Life in college can seem very carefree - always flitting between classes, study halls and dorm parties. Playing sports, flirting, and exploiting your new found freedom from your parents' supervision. But college students are often unaware of the ways of the world, which can leave them vulnerable. Predators know this and may target students. You have to stay aware to keep yourself safe. Here are some tips for keeping yourself safe while at college.

Use the Buddy System

Students tend to think of their campus as a closed system. Anyone who doesn't belong to their school is present, therefore it is safe to walk around alone at night unless you're going off campus to a friend's place. Big cities are not actually that safe, and campuses are accessible to anyone with a mind to be there. Stay safe by avoiding secluded areas at night and taking a friend with you when you must go out at night. If you can't have someone with you, keep the phone line open to a friend.

Know Campus Security

Normal people would never let a stranger into their home and you should practice the same caution in your dorm. Know who works for campus security, what uniforms they wear, and how to reach them in case you see someone unknown prowling around. Some schools even have walk home services or shuttles run by campus security. If in doubt, do not let the person into your room and call the campus security office.

Be Careful What You Drink

Parties are fun, but they can also be dangerous if you don't take care to protect yourself. Some drugs can be stolen and used to drug students at a party, as can date rape drugs. Never accept a drink from anyone at a party. Pour your own, or better yet, bring your own booze. Don't leave your drinks unattended while you're in the bathroom and make sure someone expects you home after the party.

Watch Your Things

Students tend to assume that only outsiders cause problems on campus, but there are plenty of sticky fingered students lurking around the cafes, libraries, and student union buildings. Laptops and cell phones are particular targets of these thieves, so never leave your things unattended while ordering coffee, fetching a book, or going to the washroom, and always lock the door to your dorm room when you are not there.

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