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### Enhancing Student Safety: A Crucial Factor Influencing Students Choosing to Study in the US

Bengaluru: According to admission consultants, many Indian students planning to study in the US this year are now factoring in the safety of the location when selecting colleges. This shift comes in light of a recent increase in attacks in the US. In addition to considering academic institutions and programs, parents are now inquiring about the safety of different states and areas with high crime rates as the admission results for the 2024 intake begin to roll in, as reported by ET. Adarsh Khandelwal, the CEO and founder of Collegify, mentioned that some parents, especially those with daughters, are expressing hesitance about sending their children to the US.

There is a growing sense of apprehension, particularly among parents of undergraduates who will be living away from home for the first time, noted consultants.

Reports of incidents involving Indian students, including tragic ones, in cities like Chicago, Boston, and Indiana, have added to the unease.

Indra Nooyi, former CEO of PepsiCo, recently released a video message urging Indian students either heading to or already in the US to prioritize their safety.

“Amid the release of admission results, safety has emerged as a top priority for the 2024 cohort,” stated Khandelwal.

Karan Gupta, the founder of career consultancy Karan Gupta Consulting, highlighted that while there hasn’t been a decline in the number of applications to US universities, the final choice of university is increasingly influenced by safety considerations. Many students with multiple offers from US colleges are opting for larger cities or those perceived as safer. For instance, a student from Mumbai had to settle for NYU over the University of Chicago, their initial preference, following an attack on an Indian student in the latter city.

“In most cases, parents are the ones making decisions for undergraduate students,” Gupta explained. “However, we are noticing a rise in students reaching out to us, asking about the safety of certain places they’ve read about online.”

Arizona, Ohio, Texas, Los Angeles, California, and Dallas are among the locations causing concern for parents.

Khandelwal shared the story of a student from Jaipur who received offers from prestigious institutions, including Claremont McKenna College in California, known for its selectivity. Despite this, the student’s parents insisted on him choosing Boston University instead, citing family proximity and familiarity with Boston over California.

“Convincing them that Claremont offers better career prospects required a significant amount of effort and personal assurances on my part,” Khandelwal added.

To address these apprehensions, admissions consulting firms have introduced safety guidelines for students for the first time. For instance, Leverage Edu has been conducting workshops and awareness sessions with students on safety measures. Akshay Chaturvedi, the founder of Leverage Edu, mentioned ongoing collaboration with partners in the US to enhance safety measures and provide regular updates and advisories to students.