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The Ivy Coach Daily

May 31, 2022

On Applying to Multiple Safeties

When a third of an applicant’s college list consists of safety schools, that college list needs to be burned.

It’s a phenomenon that has experienced an uptick in recent years: more and more high school counselors are suggesting that students add a number of safeties to their students’ college lists. It’s a phenomenon that makes zero sense to us. And why? Because a safety is a safety and if a student is truly applying to a school that is a safe bet, then why should that student waste their time and application dollars on two, three, four, or even five safety schools?

But we get it. High school counselors just don’t want to leave anything to chance. They’re risk averse. The last thing they want is a student or their parent coming to them in early April and saying, “You said Emory was a safety for James. Why didn’t he get in? Worse, he didn’t get in anywhere! Now he’s going to have to eat canned soup and work at a dairy farm!” Ok, so no parent says as much but you get the idea. Yet we still don’t believe in students applying to more than two safeties. It just defies logic.

This is particularly the case when a student is applying to one such safety school in the Early round. If they’re applying Early Action to a safe bet, why should that student then have additional safeties on their Regular Decision list? Regular Decision applications aren’t due until after students receive word from their Early schools. So it always leaves us scratching our heads when high school counselors suggest — or rather insist — that a student add more safeties when there’s already a safety among the student’s Early choices. It is our firm belief that a safety is a safety is a safety. When we say a school is safe, it’s safe. So there’s no need for our students at Ivy Coach to apply to multiple safeties.

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