Many people are advised to include at least one “safety school” among their applications so that if all else fails, they’ll have a place to enroll at. But seeing as applications are expensive and there’s no actual guarantee that you’ll get in to even your safety school, should you really bother having one? The answer is yes but here are some things to consider:

The Reason Behind Having a Safety School

The whole purpose of applying to a safety school is to give yourself something to fall back on. A “safety school” is a college that you are fairly certain you will get in to (you exceed its general acceptance standards). Since you’ll most likely get into this school, you’ll then have somewhere to go just in case you don’t get into your other choices.

The Risk

The truth is, even if you seem overqualified you may not get into your safety school. Some people don’t even put in much effort on their safety school applications because they believe it is such a sure thing, only to end up disappointed and shocked when they get a rejection letter. There are no guarantees in the college application game.

The Financial Factor

College applications are expensive, and if you’re on a limited budget applying to an extra school just because it’s “safe” may be something to reconsider. Whatever you do, don’t just pick a school randomly because of its lower admission standards and waste money applying if you aren’t truly interested.


In most cases, having a safety school is a good idea. Still, don’t bother applying to schools that you don’t really want to go to. You should put just as much thought into your safety school application as you do your other ones, and even if it doesn’t match up in your eyes to the other schools you are applying for, you should still have at least some desire to go there.