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About the whole intellectual thing...

bandeapart123bandeapart123 Registered User Posts: 17 New Member
edited August 2013 in Reed College
Here I hope I'm not insulting anyone or going against the whole institution, but I've been having doubts about the intellectuality of Reed College. Whenever I hear about Reed College, it's always related to intellectual, intellectual and intellectual. As philosopher Nietzsche said "What categorizes me negates me", are you sure this may not be the case for Reedies? I've heard stories of the hype about all the caffeine foods and the health products that Reed provides for their students during final exams, and the exaggeration amongst the peers about the workload and yet remaining procrastination. Are you sure the word 'intellectual' really fits well in context of Reed? I don't know, it just seems all modern intellectuals or ones from the past all just went through normal universities, not liberal art colleges and still managed to pull of thought-provoking work. I mean would Sartre, Zizek, Chomsky, proven intellectuals have chosen Reed had they grown up in America? It just appears to me like the hyper coating of the word intellectual is may prove to be pseudo-intellectual instead. Prove me that it's wrong, and I'll apply to Reed.
Post edited by bandeapart123 on

Replies to: About the whole intellectual thing...

  • GhosttGhostt Registered User Posts: 1,658 Senior Member
    There's one thing I can say about Reed's intellectual environment: If you want to impress anyone at Reed with your erudition, you need to drop better names than Sartre, Zizek and Nietzsche.

    Seriously, Zizek? Who cares about Zizek? The man's a fraud. Reed professors tell jokes about him on Twitter. (I'm not even making this up; my German lit professor is an avid Twitter user.)

    Sartre is even less legit than Zizek. Not even anthro majors would quote him in class--that's how you know someone's theory has truly run its course.

    Nietzsche is solid, but both old-fashioned and too mainstream. Overeager freshmen flexing their intellectual muscles tend to be obsessed with him, and that is not an image you want to cultivate.

    As for Chomsky, he did grow up in America. He went to UPenn.

    Seriously, no offense, but you need to up your game. You worry Reed may not be pretentious enough for you, but I think you'll find out you're not pretentious enough for Reed.
  • vonlostvonlost Super Moderator Posts: 27,671 Super Moderator
    One simple objective measure of Reed's intellectualty is its per capita rate of future PhD's, fourth in the U.S. after CalTech, Harvey Mudd and Swarthmore. The rate is higher partially due to the lack of majors where PhD's are less common, so you're with students whose goal is not so BA/BS job-oriented; Reed is one of the grad school prep colleges. Reedies are outliers (said Reed's former president).

    Visit (overnight when possible) as many schools as you can, apply to those you like. Don't overthink this so much at this stage.

    I think this article describes Reed well: The Paradoxes of Reed
  • bandeapart123bandeapart123 Registered User Posts: 17 New Member
    Whoah what you're talking about there does sound pretty robust and makes me feel inexperienced, but clarify for me please, what does it mean by rigor? I mean, say, how does it differ from students in Harvard/Princeton who are also famous for spending tons and tons of hours studying, what differentiates Reed from their rigor?

    Yeah and I agree Zizek does seem kinda pretentious

    and Chomsky, I can't really understand what he's saying..

    but Sartre are you kidding, of course i'm not trying to have some great intellectual debate over here, but he's one of the main intellectual figures of 20th century, just sayin'
  • GhosttGhostt Registered User Posts: 1,658 Senior Member
    Harvard students are not known for "spending tons of hours studying," Jesus. Harvard and Yale have rampant grade inflation that makes academic dedication a choice, not a necessity. Princeton, maybe.

    And lol, Sartre.
  • bandeapart123bandeapart123 Registered User Posts: 17 New Member
    Ghostt, then could u tell me what a current reedie is reading in whatever hum course at Reed? (philosophy, lit, psy)

    Really genuinely curious, thanks
  • rhg3rdrhg3rd Registered User Posts: 947 Member
    "One simple objective measure of Reed's intellectualty is its per capita rate of future PhD's, fourth in the U.S. after CalTech, Harvey Mudd and Swarthmore."

    The standard objective measure of intellect is SAT's. Reed's typical SAT's especially math are well below those at the most competitive colleges like Caltech, Harvey Mudd and Swat.

    OP should ignore claims grade inflation makes "academic dedication" a choice. Harvard and Yale students work very hard and tend to be highly productive individuals.
  • vonlostvonlost Super Moderator Posts: 27,671 Super Moderator
    "The standard objective measure of intellect is SAT's."

    The question was not about SAT scores, but about attitudes, how/what Reedies think.
  • vonlostvonlost Super Moderator Posts: 27,671 Super Moderator
    This quote from Princeton Review is fitting:
    Successful PhD students are those who thrive in a highly intellectual environment, are willing to work very hard with only a possible payoff, have excellent command of undergraduate coursework and don't mind forgoing impressive paychecks.
  • SHolmiesSHolmies Registered User Posts: 60 Junior Member
    Who cares? Are you only applying to schools which you determine to be authentically intellectual after hours of scouring the internet (and seeing through pseudo-intellectual claims of lesser schools)? Just visit and see what you think rather than relying on hearsay.

    It seems to me like 'intellectual' is a label that is frequently attached to Reed but not something they necessarily promote themselves. It's been called the most intellectual school in the US and one of the most rigorous. But such sweeping claims are always targets for debate, and have been debated ad nauseam. Do a CC search of "Reed intellectual" and you'll see what I mean.

    At the end of the day, go to Reed because it is a good, challenging school that is the right fit for you, not because it fits into some metric of "intellectualism."
  • SHolmiesSHolmies Registered User Posts: 60 Junior Member
    Also, in regards to other posts, the SATs do not measure intellect and especially not intellectualism. They measure how good you are at taking tests. They are not even an accurate predictor of college GPAs, much less future success, especially when compared to high school GPA. (http://cshe.berkeley.edu/publications/docs/ROPS.GEISER._SAT_6.12.07.pdf) SAT scores are also way more closely correlated to family income (as well as race and gender) than HS GPA, so really they are a better indicator of someone's socioeconomic background than they are of 'intelligence.' (An interesting interview about the SAT with the president of Princeton Review- Interviews - Jon Katzman | Secrets Of The Sat | FRONTLINE | PBS and actually that whole series on the SAT is fascinating)

    The amount of stock Reed vs HYPeD puts into such test scores is telling and I'm glad Reed will take a chance on bright students who might not be expert test takers, even if that means Reed's average SAT scores are less than peer schools and it takes a hit in some arbitrary USNWR ranking. Good on them for having a holistic admissions process. Reed has even admitted high school dropouts who never took any standardized test (horrors!).

    Re: Yale and Harvard students-- sure, anyone who attends an elite LAC/Ivy was probably a hard worker in high school (or very wealthy and well-connected). That doesn't necessarily make them 'intellectual', or even interesting. While a gross oversimplification, I think looking at Steve Jobs (Reed) and Bill Gates (Harvard) is an interesting way to contrast the two different schools and the types of students they attract. Bill Gates is obviously more successful, at least financially, but I'd much rather hang out with Steve Jobs.

    @OP: Syllabi for Hum 110 Intro to Western Humanities/ Ancient Civilizations
    Old: REED VIRTUAL TOUR
    New: Reed College | Humanities 110
    Hum 210 Early Modern Europe
    Fall: Reed College | Humanities 210 | Fall 2012 Syllabus
    Spring: Reed College | Humanities 210 | Spring 2013 Syllabus
    Hum 220 Modern European Humanities (best class ever)
    Fall: Reed College | Humanities 220 | Fall 2012 Syllabus
    Spring: Reed College | Humanities 220 | Spring 2013 Syllabus
    Hum 230 Foundations of Chinese Civilization
    Fall: http://academic.reed.edu/chinese/chin-hum/Hum230SyllabusF12.pdf
    Spring: http://academic.reed.edu/chinese/chin-hum/Hum230SyllabusS13.pdf
    Hum 411 Senior Symposium (a post-modern hum book club)
    Reed College | Humanities 411 | Syllabus
  • GhosttGhostt Registered User Posts: 1,658 Senior Member
    OP should ignore claims grade inflation makes "academic dedication" a choice. Harvard and Yale students work very hard and tend to be highly productive individuals.

    I could give you anecdotal evidence based on my college workload vs that of my friends at these schools, but I have something even better:

    Two-thirds of the grades Yale awarded to undergraduates last year were As or A-s. Harvard's average GPA is above 3.5.

    This speaks to an environment where hard work is not always instrumental to academic success, as grade distribution is determined by instructors and administrators (mostly) independently of student performance. And before you trot out the flawed argument that Harvard and Yale students are so superior to everyone else that they all deserve As, MIT and Princeton students have similar SAT scores but far lower college GPAs. Hmmm.

    Please note that I said nothing about the productivity of these schools' respective student bodies, which are indeed known for very active and effective extracurricular engagement. And a lot of Harvard/Yale grads go on to excel in academia, which presupposes great dedication to one's studies. None of this, however, means that Harvard and Yale students study a lot on average, or need to do so in order to get good grades.

    And SAT ranges are hardly indicative of intellectualism. Neither is PhD production rate, really. There is no single statistic you can point to and seriously say, "This proves X is an intellectual place," as intellectualism is a vaguely defined attitude, not a commonly tracked outcome.
  • hevydevyhevydevy Registered User Posts: 275 Junior Member
    I like you for your mentioning of Zizek, Sartre, and Chomsky. Three awesome dudes. I just have to say that. I'm not going to Reed, but still. You are cool! *thumbs up*
This discussion has been closed.