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Better Safe Than Sorry: How to Pick Your Safest College

Going to college is a rite of passage for millions of US students. Figures published by Statista show that in 2017, 14.56 million people went to college. By 2028, that figure is expected to rise to 14.98 million. Choosing the right college is critical; your future depends on it.

Of course, all kids would love to get into an Ivy League college like Harvard or Yale, but realistically, that’s often a step too far, both from an academic perspective and a financial one. But what a lot of kids don’t consider when deciding which college to apply for is how safe they are.

College campuses are like mini villages, which means they have all the same problems as any other population center: drug use, petty crime, and worse. In addition, a college’s safety record is affected by the area where it’s located, so if the crime rates are higher in the surrounding area, it stands to reason that reported crimes will be correspondingly higher on-campus.

Research Data on the Safest College Campuses in the US

Nuwber has done some interesting research into crime data from colleges all over the US. They looked at data from Campus Crime Statistics, which was provided by the US Department of Education. Data from 1,117 schools was examined to compile a list of the safest colleges.

According to Nuwber research, the safest colleges include:

  • Athens State University in Alabama – there were no reported sex crimes, hate crimes, or disciplinary actions against students. Arrest rates were low, with 0.96 crimes per 1,000 students.
  • The University of the Cumberlands in Kentucky had an arrest rate of 0.1 per student, no sex or non-sexual crimes or violent crimes against women.
  • In Colorado, Colorado Christian University is the safest campus for students. There were no reported sexual offenses or hate crimes, and arrest rates were very low.

Other safe colleges worth considering include Polk State College in Florida, the University of Alaska in Anchorage, National University in California, and Northeastern Illinois University.

Choosing a Safe College

You will be spending 3-4 years at college, often making questionable decisions and doing questionable things. Even though you probably feel invincible, there is no reason to take more risks than you need to. One awful event could jeopardize your entire future, so why put yourself in the line of fire?

Check the crime stats for the college campus you want to attend. Larger colleges almost always have higher crime rates on-campus. The larger the population size, the higher the crime rates, so if safety is a priority, you are better off applying to a smaller college.

Find out whether the college campus has a community police force, shuttle bus services at night, and crime prevention programs in place. In addition, check how easy it is to report a crime, and whether facilities have secure access protocols in place to prevent unauthorized intruders.

Practice Personal Safety at College

Nobody is saying you have to live like a member of the clergy for the duration of your college years but drinking to excess and taking drugs with impunity is far more likely to see you end up in bother. Be sensible when partying. Socialize with groups of friends and watch out for each other. Don’t end up on your own late at night, especially after you have been drinking heavily.

If you are the victim of a crime, report it immediately. Often, crimes go unreported, especially sexual crimes where the victim feels they were in some way responsible. This allows the offender to carry on with impunity.

College should be fun but remember to put your personal safety first when you arrive for your first semester!