Welcome to College Confidential!

The leading college-bound community on the web

Sign Up For Free

Join for FREE, and start talking with other members, weighing in on community discussions, and more.

Also, by registering and logging in you'll see fewer ads and pesky welcome messages (like this one!)

As a CC member, you can:

  • Reply to threads, and start your own.
  • Post reviews of your campus visits.
  • Find hundreds of pages of informative articles.
  • Search from over 3 million scholarships.
We want your feedback! Complete our survey and enter to win one of four $25 gift cards.
We are excited to announce a new role on College Confidential: The Forum Champion! Read all about it and apply now.

Everything i didn't ask during my visit

berryblossomsberryblossoms Registered User Posts: 15 New Member
edited April 2008 in Reed College
I am 99% sure I will be attending Reed next year. I really love the school's philosophy towards academics & student body, as well as the whole Portland vibe.

One problem. I don't mean to sound pretentious, but I am a little worried about the whole social aspect of the school. I know Reed has a reputation of being.. well, weird. Everyone is always like it is the "School for nerds" and "if you don't fit in at high school..you will fit in here" Well I do fit in in my high school, I don't find myself to be particularly weird (unique, sure). So if anybody can give me a little in-depth description of the whole social world of Reed. (I spent 2 nights at Reed back in October, but it was sort of hard to really get a good picture).

Another question... sex at Reed? Are they mostly casual hook ups, relationships, what? Thanks to all who answer.
Post edited by berryblossoms on

Replies to: Everything i didn't ask during my visit

  • TetraTetra Registered User Posts: 31 Junior Member
    If you really love Reed's philosophy and student body, you probably don't need to worry about fitting in; you'll be fine.

    I don't think any one student could give you in in-depth description of the whole social world at Reed. Personally, I'm pretty quiet, enjoy hanging out with friends in relatively laid-back situations, and not very much into parties. I love it here. There are plenty of others who like the loud parties, drugs, etc., and they also love it here.

    If you spent a few days here during one of the official prospie events, drugs were probably a lot more common then than they typically are.

    As for hook ups and relationships, there are some who do both (but hopefully not simultaneously...) and plenty who do neither.

    I realize all this might be a little vague. I guess the point is there isn't a single set standard, and you'll probably be able to find what you're looking for socially. Except fraternities/sororities or a sports culture. :)
  • vonlostvonlost Super Moderator Posts: 26,453 Super Moderator
    Pluralistic Ignorance Project - Home captures many aspects of life at Reed, some a bit surprising.
  • wolrabwolrab Registered User Posts: 63 Junior Member
    My son got into Reed -- as well as six other great schools (Brown, Carleton, Dartmouth, Kenyon, Tufts and Williams). There are many things about the place that really appeal to him/us. I refer to it as "the U. of Chicago, but with mountains and an outing club (he's a backpacker) and no grad students." But we have our concerns about the social scene at Reed. Here's what we just heard from a relative who lives in Portland:

    "My friend and her daughter checked out Reed last year. Her daughter has a friend going there, so some of this is first hand info -- from their own research and campus visit and from the friend who is there this year. ... Reed is a small, private, liberal arts school (which you probably already know). The campus is really nice. They thought that the academic program looked strong and had heard that the professors really spend time with the students, getting to know them and helping them…just what you would expect from a small school. They do NOT offer any merit based scholarships. They do participate in federal need-based programs, but nothing merit-based is awarded. They require all students to write, publish in bound-book form and defend a dissertation to get their undergraduate degree. Basically the entire senior year is spent doing this. Based on published information (I think they said the Princeton Review or something like that), they found that Reed has one of the highest drop-out rates. I’m not sure where they got this information, but she said that they also have a very high suicide rate there. They had heard that Reed is also known for high rates of drug use. The friend has found out first hand that this is true and she is very uncomfortable there. She said the culture on campus is somehow conducive to drug-usage. In the first week (and since then), her friend found herself in situations in which her roommate and/or others in her dorm were taking acid and other hard-core drugs. She said that it is not easy to get away from the drug use because it is very prevalent all around campus."

    So, current Reed students and parents (as well as prospective students), how do you respond to this description? As a parent who is also a mental health professional -- and who sees a lot of Big 10 college students in my private practice -- I find it, well, troubling. PLEASE be truthful. Thanks.
  • vonlostvonlost Super Moderator Posts: 26,453 Super Moderator
    I'm a parent of a Reed junior. The overall and academic description sounds about right. The senior thesis is usually one of three or four "courses" taken that year. Reed College 2007-08 Common Data Set SecB says the sophomore retention rate is 91% and six-year graduation rate is 75%. I haven't heard of a suicide problem nor found any data. Pluralistic Ignorance Project - Drugs & Alcohol gives some drug data, including that actual drug use is less that Reed students think it is. Our daughter says drugs are indeed available, but no one is ostracized for not partaking. Some say (I guess I'm one here now) that there's not much time for drugs, given the extremely heavy academic load; a hard-core drug user wouldn't survive the first semester. But even Reedies relax on Friday nights (except when a paper is due on Saturday!).
  • emeraldkity4emeraldkity4 Registered User Posts: 35,861 Senior Member
    my daughter graduated from Reed in 2006.
    It is only a few hours away and a beautiful small campus in a residential neighborhood, and I felt very comfortable having her sister who is 8 years younger travel by train by herself or with friends to visit on campus.

    I also have visited quite a bit over the years and found the students to be nice if a bit socially awkward, which gave my daughter who is on the quiet side but is a camp counselor type the opportunity to really expand her social skills.

    Transfer rate IMO is because, again Reed is very small, small depts, some students want a larger campus, more sports, not so much intense studying.

    Also $$$$$. Parents whose students are accomplished enough for schools with a broader familarity may ask why am I paying $50,000 for a school that my co workers havent heard of?

    However most of my daughters freshman dorm graduated from Reed, one friend transfered to U of O, since she was going to be paying for med school after.

    I have'nt heard anything about rampant drug use other than, that has always been the rumor Re: Reed since Gary Snyder attended. Reedies like their reputation of being " for edgy iconoclasts" Especially given students spend most of their time in the library :rolleyes:
    Reed doesn't act in a parental role so college student behavior may be more out there than at other schools, but that doesnt mean it exists more than in other schools.
    There is room to be moderate or even consevative in behavior as Donald Miller could probably tell you.
    But it is still Reed.
    Willamette Week | “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind” | February 2nd, 2005

    I can't speak to sex- as my daughter stopped attending Winter formal cause it was gross( although I think she did attend Fetish ball :confused: ) - but I am of the firm belief that as long as the parents are still young enough to be having sex- then the children are too young ;)
  • postonepostone Registered User Posts: 69 Junior Member
    to wolrab will try to give an honest answer.

    I would take with a grain of salt any of these types of facts learned by talking to kids on an overnight visit. There are a lot of myths and stories told to prospective students at any school I think, but there is a lot of discussion out there about all these topics...
    On dropouts: According to the President's remarks in 2006 Reed has a 75% 6 year graduation rate (http://web.reed.edu/president/speeches/state_of_college_06.html). This doesn't distinguish between who may graduate from another school that they have transferred to - but you can read his discussion of why. My reedie found that several friends left in the first year, and several have come back. The number one reason seems to be that the work is harder than they anticipated and they couldn't keep up - so have transferred out or been made to leave by parents, or they weren't ready to put in the work and have left because of it or are planning to come back when "more ready". You may need to take into account that many of these students have always been high achievers who are less than easy on themselves when they feel like they aren't being successful academically. Also - Many of the kids I have met have deep interests in things other than school and I know of at least a couple who left to take advantage of another opportunity (and think they may come back at some point in the future to finish up). I don't think either of these things are untypical of a Reed student (or even most college students).
    On Suicide rate: I think this is untrue. From what I've heard - there is a story that goes around campus that there was a rash of suicides (at some point in the past) and the school made changes, such as closing the library part of the time and requiring PE, to try and lessen the pressure. I don't know what, if any of this, is true, but they have a counseling staff that could probably give you a better feel for this. The link above to the Psychology department surveys seems to demonstrate that the kids report themselves as both stressed and relatively contented and well adjusted -
    On Drugs: It is pretty much beyond me how people can believe that kids working this hard at a challenging school also can do all the drinking and drugging they are supposed to be doing. Reedies often have hundreds of pages a week of reading, have to be prepared for daily class discussion, and write a ton of papers before they ever get to that senior thesis. I do hear about students who leave home and (for whatever reason) go kind of wild and end up either in personal or academic trouble. When I went to orientation week there was a very frank discussion in the parents’ forum about these issues with campus security and the college administration. I was reassured that their opinion seemed to be that the students are adults who are treated that way and that the emphasis was to intervene when their safety demanded it. My student is much more likely to be giving up a party or other activity (concerts, dinner out with friends) to go to the library and work than the other way around when I talk to him, even on the weekend. To be fair - I went to a LAC in the 70's so drug use on a college campus does not surprise me. I think you try and give your kid the tools to make good choices and then you have to trust them at any campus you send them to.
    On the other hand - the student body (and because the funding of student activities is voted on by the student body - many of the school activities) are very tolerant of student parties and celebrations that involve overt sexual references, beer, nudity, fire dancing, bug eating ... as well as more intellectual pursuits.
    My Reedie loves it there.
  • TetraTetra Registered User Posts: 31 Junior Member
    The drug question seems to have been pretty thoroughly addressed, but I'd like to add (based on my experience as a current straight-edge student) you will NOT be pressured to do anything you're uncomfortable with.

    I'd also like to emphasize that despite the (understandable) prevalence of these issues on this forum, they aren't usually problems in daily life. Reed has things in place to help. The Honor Principle is not a college flier fabrication, it's something most Reedies take seriously (see the Pluralistic Ignorance links before dismissing me as an anomaly). Professors are VERY accessible, you can usually simply walk into their offices and chat. And of course, there are few things more therapeutic than complaining to your dormies.
  • TrinSFTrinSF Registered User Posts: 1,482 Senior Member
    I appreciate Tetra mentioning the Honor Principle and professor accessibility. My Reedie went on the Psych department retreat, which involved playing Truth or Dare (or maybe just Truth, I'm a little fuzzy on the details) with the profs, and generally bonding and hanging out.

    WRT sex, well, I know about hookups, but also about relationships. I think DS's roommate has been dating the same girl since last September. OTOH, son and I talked about how tacky we both think hooking up with prospies is, no matter how cool the prospie find the notion.

    The dropout issue was probably the big thing that concerned me about Reed. The only close friend I have who went to Reed dropped out as an upperclassman, because of stress, pressure, and personal issues. (He had undiagnosed OCD, I think.) So we talked a lot about what that was like, and particularly how that has changed. My feeling in talking to students, parents, and administration is that Reed as a community is trying to address the problem. There seems to be more emphasis on the support structures in place to help students. I still think, though, that there's enough strenuousness to the curriculum that students graduating feel that they have really acheived something.
This discussion has been closed.