|By Fern Herrmann on Tuesday, August 21, 2001 - 11:06 pm: Edit|
What exactly, makes a "safety" a safety? If you are above the middle 50% in average SAT scores? I've heard people say a safety is a school where you havea better than 90% chance of being accepted, but how do you know that?
|By Dave Berry on Wednesday, August 22, 2001 - 08:10 am: Edit|
Hi, Fern. Generally, a safety school is one at which an applicant is virtually guaranteed admission. As with most things today, however, there are never any absolute guarantees, but with colleges, applicants can most times be pretty sure of which schools are safeties and which are relative risks.
Acceptance rates, as you note, are a good indicator for one's chances. Another indicator is the genre of school. State universities, because of their relatively large size, tend to evaluate admissions more on an impersonal, quatitative basis (SATs, GPAs, class rank, etc.) rather than more personal qualities (essays, interview impressions, recommendations, etc.). Again, though, be aware that there are highly selective state schools and easy-to-get-into private liberal arts colleges.
If you're referring to your son's stats in your question, my guess would be that if he's above the middle 50% on SATs, meets the overall admission requirements of a college with even a 70% acceptance rate, and fits generally within the admitted-freshman profile, he's in.
One final word of caution: Regardless of which school(s) he selects for safety purposes, those colleges should be selected for the right reasons and not applied to with a smirk, so to speak. Applicants have to ask themselves this question: "If everything went wrong with all my other applications, would I still be happy going to any one of my safeties?" Stranger things have happened. However, with the right guidance, no senior should ever need to enroll at his or her safety. That's what college counseling is all about.
|By BeenThere on Thursday, September 27, 2001 - 06:46 am: Edit|
Keep in mind that sometimes those "safeties" offer attractive merit scholarships.
If money is a factor, it's actually worth applying to several safeties. My son wanted a LAC, and since it was important for him to have small classes and to work closely with his profs, even the third-tier safeties offered something closer to what he wanted than the higher-ranked state University.
One safety in a neighboring state offered a Dean's scholarship plus need-based aid that brought the out-of-pocket cost to about $3000 LESS than the state University. My son did not end up going there, but a classmate with excellent academic credentials who received the same scholarship award did choose to attend there.
So, a "safety" can also be a financial cushion.
|By MrBill on Thursday, November 08, 2001 - 10:59 am: Edit|
These days, concerns about terrorism, etc., are narrowing the college search of some students to campuses within easy driving distance of home. Gives new meaning to the term "safety school"!!
|By Dadster on Thursday, November 15, 2001 - 08:35 pm: Edit|
Safety schools can also offer an environment where the very qualified student can stand out. A kid who would be just another smart kid at an Ivy may have the opportunity to really excel at a less selective college. While there is a tradeoff in terms of the quality of the peer group, there may be opportunities, too. Greater opportunities to snag limited research spots, more interaction with profs or visiting celebs, etc., may accrue to the kid who is clearly in the top few percent of students at a particular college.
One other thought - it would be a mistake to equate ease of getting in with ease of getting high grades. I've seen many students who assumed the work at a particular college would be easy because of comparatively low scores of acceptees - bad assumption!
|By G. Dolianas on Monday, November 19, 2001 - 08:38 am: Edit|
The one factor many high school students overlook about a safety school is that it should be a place where they wouldn't mind going, if they "had" to. Safties should be selected with care and not approached with a "throw-away" mindset.
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