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Safety Schools: An Alternate (Yet Acceptable) Plan

Here’s the bottom line: the vast majority of applicants cannot guarantee that they will be accepted into their dream schools.  There are plenty of instances where bright students, talented artists and athletes and well connected legacies fail to secure a spot.  And that’s okay.  Your world will not end if you don’t get into Harvard or UVA or RISD.  However, you do need to prepare for that scenario.  Enter the safety school.

A safety school is a college or university where you have a relatively high chance of receiving an acceptance. Typically, that means that your vital stats (GPA, standardized test scores, etc.) will be on the higher end of the candidates who usually earn admission.  We recommend having at least two to three colleges on your final list that could be considered safeties.

It’s imperative to note that the safety schools to which you apply should not be viewed with dread or as a last resort.  You should pick colleges that you would be happy to attend.  Oftentimes, students will throw a random safety school on a list without giving it much thought.  Further, they sometimes make the incorrect assumption that they will never actually have to consider enrolling.  That’s a huge mistake.  You need to have alternatives that you’re also excited about and that offer the kinds of academic programs you’re seeking.  If musical theater is your number one passion, make sure all of your safeties have a strong theater department.  If you desperately want to go to college in a city, only apply to safeties that are located within a booming metropolis.  Do not apply to a school that won’t meet your needs.

Additionally, it’s also vital that you take finances into consideration.  Just like you cannot guarantee an acceptance, you cannot be assured that every school will offer you a good aid package.  We suggest you do some investigating and choose a few schools that historically offer generous scholarships and/or colleges that have more affordable price tags.

There are thousands of colleges and universities that you could potentially attend.  Though some might be considered more prestigious than others, it’s also important to understand that your education is what you make of it.  If you work diligently and apply yourself, you’ll ensure a rich academic experience wherever you enroll.  You just want to be certain you have the opportunity to pursue a degree.  Enter the safety school.



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Don Munce