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Reach, target, and safety schools

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Quick comparison

The jargon of reach, target, and safety schools is used in the context of college admissions.

Type and names Desirability Difficulty of getting in Stage of likely rejection
Reach school (aka dream school) Very high Very high (i.e., very low probability of acceptance) Highly likely to not get past first screening.
Target school (aka core school) High High (i.e., low probability of acceptance for any individual target school, but high probability of getting accepted in at least one of the target schools) Will definitely get past first screening (based on grades and SAT/ACT scores), but might get rejected because of highly competitive admissions process.
Safety school (aka likely school) Low or moderate Low (i.e., high probability of getting into any individual safety school) Will likely get an admission offer.

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