The not-so universal definition of a safety school

Lindsey Van Hekken, Managing Editor

In a school full of ambitious students, it’s no surprise that the competition for different colleges can be brutal.

Sometimes it seems like college is the only thing we know how to talk about. We’re constantly talking about applications and decisions. While it does get a bit annoying to be asked the same handful of questions over and over again, I have never gotten too upset about the essays or the application outcomes. 

However, something that had just slipped my mind was the idea of the “safety school”.

I didn’t think much about it at first until a friend of mine told me how bad it made her feel to hear that her dream school, which she was not sure she would get into, was just a “back-up” for other people. Knowing that people are applying without any intention of going there can make applicants who are serious about the school feel unaccomplished and inferior to their classmates.

A lot of people feel that their personal standards need to be raised to a sometimes unreachable level because of the pressures from family, peers, or even just themselves. While a school such as Michigan State may have been their dream school, they may feel that it isn’t good enough to be their goal because of the way others around them describe it. 

I don’t think there is anything wrong with having and talking about safety schools. I just think people need to be more aware of how they talk about the schools and go about it in a different way. 

You can’t control the people around you. During senior year, it’s more likely than not that they’ll talk about their back-up schools and ask you about yours. The only way to not be annoyed by it is to have confidence in your abilities and choices.