How to Choose the Right Safety Schools 

This post is the final installment in our three-part series on how to choose the right reach, match, and safety schools.

Since the college application process is so competitive, it’s not guaranteed you’ll get into your reach or match schools. This is where safety schools come into play: they may not be your first choice, but you have a great chance of gaining acceptance.

That being said, apply to safety schools you’d actually like to attend, in the event that you don’t get accepted to your top-choice schools. Spend time identifying safety schools that are a good fit by noting academic requirements, planning campus visits, and researching local schools. Here are three ways to choose the right safety schools:

Research academic requirements when choosing the right safety schools

It’s important to spend time investigating which safety schools are the best fit for you, specifically in regard to academics. A college’s academic profile can typically be found online, and it will detail the school’s average test scores and GPA. For the school to be classified as a safety school, your academic background should exceed the school’s average numbers. In addition, ensure the school offers academic programs and tracks that you would be interested in pursuing. There is no use applying to a college if it doesn't have academic programs that spark your interest.

[RELATED: How to Choose the Right Reach Schools]

Conduct campus visits when choosing the right safety schools

Even though a safety school isn’t your first choice, it’s still important to ensure you would enjoy attending if you’re admitted. To get a clearer picture of the college, plan a school visit to see if you enjoy spending time on campus. Ask yourself questions like:

  • How do I feel about the size and overall atmosphere of the campus and student body?

  • Does the school have campus services that I would require or take advantage of?

  • Are there extracurricular activities that appeal to my interests?

If you can’t visit a prospective safety school in person, take a virtual tour online. It’s not the same as being there in real life, but virtual tours can still give you a good idea of a school’s atmosphere.

[RELATED: How to Choose the Right Match Schools]

“Shop local” when choosing the right safety schools

It can be easy to focus on schools far from home, but local colleges can offer you many opportunities as well. You have the advantage of familiarity with the surrounding towns and local support from family.

Additionally, local colleges can be a great fit financially. The option to live at home can, in the long run, save you a good deal of money. Talk with your guidance counselor about strategies for applying to safety schools to ensure you get the most out of the ones you choose.

[RELATED: What to Do After You’ve Submitted Your College Applications]

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