Searching for “Safety” Schools

Looking for a few safety schools to add to your college list? Dave Berry investigates:

There are many well known national universities which qualify as safety schools according to Dave Berry’s definition based on an 80% acceptance rate.

University of Iowa
Iowa State University
Arizona State University
University of Arizona

Catholic University
Auburn University
University of Oregon
University of Colorado–Boulder
Colorado State University

Marquette University
Drexel University accepts about 79% of all applicants
George Mason
University of Montana

University of Nevada–Reno
Univ. of South Dakota
Old Dominion

Indiana Univ.-Purdue U. in Indy
East Carolina
University of Wyoming (best university in the state!)
Kansas State
Univ. of Kentucky

Univ. of Mississippi
Kent State
Seattle Pacific
Montana State
Utah State

Univ. of North Dakota
Univ. of South Dakota
Suffolk University
Pace University

Missouri Univ. of Science & Technology
University of Hawaii at Manoa
University of Alabama-Birmingham
Illinois State
University of Kansas
University of Illinois-Chicago

In my opinion, it is best to apply to at least two safety schools which engage in rolling admissions so that applicants alleviate stress by having acceptances in hand early in the process.

They accept slightly less than 80%, but Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, & Nebraska are all pretty, safe, friendly, fun places which make nice safeties.

Google “super safety colleges forbes”

80% admission rate does not necessarily mean that the college is a safety for all applicants. For 20% of applicants, it obviously is not a safety.

For those 20%, maybe attending a four year college or university at this stage of their life is not the best route to take. Community college may be a wiser & more affordable option.

@ucbalumnus: Plus, most of the universities that I listed in post #1 above accept over 80% of all applicants. For example, Kansas State University accepts 95% of all applicants, Univ. of Alabama-Birmingham accepts 92%, University of Kentucky accepts 96%, Seattle Pacific Univ. accepts about 91%, Univ. of Wyoming (the best university in the state) accepts 97%, North Dakota State accepts 92% & the Univ. of Montana accepts 93%. And this list of four year schools which accepts over 90% of all applicants is just a partial list.

Iowa State University–an excellent school–accepts 89% & the University of Iowa–a Big Ten school–accepts about 86% of all applicants.

I wonder what the atmosphere is like in the admissions offices of Wyoming & Kansas State…Instead of arguing the case for their favorite borderline applicants, does the staff focus on composing denial letters that deliver the heartbreaking news with a personalized silver lining?

I know at Kansas State (which is an excellent school even though they do accept most applicants!) the admissions office spends most of their time working on ways to encourage applicants to apply. It is in the middle of nowhere but has a great college town, not too far from Kansas City and has an excellent veterinary college and great research opportunities. It is a safety for most but financial safety maybe not for all OOS if you can’t meet their scholarship requirements (which are really good). Example: with no need based aid this semester we paid about $7000 for tuition and that included a $3000 study abroad program for the summer and a global campus course (more expensive). With food and housing will be about $10,000 all other semesters have been about $7000 total. Not a bad deal at all for an OOS. Just stating to show that you have to take the financial part of Safety into account as well as the admission number. (Oh and we chose this school for the quality of their pre-vet program, atmosphere on campus, fit for our student, and positive impression the faculty made on all of us, not because it was a safety)

Often overlooked in searches for a safety school are Canadian universities. They admit exclusively or at least primarily based on stats: UW GPA and SAT/ACT scores. McGill for example is strictly based on stats and they publish minimum requirements. You do not have to deal with the holistic admissions “black box”. If you are above the minimum requirements it would be a safety. And it is a name that is widely recognized in academia in an incredible city.
They do have limited merit and need based aid for American applicants.

But don’t Canadian universities charge a higher tuition rate for international students ?

Only university in the state! :smiley:

@Publisher Yes but in terms of admissions they may be a safety.

I always suggest people apply to a couple of non-binding EA (if allowed) or rolling.admission schools. If they get in by December and the school is affordable then it becomes a safety regardless of the college’s overall admission rate. The early acceptances also took a lot of anxiety out of the process for both of my kids.

Yes, and they may also charge different amounts based on major (like some US universities, but the spread may be larger).

Here is McGill’s cost estimate: (note: in Canadian dollars)

This Canadian U doesn’t charge much more for foreign grad students; foreign undergrads get a good price too ( don’t forget to convert to US $)