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Reed and Ohio Wesleyan

collegehopeful13collegehopeful13 - Posts: 14 New Member
edited January 2008 in Reed College
I am considering several colleges and Reed and Ohio Wesleyan are among those. I am pretty much set on going to a small liberal arts colleges but I am interested in getting more information on my selected schools. How can you compare Reed and Ohio Wesleyan in terms of location, student culture, student demographics and the sciences? I am not interested in the rankings and average statistics as I can see those in the guidebooks.
Post edited by collegehopeful13 on
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Replies to: Reed and Ohio Wesleyan

  • DevorzhumDevorzhum Registered User Posts: 85 Junior Member
    I don't know anything about Ohio Wesleyan, but I can tell you that Reed has the only mostly undergraduate-run nuclear reactor in the nation =p
  • collegehopeful13collegehopeful13 - Posts: 14 New Member
    .........................:-)
  • markrmarkr Registered User Posts: 126 Junior Member
    The two colleges are very different from each other. Reed is an intellectual place full of quirky students in Oregon. Ohio Wesleyan is a much more middle of the road, traditional place in Ohio. Generally speaking, Reed has a politically liberal student body, and Ohio Wesleyan has a middle of the road to conservative student body. Reed attracts students from all over the country for its unique academic culture. Ohio Wesleyan attracts mainly people from Ohio and nearby states. If you are looking for a midwestern alternative that is closer to Reed, I would visit Earlham and Oberlin. Another interesting college in Ohio is College of Wooster, which also attracts alot of Ohio and midwestern students, but has an interesting independent study program and has a much better track record in placing students in top graduate schools than does Ohio Wesleyan. I hope this is helpful.
  • peter05peter05 Registered User Posts: 194 Junior Member
    I would say markdr doesn't know what he is talking about. I would only say a few things just so that you don't get the wrong impression based on his/her comments regarding the difference between Reed and Ohio Wesleyan.

    Political leanings: I agree that Reed is a liberal place but I would describe Ohio Wesleyan as liberal, perhaps just slightly less so:
    According to a poll OWU's student newspaper, in 2004, 70% of OWU students favored the Democratic candidate, John Kerry. This is consistent, if not more liberal, with the political leanings of other northeast liberal arts colleges.
    While searching there is another link that I found concerning the political leanings of Ohio Wesleyan students:
    Image:WesleyanPolitical.JPG - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Student body: According to this website, Ohio Wesleyan attracts only about 40% of students from Ohio (Ohio Wesleyan University | Presidential Search | Our Students)
    I would agree that it attracts mainly students from the Northeast though.
    In terms of international diversity, there is no comparison whatsoever. OWU has consistently been on the US News and World Report for % of international students. If you look at 1995-2003 numbers OWU's international student percentage was around 15% (which is second only to Mount Holyoke, Macalester a few other LACs). Since 2003, the international percentage has slipped a bit to 12%, but still considerably higher than Reed's 3-4%.

    Academics: I would agree here that while Ohio Wesleyan offers superb academics, many of the students who go to it, look for a more balanced student experience (involvement in community service, activism, sports and social life) than just focusing on academics. Based on the PhD productivity rates for Reed, I would imagine that Reed students focus more on academics relative to OWU students.

    I hope this comparison is helfpul.
  • collegehopeful13collegehopeful13 - Posts: 14 New Member
    I am not too familiar with the schools which is why I asked the question. Princeton Review lists Ohio Wesleyan and Reed within each other's "six-degree-of-separation" measure for cross-applicants. I suspect markr's statement about the two schools being very different couldn't possibly be true if Princeton Review uses actual data showing a lot of overlap of applicants. Thanks for the private messages from the two current Reedies. They were very helpful!
  • carolyncarolyn Registered User Posts: 7,435 Senior Member
    I have to agree with Makr and strongly disagree with Peter: These are two very different schools. Although they are both small liberal arts schools, and both can be great for the right person, they are world's apart in terms of student body, intellectual atmosphere, campus life, and curriculum approaches. I say this as someone who has visited both schools, knows students at both schools, and who has talked with admissions reps from both schools.

    Some key differences:

    -- OWU has a very active frat/sorority scene. There are no frats and sororities at Reed. In fact, if someone ever dared to build a frat or sorority at Reed, I can almost guarantee it would be burned to the ground before daybreak. Reedies are passionately independent -- if the idea of joining a frat/sorority even vaguely appeals to you, then Reed is not for you.

    -- At OWU, you will fiind mostly very nice but very middle of the road students. That's great for some kids, but, again, most Reedies would rather be drawn and quartered than considered middle of the road. I dare say you'd be hard-pressed to find capes, tatoos, long black trench coats on the OWU campus. At Reed, you'd be hard pressed to find the same sort of fresh faced all american type you'll find at OWU. I'm SURE that both types exist on the two campuses, but at Reed, no one blinks twice at someone in cape and/or trench coat. At OWU, the same get up would be branded as exceedingly weird.

    -- OWU has a very active athletic program, with lots of participation. Many Reedies choose Reed at least partially because there is NO athletic let's all go to the big game type of program.

    -- Curriculum: Sure, OWU has its honors program and its freshman tutorials, but these are a watered down version of the intense expectations Reed has for its students (again, don't get me wrong OWU is a GREAT school, but ver different from Reed). Reed doesn't tell its students grades; all freshman at Reed don't just take a "tutorial" in a subject that interests them, they spend a year studying classic literature and thought; Reed students must pass a comprehensive exam before they can head into senior year - no such requirement at OWU; Reed students also must write the equivalent of a Master's thesis in order to graduate. In short, Reed is an intensely academic place and as such tends to attract a certain type of student who has a certain element of intellectual maschism. You will NOT find that at OWU (again, I am sure there are some students at OWU in the library at 2 am on a Saturday night, but they are the exceptions, not the rule like at Reed).

    And, one final difference: Reed is located in Porltand, Oregon, probably one of the hippest cities in the U.S. OWU is located in...well, Ohio. Nothing wrong with Ohio, but I don't think anyone thinks "hip and happening" when they hear "Ohio." If you do, then perhaps OWU is the right place for you. If you feel that way, however, and want a school in Ohio that is more similar to Reed, then head to Oberlin. OWU ... nope. It ain't even close to Reed.

    Again, this is not to bash OWU. I know kids who are quite happy at OWU. But they tend to be kids who like drinking beer and going to frat parties on a Saturday night, maybe after taking in a game during the afternoon. While there's plenty of drinking and mind-altering substances at Reed, you won't find Reedies any where near anything resembling a frat party, and they'll be more likely discussing quantum physics and Plato than the score of that afternoon's game and the cute girl in the corner. Just two different worlds.

    If you haven't visited Reed, do make a point of doing so. It is NOT a place to apply to without a visit. You'll either find it heaven on earth, or run quickly towards Ohio. You'll probably also know immediately if it is right for you or not.
  • carolyncarolyn Registered User Posts: 7,435 Senior Member
    Just want to add: Be VERY careful with the Princeton Review's degrees of separation information. They aren't very open about their methodology, or their statistical accuracy.

    I sincerely doubt that OWU and Reed get more than one or maybe two cross applications every year.

    Again, visit both schools, and make up your OWN mind at how similar or not they are. Actually, a true mark of a Reedie is that they DO make up their own minds, rather than relying on secondary information like US News Rankings or the Princeton Review. If you can't visit, be sure you understand the curriculum differences. Also, be sure to closely compare the differences in median SAT scores, percentage in the top 10% of their high school class, and average GPA. They are quite different for these schools.
  • peter05peter05 Registered User Posts: 194 Junior Member
    carolyn,

    could you tell me what you base your comments on when you talk about the two schools? your opinion strikes me as surprisingly (for someone with your large record of postings) ignorant. my guess it is just 20-year outdated. i am sorry.

    i went to ohio wesleyan and i can tell you exactly where you are incorrect. unlike you, however, i will back it up with real data and facts.

    1) please specify what you mean by a very active greek scene? sure, owu has fraternities/sororities, but they are less than 30%, which relative to reed is obviously more active. but this has more to do with schools in the midwest and the west than anything else. that's an aspect of the social life that i'll agree with you on, generally. please, take a look at Princeton Review's suggested schools for Ohio Wesleyan and you will see Kenyon, Oberlin (both of which are actually in the same five-school consortium with OWU) and Reed.

    2) your second argument seems like a qualitative argument that does not deserve serious attention because you have nothing measurable to back it up with. so, i can't really argue with an imprecise statement. your impressions are just what they are: your impressions.

    3) the third argument is simply wrong. sorry. take a look at the OWU college collegeprawler (sorry, I mispell it intentionally because CC seems to replace it with dots for some reason) www.**************.com/ section on athletics and update your "impressions".

    4) what is even your argument for the fourth paragraph? sure, the two schools have different curricula. nobody disagrees on this one. every school has a unique curriculum. OWU has three principles and they relate to relating the curruculum and each student's experience to the liberal arts in the context of liberal values. Reed's curriculum foster's more independent study. This seems to be more conducive to other objectives (e.g. PhD productivity). Is one better than the other? Specify towards what objective and then we can talk about it. Your argument implies in its last sentence that Reed's curriculum is somehow absolutely better towards all objective which I hope is not the point you are trying to make.

    5) You are correct. OWU is in Delaware, 20 minutes north of Columbus. You are correct that most people don't think "hip and happening" when they hear "Ohio.", but if you claim that you have visited OWU recently, Columbus and the surrounding area, tell me: what do you think about when you think "Short North"? (which I hope you know of). I am not an advocate of Delaware, Ohio, which I find pretty rural (though that in itself might be quite charming for many) but it is fairly close to "hip and happening" and might I say even quite alternative "Short North". I am just going to steal something from Wikipedia for the description of "Short North" here: "A reputation for diversity and an artistic, Bohemian atmosphere has marked the Short North." You can find a more reputable source at your leisure.

    Oddly, you said that you agree with markr and you disagree with me, yet you didn't argue anything about the data that I used to support my claims. As a college counselor, you should back up your statements with real data. Please do so.
  • johnwesleyjohnwesley - Posts: 4,610 Senior Member
    ^ you realize, Peter05, you just supported everything Carolyn said but in different words?
  • flyboyflyboy Registered User Posts: 496 Member
    Carolyn is absolutely right. I visited both schools when I was looking and didn't get the feeling that they compared at all academically in terms of the type of student that both schools attracted. OW is a greta school but you are going to find a different person.
    If you wanted something in the midwest that is more similiar to Reed, I agree that Oberlin would be a good choice but I would also check out Grinnell.
    In actuality, nothing really compares to Reed..if it the school for you. You have to be into intense academics, social life is good but even alot of that revolves around intellectual pursuit..and don't forget, Reed doesn't really have any intercollegiate atheletics. Lastly, big difference between being in the pacific NW vs the midwest.
    But let's face it..all this is is everyone's personal opinions. Visit both and make the decision for yourself.
  • monydadmonydad Registered User Posts: 7,671 Senior Member
    "How can you compare Reed and Ohio Wesleyan in terms of location, student culture, student demographics and the sciences?"

    Many schools provide some student demographic information on their websites, at least regarding geographic origins of students; maybe ethnic breakdowns; maybe % receiving financial aid. So suggest you look there.

    For the sciences, as a starting point I suggest look at the current course listings at each school in the disciplines of interest, and the number of faculty in that area. Simply count the courses actually offered in that area. Then you can find a book called Rugg's Recommendations on the Colleges, which purports to survey students at each campus to find out what departments are considered to be strong there. Then there are these % PhD lists which you can probably find if you search CC, which I generally have some issues with, but in this case may provide some insight, for an-apples-to-apples comparison. Whether this says more about student inclinations and capabilities, vs. quality of the school's actual offerings in that subject, is something you will have to decide for yourself though.

    For location: look at a map? I don't understand the issue precisely. However, Places Rated Almanac would provide lots of information on the metro areas, as a whole, that the colleges are located in. A campus visit and guidebook descriptions would be very helpful for more specific insights into a college's more immediate environment.

    For student culture, you can read descriptions in the various college guide books (Maybe Fisk, Insider's Guide, etc.). Beyond this, we found actual campus visits, and other opportunities to talk to current students, to be invaluable in assessing what a place is really like.

    So that's how you can compare them.

    Have fun. When you're done, I suggest report back on your findings, right on this thread, for the benefit of future CCers.
  • markrmarkr Registered User Posts: 126 Junior Member
    I stand by my original post. Can't think of two more different colleges. If you visit both and talk to reps and students, you'll see what I mean within one half hour.
  • collegeprep11collegeprep11 Registered User Posts: 478 Member
    if you like the intellectual feel of reed but want to find similar but less selective midwestern schools try wooster, beloit, knox and earlham. ohio wesleyan, though a good school and equally selective, does not seem to have the same intellectual feel as some of the schools i mentioned. grinnell or oberlin would be a perfect match if you're looking for a reed-type(quirky+intellectual) school in the midwest.
  • peter05peter05 Registered User Posts: 194 Junior Member
    markr,

    feel free to elaborate on your points if you still "stand by them". you made several claims. i countered them with data. if you want to be convincing, i suggest you use data to support them. may i ask how old you are and when you last visited the colleges? your message from another thread suggests long time ago. i ask because besides the data that i used, i also use my student impressions that are one-year old. i doubt you are a recent graduate or a person who recently visited both campuses?
  • flyboyflyboy Registered User Posts: 496 Member
    petr and makr--this is a very interesting debate but I don't think this is the place to keep it up. USNWR ranks OWU 97th and as you know Reed is unranked..but if it were I doubt it would be below 25. Secondly, OWU is not listed in CC as a top LAC, Reed is listed. All of this is really inconsequential though...there is a perfect school for everyone adn both schools will always attract the right talent. You both win!
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