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How to stay safe on campus

Most high school seniors look toward their freshman year of college with equal amounts of excitement and trepidation. Excited for the newfound sense of independence and fearful of the unknown or unexpected. As you prepare for college, it's important to put campus safety on your need-to-know list so you can begin the next chapter of your life with confidence.

Stay connected
Text messaging and social media do more than just keep you connected to your high school friends while you're away at college. Technology also plays a major role in staying safe at school, explained Campus Safety magazine. Many colleges have emergency communication systems (ECS) in place to notify students of potentially dangerous situations. These alerts come in the form of a text message, e-mail, or an evacuation signal or sound over the loud speaker. Familiarize yourself with the ECS at your school and be sure to follow all instructions issued by school officials should an emergency situation occur.

Know your transportation options
For most students, walking is the most common way to get around campus and the surrounding areas. However, depending on a number of factors, including the time of day or the weather, it may not be your safest option. Many colleges offer a shuttle service between campus buildings like dorms, classrooms, the library and the dining hall. Some even offer service to area malls, downtown restaurants, or train and bus stations. Download the bus schedule and route onto your smart phone so you will always have an alternate means of transportation.

Ask about on-campus safety features
Whether real or imagined, there may be times when you will feel vulnerable or unsafe on campus. Most colleges have blue light stations where a student can call for a public safety officer with the push of a button. Make sure you know where all safety towers are located in the event that you feel unsafe as you're walking.

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