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Questions about safety strategy

MilitaryMomMilitaryMom Registered User Posts: 509 Member
edited January 2011 in Parents Forum
I am just wondering if a student with perfect scores is in a good position to get in to one of 9 top schools so much that no normal safety is needed. I am just worried about all these kids around me who don't seem to be making good decisions. That student needs financial aid but I think that won't be a problem at those schools, if she does get in. My concern is that when all the schools except one (and that one isn't a meets full need school) have all very low acceptance rates, even a great score is no guarantee.

Another student was talking just about applying to the state flagship school after not gaining acceptance to a military academy because of medical issues. The problem could be that said flagship tends to accepts a limited amount of kids from our area and they tend to have very high stats.

Then I meet parents who have no clue whatsoever about how school financing works. Many of us parents who have been there before do try to warn people but so many don't listen.

I just am dreading to hear about disappointments in the Spring.
Post edited by MilitaryMom on

Replies to: Questions about safety strategy

  • fendrockfendrock Registered User Posts: 3,188 Senior Member
    The short answer is that even a student with perfect scores needs a safety.

    And that safety should be one that the student would be as happy to attend as one of the top 9 schools.
  • bovertinebovertine Registered User Posts: 3,303 Senior Member
    A safety is only a safety if the kid would be happy and willing to go there. Although it is not technically a safety, I think a kid with perfect test scores should at the very least apply to the state flagship.

    There's a kid on the other side of the website who had perfect SAT I and ACT, along with a handful of perfect SAT 2s and APs. I think he applied to the flagship.
  • MarianMarian Registered User Posts: 13,214 Senior Member
    It's important to remember that test scores are only one part of the "package," too.

    That student with perfect scores may not be outstanding in some other area -- extracurricular activities, for example, or teacher recommendations. So the lack of a safety school could present a problem.
  • momreadsmomreads Registered User Posts: 3,248 Senior Member
    The top schools turn down kids with perfect scores. So having a safety is important, especially if the financial aid package at a top school is not what one thought it would be. In other words, be safe, not sorry.
  • limabeanslimabeans Registered User Posts: 4,754 Senior Member
    You can only do "so much" for others.
    all these kids around me
    It's nice that you feel protective of those kids, and their parents, "around you", but is it your job to help? Do you really know their circumstances? Some parents, even those who need to be super-involved due to academic or financial issues, don't have a clue. Others who seem to be on finanical collapse always manage to pull it together. Every year, kids over-extend themselves financially or just in general make bad financial decisions, but you can only do "so much" to help before you start to overstep your relationship.

    Maybe, if you're really concerned and this topic comes up, you have a few handy suggestions like invite them to a talk at your HS about FA, or you can "inadvertently mention" this site.
  • emeraldkity4emeraldkity4 Registered User Posts: 35,861 Senior Member
    disappointment is part of life- we can't and we shouldn't spend a lot of energy trying to prevent it.
    What we can do, is be prepared for alternate plans/ not put all our eggs in one basket or get all of our self worth from one admittance or accomplishment.
  • colorado_momcolorado_mom Registered User Posts: 8,892 Senior Member
    I am just wondering if a student with perfect scores is in a good position to get in to one of 9 top schools so much that no normal safety is needed.

    Even a student with perfect scores & perfect GPA & interesting EC needs a few safety/match schools. This is even more important if finances are a factor.
  • mathmommathmom Registered User Posts: 32,039 Senior Member
    Everyone should have a safety - preferably two. Even with perfect scores, kids get rejected in droves by the top schools. Too late now, but I really recommend an EA school or two, because the absolute best safety is the school you've already heard from before the regular deadlines.
  • sk8rmomsk8rmom Registered User Posts: 5,746 Senior Member
    Then I meet parents who have no clue whatsoever about how school financing works. Many of us parents who have been there before do try to warn people but so many don't listen.

    I just am dreading to hear about disappointments in the Spring.

    There will be both students and parents who are disappointed, and some will post here and on the FA forum. It's surprising how many people wait until the 11th hour to do their research, especially on the financial matters, and then go into panic mode. I've seen it with friends, co-workers, neighbors, my kid's friends, and here on CC and it happens every single year...kids have no true safety or parents are stuck paying a huge bill and sometimes can't afford to do so for more than a year or two.

    High school GC's are great at some things, but college planning usually isn't one of them. Our HS actually has someone who helps with outside scholarship apps and college research, but not the rest of the funding picture (ie state/federal grants, merit awards, institutional aid). Like many people here, I have done lots of research in certain areas and am happy to give students/parents a quick rundown or can point them to books and websites that will help them, so I do mention this when the subject of college comes up if it seems they're clueless/misguided. My kids are pretty savvy at this point too and always advise their friends to put true safety schools on their lists- preferably both academic and financial. Some people take the advice/help offered - I have even had strangers contact me for help, having been "referred" by someone I know (some even offer money, which I decline). Some have a "wait and see" attitude or, worse, seem to prefer the "head in the sand" approach and they are invariably the ones that miss deadlines, end up neck-deep in debt, or at a school they never would have considered before except for the fact that they had seats open after May 1st! As they say, you can lead a horse to water...
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 76,011 Senior Member
    Every student needs at LEAST one safety school (it's nice to have choices). I heartily recommend that this school be one with either EA or rolling admissions so that the student HAS an acceptance in hand early in the game.
  • PizzagirlPizzagirl Registered User Posts: 40,488 Senior Member
    I am just wondering if a student with perfect scores is in a good position to get in to one of 9 top schools so much that no normal safety is needed.

    No. The top schools in this country have so many applicants who are academically able to do the work that where they place their focus is what makes the student interesting (as evidenced by extracurriculars and essays), not whether the student has a perfect score on a standardized test. If the top schools wanted to simply pick based on scores, they'd apply formulas and rank students by SAT or ACT scores top-to-bottom and pick down the list. They don't. This student needs a safety just like anyone else, and would be arrogant to think otherwise.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Forum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama Posts: 84,899 Forum Champion
    I am just wondering if a student with perfect scores is in a good position to get in to one of 9 top schools so much that no normal safety is needed.


    Even kids with stellar stats get rejected.

    But, more to the point, getting accepted is only half the issue. A kid with top stats might get accepted to all his schools, but if none are affordable, then what? How many times do we see families upset because they had "no idea" that their EFC would be so high?

    Everyone needs a safety or two...and they need to be true safeties...affordable as well.
This discussion has been closed.