…said no BSer, ever.
The whole idea of “safety school” is, to EssaySnark, totally demoralizing and depressing.
Look at it like this: If you are not excited about going to a particular business school, and are only applying there because you are lacking confidence in your chances to such an extent that you’re willing to lower your standards to that point… well, isn’t there perhaps another way to look at it?
A diversified list of targets is of course a smart strategy. We do not believe that everyone should be applying only to H/S/W and then throw in Columbia or Kellogg to round it out. No. If you’re SERIOUS about getting into bschool then you need a considered approach, based on YOU and what you need/want out of bschool, and what your school of interest is looking for.
One idea: If you decide you need to add a “safety school” to the mix… Do your research on the programs and talk to people at the schools you’re considering. If you do enough of this, then a) you’ll be able to rule out, in advance, the schools that you actually would NOT want to attend, and b) you’re very likely to be surprised and even find yourself falling in love with the program you’d previously dissed with this label of “safety school.”
Every program is unique. When you dig in with understanding what a school is about, then it’s probable you will become surprised by how awesome it is.
Even if they happen to have a higher admit rate.
Don’t be a bschool snob, people. It would be a shame to be brought back to reality in December by being rejected by schools that you deign to be in the “safety” category.
And please don’t think that a school like Duke or NYU or Berkeley is a “safety school.” The ignorance behind such a statement is laughable. For many people, those schools are just as hard to get into – if not harder – than Wharton.
What’s a “safety school” is vastly different for one profile versus another. But honestly, we don’t like that term at all. It just seems disrespectful to the school, and disrespectful to yourself.
If you’re settling so much to even consider applying to a certain school, to label it in this derogatory way, then why bother applying? It doesn’t seem like you’re all that enthused about it.
So either get enthused – by finding out more about them – or strengthen your profile and come at this swinging for the fences, after doing the legwork and homework and all the other kinds of work needed to make your first-choice programs in range for you.
If you end up at the far end of this whole cycle in Spring of 2016 with only an admit to a “safety school” in hand, are you going to be satisfied with that? (Especially after you blabbed around to everyone that that school is in the “safety school” category for you?)
“Reach school” is certainly an appropriate label for many (most) people to use for lots of school targets – though frankly we often feel that putting more energy into realistic school targets makes a helluva lot more sense than cranking out apps to schools that the person really doesn’t have a shot at. But that’s an individual decision. Having a well-considered portfolio of MBA targets that includes one or two reaches makes sense (provided, again, you do your homework and actually KNOW why you’re applying to them – beyond just the brand name, which is such a superficial criteria it’s ridiculous – the whole “M7” thing just makes us laugh).
But this talk about “safety school” just seems slightly insulting to the schools, and also you could be setting yourself up for a tasty meal of crow in a few months, if you don’t manage the whole situation carefully.
Maybe it’s just semantics. Most people shouldn’t even be bothering with apps and strategies for their second-tier schools now anyway. The whole definition of a school that’s easier to get into means that your app to that school can be safely relegated to Round 2. So it’s not like you need to identify these Plan B schools right away.
When you’re talking about your schools of interest, just keep an open mind – and some humility. It’s an attractive position to operate from.