Why more than one safety?

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Discus: College Search and Selection: March 2004 Archive: Why more than one safety?
By Z00b (Z00b) on Sunday, March 14, 2004 - 08:37 pm: Edit

Alright, so we know the idea of applying to a safety school is to be sure of a spot at a college, regardless of the the outcomes of your 9-10 other college decisions. However, I don't seem to see why you would spend the time and money to apply to 3 or 4 safeties.

Wouldn't it be better to find ONE school which you know you would love (like/wouldn't mind) attending, and know you'll get in? I've got one in mind, and nicely, I know I'd stand a chance at the large merit scholarships that are offered.

Is there an obvious flaw in my logic? Wouldn't I be better off applying to the schools I really want to attend, knowing that even on the odd chance that I'm rejected from all of them, I still have a place to look forward to attending?

Why do we see so many students who apply to local state U and others while stating they really don't want to end up there?

Just wondering :-)

By Metz (Metz) on Sunday, March 14, 2004 - 08:42 pm: Edit

I've been wondering the same EXACT thing . . . if you aren't confident you are going to get into your safeties, don't bother applying, because they AREN'T safeties!

By Rowan (Rowan) on Sunday, March 14, 2004 - 08:47 pm: Edit

Because even safeties can be quirky. Some safeties may reject you because they don't want to admit someone who they assume is treating them as a safety. Something may be wrong with the application. Someone may just be having a bad day and decide that your particular application wasn't worth passing on.

Who knows? Multiple safeties are a net to fall back on.

By Anothersuitcase (Anothersuitcase) on Sunday, March 14, 2004 - 08:49 pm: Edit

Some safeties will reject overqualified applicants because they can tell that the student is only applying to the school as a back-up. That's why kids apply to more than one safety.

My "safeties" are schools that I would be happy to attend, but I deem them as such because I have a "better" chance getting into them (statistics-wise) than my "reaches".

By Reidmc (Reidmc) on Sunday, March 14, 2004 - 11:53 pm: Edit

If money is an issue, more than one safety might result in some attractive financial options. But as you note, you should be happy to attend any school you apply to.

By Coureur (Coureur) on Sunday, March 14, 2004 - 11:58 pm: Edit

Having more than one safety means that you will still have choices before you if you fail to get into all your reaches and matches. Having multiple options is good. Having one and only one college to go to is not good.

By Thedad (Thedad) on Monday, March 15, 2004 - 03:10 am: Edit

Listen to Coureur. Options are good.

By Haon (Haon) on Monday, March 15, 2004 - 03:14 pm: Edit

The idea of having a safety school is knowing with 100% certainty that you will be admitted. If there is even a 5% chance you won't get in (such as the school being quirky with over-qualified students) then the school is NOT a safety.

Now, assuming the school is actually a safety, the only real reason to apply to more than one is to give yourself a choice. However, you can save yourself the time and energy by visiting your safeties and making the choice between them BEFORE applying.

I'd recommend deciding on one "sure" safety--a school you KNOW that you will be admitted and are fairly certain that you wouldn't mind attending. Then, instead of applying to more safeties, spend your energy looking for more match schools to apply to. Ideally you would apply for 1 safety, many matches, and several reaches. It's your match schools that you will be choosing between most likely, not your safeties or reaches.

By Ariesathena (Ariesathena) on Monday, March 15, 2004 - 03:34 pm: Edit

Because you could decide that you don't want to go to your safety... things may change between October and April. Comparing financial aid could be nice; options, as Coureur said, are good. Even if you aren't applying, getting a merit offer would be nice. Admissions are becoming more difficult every year.

True safeties (i.e. absolute 100% chance of getting in) may not be the academic caliber that you would like. Given that an admissions officer could be tired or cranky, or whatever, it is much better to spend the extra $70 for some peace of mind and apply to two solid schools that you know you would really like, be challenged, and actually go to, rather than one safety.

Most of you do not remember, but there were people on these boards last year who had kids without ANY place to go in April. You don't want to bet college admissions on one school accepting you. Find two safeties that you like, would attend, would be challenged at, and that fit your needs... and apply to other schools above that caliber.

Application fees are a drop in the bucket compared to tuition - $70 is approximately the cost of one hour of class at a private school. Perspective.

... I applied to four schools, but was absolutely certain that I would get into my safety - uber-legacy type deal.

By Augi7 (Augi7) on Friday, March 19, 2004 - 06:28 pm: Edit

well i applied to 8 safeties for one reason. money...if all of my top 6 colleges would have rejected me i would have gone to whichever safety offered me the most money. its that simple

By Dstark (Dstark) on Friday, March 19, 2004 - 06:46 pm: Edit

My kid was rejected from a safety.

By Sfbbgurl (Sfbbgurl) on Saturday, March 20, 2004 - 04:13 pm: Edit

I applied to 8 schools. 4 safeties and 4 match/reach schools. So far I have gotten into all my safeties and rejeted from 3 of 4 match/reach schools. I am still pending for the 4th school. I am definitely glad i applied to 4 safeties. I will have a choice of where I go to college and I know I didnt "just end up" at the school I want to make the decision of where I go.

By Bobbyd (Bobbyd) on Sunday, March 21, 2004 - 12:36 am: Edit

Merit awards and honors programs mainly.

Also I applied to both a small honors college in my state and the honors program at the large state U. as safeties b/c I wasn't sure if I wanted big or small. In the past month I have crossed the smaller school off the list, but it was good to have on the table.

By Fredo (Fredo) on Sunday, March 21, 2004 - 10:41 am: Edit

My daughter applied to two safeties: big state U and small LAC because she was undecided about the size of the school she wanted. Actually, she still is! It's all about options. Yes, you may be absolutely, positively sure in September that your safety is the big state university but 8 months later you may realize that what you really want is small and it would be good to have a safety in hand that meets that criteria.

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