Need Recommendations For Safety Schools (D22)

Hi - I am parent of D22 from CA . We are looking for safety school recommendations.

Demographics: US citizen
State/Location of Residency: CA
Type of High School: Competitive public high school in bay area
Gender/Race/Ethnicity: Asian-American
Other Special Factors: N/A
Intended Major(s): Economics
Academic preferences for Economics: 1) Math intensity – single variable calculus 2) Upper level electives with more of business / pre-professional flavor

GPA and Test Scores:
• (UW) GPA: 3.97
• (W) GPA: 4.3
• Class Rank: N/A
• SAT: 1570
Completed Coursework: Chemistry, AP Calculus AB, AP Bio, Honors Anatomy/Physiology; apart from English and Spanish, completed an Asian language senior certificate program from an accredited university in the US.
• Senior Course List: AP Economics, AP Government, AP statistics, AP Spanish, Honors Physics and English
• 10+ years of dance
• 11+ years of vocal music (music diploma completion by Dec '21)
• 7+ years of violin (school orchestra)
• 8+ years of painting
• Tutoring elementary school kids over weekend at a non-profit school that teaches foreign language
• Raised ~$1600 for COVID relief( kids’ education/meals)
• Summer internship: conducting primary/secondary research for a skincare product launch
• Volunteering at a hospital (4 hours every weekend this summer onwards- last year was on hold due to COVID)
• Science Alliance mentor at school to elementary school students for 2 years
• Officer of 2 clubs at school

Costs: We will not qualify for need-based aid.

Geography - open to locations in the US ( California, Texas ) and Canada
Setting - suburban/medium size city
Size - Medium/large

Thanks in advance

More parameters would be helpful…size of school, geography, setting, etc.

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Thanks, good point. just now added - open to any location within US/Canada, open to any setting and size

Still kind of broad…but Merced and your local CSU would likely be safeties (unless econ is impacted at either).

Highly likelies (not quite safeties because not auto admit) in a range of sizes and settings: U Washington, Oregon, Oregon State, U Utah, Denver U, U Minnesota, ASU, U Dayton, DePauw.

What reach and match schools are on the list?

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Thank you @Mwfan1921 , currently have the UCs for reach/ match ( Berkeley, LA, San Diego/Davis, Irvine, Santa Cruz) . Not sure of chances for other top schools outside the state or what else to consider for reach/match yet.

Safeties can be tough because you have to really want to attend. CSUs an obvious choice — has she visited? Also check out WUE schools.

Not a safety, but a possible match is Loyola Marymount, where there also may be dance options. University of San Diego? University of Colorado, Boulder? Fit is also important!

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I’d encourage her to narrow her focus: size, regional location, urban/rural/suburban/medium sized city, what interests she would like to purse in addition to academic focus in econ, job placement considerations (California vs elsewhere), etc.

I mean, as long as her recs are strong and she can write essays that show herself authentically with good tie ins to a school, 1900 of the 2000 or so colleges and universities in the country are safeties for her at a minimum.

Assuming we’re calling anything with an 85+% chance of admission a safety, she should pick 2 or 3. That could be anything from a CS school to half the flagship schools in the country to a strong private school like a URochester to high caliber but not tippy top LACs like DePauw, Kalamazoo, etc. Assuming the rest of the app is good, URochester is admitting 19 out of 20 students with these types of numbers and that is a very good school. Out of state acceptance rates for no-STEM majors with that GPA+rigor w/ 32+ ACT/SAT equivalent is probably 90% at Wisconsin and there aren’t 15 flagships in the country that have any sort of case for being more selective than Wisconsin. The important things for safeties:
-she likes the school
-you can and are willing pay for it
-it suits her academic/professional/grad school aspirations.

She needs to be very picky with her safety criteria.

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In terms of economics major, what are her academic preferences?

  • Math intensity – no calculus versus single variable calculus versus multivariable calculus and linear algebra.
  • Upper level electives with more of a liberal arts / academic versus business / pre-professional flavor.
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safeties for you
Iowa RAI of 255


Also look like a strong candidate for FSU OOS tuition waiver with her stats

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How much are you willing to pay for a safety? If you are willing to pay full COA at any school, there are lots of safeties.


Here is some historical UC admission rate information:

Recalculate your HS GPA with GPA Calculator for the University of California – RogerHub . Use the weighted capped version for the table below.

Fall 2020 admission rates by campus and HS GPA range from Freshman fall admissions summary | University of California :

Campus 4.20+ 3.80-4.19 3.40-3.79 3.00-3.39
Berkeley 37% 14% 2% 1%
Davis 86% 55% 16% 7%
Irvine 60% 38% 9% 1%
Los Angeles 38% 8% 1% 1%
Merced 98% 97% 95% 88%
Riverside 97% 90% 65% 30%
San Diego 78% 39% 8% 1%
Santa Barbara 81% 40% 9% 2%
Santa Cruz 92% 82% 59% 26%

These are for the whole campus. Different divisions or majors may have different levels selectivity (usually, engineering and computer science majors are more selective).

All of the UCs’ economics majors require single variable calculus. UCB, UCI, UCSD, UCSC offer optional more math intensive versions of intermediate economics courses, and UCLA offers a math economics major.

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Washington State University.


With stats like that her safety should be the absolute perfect school. Perfect size, perfect climate, perferred econ focus (math or humanities focused), greek life, political vibe, location (city, burbs, country), non academic activities, campus vibe (competitive, nerdy, activist, preppy or whatever) distance from home etc. . . If you provide a bit more information, people here will be able to come up with great suggestions.


If she shows interest and applies for a music scholarship (instrument or vocal) at St Olaf would be a high quality safety. Showing interest (through the music competition and by filling out the Request info form) would be paramount.

If she doesn’t mind large universities, pretty much all state flagships save for UCB/UCLA/UVA/UNC CH/U MICH are safeties.
William&Mary, UMichigan may be relative matches for Economics.

If she doesn’t mind smaller colleges, all “colleges that change lives” except Reed would likely be safeties as long as she shows interest.

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The first thing that comes to mind is one of the UC’s. Merced looks like a probable safety to me but people from California will know better than I would. Other UCs should also be at least possible.

The next thing that comes to mind is anything in the WUE program. This is a lot of universities to consider.

With an unweighted GPA of 3.97, and your stated willingness to consider universities in Canada, admissions also looks very likely at almost any university in Canada (omitting only the few that teach in French as their primary language of instruction). UBC, Toronto, McGill, Queens, Simon Fraser, Alberta, Calgary would all be possibilities.

I think that there are almost too many options.

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Sonoma State if you are looking for a smaller more residential experience. CPP, CSULB and SDSU if you want a big one.

good luck


Any school in Canada will be a safety. Some will have GPA requirements after first year to declare economics as a major.


Thank you for your suggestions and questions. I updated the post but here is a quick recap
@ucbalumnus - for economics, academic preferences are 1) single variable calculus level works 2) for upper level classes, business/pre-professional flavors are of interest. thank you for the stats. appreciate it.

@JustVisiting76 , @Theaterforme - good points . My daughter says suburban, mid/large campuses. Greek life/sports are not key, competitive, nerdy vibe works. Climate any thing but muggy/humid climate.

@Mwfan1921 @kevi2900 @gandalf78 @bouders @NCalRent @DadTwoGirls @MYOS1634 - appreciate the pointers. thanks


URochester ticks a lot of boxes. Medium sized. Nerdy vibe. Not competitive, but rather collaborative. Not muggy. In a really pretty area of Rochester that is park like but is adjacent to some entertainment. Solid economics department. Kids are quirky and interesting in a charming way. It is selective, but not to the point where she’s be less than an 85% shot. Probably 95%.

That also have a dance/movement program. A lot of people who miss on T20s shooting for schools like a WashU who really, really like URochester. I know a couple who turned down more selective schools to attend. It’s a nice community. It’s a selective private U that is in a sweet spot where it can still be considered a safety for applicants like your daughter.


Note that some schools have a designated business economics major or option (e.g. UCR, UCLA). Of course, some have an actual business major (e.g. UCR, UCI, UCB). Otherwise, you and she may want to check what upper level economics electives there are.

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