right arrow
Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04
GUEST STUDENT OF THE WEEK: Rohan is a freshman at Dartmouth (and loves it) having gotten in ED for the Class of 2023. He's here to debunk myths regarding admissions and student life at his school. ASK HIM ANYTHING!
Make sure to check out our May Checklists for HS Juniors and HS Seniors. Consult these quick resources to get you started on the process this month.
As we work to adjust to the current reality, make sure to check out these dedicated COVID-19 resources: our directory of virtual campus tours, our directory of extended deadlines, as well as the list of schools going test optional this fall.

The importance of having safety schools

oldlawoldlaw 324 replies14 threads Member
Right now, there are at least four separate threads where the applicant, with sterling credentials, was rejected from all selected schools. It should be noted that all schools from which the applicant was rejected were "reaches" and the applicant hadn't applied to any safety schools. The #1 lesson CC has taught me is that every applicant, no matter how strong, needs to balance the reaches with a few safety schools.

So please, listen to the collective conventional wisdom of College Confidential: ALWAYS have a couple-or several-safety schools when you apply to colleges.
9 replies
· Reply · Share

Replies to: The importance of having safety schools

  • happy1happy1 23823 replies2384 threads Super Moderator
    edited March 31
    Agree with @Eeyore123 I'm a huge believer in applying to a few match/safety schools EA or rolling (if allowable). Having even one acceptance by December takes a ton of pressure off the rest of the process.
    edited March 31
    · Reply · Share
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 82724 replies738 threads Senior Member
    oldlaw wrote: »
    It should be noted that all schools from which the applicant was rejected were "reaches" and the applicant hadn't applied to any safety schools.

    Note that a variant of this is assuming that a college may be a "safety" when it really is not a safety. This may have to do with looking at overall admission stats, but not realizing that the applicant's major is much more competitive for admission. Or it may be that the college heavily uses "level of applicant's interest" and does not like being used as a "safety" by "overqualified" applicants who are very unlikely to matriculate.
    · Reply · Share
  • oldlawoldlaw 324 replies14 threads Member
    All good points; it's just a shame to see students with such strong credentials with literally no acceptances.
    · Reply · Share
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 82724 replies738 threads Senior Member
    blossom wrote: »
    And a quick lesson in statistics- applying to ten schools each with a 10% admissions rate does not mean you have a 100% chance of getting into at least one. And applying to another 5 -- similarly selective- does not mean you'll have a choice.

    Some may try a different calculation, believing that applying to ten schools with a 10% admission rate means that there is only a 0.9^10 = 35% chance of being shut out, and that applying to fifteen of them means that there is only a 0.9^15 = 21% chance of being shut out.

    But that fails to account for the following: (a) a college's overall admission rate is not necessarily the same as that for the specific applicant, and (b) college admission decisions are not independent events like rolling a fair 10-sided die ten or fifteen times would be.
    · Reply · Share
  • TigerInWinterTigerInWinter 82 replies0 threads Junior Member
    happy1 wrote: »
    Agree with @Eeyore123 I'm a huge believer in applying to a few match/safety schools EA or rolling (if allowable). Having even one acceptance by December takes a ton of pressure off the rest of the process.

    I want to echo this point -- it's a huge psychological boost to get an early acceptance. One of my kids dreamed about (and ended up) attending an Ivy, but was still absolutely ecstatic to be notified in early December that she had gotten into the state university that was her main safety. It made the long weeks of waiting for subsequent results much less worrisome, and she was definitely far more relaxed over the holidays than her friends were. (So were her parents!)
    · Reply · Share
  • blossomblossom 10333 replies9 threads Senior Member
    UCB- agree, no matter how you calculate, there is a logical fallacy at its core.

    The year before one of my kids was a senior, someone from the HS was admitted to Princeton but rejected from Brandeis. That fueled an entire "college admissions is so random" trope for about three years, with this kid getting quoted that "you'll never know if you don't try" to explain all sorts of crazy application lists.

    When logical minds tried to explain how yield protection worked, the kids brains just shut down. (I knew this kid-if he hadn't ended up at Princeton, he'd have gone to one of the other mega selective schools he was admitted to. And Brandeis Adcom's are smart enough to look at his application, see that he never visited or attended a regional event, and realize they were his safety school....)

    He DID get into Tufts, which just goes to show that although Tufts syndrome may be apocryphal, Brandeis syndrome is not (substitute your own favorite college here!)
    · Reply · Share
Sign In or Register to comment.

Recent Activity