The Cappex Guide to College Campus Safety

Categories: College Life

Going to college is an exciting rite of passage. You are finally stepping out on your own and taking the first steps in creating the life you’ve always wanted. To make sure your dreams don’t get cut short, it’s important to know how to stay safe in the college environment.

Because we know you’ve got a lot on your mind when it comes to college preparation, we’ve put together this guide to help you be smart when it comes to campus safety. Check out four foolproof ways to safeguard your college experience.

1. Pick a safe college.

It might seem like a no-brainer, but one of the best ways to ensure a safe college experience is to select a college with an excellent safety record. A wide variety of factors can influence the safety of a college, including the city or neighborhood where the school is located and how robust the college security program is.


It’s surprisingly easy to find out how your school ranks on safety; a well-respected list of safe schools is a great place to start your research. We recently published a list of the top 25 safest colleges in the country, based on real student reviews. You can also check out the safety record of the city where your school is located: check out lists of safe cities in the state you’re attending school, like this one for California, or crime statistics from the FBI.

Every college and university in the country is also required to publish an Annual Security Report, in compliance with the Jeanne Clery Act. These reports are updated every October and available either on a college’s website or through the US Department of Education’s national database. Detailed information about the incidence of crime on campus for the past three years, campus safety resources and programs available, and information about fire safety and emergency planning are all included.

2. Stay safe on campus.

Picking a college with a reputation for safety isn’t where your diligence should end. It’s just as important to be prepared to stay safe once you start classes. Make sure you always know where you’re going and plan your treks across campus to ensure you stay in well-lit, commonly traveled areas. Avoid short-cuts that take you off the beaten path into the remote areas on campus. And whenever possible, travel in pairs—there really is safety in numbers.

You can also take advantage of a variety of apps designed to help keep you from harm. iHelpPlus is an app that lets you alert family or friends that you’re in danger—and all you have to do is touch the screen. And don’t forget about your phone’s flashlight. Sometimes the possibility of exposure is enough to make a bad guy think twice.

Personal alarms are also worth considering. You can find keychain alarms that are small and lightweight, and will alert anyone nearby to an emergency situation. The alarm may also scare off any would-be attackers.

3. Stay safe when you go online.

These days you need to be smart about keeping yourself from harm in the online environment as well as on campus. Social media is one of the most common and convenient ways to stay in touch with friends and find out where tonight’s study group or party is. But too much information posted online can make you a target.

Resist the urge to “check in” everywhere you go. Restrict the amount of personal information you post online. Keep your phone number and other sensitive information private or remove it all together. The best rule of thumb is if you wouldn’t share this information with a stranger, refrain from posting it online. If you’re unsure of how much is too much when it comes to online sharing, there are dozens of resources and online classes you can take that teach you how to use privacy settings and deal with other online issues.


4. Know where you can turn for help.

In addition to choosing a college with a great safety record, being proactive when it comes to safety on campus, and keeping yourself protected online, it’s important to know that you are not alone. Every college and university is required to have certain safety resources in place for students.

Learn how to contact the campus police, or be sure to know the designated safety officer if your college doesn’t have a police department. And just because you’re on campus doesn’t mean you can’t reach out to local law enforcement if you find yourself in a scary situation. Most colleges work closely with local police and sheriff’s departments to ensure safety and quick response for students in need. A lot of colleges also have free and confidential counseling if you don’t feel comfortable going to a police officer.

Pay attention to security features on campus like emergency telephones and panic buttons. You deserve to have a safe, fun college experience, so educate yourself on campus resources and be prepared in the event of an emergency.

Wherever you choose to go, we hope that you keep these resources in mind and have a fantastically safe college experience. What do you think is the most effective way to ensure a safe college experience?

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Holly King is a recently graduated writer living in Salt Lake City, UT. When not scouring the internet for updates in business, lifestyles, and technology, she is tending to her garden and trying to perfect the world’s best egg sandwich.

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Original Post Date: November 6th, 2014

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Questions to Ask Your College Tour Guide

Categories: Admissions Advice


Visiting the campus of a school you’re interested in attending is a great way to help you decide if the school is a good fit for you. You can find a ton of information on college websites and admissions materials, so when talking with a current student, such as a campus tour guide, stick to questions that only a student can answer. Here are a few questions that will give you valuable answers.

1. How often do you go home?

Find out how often students go home—especially if you are going far away for school. Some regional colleges and universities clear out on the weekends as students living nearby head home. If you’re not heavily involved in athletics or another time-consuming activity, your weekends could get pretty lonely if you’re the only one around.

2. How often do you go to the dining hall?

You know you’re curious, go ahead and ask how the food is. The dining hall is the social center of campus at some schools, others have so many options that students will typically eat on their own and switch up their routines regularly. Discussing dining with a student will give you an idea of what a typical day on campus is like.

3. What other schools did you apply to?

Ask current students what other colleges they applied to and why they ended up choosing this particular school. They may have applied to some of the schools that you are considering. Hearing why they chose this school over others may help you when the time comes for you to make the same decision.

4. How many hours do you spend studying a week?

The average amount of time students spend on class work varies among colleges and universities. Also, schedules and workloads will vary among programs and majors within the same school. A current student will probably be able to give you insight on what you can expect from the program you’re interested in, or at least point you in the right direction.

5. How often do you go off campus?

Is it easy to get off campus? Is it common? Students at some schools, especially when they are freshmen, rarely go off campus. Others see the surrounding community as an extension of campus and can even use their meal plans at select off-campus restaurants and stores.

6. What is dorm life like?

If you’re planning to live in on-campus student housing, dorm life will be a very important aspect of your college experience and you’ll definitely want to get a student’s perspective on it. Find out if all the dorms are pretty much the same, or if the atmosphere in each is unique. Will you get to choose your roommate or dorm, or does that have to be assigned? If the school offers overnight stays with a student host, take advantage of the opportunity to get a feel for what life in the dorms is like.

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Original Post Date: November 4th, 2014

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Scholarships and Programs for Halloween Lovers


Do you really get into Halloween? I mean do you really get into it? Going all out with your makeup, costume, and theatricals? If you’ve got the creative talent to completely nail your costume and successfully scare your friends, these programs and scholarships might be of interest to you!

Costume Design

Halloween isn’t complete without a great costume. If you’re interested in the field of costume design, you can major in it! There are a few select schools across the country that offer a major in costume design. For example, Carnegie Mellon University offers both undergraduate and graduate degree options in costume design, Webster University offers a BFA in Costume Design, and Stephens College offers a BFA in Theatrical Costume Design. If you decide to pursue this degree option for the long term, check out the Marian A. Smith Costume Scholarship Award for students entering graduate school for costume design and/or technology.



While Halloween isn’t complete without a costume, costumes aren’t complete without make-up! Programs that specialize in make-up specifically, are not usually available at traditional colleges and universities. Instead, you’d have to look at private or specialty schools, like the Cinema Makeup School in Los Angeles. They offer the Legends of Makeup Scholarship, a $10,000 award towards tuition at the school. Also, the Douglas Education Center in Pennsylvania, and the Academy of Makeup Arts in Nashville offer special effects make-up programs. Regardless of where you choose to attend school, check out the PBA Sally Beauty Scholarship, for students planning to enter the cosmetology profession.

Acting and Theater

Getting the full effect of your Halloween costume sometimes requires a bit of acting and theatrics. If you think you’ve got what it takes to pursue acting as a career, there are many colleges that offer degree programs in acting. Check out our Acting Major page to learn more about the acting major and the colleges and universities that offer programs of study in acting. Also be sure to apply for the CBC Spouses Heineken USA Performing Arts Scholarship, for students pursuing a career in the performing arts.

From all of us here at Cappex, have a safe and happy Halloween!

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Original Post Date: October 31st, 2014

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