20 Safety Schools to Consider for College
Many of the schools on the list admit far more than half of the students who apply. Their graduates graduate with little debt, have a good chance of finishing their degrees in four years, and go on to successful careers. These schools are dubbed “super safeties.” When making your college list, don’t forget to include safety schools. It is critical to have these options in case you are not accepted to your target or reach schools. Applicants should choose at least one safety school where their GPA and test scores are comparable to those of admitted students and acceptance rates are high.
If you have concerns about good safety schools for ivy applicants, good safety schools for business students, the best safety schools in California, good safety schools for a 4.0 student, and good safety schools for pre med students. In this post, we explain what to look for in a safety school and provide a list of good safety schools to consider when developing your college list. We combed through the Top Colleges list to find 20 schools with acceptance rates of more than 60%.
They are public and private, religious and non-religious, and spread across the country. Some schools place a premium on STEM, while others place a premium on the liberal arts.
What Exactly Are Safety Schools?
Along with target and reach schools, safety schools should be on your college list. Based on your profile, you have a 75% or higher chance of acceptance at a safety school. In terms of test scores and grades, you should be in the 75th%ile of accepted students, in addition to having strong extracurriculars and essays. Having said that, safety schools vary depending on the individual. One person’s safety school may be another person’s target or reach school based on test scores, grades, activities, and demographics.
It is critical to remember that highly selective schools—those with admissions rates of less than 20%—are not safe havens for anyone. Even if these highly selective schools fit your profile, make a list of schools with higher acceptance rates. Keep in mind that some less selective but still prestigious schools practice yield protection, so those should not be considered safe bets for anyone. The percentage of accepted students who enrol in a school is referred to as the yield.
Many schools believe that yield is a measure of their desirability, so they strive to maximize their yield percentages. Schools that do not want to be perceived as safe have a policy of yield protection, in which they reject or waitlist exceptional candidates who they believe will be accepted and enrol in more prestigious schools.
Example of How a Student’s Safety Varies
Assume you and a friend are both applying to Tulane University. You have a 1540 SAT score, a 3.84 GPA with 8 APs, are the captain of your high school’s soccer team, are a member of the robotics club, and work part-time. Your friend, on the other hand, has enrol1400 on the SAT, a 3.52 GPA with two APs, and is on the soccer team but does not participate in many other extracurricular activities.
Admissions officers may use the Academic Index, a tool that combines applicants’ grades and test scores into a single numerical score, as an initial cutoff. Tulane is likely to be a safe bet for you based on stats alone, but a reach for your friend, because their SAT score is lower than Tulane’s middle 50%, SAT score range (1430-1530). You will almost certainly pass the initial screening and have the rest of your application read. Having said that, you can also determine a school’s safety without relying on test scores or the Academic Index.
With more schools becoming test-optional as a result of COVID-19, your GPA, course rigour, and extracurricular activities can all help determine your chances of acceptance. In the example above, based on GPA and extracurriculars, Tulane is still a safe bet for you, but a reach for your friend because they have a lower GPA, fewer APs, and participate in fewer extracurriculars.
How Many Safeties Do You Need?
You should apply to 8-12 schools in total, with at least 2-3 of those being safeties. A well-balanced school list includes 2-3 safety schools, 4-5 target schools, and 2-3 reach schools. While you should have a 75%+ chance of acceptance at a safety school, you should have a 50% or 25% chance of acceptance at a target or reach school. With COVID-19 test-optional policies and lower acceptance rates at elite schools, having a balanced school list with enough safety and target schools is especially important.
Students who only apply to reaches may find themselves with no options at all. In our blog post, you can learn more about safeties, targets, and reaches, as well as how to choose the best ones for you.
How to Find Good Safety Schools
1. Examine your public schools.
Many state schools prefer in-state applicants and have high admissions rates, making them an excellent place to begin your search for safety schools. Some state universities even guarantee admission to in-state students. If you attend Texas public schools, for example, you are guaranteed admission to public Texas universities if you meet a certain class rank and/or testing requirements. Some of these universities are more competitive than others because each school has its own set of requirements for admission.
Local guarantee is a version of guaranteed admission offered by UC schools (ELC). You can qualify for guaranteed admission to a UC school if you attend a participating public high school, are in the top 9% of your class, and take the required classes in 10th and 11th grade. Some state schools, such as the University of Michigan, can be quite selective. Consider less selective colleges such as MSU, regional universities, or community colleges if this is the case.
2. Consider small, private colleges that provide substantial merit aid.
Many small, private schools have high acceptance rates and offer generous scholarships to attract strong applicants. These schools, as opposed to larger state schools, frequently offer smaller class sizes and more contact with professors and faculty, which may appeal to you. While some small, private schools charge exorbitant tuition, schools such as Clarke University, Illinois College, and Florida Southern College offer substantial merit aid, making them excellent choices for safety schools.
Because merit aid is not based on financial need, it can help students who do not qualify for federal financial aid. If you have a strong academic profile, including high standardized test scores, GPA, and class rank, you will most likely be eligible for merit aid, depending on the school.
3. Use CollegeVine to search for schools and determine your chances of acceptance.
It can be difficult to determine which schools to include as safeties on your college list but don’t worry, CollegeVine is here to help! This is why we developed our free scouting engine and school search tool. Your true chances of admission will be displayed based on your academic profile, test scores, extracurricular activities, and other factors. If you’re applying to test-optional schools, our matching engine will still work and will tell you whether or not to submit your score.
We can also assist you in locating schools based on your preferences, such as intended major, admissions difficulty, and diversity. It is also critical to keep in mind that a safety school should be affordable based on your family’s net income. When you consider a school’s financial aid package, the sticker price is not always the same as the net price. Our comparing tool can assist you in navigating these prices and estimating your actual cost of attendance at each school.
20 Safety Schools to Consider for College
While safeties vary depending on the individual, we wanted to share some schools that may be safeties for strong applicants. We also looked for schools that were reasonably priced, even for out-of-state students.
1. Brigham Young University – Provo, Utah
BYU is affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.. If you are a member of the church, you are charged less than if you are not a member, similar to in-state vs. out-of-state costs. The total cost of attendance for Latter-day Saints is $19,654, while non-Latter-day Saints should budget $25,624. Tuition, room and board, books, and personal expenses are all included! This is one of the top safety schools to consider for college and good safety schools for business students. This is one of the 20 safety schools to consider for college and is a good safety schools for ivy applicants.
Undergraduate enrollment is 31,400.
The acceptance rate is 64%.
SAT/ACT scores in the middle 50%: 1210-1400 SAT, 26-32 ACT
2. Ozarks Community College – Point Lookout, Missouri
The College of the Ozarks is a Christian liberal arts college with over 50-degree programs. There are numerous opportunities to participate in leadership programs, such as the Leadership Development Tract and Christian Fellowship. The tuition is $27,530, but keep in mind that the college discourages student borrowing and thus does not participate in federal, state, or private loan programs. This is one of the top safety schools to consider for college and good safety schools for business students.
The undergraduate program has 1,500 students enrolled.
Acceptance Rate: 12%
Middle 50% SAT/ACT scores: 960-1220 SAT, 18-23 ACT
3. Wyoming University – Laramie, Wyoming
The University of Wyoming is located in Laramie, Wyoming, which is a wonderful place to visit. With a student-to-faculty ratio of 15:1, the college also boasts small classes. The cost of attendance is $20,258 per year for residents and $32,828 per year for out-of-state residents. This is one of the 20 safety schools to consider for college and is a good safety schools for ivy applicants.
Enrollment in Undergraduate Programs: 9,900
The acceptance rate is 96%.
SAT/ACT scores in the middle 50%: 1050-1240 SAT, 21-28 ACT
4. Southern Mississippi University – Hattiesburg, Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi has a thriving student life, with over 220 student organizations and numerous immersive study-abroad opportunities. If you want to go, in-state students will pay $25,280, while out-of-state students will pay $27,280. This is one of the top safety schools to consider for college and good safety schools for business students.
Undergraduate enrollment is 11,900.
The acceptance rate is 98%.
SAT/ACT scores in the middle 50% range: 19-26 ACT
5. Kent State University – Kent, Ohio
Kent State is one of the safest campuses in the country, and its student body is diverse, with students from more than 90 countries represented. In-state students applying to Kent will pay $28,666, while out-of-state students will pay $37,542. This is one of the 20 safety schools to consider for college and is a good safety schools for ivy applicants.
22,500 students are enrolled in undergraduate programs.
The acceptance rate is 85%.
SAT/ACT scores in the middle 50%: 1030-1190 SAT, 20-26 ACT
6. Minot State University – North Dakota
Minot State University has over 100 academic programs ranging from Bioinformatics to Criminal Justice and is the third most affordable college in the United States. All students at Minot State pay in-state tuition, and the total cost of attendance is $15,098. This is one of the best safety schools for students in USA.
Undergraduate enrollment is 2,900.
The acceptance rate is 50%.
440-540 SAT, 18-24 ACT: middle 50% SAT/ACT: 440-540 SAT, 18-24 ACT
7. Midwestern State University – Texas
MSU Texas is a liberal arts university located halfway between Dallas/Fort Worth and Oklahoma City. MSU also has a special tuition rate for non-Texans. If you are not a Texas resident, the tuition is $19,446. If you live in Texas, the fee is $17,496. Oklahoma residents can also take advantage of a special reduced rate of $18,396. This is one of the best safety schools for students in USA.
Undergraduate enrollment is 5,300.
The acceptance rate is 71%.
SAT/ACT scores in the middle 50%: 930-1120 SAT, 17-22 ACT
8. Florida International University – Miami, Florida
U.S. News and World Report rank Florida International University as one of the top 50 public research universities in the country, and it is ranked second in international business. The cost of attendance is $23,804. If you live in Florida, the cost is $23,804. Non-Florida residents are required to pay $36,202. This is one of the best safety schools for students in USA.
Undergraduate enrollment is 48,800.
The acceptance rate is 59%.
Middle 50% SAT/ACT scores: 1120-1260 SAT, 23-29 ACT
9. Montclair State University – Montclair, New Jersey is the location.
According to Forbes magazine, Montclair State University is the “best public university in New Jersey.” There are nearly 300 majors, minors, and certificate programs available, a low student-to-faculty ratio (17:1), and all courses are taught by professors rather than graduate students. The cost of attendance is $33,976 for New Jersey residents and $41,936 for out-of-state residents. This is one of the top safety schools to consider for college and good safety schools for business students.
Undergraduate enrollment is 16,900.
The acceptance rate is 71%.
Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1000-1060 SAT
10. University of Maine – Farmington, Maine
The University of Maine at Farmington can be described as an “affordable public equivalent of a small, private liberal arts college.” The college is located in historic downtown Farmington, a lively college town with unique shops and restaurants. There are also numerous outdoor activities available in Farmington and the surrounding areas of Maine, such as snowboarding, hiking, kayaking, and more. The University of Maine Farmington charges Maine residents $19,851 and out-of-state students $31,275. This is one of the best safety schools for students in USA.
1,700 students are enrolled in undergrad.
The acceptance rate is 81%.
SAT/ACT scores in the middle 50%: 1050-1240 SAT, 21-27 ACT
11. University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
The flagship institution of Illinois’ public university system, the University of Illinois, is home to more than 80 laboratories, institutes, and research centres. It has more than 150 undergraduate degree programs offered through its 16 colleges and one of the world’s largest public university library collections, with 13 million volumes housed in 37 unit libraries. This is one of the 20 safety schools to consider for college and is a good safety schools for ivy applicants.
The rank of Top Colleges: 56
The acceptance rate is 62%.
DePauw University is a liberal arts college with two colleges, the College of Liberal Arts and the School of Music, as well as nearly 50 courses of study. It has over 100 clubs and organizations. Minorities make up 20% of DePauw students. Former Vice President Dan Quayle and civil rights activist Vernon Jordan are among the alumni. This is one of the top safety schools to consider for college and good safety schools for business students.
98th place in the list of Top Colleges
The acceptance rate is 67%.
Yeshiva University is a Jewish institution with campuses in New York City and Israel that offers undergraduates a dual curriculum in Jewish studies and liberal arts. Students can also spend a year studying abroad in Israel. This is one of the 20 safety schools to consider for college and is a good safety schools for ivy applicants.
The rank of Top Colleges: 99
The acceptance rate is 63%.
14. Texas A&M University – College Station, Texas
This public research university, the flagship of the Texas A&M system, offers more than 100 undergraduate degree programs. It is a major research hub supported by NASA, the National Science Foundation, and the National Institutes of Health. There are over 1,000 clubs and organizations in the city, including 60 Greek organizations. This is one of the best safety schools for students in USA.
108th in the list of Top Colleges
The acceptance rate is 71%.
15. Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech, a public research university, offers over 100 bachelor’s degree programs through its seven undergraduate colleges. VT is the fourth-largest engineer producer in the United States, with a research portfolio worth more than $521 million. This is one of the top safety schools to consider for college and good safety schools for business students.
The rank of Top Colleges: 110
70% of people accept it.
16. Wheaton College – Wheat
More than 40 undergraduate majors are available at this Christian liberal arts college. The courses on business, applied health sciences, and biology are among the most popular. Its Conservatory of Music has six majors available, including performance, composition, teaching, and scholarship. This is one of the best safety schools for students in USA.
The rank of Top Colleges: 112
The acceptance rate is 85%.
This private university’s students all live on campus, which includes an Asian garden, a replica of Henry David Thoreau’s cabin, and an 18-hole golf course. It has 40 study areas and over 150 student groups. On-campus, service is valued; two-thirds of the student body participates in community service. This is one of the best safety schools for students in USA.
Top 113 Colleges
61% of those who applied were accepted.
This private college specializes in science, engineering, and mathematics, with engineering accounting for more than three-quarters of the student body. Rose-Hulman Ventures, a product design and development firm, serves as a source of internships and job opportunities for Rose students and alumni.
116th in the list of Top Colleges
61% of those who applied were accepted.
19. University of Colorado, Boulder
CU Boulder is a public research university at the foot of the Rocky Mountains that is nationally recognized for programs in aerospace engineering, physics, and environmental law. Its JILA Astrophysics Research Center works with the National Institute of Standards and Technology on projects ranging from quantum physics to the evolution of the Universe.
The rank of Top Colleges: 131
The acceptance rate is 80%.
20. Indiana University, Bloomington
This public research university is the largest in the state and the flagship campus of the Indiana University system. It has over 550 academic programs and allows students to design their own major.
Top Colleges is ranked 132nd.
The acceptance rate is 76%.
The best safety schools and universities aren’t necessarily everyone’s first choice, but they’re excellent backup options when it comes to applying to college. What exactly is a safety school? A good safety school is easier to get into than a top-tier university, and it often has comparable academic programs. As college admissions become increasingly competitive, having a list of good safety schools that you would consider attending is always a good idea.
What are the best safety schools to apply to for students? Whether you’re looking for the best safety schools for students in California, New York, or somewhere close to home, you should always do your homework before deciding where to go. This list of the best backup colleges is ranked by the wisdom of the crowd, so anyone can add their recommendations or vote on the schools listed below.
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