If you aren’t already aware, college admission counselors use the term “safety school” to mean a college where a student has a very good chance of being admitted, based on data from previous years. It typically refers to a student’s chance of acceptance, but did you know that there are other types of “safety schools” and it might make sense to consider adding them to your list for various reasons.
Financial Safety: A financial safety school would be a school that is affordable for you before any financial aid comes in or after the presumptive financial aid is calculated. This could be an uncostly (relatively) state school, or a private school you expect to give you a good grant to entice you to come (likely a safety school). You can read more about a financial safety school in this previous blog post.
Location Safety: In these times of Covid-19, it might make sense to have one school on your list that is located close to home. Perhaps dorms will be closed and you will be learning remotely anyway. Or perhaps for family or personal reasons you want to stay close to home. This is particularly important for students who are looking at colleges far from home; a location safety makes a lot of sense.
Admissions Safety: This is the most commonly thought of “safety school.” This is a school where, based on the data from previous years, you very likely would have been accepted and likely will be accepted this year. This is a school where your GPA and SAT or ACT scores fall well within or above the mid-50% of accepted students. It’s important to have one or two of these colleges on your list just in case.
For juniors beginning to think about their college list, and seniors finalizing their college list and finishing up applications, consider whether these safety schools should be an addition.