Apply to safety schools as a part of your college application process

If you’re planning to attend college, learn about your academic standing and apply to some colleges that may be safety colleges.

Many students are working their way through their senior year of high school. Some students have plans to attend college and have started the process of applying. Making a decision to apply to a college can be challenging. A range of questions on which colleges to apply to may be in the minds of high school seniors. To help with the college application process, schedule an appointment with your high school counselor and find out where you stand academically to help you with your options for college. Once you find some colleges that fall into your academic range, also apply to some safety schools.

What is a safety school? According to Princeton Review, a safety school is a school where your academic credentials exceed the school’s range for the average freshman. It also states you should be reasonably certain you will be admitted to your safety schools.

Bradford Holmes in U.S. News and World Report for Education gives tips for adding safety schools to your college short list. They are:

  • Ensure you would be genuinely happy attending the safety school. The same factors you use to apply to your dream schools are just as important when you select your safety schools.
  • Research and reach out. Go beyond researching the basic facts about the potential safety school. Research the smaller details like you would for your reach schools. Also, visit the college, request a tour and approach the school to let them know you’re interested.
  • Look for strengths in the areas that interest you. Find the strengths in your safety school like the department in the field you are interested in studying.
  • Check the statistics. Make sure the school you’re applying to is a safety school. Confirm that the college admits students with backgrounds like yours, such as average GPAs and standardized test scores.

Applying to safety schools is important because it allows you to have a back-up plan in case you’re not accepted to your first choice schools. Consider applying to colleges with open admissions as a safety school as well. Big Future by the College Board defines open admission as “a policy of accepting any high school graduate, no matter what his or her grades are, until all spaces in the incoming class are filled. Almost all two-year community colleges have an open-admission policy. However, college with a general open-admission policy may have admission requirements for certain programs.” During the college application process, add safety schools to your list of college options.

Michigan State University Extension’s 4-H Youth Development has career preparation resources available to help you identify your interests and explore career options for your future.

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