Preparing for Mediocrity: The Myth of the Safety School and the Fallback Major

Over the next few days, between traveling, I would like to address two common misconceptions.

Every time I meet a prospective student, I ask what other schools they are interested in. This is not an attempt to scope out the competition, but rather to see if  they are looking at quality programs. Usually, the response will be a short list of schools they like and one safety school. Should they bomb all of their auditions, they assume they be able to attend their safety school as a consolation prize. Typically this will be a school close to home or a lesser known school that they have some connection to.

The second issue is the fallback major. When students start to think about their future, the idea of a music major can be a bit intimidating. This will lead some students to pursue a double major as a fallback to pay the bills. This may be a second music degree, typically in education, or a second major outside of the School of Music.

I believe that both of these ideas are flawed and I plan to discuss my opinions in the next few posts. Until then, I’d like to know your thoughts. Should students apply to a safety school? What makes a good safety school? Is a double major a good idea? Leave your comments below.


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