What safety schools do you recomend?

I’m 100% doubting myself right now. I have no idea what schools are garenteed safety for me, and I can’t tell if ivy leagues would be a reach or just downright impossible.
My intended major is Computer science. Unfortunately, I don’t have a spike or a history of STEM Extra curricular since I only recently realized this is what I want to do. My recommendation letters will also probably be from Global Politics and Lit teachers.
I am an Asian female from a small rural state
4.0 GPA unweighted
Full IB
National Honors Society
Speech and Debate
Mock Trial
Volunteer at food bank
Wrote curriculum booklet for old elementary school
Tutored kids math during covid

Can someone recommend what colleges would be good safetys and reaches? I wish I could go to Columbia, but I’m not sure if I’m strong enough to get in

What your SAT/ACT score? Do you plan to apply “test-optional”? What is your home state? What is your budget? In what area(s) of the country are you interested in attending college?

Without answers to these questions your query is simply way too broad for anyone to give you meaningful guidance.

Disclaimer: I’m an incoming First-Year at Brown who was rejected from Columbia RD, but know students attending/admitted.

Also, you should probably post this in the Columbia thread on CC to get people who are familiar with Columbia’s Admissions process to comment.

Note that at many schools like Columbia (whose BA in CS is offered in Columbia College,) and Brown (where I go) you can apply for one major in the School of Arts & Sciences and end up declaring a major in any of the majors in that school. So it could be to your advantage to apply for Political Science/English if that’s the “story” your application tells, and you can always choose to double major or switch completely to CS once admitted.

If you’ve taken the SAT/ACT, and it’s within Columbia’s test score ranges (https://undergrad.admissions.columbia.edu/classprofile/2023 ,) then I highly recommend applying ED if ALL of the following are true:

  1. You LOVE Columbia and would 110% attend if admitted.
  2. You're extremely confident that you can present a well thought out and crafted application by the ED deadline of November 1st.
  3. You and your family can afford Columbia if admitted (run the financial aid calculators.)

Regarding geographic regions, coming from a state or region (like I did coming from the PNW) where not many students go to top colleges is definitely helpful, as it means that there is less competition and you increase Columbia or any other similar school’s geographic diversity, although this logic somewhat breaks down once the first student from your state is admitted.

For low-income applicants reading this, I highly recommend you to apply to the Questbridge College Match and Posse Scholars programs, as these make attending a college like Brown or Columbia with a high sticker price very affordable.

Hope this helps! Good luck with admissions!

Nobody can give you good choices for your safeties from what you’ve posted. A safety is a school to which you are pretty sure to be admitted and to which you want to attend. For the 2nd part, you’ve given us nothing.

You haven’t written anything about whether you want to go to a large or small school, near home or far away, in a rural/suburban/urban area, if you want a college town experience or want to be in a city (although I’m guessing the latter if you are thinking of Columbia), if you want to study abroad, if you care about semester vs quarter, what types of clubs you might be interested in joining, what you’d like in an advising system, if you’d like to live in a theme dorm/regular dorm/suite/private apt, whether you need financial aid, etc.

Your safety is perhaps your most important choice, since it’s the last resort if all your reaches fall thru and your matches ended up being a little more like reaches than you thought. Think about the types of college experiences out there, only after you’ve decided what you want (other than prestige) can you make an informed selection of a safety or two.

Actually, a safety needs three things:

  • You will certainly be admitted.
  • You will certainly be able to afford the cost.
  • You want to attend.

What’s your budget? Need details about what you’re looking for in a college.

You don’t need an Ivy educations for CS. There many excellent schools for CS, both public and private.

CS is usually a harder admit than other majors. Don’t look at the overall acceptance rate for a school, look at the acceptance for CS. It’s typically lower.

Take a deep breath.

You have an unweighted 4.0 GPA. To me this means that you have all A’s for all of high school. This is big. This will get help you get into a good university.

Computer science is a field where there are jobs. It is also a field where people care about what you can do, and do not care much about where you got your degree. There are a lot of universities with very good CS programs.

As others have said, we cannot recommend safeties without knowing your home state and your budget. If you cannot afford it, then it is not a safety. If you are not willing to go there, then it is not a safety.

To me “small rural state” sounds like somewhere out west, which makes me wonder about WUE schools. However, since we live in the northeast I do not know much about the WUE schools.

I am from Montana. I have no issues with budget and do not qualify for financial aid. I would like to ideally be in a city as I think there would be more opportunity for jobs and internships.


@egganog I’m from the PNW as well, and you can view the Western Undergraduate Education school list here: https://www.wiche.edu/tuition-savings/wue/ . However, most state flagships (UofO/OSU, UC Berkeley/LA/San Diego/Santa Barbara/Davis, UW, CalPolySLO etc.) do not participate in the WUE, as these schools are highly competitive (except for Oregon.) For an out of state student, Oregon schools might offer a good amount of merit scholarships, and the Stamps Scholarship program offers 5 OOS students full-tuition every year. UC Merced is the only UC to participate in the WUE. Arizona State University does, but only some majors qualify at certain campuses, so look into that.

uofutah and uofarizona are options as well ^

ASU has WUE only for majors at campuses other than the main Tempe campus (i.e. Downtown, Polytechnic, West). UA at Tucson has WUE only for mining engineering and natural resources.

Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Utah offer WUE at their flagship state universities for many majors.