Never Lock Your Doors
Top 10 colleges that are so safe, jaywalkers are the biggest felons.
College is an eye-opening experience, to say the least. From day one, students are introduced to new friends, living arrangements, schedules, pressures, and more, all in a relatively unknown environment. The astonishing volume of opportunities, all presented at once, can lead students to overlook some of less savory aspects of campus life, like personal safety. While crime is an unfortunate reality both inside the campus microcosm and out, over 30,000 student votes have provided us with these Top 10 Schools that are so safe and secure, the only danger students have to worry about is in the cafeteria’s daily specials.
Some dorms at big state schools are larger than the entirety of Bennington College, which has an undergraduate student population of just over six hundred. But the students who come to Bennington know exactly what to expect in advance – a rural, very intimate college experience situated on isolated, beautiful, and extremely safe campus in Vermont. As one alum puts it, “Bennington is located miles from town on acres of Idyllic Vermont Hills. The campus is safe, contained and self-maintaining (kind of like a well-designed fishtank).” Another student chimes in, “Students generally leave their doors open here, and feel really safe on our little campus.” For the most part, the students who choose to come to this remote school – where the main quad is called “the End of the World” – were looking for a safe and intimate college experience. And the atmosphere this creates provides students with true personal freedom. “The Bennington Student won't just dye their hair blue … they will walk around in muumuus, wife-beaters, various Salvation Army clothing, pirate hats, mismatched earrings, mismatched socks and arrays of flannels with blue triangles drawn on their faces. Whoever is stranger and more passionate is cooler here.” Overall, a student sums up: “Bennington is a safe and trusting campus full of interesting and honest people.”
Bryn Mawr College
The women of Bryn Mawr College live on one of the most beautiful suburban campuses in the nation, with ornate Gothic architecture and lush green fields that students call breathtaking, even in the worst Pennsylvania weather. This tight-knit community of just 1,378 women view the school as a giant sorority, where respect stems from adhering to the honor code and students feel as safe as can be everywhere on campus. Says one student, “Bryn Mawr is small. I feel totally comfortable and at home here.” “This is a safe campus. The Honor Code is taken very seriously, and students have to be reminded to lock their doors.” “The plus side of living in suburbia is the safety of the neighborhood.” “At Bryn Mawr we are family, even with people we don't really know.” If you’re looking for a safe community of respectful women as a place to learn and grow, Bryn Mawr College may be just the school for you.”
With an undergraduate enrollment well under 3,000, the student body at Colgate University is a tight-knit community of preppy achievers. “We call it the Colgate bubble. This school is the perfect size in the sense that, wherever you are, you always know someone - yet you never stop meeting new people.” The rural, isolated campus is “in upstate New York, so most students spend little time outside of the 'Colgate Bubble'.” But students don’t seem to mind, as that bubble “is super safe and there’s always tons to do.” Most students here come from affluent backgrounds, and it shows in their clean-cut attire. Says one psychology major, “Indeed, it seems if you aren’t a white polo-and-khaki clad guy or an Uggs and Vera Bradley bag-toting girl, you will stick out. But that’s part of Colgate’s appeal.” Colgate’s town, Hamilton, is “quaint and peaceful,” and the isolated nature of the place “adds to the closeness of the Colgate community.” “The campus feels extremely safe, and it's expected for students to wave, smile and say hello across the quad between classes.”
Dartmouth College is the kind of school that breeds an abundance of school spirit. Located in rural Hanover, New Hampshire, students at this Ivy League institution are proud of their school. “There’s this sense of community, fostered by the remote, safe and beautiful location, the relatively small size of the student body, and our unique traditions that makes Dartmouth so awesome. We’re like a little self-contained society,” one student says. Many others agree, seeing the school’s geographic isolation as a benefit: “Dartmouth has become my safe haven, a separate place where I’m free to aspire and take pleasure in what education has to offer.” “Safety: I can't think of another school where I'd feel so comfortable leaving my computer unattended in the library for several hours. Things rarely get stolen (unless you bring a NorthFace jacket to a frat and someone mistakes it for their own) and there is no serious crime that goes on (our newspaper publishes descriptions of the 'crimes' that go on in Hanover, which are humorous due to their tame nature.)” As a result, “although Dartmouth's location is really out of the way, it's such a beautiful and safe part of the country, you really grow to appreciate it.”
Davidson College is a small, prestigious liberal arts school in North Carolina that’s well-known for its first-rate basketball team, its policy of providing all of its students with free laundry service, and its extremely safe campus. Davidson is also known for its stringent honor code, which students take very seriously (helping to maintain the safe campus vibe.) As a result, students are accustomed to leaving their rooms unlocked without fear of theft, and cheating is a rare occurrence. “Due to the honor code, our final exams are self-scheduled, and most of our other exams are take-home because almost no-one cheats at Davidson”, writes a junior Spanish major. “I love Davidson because all of the students trust each other because of the honor code. There is also this sense of respect and trust between students and professors.” “People leave their computers alone on their desks in the library, and their book bags in the halls without fear of anyone taking anything from them. This is the safest and happiest campus in the world. It’s great!”
Haverford College is a tiny and extremely safe school in a beautiful area of Pennsylvania. Its motto roughly translates to “not more learning; better learning,” which reflects how engaged students are with their educations. The school is also known for its unique honor code, administrated and overseen by the students themselves, which governs most aspects of campus life and allows student to both leave their doors open and take exams when and where they please. This honor code is taken extremely seriously and, as a result, the “biggest controversies on campus always involve someone being un-PC, too intolerant, not respecting the Honor Code, not respecting their peers, etc. Nothing really terrible ever happens—it's just that they become a bigger deal at Haverford because we have the Honor Code in place and any breach of that sort of undermines the ideals of the school.” But this does create a great environment on campus. Students rave: “Haverford is a lovely place to be. Safe: very little theft, a great social atmosphere, great classes.” “The best thing is the community. I always feel safe, involved and important at Haverford.”
Kenyon College is a small school of 1,600 students in Gambier, Ohio. The community in this isolated hilltop campus is strong, and the environment is as safe as can be. “The safety and security is the best thing about this place. We're a friendly, supporting, warm group of people.” “There are no swipe cards for meals, and until this year there were no locks on any doors – you can take what you want and go where you want, and no-one abuses this.” “Overall, Kenyon and Gambier are extremely safe. I've walked home alone at night and never felt scared or threatened, there are blue light emergency phones all over campus, and security vans are always patrolling the streets.” If you’re looking for a small liberal arts college with a warm, welcoming and safe campus, Kenyon is hard to beat.
Many Princeton students are academic whiz kids who got straight A’s throughout high school and are looking to continue their academic growth in a beautiful and safe environment. Well, there aren’t many places safer or more beautiful than Princeton’s campus in New Jersey. “Objectively I can say it is probably the most beautiful college campus I have ever seen, and it is extremely safe and peaceful,” one satisfied student said. Even when students are up late studying, another chimes in: “Princeton is one of the few places I know where it is always safe to walk home alone at 3am.” Students even have a name for their safe enclave. “Princeton students lovingly refer to the isolated campus phenomenon as being in the Orange Bubble.” Overall, students say “Princeton offers awesome academics in a tight knit and friendly community.” “This idyllic campus is truly like living in a Utopia for 4 years.”
Wellesley is an all-girls school well known for creating a safe environment for its students. The affluent suburb of Boston in which it resides perfectly suits its academically driven students. “I found Wellesley to be a both a stimulating academic environment, but also a safe one that I always returned to when I needed to focus. It does feel separate from the rest of Boston.” “Because you feel safe on campus, as a woman, you come to feel an intense sense of ownership and connection to the place.” Theft on campus is virtually non-existent. “Living at Wellesley I feel extremely safe. Students leave their dorms unlocked. Theft is not an issue on campus.” This was a common refrain: “The campus is really safe- a ton of people don't lock their doors.” For an all-girls school where academic excellence meets an overwhelming feeling of safety and security, Wellesley is hard to match.
The Protestant Evangelical Church is part and parcel of the Wheaton College experience. Religion plays a large role in how the school interacts with its students, and it’s part of what attracts students to the college in the first place. As such “the rules at Wheaton are there to make the Wheaton community a safe place to learn and grow together.” “Wheaton is not a party school. Students sign the community covenant which stipulates that, as a school with underage students in it, no students will consume drugs or alcohol, even if they are of age.” Students report rules like this allow them to live a simpler life in the Wheaton suburb of Chicago. “Students are very community focused. Dorm rooms are left open, any lost items are often returned.” A final student sums up this safe atmosphere. “As far as life on campus goes, it's great. I never keep my door locked. Whenever I'm in my room, the door is open.”