How to Determine Reach Target and Safety Schools

Understanding the Importance of Reach Target and Safety Schools

As a college applicant, it’s essential to understand the difference between a reach target school and a safety school. Your reach target school is your dream school that’s challenging to get into, while your safety school is your backup college option. It’s essential to choose a combination of both types of schools to ensure your application is well-rounded and safe.

For example, suppose the student plans to apply to only Ivy League schools with a minimum grade average of 4.0. In that case, it’s crucial to apply to additional colleges, including state universities, community colleges, and other safety schools, to ensure the student has options if they don’t get into their reach target schools.

Research Your Reach Target and Safety Schools

Before applying to colleges, it’s crucial to research thoroughly to determine your reach target and safety schools. You should start the process by first understanding your academic achievements, talent, strengths, and weaknesses.

Once you’ve determined your academic standing, research schools that match your academic achievements and fit your criteria, such as location, size, and programs offered. Focus on schools that meet your criteria and fit into your academic standing.

Your research should also be extended to reach schools that are slightly more challenging, including a long shot. However, it’s vital to ensure that you don’t waste time applying to schools that are out of your range. A college counselor can help you determine what schools are a fit for your academic achievements and talents.

Admissions Criteria of Reach Target and Safety Schools

It’s crucial to understand the admissions criteria for your reach target and safety schools. The requirements for admission can vary from school to school and from program to program. Some schools may place more emphasis on your extracurricular activities, and others may focus more on academic achievements. Knowing the admissions criteria for reach target and safety schools can help you tailor your application to meet their needs.

When applying to colleges, be sure to check the admission requirements. Some schools may require SAT or ACT scores, while others may not. Some schools may require essays or letters of recommendation, while others don’t. Knowing the requirements of reach target and safety colleges can help you prepare a detailed application.

Consider the Overall Cost of Tertiary Education

When applying to colleges, it’s crucial to consider the overall cost of tertiary education. Research the cost of tuition and other expenses for each college and university you are considering. Find out whether the college offers financial aid, scholarships, or other forms of assistance to help offset the costs.

You want to make sure that you are not limiting your options based on cost. Reach target schools can be expensive, so it’s important to have financial aid options if you get accepted. When considering your safety schools, look for institutions that offer financial assistance to ensure that you have an affordable backup plan.

Maintain a Safe Number of Applications

Applying to colleges can be a big task, so it’s important to maintain a balance. You want to apply to at least one but no more than four reach target schools. Applying to too many reach target schools can increase your chances of rejection, and it can also be time-consuming and expensive.

It’s also essential to match the number of safety schools to your reach target schools. You want to apply to enough safety schools to ensure that you have affordable options if your reach target schools don’t accept you. However, applying to too many safety schools can limit your options if you don’t get accepted to your reach target schools.


Choosing the right combination of reach target and safety schools is crucial to achieving your college dreams successfully. It’s important to conduct thorough research before applying and understand the requirements of each school. When applying, make sure to maintain a balance by applying to an appropriate number of reach target and safety schools. It’s also crucial to consider the cost of tertiary education when applying to colleges.

By following these steps, students can increase their chances of success and make their college experience more enjoyable.

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