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safety schools that don't suck

noamountofcoffeenoamountofcoffee Registered User Posts: 33 Junior Member
I'm 16 and a first-year student at QCC. I'll probably spend the 2012 - 2013 school year there (in lieu of completing high school... it's a long story), then transfer out. I've done a lot of research on good-to-great LAC's, and I have plenty of reaches and matches, but I'm a little short on safety schools. If some sane, knowledgeable, and unpretentious people could help me out, that would be amazing. I'll post "stats" upon request.

In the meantime, here's my list. I think, for these purposes, it provides a pretty good overview of my personality, interests, and political views.




Eugene Lang (New School)
Sarah Lawrence
Warren Wilson


College of the Atlantic

I need to re-emphasize that I want "safeties" that, although not "comparable" to my reaches and matches in "status/rank" (quotation marks absolutely necessary..), have a similar campus vibe and quality of academics. Please don't tell me to go to UMass Amherst or MCLA.

Thank you so much.
Post edited by noamountofcoffee on

Replies to: safety schools that don't suck

  • happymomof1happymomof1 Registered User Posts: 28,735 Senior Member
    A safety school meets these four criteria:

    1) You can afford it without any financial aid other than federally determined (FAFSA) aid and/or guaranteed merit aid from your state (e.g. Hope, Blue & Gold, Bright Futures, TAP) and/or guaranteed merit aid offered by the college/university itself.

    2) You are guaranteed admission based on your grades and/or test scores AND/OR your high school has years of records that clearly indicate that no one with your profile has ever been denied admissions.

    3) Your major is offered.

    4) You would be happy to attend if you don't get in anywhere else that you can afford.

    Sit down with your parents or whoever it is who will be helping you pay for college, and get the numbers that will help you define the reasonable answers for criteria 1. Until you have that issue nailed down, all the rest of your questions are moot.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 73,702 Senior Member
    Make sure that your safeties are definitely affordable.
  • noamountofcoffeenoamountofcoffee Registered User Posts: 33 Junior Member
    Money is not an issue for me at all. Both of my parents are professors and their respective institutions will cover almost all of my tuition. Thanks, though.
  • tellmenowtellmenow Registered User Posts: 55 Junior Member
    There seems to be quite a difference between your "reach" and "match" schools- as in they pretty much seem like "reach" and "safety," with none in between, unless those reaches are like super high reaches for you. Bennington College was one of my safeties that I just got into along with Goucher College, but it is hard to know what would be a safety for you without knowing your stats (tests scores, gpa, etc.).
  • locknlockn Registered User Posts: 3,033 Senior Member
    I don't know about OOS admission, but Saint Mary's College of Maryland is the go-to safety for kids who are aiming for top LACs from the state.

    Everyone I know who went to Goucher loves it.
  • noamountofcoffeenoamountofcoffee Registered User Posts: 33 Junior Member

    Brown is the only serious reach on my list.

    My "stats" are quite up in the air right now, but here goes (yay for being judged!):

    I'm getting my GED over the summer. I've studied quite a bit and I'm expecting to do well on the exam. I've contacted admissions counselors for most of these schools and they say that, provided I keep my college grades up, the GED shouldn't be too much of a liability.

    I have a ~3.4 GPA in college and I'm in the honors program.

    I test surprisingly well, so, I'll take the SATs even though most of the schools I'm looking at don't require them. I'm also planning to take at least two SAT2 subject tests, probably in language arts and history.

    Hook: I've been writing professionally (big-kid money, regular trips to New York to cover the premieres of independent films, a - knock on wood! - possible book deal) since I was fifteen.

    @ lockn

    Hmm, I've heard pretty good things about Saint Mary's. A friend of my dad's used to teach at Goucher. Thanks.
  • noamountofcoffeenoamountofcoffee Registered User Posts: 33 Junior Member
    ...and, obviously, I'm planning on bringing my college GPA up to at least a 3.7 - my first semester was a weird transitory period.
  • tellmenowtellmenow Registered User Posts: 55 Junior Member
    Goucher, Clark University, Guilford College, Bennington, Eugene Lang, and Hampshire are probably close to safeties for you- but of course there's no way to know for sure. And Bard isn't nearly as much of a reach as Reed is.
    What small LACs really like to see is that you have a passion (writing I guess would be that for you), you are honestly interested in their school, and that you can contributed something unique to their student body. Good luck!
  • noamountofcoffeenoamountofcoffee Registered User Posts: 33 Junior Member

    Awesome, thank you so much. I've heard Bard has a lower acceptance rate than Reed, though: 33% as opposed to Reed's 42%. And they seem quite intent on making the school more mainstream and prestigious. That's why I list it as a "reach."
  • jkiwmomjkiwmom Registered User Posts: 1,368 Senior Member
    Have you looked at Bard at Simon's Rock at all? (2 yr. early college) They spend two years there and then transfer into Bard and other LAC's/U's. You certainly seem like a good fit anyway :).

    Just going by your list, so these aren't safeties but suggestions, you might want to look at Vassar, Wesleyan, Oberlin, Pitzer, Skidmore.

    Safeties, I'd add Goucher, Green Mountain College, Guilford

    As a transfer, Warren Wilson would most likely be a safety too.
  • noamountofcoffeenoamountofcoffee Registered User Posts: 33 Junior Member

    I visited Simon's Rock when I was 14 and considered applying, but something about it rubbed me the wrong way. I appreciate being told that I seem like a good fit, though - it's known for smart kids so that's always flattering.

    I've looked at Vassar, Wesleyan, Oberlin, Pitzer, and Skidmore. Wesleyan in particular looks nice (I've got a friend who studies film there and LOVES it), but they're all medium reaches for me.

    I'll definitely look at Green Mountain; I love Vermont.
  • happymomof1happymomof1 Registered User Posts: 28,735 Senior Member
    I see that you are planning on taking the GED and then continuing for at least another year at the community college. If you do that, you will be a transfer applicant. Which of course changes everything about how your grades and exam scores are evaluated. The best advisors for your transfer applications will be the transfer counselor at your CC, and any pal of your mom or dad who works in transfer admission at the college/university where they work. You should also check out the Transfer Forum here for more ideas.

    On the other hand, if your CC coursework is considered to be a dual-enrollment situation while you finish high school, most colleges and universities will consider you to be a freshman applicant. Talk this option over with your parents. It may be more advantageous for you to be "home-schooled" for another year and skip taking that GED at least for now.
  • NJSueNJSue Registered User Posts: 2,840 Senior Member
    Money is not an issue for me at all. Both of my parents are professors and their respective institutions will cover almost all of my tuition.

    It's actually unusual for college employers to cover all tuition for faculty children going to other institutions without any conditions or strings. Be sure your understanding of your parents' benefits re your tuition is correct. We are going through this right now in our household (I am a professor and my D is a senior in HS).

    Tuition Exchange (TE) requires you to apply to the college you are going to attend for those scholarships, and they can be quite competitive (not automatic). The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) exchange is less restrictive. But not every college participates in these organizations.
  • GeekMom63GeekMom63 Registered User Posts: 1,957 Senior Member
    I fully agree with happymomof1 - I was going to say that too. Makes a big difference at the top schools. Sorry I can't answer your original question :)
  • noamountofcoffeenoamountofcoffee Registered User Posts: 33 Junior Member

    The college where my mom is a professor is extremely generous; they cover 70% of tuition for faculty's children, always, no questions asked. My paternal grandparents also have quite a bit of money so that ought to cover the rest. I'm ridiculously lucky, I know.


    I really appreciate that (and I have understood for awhile that I will be considered a transfer; I prefer it that way actually), but I would rather not dwell on the GED/transfer situation on this thread. It's a pretty strange situation for me.
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