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Tips for determining "safety schools"


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Hi Everyone,

It looks like I will be reapplying to graduate schools next year. Some of the feedback I have gotten from my letter writers is that I may want to try to apply to less top tier programs next time, but I was wondering what is the best way to determine what schools are middle tier or safety schools? Smaller, less well-known schools looked like they typically (not always) had less promised funding for Ph.D. students, which is why I didn't apply to some of the smaller programs for F17. 

Does anyone has any tips for figuring out safer bets when it comes to reapplying? Do you normally just look at the school's ranking for the type of program (i.e. biology, psychology etc.)?

At the end of the day, I know it is supposed to be about research fit, but perhaps less prestigious programs will be less competitive?

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  • 2 weeks later...

I was rejected by the physics department at Wayne State University but accepted by the University of Michigan so I don't think there's any such thing as a "safety school". Figure out where you want to live, what you want to do, and apply. Ignore rankings because they don't mean much.

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