Okay... I am a parent of a high school senior who is considering Reed. My student is very bright, kinda "quirky", and loves ideas and academic discussions. Always wants to know why things are the way they are (does not memorize just for the sake of passing the test). Passionate about many things (poetry, mathematics, art, physics, opera, etc.). Really wants to go to college with other intellectual types. Headed for grad school in an area where Reed has excellent PhD "production". There are really only three colleges in the US that we have found that everyone talks about as truly "intellectual" -- U of Chicago, Swarthmore, and Reed. But here are a couple of things that are bugging me about Reed (besides no merit aid, reported drug use, and low graduation rates - but in all honesty, I think we can live with those):
I am not put off by the USNWR rankings (even with the steep drop this year). BUT, I am put off by the fact that the SAT ranges are just not that strong for Reed. If Reedies are so intellectual, where is the beef in this area? I do understand that there is a difference between intellectual and smart. BUT, my kid is both. Supurb SAT scores, and really a blazing intelligence to go with that intellectual bent. The average SAT math is under 700... my kid very much wants an intellectual environment, but really trying to get at the question of intelligence AND intellectualism. Can anyone comment on this?
Second item -- I hear that a lot of Reedies smoke. Again, what is up with THAT? Even teenagers know in this day and age that it causes cancer. My kid is WAY too smart to light up a cigarette. Are a lot of the Reed students not that smart? When I think of adults in my workplace, I know there is a bias that says only the ones who aren't that bright are still holding onto that habit. Should my kid go someplace where a lot of the students don't believe that message? Is it a sort of pseudo-intellectual activity?
I really don't mean to knock Reed with the questions above, but my kid is getting serious about trying to narrow down top few choices, and these questions are nagging at me. Any insight would be appreciated. Or any other "intellectual" school suggestions. :)