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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

  • Roger_DooleyRoger_Dooley 6084 replies100309 threadsFounder 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.
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  • speedospeedo 1190 replies14 threadsRegistered User 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.
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  • tokenadulttokenadult 15970 replies1501 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    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.
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  • speedospeedo 1190 replies14 threadsRegistered User 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!
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  • piccolojuniorpiccolojunior 2492 replies137 threads- Senior Member
    Hooray for JHU being a great safety without great financial aid!
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  • jude_36jude_36 510 replies33 threadsRegistered User 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....
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  • momonthehillmomonthehill 1280 replies27 threadsRegistered User 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.
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  • speedospeedo 1190 replies14 threadsRegistered User 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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  • pearlygatepearlygate 563 replies18 threadsRegistered User Member
    I don't understand a single word you're saying speedo...
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  • mercruzmercruz 344 replies4 threadsRegistered User Member
    If you already have the stats to be applying to great schools that you require a safety, then vocational school probably isn't for you, in my opinion, although vocational schools are excellent programs for many.
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  • illuminarilluminar 631 replies17 threadsRegistered User Member
    Generally speaking, Canada doesn't have "reach" or "match" schools (I'm not even sure if they're just terms used exclusively on CC), which in my opinion is a good thing.

    My general outlook on this whole University application thing is that if I were to get into an Ivy League or prestigious school in the US, that's great. However, I recognize that the odds are against me, and that most universities here are great. I'd have no qualms being rejected because it'd mean...

    McGill :D
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  • b3tt3Rt[-]4nUb3tt3Rt[-]4nU 522 replies24 threadsRegistered User Member
    Great point to make, I know plenty of seniors this year at my school that have only been accepted into Rutgers and absolutely detest it. I have no idea why they applied if they couldn't see themselves attending.

    I for one, will be happy attending Rutgers if I don't get into McGill, because of the top Philosophy and Science departments and I know plenty of people there that love it.

    Good Luck Everyone!
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  • cornell75cornell75 280 replies4 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I think one of the key things that tokenadult advised is to apply in the early rounds if possible. Since many schools have gone to early action rather than early decision, it is possible to apply to multiple schools early and get an indication of how the remainder of your applications will fare. My son applied early action to two schools, one a likely and the other a safety, and then applied ED to a reach school, and was accepted to all three. It was great to have the two EA decisions come in. He knew that no matter what, he would have a school he liked. Even though the waiting for the ED decision was stressful, it wasn't as much as it might have been.

    Also remember that for some schools, applying in the early round gives you an advantage.
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  • warriorboy648warriorboy648 709 replies78 threadsRegistered User Member
    We are just beginning this college journey. If you apply to a school with early acceptance or rolling admission, can you wait until you hear from all your schools before you make your final decision?

    When determining a safety, are the websites like Princeton and College Board fairly accurate?
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  • Sligh_AnarchistSligh_Anarchist 2064 replies129 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    cornell75 wrote:
    My son applied early action to two schools, one a likely and the other a safety, and then applied ED to a reach school.

    I thought you couldn't apply to more than one school EA/ED?
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  • tokenadulttokenadult 15970 replies1501 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Usually one may apply to ONE college on an early decision basis (with, of course, the commitment to enroll if admitted) and some early action colleges don't think it's inconsistent with their rules to apply early action at the same time as applying early decision elsewhere. Check each college's rules for interactions with other college's rules, but ONLY apply early decision if you would be really happy to be admitted and glad to enroll, no matter what the financial aid offer.
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  • tokenadulttokenadult 15970 replies1501 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    If you apply to a school with early acceptance or rolling admission, can you wait until you hear from all your schools before you make your final decision?

    In general, the national reply date for college offers of admission is May 1st, even if you were admitted way back the previous October 1st.

    Looking at the statistics of the previous entering classes on websites is helpful for gauging chances of admission. A student applying in fall of 2009 will have the information for the class before last (class that entered fall of 2007) available when planning where to apply, and if a particular college is becoming much more competitive, it may be possible to overestimate chances of admission. That's why I recommend being VERY conservative (cautious) in choosing a "safety" college.
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  • standrewsstandrews 1343 replies22 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    The way we can be most sure that that college is a "safety" for our son, when the time comes for him to apply to college in fall 2009, is to seize the earliest opportunity to submit a "rolling" application to that college (which indeed will be an "on the spot" application during the first week of October), so that we get an instant read of his chances at that college.

    This needs to be repeated. As tokenadult points out there are very few ways to get a reality check before it is too late in the admissions process. Applying as early as possible to a school with rolling admissions is one of them. Hopefully everyone can find a school with rolling admissions that:
    1) will accept them
    2) is affordable
    3) would be enjoyable and beneficial if they end up there
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