Preparing For College: Don’t Forget Situational Awareness Training

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By: Dale Antry,  Black Tree 

As the father of two beautiful young ladies I fully appreciate the anxiety a parent feels as they are about to send their children off to college.  You want to make sure they have everything they need to make them successful and keep them safe.  You buy them new clothes, make sure they have enough school supplies and tell them not to talk to strangers.  It’s almost as if we are re-living that day when we put them on the bus for the first time and sent them to kindergarten.  But college is a much different place and as a parent, I often wondered if I did enough to prepare them for leaving home or taught them enough life lessons to keep them totally safe and out of harm’s way.

The answer is undoubtedly “No.”  Nothing we can do and no lesson we can teach our children will prevent them from encountering danger while they are away at college.  While crimes against students and student safety is a high priority for all colleges, many of which maintain their own proprietary police force, colleges are not unlike any other city.

No matter how many officers you put on the street or safety related precautions are included in policies and procedures, crime, to include violent crimes against students, will occur.

In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Education, which requires all post-secondary institutions that receive federal funding to provide crime data, in 2014 and 2015, there were over 8,335 reported incidents that violated the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

Many students also feel this same anxiety.  Moving away from the safety of home to an environment where there are so many variables and unknowns can be a scary thing for some people.  Just the idea of moving somewhere where you don’t know anyone, where none of your friends are, or where your parents aren’t there to help you, is somewhat daunting even for a seasoned traveler like myself who has lived and worked on several different continents.

There is however, something that we can do to relieve at least a portion of this anxiety, something we can do to greatly enhance our children’s chances of NOT becoming a victim; Situational Awareness Training!

Situational Awareness Training helps to prepare our children by increasing their overall awareness of the environment through which they negotiate.  It gives them the knowledge and skills they need to quickly and effectively assess their surroundings so that they can avoid dangerous situations while increasing their chances of surviving should an unthinkable or unimaginable event occur.

The Black Tree Ranch, located just outside Austin, TX, is a state-of-the-art facility that is leading the way in situational awareness training to individuals of all ages, including students about to go to college.  With three different levels of training, ranging from 1 to 3 days, students can attend hands on and practicum training at this beautiful location given by an elite cadre of former military and civilian law enforcement officers to include former U.S. Marines and a Navy Seal.

In a society where we are so protective of our children we sometimes forget to teach them some of the harsh realities of life; that the world can be a very dangerous place for the naive and unaware.  As much as we would like to think that our children will forever be in our lives, we neglect to face the fact that someday, daddy won’t be there to protect his little girl anymore. We must do everything to empower our children and prepare them as they leave the protective umbrella of our homes.  You only have two choices.  You can choose to send your children into the world untrained and vulnerable or, you can choose to send them out trained, so that they are aware, ready, and unafraid.  I chose trained.

To find out more about course offerings or to register for a class, visit Black Tree’s website at

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