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What are Dream, Target, and Safety Schools?

What are Dream, Target, and Safety Schools?

What are Dream, Target, and Safety Schools?
Pasted Image 0Applicants who thoughtfully organize a balanced list of schools that they wanted to apply to cope with lesser stress than those students applying to a lot of schools. These students craft lists based on the schools they aspire to attend, they’re excited about, and those within their budget: dream, target, and safety schools.

Curating your college list whether it is your dream, target, or safety school will make you feel more in control of your college choices. As such, your fate in college is not decided by the admissions decisions from a long list of colleges.

It is recommended to list six schools: two dream schools, two target schools, and two safety schools. However, it is up to you if you want to adjust it by adding more or lessening your choices. Having this balanced list of prospective colleges will help you set ambitious goals and provide you backup colleges when necessary.

Dream schools

We all have our dream school. Whether it is an Ivy League school such as Harvard or Yale, or a top university abroad like Oxford University. You’ll need to list them down if getting in and finances are not issues. However, it may be difficult to get into a dream or reach school as these are those schools you are unlikely to get into. A reason may be due to academic grades that fall in the lower end or below or maybe because that school has a low acceptance rate. But do not worry because it is still possible to enter these schools. Do not let a school’s sticker price scare you away from applying. There are financial aid awards available for all deserving students.

Target schools

If you feel like you can be accepted into a school through your academic credentials such as grades, class rank, and SAT/ACT scores, list them down under target schools. There are no guarantees that you will be accepted but expecting to be accepted to a school that suits your academics is reasonable. Research on the school’s accepted average range for the recent class. Target schools hold you in the 40–60% acceptance rate. Unlike reach school, you won’t be surprised if you are accepted in a target school.

Safety schools

A safety school is a school that has an over 80% rate of acceptance. Your academics exceed that of the school’s average range. Although it is not also guaranteed, there are higher chances that you would be accepted into such a school. Make sure that the schools you list in the safety school category make you excited and happy to attend still. Moreover, considering financial aid is a good idea as this lessens out-of-pocket expenses and saves money.

To cope up with stress in deciding for your school, set a list of these three categories. After all, your main goal in this college application process is to get accepted somewhere.

College admissions can be daunting. From college applications, college essays, to course programs. To learn more about this, read our other articles here at MSM Unify.


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