Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls: How to Choose Your Safety Schools, feat. Wisdom from TLC

It’s time to pick your safety schools. And while you’ve tried different ways to imagine that you’re not going to have to resort to going there, it’s all the same: your test scores are what they are and each school has an average range. The good news is, there are THOUSANDS of schools in this country. There are bound to be three to five you don’t hate.

Thought That They Would Never Do Me Wrong  

So, we’ve accepted the fact that you can probably come up with at least a few safety schools that don’t suck to you. Great! You’re halfway there. Now, the next step is figuring out which of those actually look pretty good. We wish it weren’t so, but the hard truth is that a “safety” is not a guarantee. In fact, it’s often less of a guarantee than a target. That’s not because you’re a scrub. (You’re not). It’s because schools often know that they’re your safety. So, if you fall into the 75th percentile of scores (which is what we at TKG consider to be a safety), schools who are worried about their yield rates would sometimes rather offer admission to a candidate they think is more likely to attend.

Your Outsides Are Cool, Your Insides Are Blue…But You Still Need to Pick a School

Once you’ve chosen the schools for which you fall into the right percentile, it’s time to think about the criteria you’d like each school to meet. Consider that for this exercise, you should have it your way or nothing at all. The two most important factors are personality and programs. Consider what kind of environment you’d like to see in a school. Size, social life, extra-curriculars, and distance from home should all be factors in creating your list. Then, focus on the kinds of classes and majors they offer.

Picking the right safety schools for you are not only important as a backup, but as a potential first-choice, too. Many schools offer merit-based scholarships to highly-qualified students.  While we are not a financial-aid company and are not necessarily experts in the subject, a number of our clients (those who don’t qualify as being need-based) are getting merit-based scholarships. No matter how wealthy you are, college is really expensive. If you get any money your way, that’s something to consider, so choose your safeties wisely.

Want to make sure you have a diverse and solid list of schools on your application list? Reach out to us. We can help you identify the right places for you.