Safety Schools for strong students

<p>S is looking for a school with very strong math/physics departments, preferably with access to graduate courses. He's identified a group of schools that meet his needs - Harvard, Yale, Princeton, MIT, and Cornell. He's a good candidate for all of these schools. However, given the competitiveness of their admissions, he really needs some safety schools. What would be a true safety school for a student with high stats and solid EC's who needs a very strong math/physics program?</p>

<p>Harvey Mudd.</p>

<p>As a safety? I'm not so sure... look into RPI. I know their engineering is very strong, and I'm pretty sure physics is pretty good too. I'm not entirely sure about math. U Chicago has an amazing math program as does UC Berkeley, although I'm not sure either would be a safety. If your son is really well qualified, they'd probably be matches or safeties.</p>

<p>If the student is a strong candidate for Harvard, Princeton, Yale, and MIT, Mudd should be a safety, or at least a match/safety. Unless Mudd comes down with a bad case of Tufts, I can't imagine someone good enough for those schools getting turned down by Harvey Mudd.</p>

<p>Unfortunately, I think Harvey Mudd may go through a bout of Tufts-itis...</p>

<p>I agree with Coureur about Harvey Mudd, although they don't have a grad school. Also look at Carnegie Mellon, Rice.</p>

<p>Harvey Mudd is strictly undergrad so students would not have access to grad level courses. But, they have plenty of opportunities for undergrad research. Also, HMC denied admission to many with SATs>1550. I'd consider a school a safety if an applicant's stats are in the upper range of admitted students with a >60% acceptance rate. Admission rate for female students at HMC is about 60%, for males it's about 20%. Check out Chicago, UIUC, UWisc, RPI, BU, CWRU, Rose Hulman, Vandy.</p>

<p>Another very strong school for math and physics is Williams, though it is not a safety for anyone. Besides schools listed by Kissy, I would add Michigan.</p>

<p>For a truly strong applicant, there is some degree of safety in numbers. Just about anyone can be rejected from HYPSM, but at the next level, the odds improve significantly, and a sufficient number of good choices among these superb schools should provide a degree of safety. However, be sure that you are at that level.</p>

<p>How bout U of Rochester?</p>

<p>Boston U has a very strong physics program. U of Rochester is another good suggestion. Vanderbilt might also work. In terms of LAC's, try: Carleton, St. Olaf (excellent math department), Trinity U (Texas), Lawrence U (Wisc), Whitman (Washington), Reed (Oregon).</p>

<p>What is Tufts-itis?</p>

<p>Tufts doesn't like to be anybody's safety (so goes the widespread belief). If the adcom sniffs it or has evidence of it, the student won't be admitted despite being qualified.</p>

<p>My son's safety schools were GW and BU. He liked Washington and Boston, and both schools have decent premed studies which is what he is hoping to pursue.</p>

<p>Thanks for all the great suggestions. Michigan is a school he is also considering since it has an honors math program. Does anyone know what admission stats are like for out of state students? I went to grad school there, would they consider him a legacy?</p>

<p>Ironically Tufts is also a school he may consider. Does anyone know anything about their math department? I also noticed several people mentiond BU. Is their math department really that strong?</p>

<p>bu will have a wide variety of classes for him to take, but the campus is nothing like any of the other schools he's looking at. the "city as the campus" thing is definitely not for everyone so be sure he likes it. the thing about bu is that it has a incredible breadth of classes, but not as much depth as harvey mudd or rpi, for example</p>

<p>as for "tufts syndrome" i'm not sure how true it is, but it seems feasible because of their admissions policies. at least from our school (in ma), they only accepted the two top students who applied, and neither went there (one to mit, one to bu for financial reasons), while they rejected a very excellent candidate who would've gone there if accepted. i suppose it happens to every school, but tufts seems to get burned in this way a lot. it's known for being an "ivy reject" school and that's one of the reasons i didn't apply (plus those freaky elephants everywhere and the people were mean...)</p>

<p>anyways that's not specifically related to your question...but there it is</p>

<p>Now now ay caramba, that's not what my son found at Tufts at all. He visited several times including an overnight before he decided to apply ED round 2. Yes, he was first rejected from Yale EA, though he feels no bitterness. He is thrilled to be at Tufts. With 42% of the freshman class accepted via ED, it is apparently a school of first choice, especially with its nationally known International Relations and Biology/Chemistry departments. It is no more an "ivy reject" school than is Wesleyan, Swarthmore, Johns Hopkins, Middlebury, Northwestern, and other fine non-Ivy schools to which many kids rejected from Ivies ultimately matriculate. Tufts has one of the highest retention percentages in the country. That means the kids are happy, and Tufts is doing a good job of admitting kids with whom there's a good "fit," freaky elephants and all. :)</p>

<p>I wish I knew more about their math department, Cookie. I do know that my son, who placed out of the introductory calculus classes via AP test, reports enjoying his challenging math class. You might want to post on the Tufts board, where current students post often and are very helpful to prospective students.</p>

<p>I think Tufts has a strong math department. I believe that some of its students took part in the Putnam competition recently. Another school with a strong math department is Duke. In fact, looking up past Putnam participants might be a good way to identify strong math departments (not the only one though!).
The BU math department hosts the PROMYS program; I read in a newspaper account of the debacle over the Silber succession that the math department was understaffed. But it is still pretty strong. I believe it has a program in mathematical physics which sounds attractive.</p>

<p>Just some random schools:</p>

<p>U of Illinois
U of Chicago
U of Maryland
Johns Hopkins</p>

<p>They seem like relative safety/matches to me - and all are ranked highly for physics...if that helps.</p>

<p>Many of the schools suggested are not safety schools in my opinion. A safety school is one that will take you even if things do not go well. I have seen very strong students who were candidates for HPY use schools like Hopkins or Tufts as match/ safeties and get burned pretty badly. Any time you are looking at a school that rejects more students than it accepts, it is not a true safety unless you get your app in early to your state school. </p>

<p>An issue that is often not taken into account, and happens more often than any of us like to think, is that some kids blow it senior year. They get into trouble. Their grades plumment, or maybe it's one course where they get into a tift with a teacher and the get a low grade, or get a dicey rec from someone who was supposed to be an advocate for them, or they have emotional problems or have disciplinary issues. a few years ago, a lovely and very talented young lady at my older son's school who was applying to all of the top schools lost control and started having some eating disorders. All of these things can make a student that was top grade, questionable for any of the selective schools. I think many of the schools suggested are good match choices, but schools like Hopkins, U Chicago, Harvey Mudd and many others mentioned are not safeties for anyone. A safety does not deal just with the student as his profile now stands but for issues that may come up in the near future.</p>