I have never liked the phrase ‘safe school’ in developing a college list. It implies that someone will “go to this school if they cannot get in anyplace else.”
But it makes no sense to waste your time, or a college’s, to apply to a school where you have little to no interest. It also makes no sense to attend a four-year college with the idea of “transferring up” to another one. Highly desired colleges, including the more selective, have far less room for sophomores or juniors than they do for freshmen.
A safe school is a college that is quite likely to offer you admission. But that college also offers everything you want academically, financially and socially, and affordable for your family.
I know, it feels good to get into a school that is very difficult to get into. But selectivity is not a measure of quality. It is a measure of demand for a limited supply of seats. However, there are many colleges that offer high quality and achievable admissions. Over half of the nearly 1,400 colleges followed by the Pew Research Center admitted over two-thirds of their applicants. Many of these schools are quite popular with New Jersey residents, including the University of Delaware and Virginia Tech.
Definitely, if you’re willing to do some research. Begin your research by asking yourself some questions. These include:
Like many college admissions advisors I see too many lists with too many colleges that turn away most applicants. There’s nothing wrong with reaching for a school that has extremely selective admissions, especially if your academics are strong. But at the same time you should be left with an attractive set of choices among your acceptances.
Put as much effort into considering schools that are likely to offer admission as you would into considering those that will be a reach. College admissions are not just about getting in. They are also about finding and choosing a school that will give you everything you hope.
Listen to my talk, College Is A Learning AND Living Community, hosted by Dr. Cynthia Colon from Destination YOUniversity on Voice of America Radio!
Listen to my talk, What Exactly Is a Good College? hosted by test-prep experts Amy Seeley and Mike Bergin on Tests And The Rest!
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