10 Good Safety Schools For Your List

Two students talking outside
August 28, 2023


Reviewed by:

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 5/4/22

Tired of worrying whether you’ll get into college? We’ll share information about 10 good safety schools that will help mitigate your doubts!

Possibly one of the most stressful things about applying to universities is that question that pops up in your head over and over again: “Will I actually get in?” This doubt can linger in the mind of many applicants, even when they have a strong profile.

One strategy that helps put candidates’ mind at ease is building a college list armed with several good safety schools. These are schools that are relatively easy to get into, compared to your other choices. With higher acceptance rates, comes lower rankings—though they still offer a quality education. have a high likelihood of giving you an offer of admission. 

In this article, we will give you information about what are some good safety schools and tips you can employ to find safety schools that suit you.

10 Good Safety Schools to Have on Your College List

What are some good safety schools? Here are 10 quality safety schools that are recommended for your list of colleges to apply to. (This list is not in any particular order.)

1. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is a great school with a rich assortment of educational faculties and resources. The school is best known for its mathematics, research, and arts

When it comes to its admissions profile, first year students typically secure an unweighted GPA of 3.58 and 3.95 in high school and score between 1330 and 1510 on the SAT, and between 29 and 34 on the ACT. 

Tuition ranges from $17,138 to $22,324 for Illinois residents, $35,110 to $42,796 for non-residents, and $36,018 to $45,774 for international applicants.

2. Purdue University--West Lafayette

Purdue University ranks among the top 20 public schools in the country, according to US News. Being a school dedicated to technology and innovation, Purdue University is a school that offers education that makes an impact. 

First-year applicants typically have a GPA of 3.5 to 3.9 GPA and scores between 1190 and 1410 on the SAT, and 26 to 33 on the ACT. If you’re interested in studying in Indiana, this is a great safety school to add to your list!

3. University of Colorado, Boulder 

This is another great school with an acceptance rate disproportionately higher than it should be. As one of the top 35 USA public research institutions recognized by the Association of American Universities (AAU). The University of Colorado, Boulder is an excellent place for STEM programs, especially technology. 

With an average GPA of 3.72, an average SAT score of 1273, and an average ACT composite score of 28.6, the University of Colorado is a great safety school to consider.

4. University of Denver 

The University of Denver is an institution that deeply values the growth and development of its students, and as such offers an excellent environment for studies. 

While the University of Denver does not have a minimum GPA, academic performance is the most important factor that the admissions committee considers. Accepted students tend to have a 3.83 GPA, an average combined score of 1327 on the SAT and 30 on the ACT.

5. University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

The University of Minnesota prides itself on providing endless opportunities for inspiration, discovery, and growth. 

Offering 150 undergraduate majors, over 550 graduate and professional majors, as well as 1,000 internships and research opportunities, this schools strives for excellence, leadership, innovation, and dedication in its education. 

With an average GPA range of 3.59 to 3.96, an average SAT score of 1330-1500 and median ACT composite score of 27-32, the University of Minnesota is a great option for students who want a well-rounded and competitive school that still offers a good chance of acceptance.

6. Gonzaga University

Gonzaga University is a private liberal arts college with education that inspires courage about discovery, learning, and overcoming challenges. It is an excellent place for advancements and innovation, especially in STEM fields

Gonzaga reports that average first-year admits had a 3.69 GPA and secured 1321 on the SAT and 30 on the ACT. 

These statistics demonstrate that the admissions committee places a high value on academic performance, making it a great choice for those who have worked hard in high school and want to continue their education at a top-tier institution.

7. University of Utah

As one of the best universities in the state, the University of Utah is known for its diverse programs in areas such as art, health, and research. The school's motto, "Imagine, then do," reflects its commitment to fostering innovation, leadership, and a spirit of exploration among students. First-year admits typically secure a 3.94 GPA.

8. University of Arizona 

The University of Arizona is a well-respected institution that aims to help its students reach their full potential. In terms of cost, first-year students can expect to pay $13,200 for tuition if they are Arizona residents, and $39,600 if they are non-residents. Financial aid is also widely available, with 9 out of 10 students receiving some form of assistance.

According to the university's first-year admission profile, the average GPA for admitted students is 3.66, and the average SAT score is 1265, and average ACT composite score is 26.

9. Temple University

Temple University is another public research institution with a rich list of degrees and programs, including accelerated programs, honors programs, and international programs. It is a school that values data integrity, resourcefulness, transformative and impactful education, strategies, diversity and community. 

The average academic profile of admitted students typically includes 3.66 GPA, a 1265 SAT score and a 26 ACT composite score. With an annual tuition that begins at $17,136 for in-state students, and $30,864 for out-of-state students, Temple University is a cost-effective option for your college list.

10. University of San Francisco 

The University of San Francisco prioritizes student engagement, practical learning, research, and academic achievement. It is particularly known for its strong business and health programs and has been recognized as a best value school by US News.

USF has a competitive admission profile, with an average GPA of 3.58, a median SAT score ranging from 1200 to 1370, and a median ACT composite score between 26 and 31 for admitted students.

How to Choose a Good Safety School

Many believe that the best way to identify a safety school is by looking at its most recent acceptance rate. The belief is that the higher the acceptance rate, the less rigorous the admissions process will be, meaning you’ll have a higher likelihood of getting accepted. 

While this approach is valid, only looking at the acceptance rate is not enough. Acceptance rates alone don’t paint the full picture of your chances of admission. The best way you can identify a good safety school is to compare your own profile to admission statistics of the average first-year student.

While it may be a bit more difficult to see where you stand with non-quantifiable factors like personal statements and essays, data for GPAs and test scores are made readily available on schools’ official websites. 

Generally speaking, if your grades, GPA, and test scores are above average by a good margin, and the school’s acceptance rate is higher than 50%, then you can consider that school a safety school.

If your numbers don’t quite match the performance of students admitted in the last few years, that college likely isn’t a safety school for you. However, with a sizeable advantage in other factors, such as an outstanding personal statement or being a recruited athlete, you can still have a good chance. 

In recent years, many universities have decided to make standardized test scores optional. This is where applicants must make a crucial decision. If you choose to send in your test scores, you must make sure you do well, so the scores are an advantage and not a liability.

If you decide not to submit your SAT or ACT scores, however, other aspects of your application will play a heavier role in determining whether you’ll be accepted.

It’s important to keep in mind that one student’s safety school may not necessarily be the safety school for another. Every applicant's profile is different. Therefore, you need to compare your own performance with admission statistics to find the best safety schools for you.

How Many Safety Schools Should You Have?

There is no answer that fits all applicants. Because everyone’s situation is different, the number of safety schools to include on your college list changes depending on your profile. 

With this in mind, it’s standard for students to apply to 10 to 12 colleges, with two or three of those as safety options. In other words, safety schools should take up about 25% of the total schools you plan to apply to.

FAQs: Best Safety Schools

Still feeling uncertain? Our FAQs questions will give you more insight and help you figure out what are some good safety schools to consider.

1. What Are Good Safety Schools in NYC?

Here are five schools in NYC with high acceptance rates and relatively low admission competition:

These are five of the most recommended safety schools in NYC. All of these schools offer a wide range of programs and provides a high-quality education. 

2. How Do I Pick a Safety School?

In general, look at the school’s latest acceptance rate and first-year admission statistics. If your numbers are higher than average and the school’s acceptance rate is higher than 50%, you can consider the school a safety school for you.

3. What Is a Safety School in California?

One good safety school in California is the University of San Francisco. It has an acceptance rate of 71% and the average grades and test scores for its first-year students are moderately high. 

4. What Are Good Safety Schools for Ivy Applicants?

Students who apply to Ivy League schools usually have very high GPAs and test scores. Therefore, what they consider good safety schools might be more competitive than other students. Here are some good safety schools for Ivy League applicants:

  • Wheaton University
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • DePauw University
  • Yeshiva University
  • Texas A&M University, College Station
  • University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
  • Virginia Tech

These schools might be notably more competitive than other schools previously mentioned. But if your application is strong enough to have a chance for Ivy League schools, these schools can certainly be considered safety schools for you!

5. Do Safety Schools Offer Worse Education?

This is a massive public misconception about safety schools! While some of the best universities in the country may be very competitive, having a higher acceptance rate doesn’t necessarily indicate a lower quality of education.

Final Thoughts

With the information provided, you should now have a better understanding of the options available for good safety schools! 

When it comes to applying for safety schools, it’s important to still put your best foot forward. Just because admission is more likely at a particular school, doesn't mean you shouldn’t do your best and maximize your chances. 

Good safety schools provide invaluable opportunities for admission. So, don’t let those opportunities go to waste!

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