This afternoon a student who is in the middle range of GPA and test scores told me he was applying to two large southern universities as safety schools. I had to explain to him that these are not necessarily safety schools for him. He was surprised because his family and friends told him that anyone could get in to those colleges. I can't think of any college you could accurately describe in those terms anymore.
Most schools that parents think are safety schools are not. The level of competition for college admission is changing so rapidly that even student impressions of colleges in terms of ease of admission are often outdated.
When parents of this year's rising high school seniors went to college, few colleges had honors programs, fewer students were applying to colleges and the process was much, much easier. Current college bound students do several times the volume of work their parents had to do to get in to college. And safety schools? That term is falling out of favor. Now the term is whether a college is a good fit or good match for a student.