Best Safety Business School

My daughter is a rising junior and we’re starting to look at colleges. She wants to study business.

Currently, she has 4.0 UW 4.8 weighted (#3 in her class of about 220 students). Will finish with about 10 APs. Has taken 2 already and scored 5 on each (World History and Bio). Her ECs should be pretty good. Based on some practice tests and tutor assessments, she should score around 1500+ on her SATs. She’s an excellent writer (was accepted to Iowa Young Writer’s Studio) so her essays should be relatively strong. We will full pay so economics will not be an issue.

The one school that really seemed to stand out as a safety “unicorn” for business is IU Kelley.

They are a Top 10 business program. Based on their website, top companies recruit at the school. And they are auto admit with relatively low criteria: 3.8 (weighted or unweighted) and a 1380 SAT score.

It may not be her first choice but it seems like a no brainer as a safety school for business with direct admit and a low bar for attendance. Even if they raise their auto admit standards, it still seems very doable.

What am I missing?

You are not missing anything. IU Kelley is a great school and with their auto admit, a safety for your child.


She will get in, but do apply early as IU is rolling. Even the 3.8/1380 can be petitioned. Kelley is big with an enrollment of 2000 students, so even as a safety you should evaluate the fit. You can also add UIUC-Gies/UW-Madison/UMinn-Twin Cities if midwest is the preferred destination.

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Thanks. My purpose was to review the information so she doesnt have to apply to multiple safety schools.

She’ll probably look at a few LACs (Econ if they dont offer business), U Mich, U Texas at Austin, Rice, and a few of the California schools.

This will mitigate application stress and she can enjoy the process knowing a Top 10 safety for her major is within range.

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How about Lehigh College of Business or Bucknell Business? Non-engineering LACs are particularly tough for young women as they have too many from which to choose.

You are welcome. Both IU-Kelley and UMinn-Carlson are rolling with optional essays. Assuming you apply by November, you should have an answer by new year and reduce the stress. We went through the process this year, so feel free to ask any questions.

forgot to say, it is not a good idea to limit safety schools to 1. Especially with her stats, you cannot be sure schools will not yield protect. Unlikely IU-Kelley will, but why take the risk.

She may take a shot at Williams and Amherst for the LACs. But as we all know, those schools are incredibly difficult to get into.

Rice is also an application option because she’s a legacy and if she really likes it, we can apply ED. My wife is also an alumni interviewer and really understands their culture which is important because they do care about demonstrated interest. Unfortunately their undergrad business program is relatively new so we have to get a better understanding of what companies recruit from the business school. It’s more well known for STEM.

It’s still a bit early but her schedule is so tight we needed to start the process to get a good handle on contigencies so she can just focus on her primary targets and reaches.

Her goal is to make as much money as she can early in her career, retire early and then be a writer.

None of those is a safety for anyone, even with legacy in ED. Not any more.

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Understood. IU Kelley will be her safety.

IU Kelley is a great option. I’d encourage her to apply early in the process so you get an answer quickly.


UT/McCombs will be a reach. Many in state valedictorians & those with perfect ACT/SAT don’t get in. UT Econ could be possible, but McCombs Business will be very difficult.

Agree. When I went to UT McCombs, it was so much easier. I would never get in today.

I think most T30 schools are reaches for almost anyone.

We’ll do the Texas tour next spring break (UT, Rice).

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IU Kelley is a great safety, if it appeals to the student and is affordable for the family. No need to apply to more safeties.

Many match schools (for your D) don’t have as good of outcomes as IU, so depending on the rest of IU’s fit (social, location, size, etc.) she doesn’t have to apply to any match schools either.

Over the years I have had a number of students who meet Kelley’s direct admit criteria who would happily attend IU (and can afford it), who then only apply to reaches/schools they would rather attend.

Note that Kelley’s direct admit criteria are supposedly going to increase for this cycle, we will know by Aug 1.


As your daughter is a rising high school junior (i.e. probably 15 or 16 years old), it is quite possible she will change her mind as to her professional goals and college major. (Many college students change their major multiple times!) I am all for learning about schools and possibilities and possibly doing some initial college visits to get a sense of daughter’s tastes. But I would not lock down and say IU Kelley is the one safety, it’s auto admit for her, so now we’ll just focus on reach schools.

First off, has your daughter visited IU? How does she feel about going to a big school? Where does your family live? Is the distance of IU from home okay with her (whether it ends up being too close or too far)? IU is a wonderful school, but it’s not for everybody. Choosing a school simply based on rank and ease of admission as a student’s only safety or only school with a greater than 20% chance of acceptance is just asking for trouble.

Where would your daughter like to live after she finishes her schooling? Look at schools in that area. What are your in-state publics? Look at those business schools to see if any of them seem like a good fit. What is your daughter hoping to experience out of college? Greek life? Participating in a niche activity? City life? Exploring the great outdoors? Big sports enthusiasm? Does she want to study abroad? Perhaps focus on colleges where business majors can continue their major while abroad (rather than only taking electives while away from campus).

As your daughter won’t be applying to college for another year, she has time to explore and see what types of options are available. There are likely opportunities that she doesn’t even know exist, but if she did, she might become very excited about. So yes to creating a list of schools for exploration, but no to setting up the final list.


Kelley is a great safety if she would be happy to attend and assuming they don’t change the requirements.

I’m a big believer in applying to at least one in-state flagship just-in-case. Kids change their minds, things happen, etc.

I also wouldn’t pencil in a list of schools until you have an SAT score.

Being full-pay opens up a lot of options but your preliminary list is pretty reachy. I would focus on direct admit programs. Smaller programs that offer more personal attention would also be at the top of the list being full-pay. SMU Cox and Fordham Gabelli were on my S20’s list. He ended-up at Georgia Tech Scheller but transferred to Industrial Engineering which is also an option. Scheller is a small, well regarded business program.

Emory in Atlanta has an excellent business school and is well known for writing if she’s looking at keeping options open. Add CMU to the list of top business school with world class FA programs. Notre Dame would also be a good add to the list.

If she wants to retire early the best option might be to look for lower cost, good business schools and invest the difference she saved. The schools on your list could run $350k for an undergrad degree. Good luck.


We’ve visited UF and U Mich and she liked them both so big school shouldnt be an issue. She was much more impressed with Ross itself than the rest of Michigan.

We live in New England and our in state school isnt bad but their busines program isnt well renowned. As it relates to business, school reputation does seem to matter and it was apparent based on the companies that recruit there.
Rankings seem to somewhat correlate with the firms that hire from those colleges. We’ll probably take a visit to the state school at some point as a frame of reference.

Distance also isnt an issue as her first preference is California but we know UCLA and Cal Berkeley are almost impossible for OOS (especially those applying from New England). And she’s also half Asian so that doesnt help at all.

She’s extremely pragmatic. She will go to the best school that offers her the best opportunity for a good career.

There’s only so many schools you can visit and Id rather spend the majority of our time and resources on her top reach schools (the ones she really wants to attend) than go visit a bunch of safety schools that she wont want to go.

It just seems like a waste of time, especially when Kelley is not only an option, but a high probability.

I would like to clarify some statements made about UCLA and UCB. The UC’s do not take race and ethnicity into their application review. OOS admissions in the past have required higher stats than in-state applicants but this is usually due to self selection and higher costs.

UCLA does not have a Business school but offers Business Economics or Economics which are highly respected. They do have a Graduate school for Business which is the Anderson School of Management.

UCB does not have a direct admit Business school so they require a competitive secondary admission into the HAAS School of Business.

If you are unable to pay $67K/year for your student to attend a UC, then these 2 schools will not be good options.

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Thanks. Appreciate it. I see UC systems eliminating the SAT completely (not even optional) as an indirect way to reduce Asian admissions but this is just my personal opinion

I believe California is reducing OOS admissions so by the time she applies it will be even more difficult. Wasnt UCLA the most applied to university in the country?

The main point of my thread is to look for a really great safety school. Obviously if she wanted to apply to UCLA or Berkely, we would fully support her.

And cost is not an issue. We’ve saved early and often for our childrens’ education.

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Yes, UCLA had 149,997 Freshman applicants for 2022 so the most applied University in the US.

And yes, the UC’s are capping the number of OOS and International applicants which will make these schools more competitive.