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Don't Forget to Apply to a "Safety" College

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Replies to: Don't Forget to Apply to a "Safety" College

  • jym626jym626 Registered User Posts: 51,645 Senior Member
    I am posting this in this thread as well as the one in the parents forum not so much because I think it is all that important, but I want to get notified when posts are made to each of these threads!
    This is an important thread. Thanks for starting it, Tokenadult.

    This topic was a bit of a hair-raiser in our house, b/c our flagship U, which is not a guaranteed safety anymore, does have an early non-binding notification if the application is in by Nov 1. We visited the school, and DS HATED it. Too big. No way, Refused to apply. Didn't want to have to be in an honors program. The school he decided to use as his safety is expensive, and *way* more expensive than our state school. Fortunately the safety came in with merit money, and it is a school he really likes (and will probably attend) but this was a tough issue. Both his safety and our flagship U are very good schools- but the pricetag is very different. Oh, and guess what. the school he will likely be attending?? He'll be in the honors program! Part of me wishes we'd made him apply to the state U just to see if it would have been another option.. since these kids do change their minds frequently.
  • mythmommythmom Registered User Posts: 8,305 Senior Member
    I think it's okay to have a "mommy school" on the list: a school the kid does not want to apply to at all but the parent has an intuition that the school might become necessary for financial or other reasons.

    Both my kids agreed to this; both were accepted with a lot of money and neither ended up attending.

    Both grew to like the schools a lot and had their first choices not accepted them, they say they would have chosen the mommy school.

    I was not committed to these schools, but I had reasons for suggesting them.
  • othermusicdadothermusicdad Registered User Posts: 75 Junior Member
    FYI - CU Boulder received just over 18000 applications 2 years ago, but it received 24000 this year. They admit just under 16000 students each year and enroll 5600. So they used to admit 88% of the applicants; this year it was about 65%. This info comes from a recently attended admitted students night. I suspect "safety" depends on which college at CU.
  • ashliehashlieh Registered User Posts: 127 Junior Member
    My safety was Penn State- main campus. I'm in state and both of my parents went there. I feel in love with my safety and I will be going there this fall.
  • hsmomstefhsmomstef Registered User Posts: 3,579 Senior Member
    My son is lucky -- CU Boulder is his safety, they still have guaranteed admission for Colorado Residents that meet certain testing requirements. Plus, they offer a combined BA/MA in his major and he would be able to transfer in about 50 hours of coursework. It is too big for his tastes, but he would most likely be in the honors program (which makes it seem smaller) and being able to take graduate level courses in his major (and skip most of the intro /distribution classes due to transferring in classes) which means that his classes would be smaller and more focused. Not bad for a safety.
  • Roger_DooleyRoger_Dooley Founder Posts: 106,392 Senior Member
    This is such an important point. Along with the posts bemoaning not getting into multiple top choice schools, every year we see post saying things like, "Well, I'm accepted at my safety school... but I really don't want to go there." A school that you aren't crazy about attending is NOT a safety school, it's just a college that you can get into.

    Ideally, the safety school should be among the top few school choices for the student. If the top choices are all Ivy-equivalents, and the safety school is nothing like them, insufficient thought has gone into preparing the college list. Or, the student is basing preference primarily on selectivity and prestige.

    A student with the stats to aim for Ivies also has the stats to be accepted at virtually all but a few dozen colleges in the U.S., and to get merit aid at many schools. Devoting some serious study to alternatives with almost certain acceptance and the probability of financial aid (if that's important) will pay big dividends.
  • speedospeedo Registered User Posts: 1,204 Senior Member
    problem is that all four of your requirements, accessibility,
    price etc, tokenadult are usually not present for most
    applicants especially low income ones - you might have
    to lower your expectiations to "probably get in" "might
    be able to afford it," "there's a couple of decent programs"
    and "I can learn to enjoy it." Unfortunately, for a lot of
    kids that's the definition of a safety college and also
    why they don't bother to apply.
  • tokenadulttokenadult Super Moderator Posts: 17,472 Super Moderator
    problem is that all four of your requirements, accessibility, price etc, . . . are usually not present for most
    applicants especially low income ones

    This is an issue of great concern to me, and has prompted some threads I have posted before. It is undeniably true that a low-income student has a narrower list of choices than a student from a high-income family, other characteristics being equal. High family income can even go a long way to boost admission chances of students with LESSER academic credentials.

    But for each applicant, the applicant may as well look for the "safety" college that fits that applicant. It's surely especially pointless to apply to a lot of colleges and not get into any. The first step in building an application list is finding a college

    1) you can definitely get into,

    2) you will learn a lot at,

    3) you can afford,

    and

    4) you will enjoy.

    Other people may indeed have more or even "better" choices than you have, but make sure your choices include at least one college that fits that set of four requirements.
  • speedospeedo Registered User Posts: 1,204 Senior Member
    I took my D to that college and she said, "I cant
    go here, everyone's dumb!" I understood and
    agreed, that's why she and we, like so many
    others, are up to our necks in college debt. But,
    yes, she did get in, she did learn a lot and she
    did enjoy it. Hey, 3 outta 4 aint bad!
  • piccolojuniorpiccolojunior - Posts: 2,629 Senior Member
    Hooray for JHU being a great safety without great financial aid!
  • jude_36jude_36 Registered User Posts: 543 Member
    A recent thread talked about being the kid that inspires others to acheive more, being the mentor in a school with kids less gifted. I thought that was a really valid point. It can be hard to stay motivated if you aren't in a community of your peers, but if you can find a few and then work to raise the others up....
  • momonthehillmomonthehill Registered User Posts: 1,307 Senior Member
    Find a sure-bet college for admission. Love it. Apply to it early.

    That just about says it all. In the wake of the recent RD decisions, this was the enduring lesson, both for D2, who's just in the very beginning phases of her college search and me, as a parent. I remember when my college freshman D was applying to colleges, receiving that early acceptance from our state flagship U(even though she eventually matriculated elsewhere) was a huge weight off of her shoulders. I also liked Mythmom's suggestion about the "Mommy" school; D1 had one or two of those, and I imagine that D2 will submit a Mommy app., as well.
  • speedospeedo Registered User Posts: 1,204 Senior Member
    again, Roger Dooley, and I feel like l'm beating the
    proverbial dead horse, but the 30,000 student state
    u may not be available to many students. Low income
    pop at PSU main campus is less than 10%, black
    enrollment 4%. Yes, the micro-peer group may be
    available to you at a lower level, mostly white school
    in the middle of a cow pasture. Or you may find it
    in an all black state u, say Cheyney U, for example,
    Have you taken a drive through lately, Roger? I
    wouldn't get out the car, if I was you. But, yes,
    youll have learned a valuable lesson in life -
    safety means loser. If youre low income with
    decent stats, try for one of the elites, apply early
    do everything you can, but if you don't get in
    you might be better off, getting a job and doing
    the night school thing. In many ways it makes a
    lot more sense. Going to some third tier toilet,
    living cheap, taking out the loans, youre chances
    of making it are very slim. I bet the large majority
    of these students drop out often with big loans.
    I think the safety school route may be bad advice
    or just irrelevant for many students. Again, probably
    better off getting a job.
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