Reed College

Portland, OR, USA

Reviews

Reed College

4.34 Average Rating

Alex from Denver, CO

a current student here
26 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Reed is a wonderland for quirky and intellectual people who want to be learning and growing every day. The classes are small and individualized, providing an environment where you are encouraged to explore your own ideas and push others to do the same. With constant support from the faculty, you always know where you are and how you can be improving, and you are given constant kindness throughout the academic rigor.
Tips for prospective students
Reed is a place to come if you love learning, if you want to be pushed out of your comfort zone, if you want teachers to be watching you and challenging you with every assignment, if you want to be around unique individuals who also love to learn, and if you are willing to work hard to have all this.
Academic Rigor
Reed is not easy. But it is completely manageable with the knowledge that all students are facing their own challenges and that your teachers are always there to help.
Dorm Life
There are a few dorms that are uglier and older than others (avoid Foster, Scholz, MacNaughton, if possible), but the dorms generally have a strong sense of community. Tir Na Nog, the sci-fi/fantasy dorm, has an amazing community of lower- and upper- classmen who thrive in a nerdy, social environment.
Food and Dining
I have been told by many transfer students that Reed has some of the best college food. But like all dorm food, the meals get old and bland. One amazing thing about Bon Appétit, Reed's food service, is that they use all local, organic foods. The meals are always balanced and healthy and there are always options for vegetarians and vegans.
What to do for fun
Go to: Noise Parade, Stop Making Sense, Fetish Ball, Drag Ball, and of course, RENN FAYRE. But take warning: these parties/dances can get a little rowdy.
Bang for the buck
Reed is expensive. Personally too expensive for me. But I think it is worth every penny. I will gladly be paying off student loans in years to come knowing that I received such a great education and so many opportunities
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
Everything at Reed is unusual, and there are too many traditions to count. Some of the best:
*The Doyle Owl: every year, dorms compete for ownership of the Doyle Owl (a giant, concrete owl stolen by Reedies many, many years ago). The fight gets pretty crazy, but everyone is so excited. The winner hides the owl, and it is constantly threatened to be stolen. Some day, they decide to bring it out, and the fight starts all over.
*Renn Fayre: Originally a Renaissance festival, Renn Fayre is a three-day party on campus for exclusively Reedies. It involves naked blue people, champagne showers, and endless amounts of glitter. You will hear about Renn Fayre for the whole year until it happens. It's that amazing.
Great for these types of students
Nerdy, introverted, social, intellectual, smart, hard-working.
Greek Life
There is no Greek Life on campus.
Campus Safety
Reed operates differently from most schools. Rather than being super strict about drugs and alcohol, Reed Campus Safety recognizes that the stricter you are, the more you drive these activities underground. Instead, they work with safety in mind first. We have medical amnesty meaning you won't get in trouble if your health's in trouble and you contact the CSOs. They want to make sure no one gets hurt or does anything stupid, but they do this with respect. We have something called the Honor Principle, which means you act with integrity recognizing that your actions have consequences and that you should always act as responsibly as possible. The Honor Principle provides a great environment for safety if respected.
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Maya from Charlotte, VT

researching this school
19 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Will learn a lot
This school will teach you how to think independently and seek out your weak points in order to improve them.
Will enjoy being here
Tightly-knit student body with endless campus activities. The school is right in Portland, OR so off-campus events are easy to find as well.
Bang for the buck
One of the more expensive schools out there- but for a good reason. Their need-based aid program, however, ensures that people who deserve to be there can make it happen.
Tips for prospective students
Visit! Reed has a great prospective student program that includes visiting multiple classes, staying the night in the dorms, eating lunch students, and opportunities to use the gym and other facilities. Find someone cool and tag along for a day or two beyond your visit- most staff don't mind and it will give you a chance to enjoy the weekend.
Great for these types of students
Perfect for students who like to squish their toes around in the mud in order a) see what it feels like, and b) forget why you did it in the first place. Reedies study hard all week long- don't expect many parties on a Tuesday or Wednesday. But, come the weekend, are ready for a release.
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Molly

a current student here
14 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Reed is tough. The students are intelligent, intellectual, wild, liberal, and independent. The work is highly demanding, but very rewarding.
Tips for prospective students
Students who come to Reed work hard, but love it. They love learning for the sake of learning. Reed is wild and quirky at times, but in the middle of a semester, everyone is working, even on the weekends. We do it by choice, because we love it. Don't come to Reed if you're a grade chaser; come to Reed if you love to learn.
Academic Rigor
When they tell you Reed is hard, they mean it.
Dorm Life
Dorm life is great. I loved living in the dorms, and many people live on campus all four years. The community is wonderful and a lot of fun-- which can be distracting from work, so you have to be careful at times.
Food and Dining
The on-campus food is pretty good, but not 5-star.
What to do for fun
Learning is fun! There will be weeks when that's all you'll do. Ok, but aside from that: going into Portland is awesome, it's a really cool city. The coast is about a 2-hr drive away. For fun I usually just hang out with friends; frequently there will be dances in the Student Union on Fridays or Saturdays. Reed isn't known to be a party school, but you can find them if you look for them. A form of partner dance called Blues Dancing is popular at Reed, and in the general Portland area, and many people do that once or twice a week. As in any college, if you're looking for something specific, you'll probably be able to find it.
Bang for the buck
The education is great; you'll learn a lot, the classes are small, and the teachers are dedicated.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
At the end of the year, the students celebrate with a tradition known as Renn Fayre which is difficult if not impossible to explain. It's quirky, wild, and unique to Reed. The Canyon (the lake and river in the middle of campus) is beautiful all year round, though it can get muddy in the winter. The trees all over campus are beautiful, and in the spring, the cherry blossoms in Eliot Circle are wonderful.
Great for these types of students
Student who love learning and are willing to work hard for little external reward. The reward of doing well in a class at Reed comes from knowing you did well and learned a lot, because unless you ask, you won't know your grade.
Clubs and Activities
There's lots to get involved with; Reedies tend to be well-rounded, and you can find everything from Bridge Club to Ultimate Frisbee. My favorite is ARG: the Association of Reed Gamers. They have all imaginable board games, and get together to play them every other Friday or so. There's also a club that bought an Aerial Rig and sets it up twice a week for Reedies to practice climbing the silk; it's difficult and a lot of fun.
Greek Life
That doesn't exist at Reed.
Campus Safety
The CSOs (Community Safety Officers) are comforting but never repressive. They're easily approachable and always friendly. I have always felt safe at Reed.
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A Reed Student from Portland, OR

a current student here
13 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Reed College has strong academics and an interesting student body. Its quirky dynamics are not for everyone, but sufficiently eccentric students will love it here. Reed is a small school with a strong sense of community.
Tips for prospective students
Be willing to work a lot. Be willing to try new things. Almost everyone on campus is interesting, so talk to them. You'll learn something cool, which should be enough of a motivator for you. If it isn't, you probably won't fit in well - Reed is a school for people who love to learn.
Academic Rigor
Reed's academic rigor is legendary, and the problem sets make sure the legends continue. While intro-level classes do not have quite the same level of rigor, the workload is heavy. The introductory humanities course, for example, requires about a book a week of reading.
Dorm Life
I live off campus, so this rating is not from personal experience, but my friends tell me the dorms vary in quality. However, there are strong dorm communities.
Food and Dining
The commons food is, somewhat surprisingly, great quality food.
What to do for fun
There are a lot of on-campus clubs, and there are always interesting people having interesting conversations. Expect to spend most of your time working, though.
Greek Life
We read a lot of Greek texts, if that's what you mean by this Greek Life thing.
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a current student here
10 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Reed College offers a unique opportunity: an opportunity to make your own path. The academics ask a lot from you, the people are incredibly quirky, and you'll know your professors on a first name basis, and all of those things are wonderful. But most of all, Reed is about finding what you want to do and being given the opportunity to pursue it.
Tips for prospective students
Visit. Interview. These face-to-face encounters are important not only because Reed considers genuine interest very important for admissions, but also because Reed is not for everyone. The environment is unsual. Make sure you know what you're getting yourself into.
Academic Rigor
The professors are very helpful and friendly, but they ask a lot from their students. Slacking is not an options. I know math majors who are doing original proofs and religion majors studying never-before-seen Chinese scrolls as undergraduate. Work is a given.
Dorm Life
The dorms are generally extremely comfortable. Most of them have fireplaces at least in the common rooms, if not in the actual rooms. There are many very active and interesting theme dorms which hold many events yearly, and the divided double system means that even as a freshman you're likely to have your own space.
Food and Dining
Commons can be repetitive sometimes, but compared to most college food it's practically gourmet!
What to do for fun
Clubs, groups, dorm activities: something is happening every night here, it seems like. There's a pool hall for the billiards types, there are dances and concerts in the Student Union, board game nights, and occasionally parties.
Great for these types of students
Reed is for those who don't mind seeing the whole spectrum of oddity, from people going to class dressed as wizards to a whole event called Drag Ball, which is fairly self-explanatory. Almost nothing is taboo, and people are allowed to be whatever they want, except easily shocked.
Greek Life
There are no Greek houses at Reed.
Campus Safety
Our Community Safety Officers have an excellent relationship with the students and are constantly in contact to keep everyone feeling safe. The only incidents have been dealt with quickly and safely and have been few and far between during my time here.
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Hannah from Lafayette, LA

accepted here and planning to attend soon
9 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
From the atmosphere, experience sitting in on classes, and overall feel of the school, I can tell that Reed is an exceptional place. While it may not be for everyone, I'd suggest visiting, for you will know for sure.
Tips for prospective students
Put a lot of work into your Why Reed essay, for that will be a big factor. They want to know that you are genuinely interested in their school.
Academic Rigor
From what I have heard from current students (for I haven't started yet) much of your free time will be spent studying.
Dorm Life
They have many options for dorms, from eclectic themed dorms (including Circus and MadSci this year), to the quiet all girls floor, there is an option for everyone.
Food and Dining
The Caf is wonderful, offering about 5 options of cooked meals a day (always including a vegan option), and then multitudes of snacks, it is a rare occasion where school food is delicious.
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Katelyn from Bartlett, IL

a current student here
5 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Great college, but not for everyone. A lot of people either make it or break it first semester. You have to take this college seriously or you won't last long.
Tips for prospective students
There's a lot to do here socially and it's easy to get distracted from academics, so you really have to stay focused and motivated to do well.
Dorm Life
I live in the worst dorm on campus, so I might be a little biased. But the worst is still better than most colleges.
Food and Dining
Everything is extremely expensive and it's easy to run out of board points.
Great for these types of students
This school is great for those who don't think they would do well in a traditional large campus college setting.
Greek Life
Non-existent except for Hum 110 being 90% Greek themed.
Campus Safety
CSOs are always on the lookout for everyone. The goal of the college is to keep everyone safe, and not to punish if it isn't necessary.
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