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Colleges like Reed, but less intense

splazshsplazsh Posts: 58Registered User Junior Member
edited January 2012 in Reed College
I am very interested in going to a liberal arts college, and Reed got my interest. It looks like a great school and I am definitely going to apply there, but I heard it is very academically intense. While I want to go to a school that values academics over everything, Reed seems a little to intense for me, so I was curious if there were other schools like Reed, just a little more laid back.
I see Reed being compared to UChicago, which is way out of my league. If I were to be admitted to Reed and went there, would try my hardest, but I feel like work would crowd my social life. I don't want to party ever spare weekend I have off, but I like having time away from academics. I like how the people there are quirky and intellectual, and I feel like I'd fit in well in a place like Reed. I've seen people compare it to Macalester, but I wouldn't be able to deal with the Minnesota weather, being from Los Angeles (same goes with Carleton). I am, however, looking to go to the East Coast, as I can probably handle the weather there. While I want to go to a liberal arts college, and not many people know about them, I would still like to go to a school with some name recognition and prestige (If I can get in :-/).

Also, in terms of admissions, how important are extracurriculars, as at the end of my high school career: I will have been on ASB for 3 years, and hopefully student body president the 3rd year, play music (not in band), am a history tutor, an intern at an animation studio, and will hopefully be selected as a Bank of America Student Leader, which entails an internship.
Post edited by splazsh on

Replies to: Colleges like Reed, but less intense

  • FrancaisalamattFrancaisalamatt Posts: 1,837Registered User Senior Member
    When people compare Reed to UChic, they mean academically, not socially. Reed's weather is also NOTHING like Minnesota's...It's mild here (doesn't get below 30s, really), with grey and drizzly weather a lot of the time. It's been gorgeous this year though, so don't be down about it! (If it helps, 96 kids out of around 440 in the freshman class are from Cali).

    Trust me, Reed kids have social lives (although maybe not as much as their Reed careers progress). I definitely have a lot of time as a freshman for hanging out with friends and just relaxing, and I'm still doing decently well.

    Your ECs seem just fine for Reed. What admissions focuses on is passion: passion for learning, passion for Reed, and passion for life. So, write really strong essays that demonstrate those things (if you have them, obviously), and you'll have a solid application :)
  • splazshsplazsh Posts: 58Registered User Junior Member
    I probably wasn't clear enough, but when I mentioned the UChicago comparison, I meant academically, and being how UChicago is a top notch school, I was wondering if it would be hard to keep up with the course work at Reed.
    This may sound like a stupid question, but would Reed be just as hard as getting into Chicago, given the academic comparisons?

    As I've been thinking, I am now greatly considering Reed to be one of my top choices, now it's just a matter of visiting the campus/Portland and getting in!
  • GhosttGhostt Posts: 1,506Registered User Senior Member
    Reed is easier to get into than UChicago, but the holistic approach to admissions and the self-selective nature of the applicant pool make it an unpredictable school for many.

    The academics are indeed hard, and they only get harder as time goes on. Freshman year hasn't been unmanageable so far, although all of my classes have been challenging, but I know many upperclassmen whose workloads make mine look embarrassing. If this is a serious concern for you, I think you should visit and see for yourself if the academics are too intense for you. I'd advise you to talk to an older student because freshmen are unlikely to have a good idea of how hard Reed really is; Reed's low graduation rate comes, among other things, from a high attrition rate after sophomore year.
  • FrancaisalamattFrancaisalamatt Posts: 1,837Registered User Senior Member
    ^Right, but the graduation rate has more than doubled in the past 20 years...There are student services now to help people succeed and to stay at Reed.
  • GhosttGhostt Posts: 1,506Registered User Senior Member
    True, and that's very nice. It's encouraging that the graduation rate is rising so rapidly, and I hope our class's four-year graduation rate will meet the administration's target of 85% (I mean, I want to graduate on time...), but I was actually using the historical trend of sophomores dropping/transferring out as evidence, among other things, that the academics tend to get more demanding as time goes on. Otherwise, sure, better student support services and increased selectivity have made it easier to graduate from Reed in recent years, which is a very good thing.
  • PAGRokPAGRok Posts: 544Registered User Member
    I would suggest Wesleyan, Bard, and vassar on the east coat. They will have fairly similar environments to Reed: small, intellectual and quirky. On the west I would suggest Pitzer, University of Puget Sound, Willamette, Lewis & Clark and Whitman.
  • emeraldkity4emeraldkity4 Posts: 31,144Registered User Senior Member
    Lewis & Clark & Willamette are quite different from Reed IMO
    I would suggest Evergreen ( a public LAC in Olympia-Wa)
  • oniontearsoniontears Posts: 48Registered User Junior Member
    East Coast: Wesleyan U, Bard, Vassar, Sarah Lawrence, Haverford, Hampshire, Smith (if you're a girl), Marlboro, Middlebury

    West Coast: Occidental, Scripps if you're a girl

    Also, I know someone who transfered from Reed to New College of Florida and she had an amazing time there. She said the people there are just as smart and engaged as Reedies, but way, way more laid back.
  • nickmonickmo Posts: 24Registered User New Member
    I would say that your desire for "laid-back" would be more than sufficiently fulfilled at Reed, at least socially. I'm not sure however, if you can wish for a college to value academics over everything else and yet at the same time desire for them to be laid-back with academics. I get the gist of what you're saying, but if your first statement was true, then the latter doesn't seem to fit.


    Evaluate the type of person you want to be. The environment you spend the next four years of your life in will weigh heavily on who you will become; be sure to make your choices fully conscious of the inevitable shaping that will occur.

    Thus, I would suggest that you don't fear the workload. If Reed is the place you see yourself being (VISIT!), then apply and give that application everything in you. You are going to change.
  • splazshsplazsh Posts: 58Registered User Junior Member
    i'm also curious how strong the social sciences department is at reed because i am interested in studying either sociology or economics in college. i am very curious about these subjects, but of course, that could change, so how flexible is reed in terms of changing majors and exploring different subjects?
  • nickmonickmo Posts: 24Registered User New Member
    "How flexible is reed in terms of changing majors and exploring different subjects?"

    I would imagine that they are quite flexible, and I would assume that a fair deal of students switch majors.


    I know nothing about the strength of their social science departments however.
  • vonlostvonlost Posts: 13,631Super Moderator Senior Member
    Check the appropriate columns at REED COLLEGE PHD PRODUCTIVITY.
  • FrancaisalamattFrancaisalamatt Posts: 1,837Registered User Senior Member
    @splazh

    You don't pick a major until the end of your sophomore year, so you have time to explore both subjects before making a decision (I'd take econ your freshman year, since you can't take sociology until your soph year without permission from the professor).
  • PlainsmanPlainsman Posts: 1,503Registered User Senior Member
    Probably the closest to Reed but slightly less intense (and not in Minnesota's climate) would be midwestern LACs, Oberlin, Grinnell, and Kenyon. Oberlin and Kenyon are in Ohio, so the weather won't be Minnesota-type weather. In fact, the weather in Ohio will be milder than Chicago's. Grinnell is in Iowa and shares Minnesota's southern border, so the weather might be a bit harsher than Ohio.
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