I think community college is a great idea. Typically it's cheaper. Get the basics out of the way where it doesn't cost so much. The classes tend to be smaller and the teachers are able to interact with the students more. I wish now I had gone to community college first. I went from a very small HS into a HUGE state university and the culture shock for me was huge. Had I eased into it with a year or two at a community college, I might have been better prepared.
It's interesting the concept of "safety" schools. I had never heard of that before. I applied to 3 colleges and I was accepted at all 3. One I pretty much knew I didn't want to go too and it was a hard choice for the other 2. Ultimately I went to the state university. Looking back, I might have been better off out of state at the small liberal arts college that was my 2nd choice.
Canadian Angel, I hear you about priorities, but in this case, the application was 3 pages and required a half page essay. Basically a few paragraphs. I saw the app. I could have whipped that puppy out in about half an hour. And made $200 for half an hours work. I don't think that would have been that bad. But apparantly this kid looked at the amount as too piddly to care about.