The society that we live in today demands something from us previous generations did not have to consider: Personal safety on the college campus. This is especially true for young people venturing away from home for the first time. The fact is that personal safety is a consideration for all of us today, but college students tend to be more willing to explore into areas where personal safety concerns are critical, and too often put aside. Rape, alcohol abuse, recreational drug use, and hazing are issues being faced by a majority of college students as we speak. The US department of Justice reports that between 20 and 25 percent of women will experience a completed and/or attempted rape during their college career, and that alcohol is often a factor in this kind of crime.
Colleges are getting smart about personal safety, and you should as well. An up-to date-college campus will have faced these issues head-on, and have policies in place to deal with them. Call boxes, appropriate lighting, an escort service, and well trained campus police should all be on your check list when touring a campus. Ask questions about the penalties and policies concerning alcohol and drug use. Consider whether or not a fraternity or sorority is something that you are going to want to be a part of before you start picking colleges. Think about whether you prefer a coed dormitory or single sex arrangement, and the kind of housing options you have later in your college career against this backdrop. These are all factors well covered in our Liberal Arts Colleges Student Survey, and college rankings are provided for schools in areas like housing.
The freshman year is critical for these kinds of issues and if you are living in the dorms you should expect to find resident assistants who are there to do more than help you find your room. Find out the name and number of the dean in charge of student housing, in case you have an issue not resolved quickly and appropriately. Finally, what can this website do for you? The Liberal Arts Colleges Student Survey should serve as a way to narrow down the colleges you are considering, and when you are considering specific schools you can compare specific criteria, such as housing arrangements, physical location, and student satisfaction.
The ability to narrow down certain aspects of student life over others, and determine for yourself what the important aspects of your education will be, is what separates a valuable liberal arts college experience from that of a larger university. A great deal of overall satisfaction with the liberal arts experience is the result, and looking at satisfaction specifically tells us something about safety on campus as well.
Liberal arts college students can feel safer on their campus than those at larger universities. This is in part because bigger schools have problems with personal safety issues specific to their size, and this should be a factor when you make your choices about the size of the school you want to attend. Larger campuses add more area to be covered by campus security, and location of the college, such as rural versus urban, can also contribute to safety issues. Liberal arts colleges are generally smaller in both physical size and student population than larger research universities, and students feel safer here for reasons that we were able to isolate in our survey.
In relation to specific social issues covered in our survey of liberal arts colleges, students felt safest at colleges where alcohol was less important to the social life on campus. Only six percent of students who felt safe at college responded that alcohol played a vital role in college activities; 30 percent of those who felt unsafe reported that alcohol was vital to their social life on campus. Greek life that is common at these larger universities can perpetuate a social culture that revolves around alcohol.
Students who felt safe at the college they attended were also more likely to recommend their college to prospective students. And, as was pointed out, students who felt safe were more likely to respond that they were satisfied with their college experience as a whole. Small schools like Eckerd College, St. Olaf College, and Agnes Scott College ranked highest for student satisfaction in our survey of actual college students, and these schools also ranked as colleges least affected by alcohol use. This is important to keep in mind when selecting a college.
The Liberal Arts Colleges Student Survey is an excellent tool for narrowing down the colleges that you might be interested in attending. By then selecting the factors that will be important to your college experience, and narrowing your list, you will be able to make further use of the survey to compare those colleges head to head on the specific issues most important to you. By keeping issues like safety up front in your mind when making selections concerning your college experience, you can gain a measure of insight to the issues that will be important in your college experience. Get yourself off on the right foot and get smart about these issues before you start!