Reed College Top Questions

What is your overall opinion of this school?


Great school


Starting answI graduated from Reed in the mid-1990s. For some, the college is great. I found it strange, insular and depressing, although academically rigorous. My experience was mixed. Reed occupies a very particular niche -- one that, unfortunately, wasn't right for me. I've been reading the Reed College alumni magazine for years. The alumni notes are underwhelming (especially when compared with those of Oberlin, Swarthmore, Harvard.). Ask a Reedie to name a famous Reedie, I promise the person will be hard-pressed to come up with an answer other than Steve Jobs. But Mr. Jobs doesn't count -- he dropped out after 6 months. Quite a few Reed graduates pursue PhDs and become successful academics. Others go into alternative medicine, or computer programming, or library science, or beer-making. These are fine vocations but there is a lack of spectrum. It is is not a place known for graduates who also start businesses or invent things or go into politics or lead large organizations or stand out socially in other ways. Of course, there are many that do, but far fewer than one would expect given the quality of the education. In my opinion, this is problematic: if you have the privilege to obtain an elite education, do something that leaves a mark on the world, or at least try -- there's simply too much emphasis on how "intellectual" Reed is! Purely my bias. This situation owes itself as much to the pool of self-selected students as to the marketing and culture historically promulgated by the administration. That said, Reed does promote serious engagement in ideas and has a very demanding curriculum. Grades are de-emphasized, which outsiders sometimes confuse with the notion that there are no grades at all. While the school doesn't disseminate report cards, students DO receive grades which appear on official transcripts. With the exception of a single A-, I received a B in every class I took. And I worked my butt off. The prioritization of scholarship over grades is laudatory, but Reed is too self-congratulatory about this, and about how iconoclastic and liberal and free-thinking it believes itself to be. There's a pervasive, studied, non-ironic, self-indulgent, counter-culture miasma. Sometimes it's all a bit much. Reed prides itself on being "different," but it's not a place where someone who's different from the Reed norm can easily feel comfortable. In this way, it's not very tolerant of diversity. There was no shortage of pot, alcohol, and hard drugs (especially during Renn Fayre). Reed provided a safe atmosphere for me to try some of this. There was also lots of admiring talk about drugs that few people ever experienced (in awed and mystical tones, some referred to "Bromo" -- strong and scary, mind-altering stuff that a Reed student had apparently invented in a chemistry lab). On campus, there wasn't much conversation about contemporary issues or much linkage with the wider Portland community -- the place is incredibly inward-looking. Fortunately, campus is pretty to look at - green, ivy-covered, even stately. Unfortunately, it's also a bit run down. I walked through the grounds a couple years ago and saw more broken basement windows, cobwebs, peeling paint, and litter than I would have expected. There have been spates of student suicides during Reed's history. I don't know whether this is a bigger problem than at other liberal-arts colleges, but it's hard not to wonder about the influence of perpetual cloudiness, near-constant drizzle, low skies, prolonged winter darkness, recreational drugs, interminable pressure to study, insularity, and the number of socially awkward kids who enroll. I got a great education at Reed. I suspect I would have been happier, however, and received an equally good education if I had attended a more conventional school where there was a bit more sunshine. There are many fine schools with better opportunities for a more balanced life (any of the Ivy Leagues; most of the highly-ranked US News and World Report liberal arts colleges; and even lots of big state schools, many of which have liberal arts programs that try to capture the feel of life in a small college -- if this is what one wants). Lots of alumni love Reed. Perhaps the place has changed. Many, though not all, of these observations reflect personal experience, opinion, values, predilections, and the nature of my adolescence. While I had happy times, adventures, and great friends at Reed, somehow these just don't figure as prominently in my memory as how forlorn and angst-ridden I felt. I have gone on to have a wonderful family, and a fulfilling and successful career. But most telling about my attitude is that I would not encourage any of my own children to attend Reed -- or even visit it.ering!


Reed is an incredibly good school academically, which is what unifies everyone on the campus. The coursework is extremely rigorous and most of the week is devoted to school. Because there are so many smart and neurotic people at Reed, the social environment can be very polarizing. Each person at this school is an individual with strong opinions, which can create conflict. This small and intense atmosphere can get claustrophobic, but as the years go on the small size can pay off.The social and academic tension is alleviated at the end of the year in one of the biggest private parties in America, Renn Fayre, in which students indulge and a campus-wide party for 3 days. You eventually come to know almost everyone, which can be great if they're your friends. The majority of students are liberal and wealthy, making political conversations a bit boring. This often leads to people picking up eccentric causes such as the campaign for gender-neutral bathrooms. Many people choose to live off-campus, in the Eastmoreland neighborhood, because of limited student housing and cultural preference. The neighborhood around Reed is wealthy and somewhat quiet.


Good academics, plush amenities in the good dorms, beautiful campus, immature and socially unaware kids


Best thing about Reed: the terrifying work/the brilliant people/the beautiful and supportive environment (three-way ties are allowed, right?)! One thing I'd change: I grew up in a predominantly African-American community, so the change to Portland was weeeeird. I mean, I love me some white people too...but dang! Portland and Reed could both do with a diversity tune-up. Size issues: Reed is the PERFECT size. Almost all most classes are itsy-bitsy (especially now that I've made the move into upper-division stuff), but I still meet new people all the time. Yay! Where I spend my time: this question is soooo easy. I divide my time between the Library and the Theatre. And I couldn't be happier about it! Unusual: where to begin? There are tonstonstons of things that are genuinely weird about Reed. Doyle Owl, Renn Fayre, late-night conversations, the Student Union's couch swing or couch seesaw, the beautiful Canyon down the center, the nutria (eek!) in the Canyon (nutria are giant water rats, fyi), RKSK stim table, the thesis tower, and everything. Seriously, there's so much...


One of the best things about Reed is Portland. The perfect city, I think.


Reed is an anachronism. Students know their professors first names, read Plato and Augustine, and write a senior thesis. A small liberal arts college it is. Sometimes it seems to small, but I can't imagine myself anywhere else. The people here are amazing, and I love them. Nowhere else will you see signs that say "SOON IT WILL BE RENN FAYRE AND I WILL KISS ALL OF YOU", and nowhere else will those signs fill your entire being with anticipation. However, if I were a different person, I would probably be miserable here. Reed is not an easy place to go to, and a lot of people drop out or transfer before their junior year. It's not for everybody. Some people leave because the academics are too hard for them, and some people leave because the students that I think are so amazing seem like condescending, intellectual assholes with no grasp on the real world. And still other people leave because they'd rather be climbing mountains in Alaska. So, beware before you apply. As for the world directly outside of Reed, that's pretty awesome too. Unlike most small liberal arts colleges, Reed is not in the middle of nowhere. Portland, Oregon, is the greatest city in the world and one of the weirdest too, but most students (especially the freshmen), don't take advantage of it. Reed tends to create a "bubble", out of which it is seemingly hard to escape but is actually quite easy if you try. I recommend going to the Hotcake House at least once before you leave.


The best thing about Reed is the conference-style classes. Ten to sixteen people in a room together, all of whom have read the material, all of whom have understood it, all of whom have a passionate opinion about it and want to talk. Ideally, anyway. The professors are angels. They love their subjects and they respect their students. They're some of the smartest people I've ever met. We also have an honor code. Professors give closed-book take-home final exams. I love the feeling of being trusted instead of coerced. There are no fraternities, sororities, or intercollegiate sports teams, which is a big plus in my book. On the bad side, there's a pathetic lack of racial diversity. The way I see it, we're competing with the Ivy League in academic rigor and with Berkeley in dirty-hippieness. We acquit ourselves well on both counts.


One of the biggest and most important components of life at Reed is the honor principle, a code of life followed by the reed community both consciously and unconsciously. At its core the honor principle is the rational ideal of: "do no harm". The result of this community-wide pact is a sort of transcendence of rules: why have rules when everyone has agreed to be nice to everyone else? The down-side of this is most visible in the current drug culture at Reed: social norms differ from actual government law. The community is perhaps at times too tolerant of deviant behavior. The upside: weirdness is tolerated at all levels; people are accepting of whoever you want to be. There is a lot of room to be creative and not be held back by silly rules.


I love campus, its beautiful and there's always things to do. One thing i would change though, is that people become crazy once they notice they are away from home and completely independent.


I adore Reed. It was just the right fit for me. The funny thing is, a number of people with whom I became incredibly close, decided that it wasn't the best thing for them, and have recently decided to take some time off and travel. All of them had their reasons, but their reasons never applied to me. Reed is a place that you should not stay at if you feel unhappy; it's too much money and you're missing out on a college experience you could enjoy. But from what I've seen, you don't just like Reed, you love it. There is no mid-ground. I think that Reed was right for me because the Academic department I chose (English) is excellent, therefore the work excites me, and the social atmosphere is one of so much vitality. There are people everywhere just wanting to express themselves, to sit out on the front lawn naked if they want, smoking a hookah, or spend a night in a library pouring over textbooks. It's your choice, and you can have both, which I love.


When I tell people that I'm a student at Reed College, the response is usually accompanied by a question mark. Many people have not heard of the college, most likely because of its size. Educators, on the other hand, usually respond with a smile and a nod. Like me, they know of the relentless hard work that goes into being a student at Reed. Sometimes they are surprised that I of all people would choose this college. You see, I'm not now nor have I ever been socially awkward. I love to learn, but not when I am tired, hungry, restless or hungover. I love sports, and Reed has few to offer me. The point of all of this is that though Reed does attract a very distinct student body, we are not all the same in every respect. The one common thread, perhaps, is that we are all nerds at heart.


Reed is a great place to explore and grow up some before entering the “real world”. They don’t shelter you by any means, but you are exposed to all sorts of interesting people with diverse hobbies. Once at a friend’s house I met a Reedie who grew up with his dad in a teepee. This sort of experience isn’t that uncommon. In addition, there are all sorts of student groups building and fixing bikes, brewing beer, fire dancing, “buildering” (aka climbing buildings as well as outdoor trips), planning a Cascadian revolution, you name it. Students are incredible creative and frequently have the industriousness to get projects done. These include establishing comic book libraries, building amazing art projects, or providing free condoms and sex ed classes to every dorm every year. However, Reedies seem to focus on the campus and projects that will make the campus a better place. Political activism or much interest in bettering the community outside of Reed isn’t seen as much. However, the academics are great. You’ll be exposed to all sorts of new ideas in your classes that frequently actually change your outlook on the world. The one downside is that it’s tough to leave such a creative and interesting community after graduation.


HOW DO PEOPLE REACT WHEN I SAY I GO TO REED? Varying responses. Some coo, "Oh, you must be an intellectual" which I laugh off (but of course, who doesn't like hearing that?) and some relentlessly tease about how I must toke up all the time -- in spite of my NEVER having even tried illegal drugs. I will admit, then, that as someone straight-edge, I find this reputation irksome. Some explain it as an interest in exploring that if your mind's perceptions are only really a dance of chemicals in your brain, then wouldn't it be interesting to see how its interpretation of environmental sensory input can be colored and morphed? They see it as an exercise in 'feeling' your conscious experience. As drugs are so taboo in our culture, I admit I don't know much about them, but I'm simply afraid of addiction or things being laced etc. in commodities that cannot be regulated. INQUISITIVE, INTELLECTUALLY-CURIOUS, HARD-WORKING STUDENT BODY: This is by far the school's best asset, or at least on the same level as its wonderful, crazy-intense academics. Students at Reed are some of the most interesting, sincere, eclectic people I've ever met in my life, who go on to take exciting if even circuitous pathways in life, sometimes entirely unrelated to what they studied in college! For example, an alum I know majored in biology but then went on to get an MBA from Cornell, and now he is the CEO of a banking firm. Reedies are thoughtful and take their work seriously for its intrinsic value -- NOT to one-up a classmate to have the best grade to get into some highfalutin grad school to achieve outstanding eminence and acclaim. While many DO achieve national awards of distinction, this is not what drives them to learn. Rather, it is an appreciation of knowledge's inherent value that is the most unifying commonality among this student body.


Reed is a small community and that gives us access to a lot of wonderful things and a lot of not so wonderful things. We have very open, personal relationships with our professors, which is really wonderful and fast becoming a rarity across American Colleges. The student body polices itself through the Honor Principle. A very basic statement of the Golden Rule. Violators of the Honor Principle may be taken to J-Board and the Honor Council, but for the most part, we take care of our own. The small community means that you can literally know everyone. This means that while at larger schools there is an endless amount of new people to meet and new groups to reinvent yourself in, here when you've burned a bridge you feel the loss for four years.


Reed sits on 116 acres in SE Portland - a beautiful residential neighborhood with nearby boutiques, a Trader Joe's, coffee shops, movie and concert theaters, a rhododendron garden, bike trails, and waterfalls. The feeling is small-town, safe, friendly, and eco- and health-conscious. Downtown Portland is readily accessible in about 20 minutes by bus, or a little longer or a little shorter by bike. Within the Reed campus, 100s of species and ~1400 students coexist peacefully amongst the library ("Hauser Fun Dome"), Commons, the Chinese House, and Reed Canyon (which spans the campus from east to west and cradles woods and a small lake). For me, the Reed Canyon is Reed's most endearing trait. In the spring, yellow touch-me-nots flood the floor of the canyon, curbed by only the eddying streams of criss-crossing water. Alders, huge-leafed maples, and demure oak trees stand quiet witness in the golden afternoon light. The large green stilted theater perches over the stream as you walk in its shadow and feel the coolness flowing from the cavern it creates over the water. This was my trail home to the Chinese House every afternoon in my sophomore year. I took a leave of absence from Reed after my sophomore year so that I could teach English in China and learn more about the country I was making such a large part of my life. What I left just in time to miss was a massive, although important, construction plan to develop "my side" of the Reed campus. The plan involves adding 4 more much-needed dormitories (on top of what used to be Reed's age-old community garden, the communal patch of which is where I fed myself on many a late evening), a new coffee shop, relocating the quaint and verdant Chinese House to join the other language houses, and building a suspension bridge right above the trail I took through the Canyon. Alas for me, growth is an inherent and inevitable part of this type of society we call capitalist, and as with most human growth, little pieces of nature like "my" piece of the Reed Canyon tend to go by the wayside. In the Reed College administration's defense, however, the buildings are being built with "the environment" in mind. From the Reed magazine, "the project’s 'green' features included landscaping that filters storm water runoff into a natural spring, and ventilation stacks built to resemble chimneys that will cool the buildings naturally, in addition to an array of environmentally sensitive materials such as flooring, window glass, and roof tiles." And construction of the new foot-bridge "is being planned to minimize environmental impact on the canyon below: its piers will sit on opposite edges of the canyon, and its curves will skirt most mature trees in its path." The buildings will qualify for LEED (I think "silver") certification. Hopefully those Reedies of future generations will find the Reed Canyon as pristine and magical a place as I did.


Fuck me, where to begin? Reed will drive you crazy. If it doesn't, you didn't do it right. It's small, it's intense, and it's lovely. It's a haven for displaced and disenchanted intellectuals and we like it that way. Portland is a funny town that prides itself on housing wackjobs. The most wackjobs in any given place anywhere in the world. We like it that way. The big picture is simply that... Reed is crazy. I can't emphasize that enough.


Reed is only just becoming nationally renowned, naturally this is causing the academic quality of the institution to fall. Indeed it seems that the president is no longer interested in the learning experience and is moving towards increasing capital. That being said, Reed has some of the best teachers in the United States. As a science major, it is very easy to go to class in the morning and ask the professor what he meant when he wrote in his text book. There is an intimate student teacher relationship to be had with most professors. The class sizes are obscenely small, there was one chemistry class that had four students total. I would say that the college campus is very open and forgiving, but times are changing fast, and soon Reed will be no different than any other famous liberal arts college. The bottom line is if you enjoy learning, truly, and not because you enjoy seeing A's on your report card, then Reed is the college for you. If you come here expecting a 4.0 you will be very very disappointed. As for the most amazing experience at Reed, I could comment, but as I've alluded to in a not-so-subversive way, Reed is changing, and this experience may not be available to the incoming class. Thus I say, come to Reed and see for yourself what it is like. DO NOT GO TO REED FOR THE NAME. You will hate your existence if you go to Reed just to say you went to Reed. It works for easier schools like Harvard. But remember, Reed students drop out to go there ;-)


Reed is a pretty small campus with a little more than a thousand students. As a result, Reed is very communal and it's easy to know people. It's a pretty laid back place where working and studying are important, but not to the point where people can't have fun. The organizations on Reed aren't very proactive, so activists may want to reconsider coming here. Most of the student body is very apathetic when it comes to activism and usually the activists on campus are part of larger organizations in the Portland area. Reed has been accused of being very post-activism.


Reed is amazing! It is a small community so you always feel at home. Professors know your name and are very available to talk- they really want you to do well and are passionate about the material. There is a heavy workload but it is manageable and if you love to explore new ideas this is the place for you. Reed is not for everyone but I think if you like it you love it.


When people who don't go to Reed find out that I go to Reed they usually either get excited and say what a great place it is or assume that it's a bad liberal arts school that they've never heard of. I live off campus, so I spend most of my time on campus in classes or the library, although I come to campus on the weekends because there are usually lots of good events. A big recent controversy was the death of a freshman from heroine over-dose. The response of the community was really touching and re-affirming to me of what a great place this is. It brought up a lot of discussions about what Reed is and what our drug and alcohol policy means, if it is effective, etc. IThe school takes risks with the freedom it gives its students, but it allows for genuine and mutual respect between the kids and the administration. There is, obviously, a ton of school pride and a sense of love and understanding and similarity between everyone (students, faculty, staff, alum, administrators, etc.).


We're a really small school. There are some wacky things that go on. Portland is an awesome city!!! but a lot of students don't go off campus that much. Lots of students spend a significant portion of their time in the library. People are proud of Reed, often to the point of looking down on classes and students at other, less-academic schools. There's a lot that's unusual about Reed--you should be creative, wacky, smart, and stable enough to deal with the excessive culture of stress. I've learned an amazing amount here.


Reed, eclectic, scholastic, scholarly, hidden away like an elf's fortress or some sort of secret. Home to the dedicated dedicated dedicated ones who will go without sleep four days in a row because they WANT to finish their work rather than because they will need to. Home to those who will lock themselves away for a week until they master a new puzzle, a new game. The ones who learn for fun, who delight in knowledge and share their knowledge and take you as you are and run with you as far and as hard as your willing to go. Home to those who know their shit like no one else I've ever met in my life. Interesting interesting people, mature, creative, powerful and open minded. Dedicated. Dedicated. Dedicated. Do I love Reed? Yes I love Reed.


Portland is a great city to live in. It's kind of european-modeled utopian, where people ride their bikes, care about sustainability, experience an excellent performance art and music scene, and are herbivores. Nature abounds, close to the city limits, and people actually appreciate it! Sigh... it just so *nice* to live here. (Except for the disheartening rain and the lack of racial diversity) Some Reedies never see Portland, in all of it's glory. Reed can be kind of a "bubble", in which students become encapsulated and lose touch with the outside world. I understand. Reed is a magical mystical land, unlike any other, where people ride around on flaming bikes, build really big monuments and forts in public places, grill hundreds of dollars worth of meat and give it away for free just to piss off vegans like me, make motorized couches, couches that double as bongs, embrace pyromania, chase and tackle people while naked and covered in blue paint, know nearly everyone's name because it's so freaking small, etc. There are a lot of resources and fun stuff to keep Reedies occupied, in all the free time they don't have, like the comic books library, pool hall, Gray fund trips (white water rafting, rock climbing, interesting-shit-you-never-needed-to-know-about-portland tours, and the like), I could go on but you could just go to the website. You could spot the legendary Doyle Owl and get into a knife fight over it! Kidding (though it seriously did happen). Reed is a very ...unique college experience, both due to the institution and its values and also because of the people who are attracted to it.


Reed College is a land where the work never stops. It's go go go and then break and then go go go and then break. The school is small but you definitely don't know or recognize everybody. Classes are usually from 6-25 people (lecture-based classes like the sciences are more 25-100 people). You get to know and love the profs, who you will be on a first name basis with. Telling people you go to Reed can evoke a multitude of responses from "Wow" to "Doesn't everyone do drugs there all the time?" to "Reed College?". Reed is the perfect school if you want to go into academia, and/or if you honestly like learning. We're in Portland here, but we rarely leave campus. Last biggest scandal was a recent heroin overdose - but that shit is really fucking rare, everyone has been in shock and there has been a lot of school arranged support groups and such. You get an education at Reed like you get no where else, and that inspires a definite cockiness and school pride bit in the students. We visit other campuses and wonder when people get their shit done, and the truth seems to be that they often have very little shit to do. So we laugh about that. Call it intellectual snottiness, if you will. Reed is a very strange place, as shown by the student body and by campus events. Ask any Reed kid (who isn't a freshmen) about Renn Fayre, Drag Ball, Paideia, Thesis Parade, thesis-ing, junior seminar, or qualifying exams and you'll here many a tale.


Reed is a tiny, liberal arts college. The campus is pretty, but small enough that once you've slept with someone, there's no way to avoid them. You'll keep running into them in commons, or the pool hall, or that class you thought they wouldn't take but they did and now you have to sit in the same room with them three times a week and pretend it isn't awkward. The population of Reed is big enough, however, that I'm still meeting new people in my year. The academics are phenomenal, and Portland's a fun city (although it helps to be 21). It's easy to get involved with student government, or just get some funding for a new extracurricular group. We don't have a football team, but the rugby players are all very dedicated to their sport. Ultimately, Reed is work hard, play hard -- we might stay in the library until 2 AM on a regular basis, but we also have more fun. There's nothing I would change about Reed, and having been here for four years, I can say with absolute certainty that I would make the same choice if I were picking a college now. That said, Reed is NOT for everybody.


Most Reed students ar really excited to be here, which enhances life for our whole community. It's great that people are really excited about and interested in not only their classes and assignments, but also about social activities at Reed. There are so many opportunities to get involved in the Reed community, like during Renn Fayre, Reed Arts Week, Paideia, etc. There's always some sort of dance party or event going on in the Student Union to liven up weekend nights on campus, and it seems that wherever you go there are groups of intelligent kids to hang out with, like at the pool hall, the scrounge, the paradox, the library lobby, the tutoring center, the department-specific lounges, even the reactor!


Reed is isolated. It's in a bubble, and never shall that bubble burst. It's unfortunate, since Portland is a truly amazing city with TONS to offer, and so few Reedies take advantage of that. Reed is also quite small. It tends to be very difficult to make friends at Reed, although I'm not entirely certain why.


People here tend to be interesting whether I like them or not, which is awesome. You can have a conversation with almost anyone and learn something. Most everyone works very hard, much harder than they did in high school, though a fair number of students (mostly freshmen) dick around a lot and have academic trouble accordingly. The work load is not exaggerated--if you do all the work you are supposed to do AND try to have a social life, you won't get a lot of sleep. Quite a few people drop out. The honor principle governs most interactions at Reed. There's a lot of trust in students' ability to handle problems, and so there's a lot of responsibility. When I tell people I go to Reed, I get a lot of different responses. Mostly tonal variations of the word "OH." Everyone knows we work hard here, but there are a lot of other connections that people make--drugs, radical left-wingers, awesome open-minded people, and so on. Reed has a reputation. It's not entirely accurate. There is a lot of drug use, and as a rule people are pretty liberal, but I know plenty of straightedge people and several libertarians (though, granted, very few Republicans).


Reed will give you student funds to spend on beer. However, I when I wanted to spend student body funds on giving books to prisoners, I was told by Finance Committee, "We don't give money for service projects." Reed will not let allow student organized charity drives to spend our extra board points to give food to the homeless. They are so afraid of liability that they couldn't care less if the people of Portland go homeless.


Reed is kind of small so everyone knows everyone and you can tell immediately who's a Reedie and who isn't when you see them. Also, it seems like you run into Reedies and Alumni all over the place in Portland and sometimes other random places. A lot of people have never heard of Reed, but those who have always have strong feelings about it. I spend most of my time in my dorm because sleep takes long times. Most recent big controversy was the hanging up of dummies in the trees in Eliot Circle.


A recent spate of resignations from top administrators has called into question the current president's reputation. I know from a number of professors that they do not like the direction the current administration is heading, but from their perspective I can't say what is really at stake in the long-run. I can say this: I've never met president Diver, although he did grow up in the same town as me; albeit in a different time. The only things I've heard from him have been about his "politically neutral" charades in which he has declined to divest school money from Coca-cola even though the majority, if not everyone, on campus has advocated for divestment. I think this supposed "neutrality" is a thinly veiled attempt to hold onto a corporate endowment package put together by Reed's financial "experts." Recently, race has played a big role in the college's public life. A poorly planned Halloween tableau involved hanging paper bodies from nooses in the trees at the center of front circle. It made its way onto the pages of the Oregonian, which inflamed the belief that Reed students are naive intellectuals (true) that don't care about what they do to others (false, as it turns out). There were apologies and discussions. The multicultural resource center hired a speaker to give a lecture on the significance of lynching symbols in America. I can't say I attended, so I don't know if anyone else did, but it was a relatively poor attempt to smooth over the past and return to our bubble-like intellectual naiveté. The question is: how do you fan a discussion over difficult topics when the entire "Reed experience" is essentially deconstructive, centered on the self as the fundamental unit of inquiry? Reed does its masochistic job pretty well. You'll come out with a fine ability to get things done and think about them. But I worry that people all too infrequently ask themselves: what can I do for you? It's cultural problem, but Reed's not helping.


The best thing about Reed is that it takes itself and its philosophy seriously. Reed tries to be a school that takes the community and academics seriously, and will do just about anything to make sure that they run well. The administration is very involved and helpful, and the level of bureaucratic inefficiency is generally pretty low. Portland is a great town - almost an epicurean paradise. Within a few miles, there are fantastic restaurants that are very reasonably priced (compared to Boston) and the bar scene is great. Portland is also known as Beervana. So many great local brews. Unfortunately, school pride is pretty lacking, although there's generally a pretty good turnout for the big school events. People definitely come to Reed to learn, and there's alot of people that do only that.


People outside the bubble and outside Oregon don't generally know where Reed is, much less what it is. However, grad schools seem to notice us. The student body ranges from total slackers to high-strung bookworms; however, the majority could be described as academically motivated students with a high tolerance for books, as well as a high affinity for parties. Commons (the cafeteria), the Paradox coffee shops, and common rooms in dorms are the most popular spots to chill. While Reed doesn't have any traditional signs of school pride like a football team and fraternities, most students feel lucky to be here.


Reed is an excellent school for several reasons. For one, classes are generally small and allow for student participation and the guarantee that your professors will get to know you individually. Although the student body is very intelligent, there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of unhealthy, annoying competition between students over grades, because Reed doesn't give grades! This system is ideal because grades are actually recorded, but instead of relying on numbers or a letter system to gauge success, professors write more comments of each paper and test. This allows for one-on-one interaction between students and professors and for individual growth in the classroom. Reed also has so many awesome and strange traditions, such as the end of year Renn Fayre (which has nothing to do with usual Renn Fairs), Paideia, and several annual themed dances.


academics. All the students are here to learn, plain and simple. Though you may have "that kid" in one of your conferences the majority of REedies are intellectual, will challenge your views, and not afraid to express their opinions. The investment you make in learning here is the best investment you can ever make in your life. If you don't plan on going to grad school, a Reed degree in and of itself is not to important. Generally, Reedies come to this school to cultivate their minds, learn about the academic orthodoxy and how to counter it, and to head to grad school.


The best thing about Reed College is that there's no place like it. At no other college can you expect to find such a diverse and interesting group of people united at the prospect of becoming experts in their field, more enlightened members of society, and more capable human beings. You may get the impression that everyone you meet is on an epic quest. And you will frequently be impressed by the progress that your colleagues make. Everyone is transformed after four years. Everyone finds the instruction, facilities, and intellectual sounding boards required for progress. The espirit de corps is a manifestation of the rigor of the college. And everyone is glad for the challenge, indeed they pay for it. There's no other place like that.


I wouldn't change a thing about Reed. I enjoy telling people I went there, and having them react with shock and awe. When I was a student, I spent most of my time in class or in the library. I think Reed does a very good job of essentializing what is necessary for an education (i.e. a small number of students per class, close work with professors) and excludes all the distractions (i.e. textbooks, sports teams, the Greek system).


The biggest controversy on campus at the moment is the attempted change in the cigarette policy. There is a pretty much unsaid rule that you can smoke in the pool hall though it is a room in the GCC and technically illegal. Recently the administration tried to pull a fast one on the students and were charging kids 100$ for smoking indoors. Student Senate and the whole student body got really up in arms about the change in policy without consulting the students or even making an announcement. Then, the administration had to back down and revert back to the old policy. We're seeing our student autonomy slip like sand between out fingers and we're all crying as it slowly dies. Oh, and Portland is tight.


Reed is small. Only 1500 students. That makes for a very small average class size, which translates to some great student participation. For me, that is the best thing about Reed: your peers are thinkers, like yourself, and they share their ideas and insights. When you can regularly pick up a shared epiphany from a colleague, or a perspective that gives you chills for its subtlety, and helps you with your own exploration of the material, it is easy to get addicted to the Reed methodology. If I would change anything, it would be having the library stay open 24 hours a day. It's open until 2 am most days, but I think it's time for Reed to find a way to keep it open all the time. Reed is growing, and at a rate that I think is modest, and well-considered. The school prides itself on being small so growth is approached with great concern and restraint. People don't know anything about Reed except people in Portland. Because it is so small, it isn't well-known outside of the area. In Academia, it is well-known, and very favorably. That's what counts to me. Portland is the BEST town to be in! It's quirky, cool, and sophisticated. It's got the best bookstore on the planet a short 20 minutes away - what else do you need? And there are lots of great restaurants, cultural centers, and music venues nearby. The administration is cool, and the staff is astounding. This college really seems to take the time to make sure students get the important things taken care of. It is unusual in that respect. We have controversy on campus, yes. One case recently showed how adept the school can be in dealing with problems. Students were involved from the get go, and the solution was homegrown and sensitive. The issue continues to be discussed, and I think it was a learning opportunity for everyone. I am proud that the community came together the way it did. Super unusual? Reed's 'Renn Fayre,' and all out party after finals week. It cannot be compared with anything else. You just have to experience it for yourself.


The best thing about Reed is the intellectual environment. You are never without a problem to solve or an argument to put together. I would change the tour guide mentality. They come across as morons. Reed is perfectly sized. 95{4a082faed443b016e84c6ea63012b481c58f64867aa2dc62fff66e22ad7dff6c} of people have no idea what Reed is, and assume that it is a second-rate place for rich smart kids. The other 5{4a082faed443b016e84c6ea63012b481c58f64867aa2dc62fff66e22ad7dff6c} know that it is a first rate place for smart kids (many of whom are pretty well off) I spend most of my time in my room. Portland is a great city, but you won't get off campus much. The Reed administration is highly competent and pretty hard-nosed. Biggest recent controversy was grafiti that got put on an art exhibition. No school pride, except we all miss Reed when we arent here. Reed is so academically charged that it is extremely unusual for a college. Renn Fayre is quite memorable, though over-hyped. Our cafeteria dramatically overcharges for EVERYTHING.


Reed. It's a great collection of creative "quirky" amazing people who have a large drive to learn, and spend almost too much time studying. There is a ridiculous work load, but you'll learn to read faster and how to read affectively. I spend most of my time on campus split between the library, the scrounge and the sportscenter- mostly in the library. Sometimes it's hard to strike a balance between life and academics, as the academics at Reed can at times be overwhelming. It's a really good idea to take some time away from Reed when you're here, to gain a perspective and make sure you have the drive to come back and finish at Reed. Portland is an amazing and fun city, but when you're at Reed you don't always have time to appreciate everything it has to offer. Students often get trapped "in the bubble", especially those students who live on campus. Owning a bike is a necessity in Portland.


Personally Reed was a great match for me and despite the crushing workload and all, I still really love it. I don't think it is a school for everyone. I think a lot of people would hate coming here. It's hard. You will not have as much time as other college students you know to leave campus, even though Portland is great if you make it there. If you are a science major, you'll probably have days when you don't see the light of day, after 4 hour bio lab, you will get out and you will look at the dreary Portland sky and miss the sun. The sun does come out, and when it does it's great because everyone appreciates it and goes outside. But sometimes it rains all week. Sometimes you won't even notice because you'll spend all week in the library. On weekends though, and on days when you don't have to study like crazy, the campus is a great place to be and if you get tired of dancing here, or seeing movies here, Portland is everything you could ask for in a city, except that some things close kind of early. But there is a lot of stuff to do on campus. Everything really comes alive and there's a really exciting, fun culture in between the intense academics.


*the best thing about reed is its roster of unique events and traditions you won't find anywhere else, like noise parade (exactly what it sounds like); fetish ball (again, exactly what it sounds like); RKSK (Reed Kommunist Shit Kollective, a group responsible for various forms of mischievous fun, included but not limited to: supplying library with stuffed animals for late-night cuddling; kommunal borscht; giant skrabble (winners often receive spliffs); kommunal umbrellas for use during rain season; random couch/hammock placement; the sunny day vodka lemonade kart; and most importantly, kommie bikes--cheap kid's bikes spray painted red and left around campus to use at your convenience.); couches on the lawn; and above all Ren Fayre, the end of the year celebration of out and out craziness and bacchanalia involving lots of insane projects, many of which are burned/destroyed ceremonially, Thesis Parade (burning of seniors' thesis drafts), champagne showers, music, nudity, drug piñatas, fire, and sometimes a moon bounce! best time of the year. one thing i'd change: people's condescending, hipper-than-thou attitudes. size: a bit too small--i thought that's what i wanted, but a few hundred more people would be nice. reed reactions: a lot more people have actually heard of reed since it was dubiously dubbed one of the "new ivies" by newsweek. i get questions about the academic rigor, portland, and of course, the drugs. one kid i met at a party senior year asked me where i was going and when i told him i was headed to reed, he said, "awesome. i mean, they smoke a lot of weed there, people are crazy." then he paused and said, "but wait, don't you have to be, like, really smart?" i told him that on the rare occasions i am not partying, i actually read and stuff. place on campus i spend the most time: tie between the library and the student union, as grungy as the latter is (it's charming). town: yes a college town, but more accurately an urban lite city. the food here is great--more thai, vietnamese, and japanese than you can try--and there are some great quirky neighborhoods complete with vintage stores, record stores, bars, all sorts of cool crap. good music scene too--unless you're under 21. when your favorite band comes to town, you probably won't seem them until they come back after your 21st birthday.portland is not an all-ages friendly city, or even much of a 24-hour one even if you are. coming from a big city like chicago, portland sometimes doesn't feel like a real city at all--it's very new, unsettlingly clean in some parts, and doesn't have the same kind of diversity. reed administration: a mixed bag. there are some great folks intent on preserving reed's uniqueness and defending student interests...and some who aren't. but the administration does go out of its way to involve students in important decisions involving new policy, professor appointments, and more. school pride: yes and no. in many ways i am proud to call myself a reedie and share weird stores that my friends at university of illinois might not even believe. i am proud of the focus on learning rather than performing. but it's a love-hate relationship, and i think most students would say the same. somtimes you love reed, sometimes you fucking hate it. everything is unusual about reed. but we do have in-door plumbing. experience i'll always remember: my first renn fayre. just not the actual order in which my experiences occurred and some other hazy details about that weekend like how i ended up asleep on a bean bag in the basement laundry room.


People are typically impressed when they find out I go to Reed, that is, if they've ever heard about Reed before. There is a lot of school pride, but I think that it's often the sort of pride that one feels towards a child that's doing much better than can be expected, but is still falling short of its full potential.


There are three distinct reactions when people find out I go to Reed. Many people have never heard of it, and those who have are either familiar with it as an elitist intellectual haven or a place filled with sex, drugs, and indie rock.


I like how seriously academic study is taken at Reed. Sometimes it is even taken too seriously. In my opinion, however, if one is going to go to college to study you might as well go to a place that specializes in valuing academics above all else. However, this is sometimes taken to extremes, and people should know this before coming to Reed. Therefore, I would change how reed advertises itself. I would want them to say that it is less of a normal liberal arts education and more akin to an an undergraduate technical training school for those who want to or could see themselves going to graduate school. Of those who don't go on to graduate school and/or stay in academics, however, there are also many reedies who simply use the strong work ethic they've acquired at reed to succeed in other job sectors.


The school is really small, around 1300 and the campus is very small as well. There's a definite Reed bubble that's hard to escape. It takes a real effort to spend time off campus, especially when you have a lot of work. Moreover, the students are socially awkward, which makes the Reed bubble something a lot of students (unsuccessfully) try to escape. There's a big stress culture at Reed, which many students dislike. During exams we have a stim table where you can basically get pills, caffeinated beverages, and food for free. While there is a lot of work, people like to be really dramatic about it. Despite its liberal leanings, there's a lot of sexism and racism at Reed. The student body isn't particularly active on these issues. One unusual thing about Reed is Renn Fayre, which is a weekend long celebration for graduating seniors. It's a giant, school-sponsored party with bug-eating contests, a thesis parade, a drug pinata, and lube wrestling. It's supposed to be a way to let off steam for graduating seniors and for those about to take their final exams.


Best thing: smart people who are there to learn, you can talk about the most academic things anywhere, any time and it's all good. Change: More time for fun, it would be cool if people didn't take themselves so seriously. Reactions: A lot of people have never heard of Reed. If they have they either think you're really smart, a hippy drug addict, or a rich pretentious snob. Most time on campus is spent in the library, or walking from the library to get a coffee. Sometimes you forget you are in a city, but Portland is really cool. Administration is always crap, but some years marginally better than others. There is alt-school pride, it's not like many people wear the sweatshirt, but there's a kind of combat veteran pride with each stage you survive (Hum 110, Junior Qual, and of course Thesis).


The best thing about Reed is the intense atmosphere, it pushes you to your limit and makes you a stronger person from it. Paradoxically this is also one of the works things about Reed, it can become really overwhelming. Most people think Reed students are smart... There is a lot of school pride. Reed students seem to have the perception, that they are working the hardest and are some of the smartest students anywhere in the Us.