in learning more about how Safe Rx can promote medication safety and help keep your teen safe at college, contact us today!