Were you rejected or waitlisted at a safety?

<p>I was reading some threads on College Search and Selection, and noticed that some students were listing as their safe schools, schools I wouldn't think were safeties. Are any selective schools really safeties?</p>

<p>So did any of you kids get rejected or waitlisted at their safeties? If so, what schools?</p>

<p>My D2 was waitlisted at Colgate. Her brother was attending and she had stats that were above their average. I still do not know why. We figured this was definitely a safety.</p>

<p>My DD was rejected at Tulane, which SHE thought was a safety, I never quite thought so though.</p>

<p>Some colleges have had rising selectivity for years. A lot of students aiming for Boston University think of Northeastern University as a safety choice if they really want to go to school in Boston. Many got rejected by Northeastern this year and a few of them ended up being accepted by BU according to the posts on CC. </p>

<p>Tulane is another school that has become much more selective.</p>

<p>Both of my kids were rejected at safeties and accepted at reaches. That's why I won't use this nomenclature anymore.</p>

<p>One of the issue with the concept of "safety" schools is that colleges want to be your top choice - not your safety. If a college receives an application from an over-qualified student - they may choose to WL - believing that this applicant has no real interest in the school and is just using them as a safety. One way to overcome this problem is to demonstrate interest - show the safety some love - so they believe there is a real chance you will attend. Sometimes it is as simple as visiting the school and maybe a follow-up e-mail with your regional admissions person mentioning a program that interests you, etc. A little bit of effort can "demonstrate interest" and get you into that safety school.</p>

<p>DD confessed she wrote a very apathetic essay for Tulane, and since they don't use the common app, they never saw her really terrific common app essay.</p>

<p>I agree with the others that lately some safeties have become more selective and might not be considered true "safety" schools any longer.</p>

<p>Thus, I think a "true" safety can be localized to include, perhaps, only those colleges that are required to admit a student if they meet the minimum criteria. For example, in California the Cal States system must admit the student if the student qualifies -- doesn't necessarily mean the one applied to, but that's another story. Same for UCs. If the student qualifies ELC, there's guaranteed admission to one of the UCs if the student applies, but not necessarily the one they want to attend.</p>

<p>Because a student might get rejected by a so-called safety and accepted by a match or reach, that's reason enough to apply to a variety. Otherwise the student might end up going to the ultimate "safety" -- community college. Not that there's anything wrong with that . . . .</p>

<p>Re: Post #1: For Colgate, with an acceptance rate under 24%, I don't think this is really a sure bet for anyone. It may be a borderline match/safety for the strongest candidates, but with that low of an admit rate, I can't see it being a sure bet safety for anyone.</p>

<p>EDIT....I'll modify that a little as I was going by the acceptance rate for those entering in 2008. Apparently the acceptance rate for those entering in 2009 was 31.5% and so it may be a borderline safety for a top student. When an admit rate goes below 25% or so, it is not really a sure bet in most cases.</p>

<p>Tulane admits 27% and so unless a tippy top student, this may not be a sure bet either.</p>

<p>I think you have to be careful when someone states, "I didn't get into my safety school." Just because someone considered it a safety school, doesn't mean it truly was one. I have seen many posts on CC of students' college lists and what is glaring in some of these posts is no true safety for the student. For example, I've seen people with college lists full of Ivies and then the so called "safety" is Tufts, Northwestern, or Wash U, which I don't consider safeties even for top students.</p>

<p>So should a safety be based on acceptance rate? Thread #7 and 8 allude to that.</p>

<p>So a true safety is a school that accepts almost everyone? Or maybe 50 percent?</p>

<p>No, acceptance rate is just ONE factor. You have to examine the stats of admitted students and other achievements, etc. But when you start getting to schools that admit less than 25%, even if your stats are above the profile of admitted students, the odds are still chancy because at such selective schools, MORE than 25% of the applicants have the required stats to be admitted. So, being above the mid range of stats can't be the only criteria at that point (for rating the school reach, match, safety) at schools that have low acceptance rates. The odds start becoming more difficult even if your stats make it appear to be "safe".</p>

<p>And no, I am not saying that a true safety admits almost everyone or even 50%. One kid's safety is not another kid's safety. For tippy top students, a safety school can be more selective. For example, a tippy top student may have Conn College with an acceptance rate of 36% as a safety, when for another kid, this is not a safety at all. But once you get to very low admit rate schools (under about 25% or so), they are not truly sure bets for anyone.</p>

<p>FYI, Tulane rate dropped to 23-24% this year. Of course many universities are seeing a drop because of increased apps, but it does go to show that it is a moving target, and possibly one of increasing difficulty at the better schools. But of course the above is correct, "safety" which is really a poor term anyway, is relative to the school and your stats and potentially another factor or two that might happen to impact your particular app to that particular school that year. For example, did 4 other kids with higher stats than you all apply and get accepted to the private, OOS "safety" you were counting on? Some colleges deny that makes a difference, but who knows. Bottom line, you need to apply to 3-4 schools that you feel are highly probable for admission and affordability, along with the rest you are hoping for.</p>

<p>I think you have to look at the acceptance rate in combination with the applicant's credentials -- but in general I'd want to see a 65% admit rate + high end creds before I would deem the school a "safety" vs. a "likely" or "match". If it is a 50% admit rate or less, I think you have to assume that the school is going to reject some students with strong credentials simply to protect its yield -- so having better-than-typical stats for the school may not help. I think college admissions & enrollment management is a lot more sophisticated than many people assume.</p>

<p>My daughter was waitlisted at two schools she considered to be matches, while admitted at her reaches. I think the waitlist is sometimes used for yield protection with students who seem like they are unlikely to attend. </p>

<p>But she certainly was accepted at her safeties -- my definition of "safety" would make anything other than an acceptance highly unlikely.</p>

<p>I'm not crazy about the term "safety" -- it seems a bit arrogant and presumptuous to me. We used the term "likelies" instead -- where the stats and acceptance history indicated that my kid would be accepted, but recognizing that one needs to show the respect the process deserves.</p>

<p>Both my kids' schools have extensive Naviance histories, so we had a good sense of what grades and scores the colleges expected to see from applicants from our high schools. We'd also heard from GCs who warned that not observing Priority Decision deadlines at the flagship could lead to surprising rejections. </p>

<p>At our house, we considered an acceptance rate between 40-50% a reasonably likely admit, given each kid's stats and grades, and prior admissions behavior per Naviance. My kids visited those schools, interviewed (if the school's process offered it), and wrote essays that showed the love. </p>

<p>Another good reason to show the love: one of S2's schools went from a 43% admit rate last year to the low 30s this year. Don't take anything for granted -- ESPECIALLY if you are hoping for merit money from one of those "likely" schools..</p>

<p>I use the term "safety" because I think of that term as being a "for sure" school (not a "likely"). For some kids with lower stats, that might end up only be colleges that offer open enrollment (such as community colleges or some 4-year colleges that are underenrolled and need to accept all comers). But for many high stat kids that translates into in-state publics with guaranteed enrollment, or private colleges that have essentially recruited the students. </p>

<p>For example, my daughter's GPA qualified her for a status called "eligible in the local context" - ELC -for UC schools -- that meant that she was in the top 4% of her class. I don't know if the UC practices have changed since then, but at the time campuses like UCSB and UCSC reported that they accepted 95% or more of ELC applicants. When I see a number like 95% admission rate.... I think "safety."</p>

<p>My son was a National Merit semifinalist -- when you get mail offering a full ride to a college you haven't applied to, I think its a "safety." </p>

<p>That's not arrogance -- it is just a recognition of the fact that the doors are wide open at some colleges, at least to some students with desired characteristics. </p>

<p>Maybe we need a 4th category-- I don't know how "likely" would compare with "match" -- but my own viewpoint was that there were 3 categories:</p>

<p>For sure / maybe / and not a chance.</p>

<p>There may be a lot of gradations of "maybe" -- but in my mind if it isn't a sure thing, then its not a "safety" either.</p>

<p>Another term often used is "sure bet."</p>

<p>My older son had RPI and WPI as safeties. That was the year RPI was named a "New Ivy" by Newsweek and admissions rate plummeted from 65% or so to around 40% - he still got in and Naviance continues to show for a kid at his school with his stats it's a sure bet. They gave him his acceptance before Thanksgiving - so we knew it was safe.</p>

<p>Younger son had American University as a safety. Again Naviance showed it to be a completely sure bet - it's acceptance rate was 43% this year. He would also have applied to Syracuse as a safety, but when he was accepted at U of Chicago EA he figured he didn't need a second safety.</p>

<p>Our experience shows that rolling admissions and EA provide the best safeties!</p>

<p>S was WL at THREE of his matches, stayed on two of the WL and was called the very first day both schools went to the WL.</p>

<p>I have to say that we were shocked when he was WL instead of accepted, but in the end he's going where he wants to be.</p>

<p>He was flat-out rejected by his reach and two high-matches and accepted to his 2 safeties.</p>

Our experience shows that rolling admissions and EA provide the best safeties!


<p>Well said!!!!</p>

<p>I also feel one should put in just as much effort into their application at what they consider to be a safety. I do think that for small schools, visiting the campus, attending the info session, interviewing, sitting on a class, speaking with faculty, are things that could help. This advice is just based upon the good results we have had.</p>

<p>Oh, and my younger son was accepted at reach school, which really surprised me. He did visit this school twice, interviewed on campus, and did have a geographic leg up in admissions.</p>