Maryann Aita, Writer and Expert Tutor
I'm sorry to hear that your son didn't have as much luck in applying to college as he thought. I got into a school I really loved, but it was the only school that accepted me, which was disappointing. It felt like so much work that didn't pan out the way I had expected it to for years.
It's important to remind your son that the reason this school accepted him is that they felt he would be a good fit for the school and the school would be a good place for him. I was disappointed when I didn't get into my top choice colleges, but, after graduating from the school I did get into, I realized that the school that did choose me was probably the best place I could have gone. Of course, this is something he can only find out with time.
Visiting the school sounds like a great idea, if possible. Seeing the campus, meeting other students, and getting a feel for the area now that he's been accepted may be reassuring. If there is an admitted students day, I would highly recommend going. He'll be with other students who got accepted and may find a sense of community there. And, as far as other students are concerned, no one has to know this was his safety school and only option.
For now, I would give your son some time. Be encouraging, but I'd advise against pushing too hard to make his safety school sound great. Give him time and be supportive, but if he gets to know the school, I think he will get excited about the fact that he is going to college. But let him know it is also not the end of the road. As another expert mentioned, he does have the option to transfer if he finds he's unhappy there, but he can always give it a try.