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college | opinions & advice | applying to college
Safety Schools: Your Plan B
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Unfortunate scenario #1: You are not accepted to any of your favorite schools (cue violins).
Unfortunate scenario #2: You are accepted to one of your favorite schools, but the financial aid package does not sufficiently cover your need (cue entire orchestra).
Every applicant, regardless of the strength of their candidacy, faces these possibilities. And it's for this very reason that you should apply to some safety schools.
A safety school is a school that (1) you can be reasonably confident will admit you and (2) you are willing to attend. That means that your safety schools will necessarily be unique to you.
A safety school is not a school that you desperately hope you won't have to attend. Enrolling in your safety school should not feel like a prison sentence. It should offer all or most of the things you are looking for from your higher education. Ask yourself, "Would I be happy there?" If the answer is not "yes!" find another candidate.
Many state schools provide an excellent education and offer admission to the majority of in–state residents who meet certain basic academic requirements. Remember that further down the road, you can take a second shot at your first–choice school with a transfer application.
Financial Safety Schools
If your school list is made up of expensive, selective schools, consider a financial safety school too. Again, this is a school you can be reasonably confident will accept your application, and it's a school whose tuition will be affordable even if your aid package is less than stellar.