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what can i do to get into reed?

katydidskatydids Registered User Posts: 3 New Member
edited January 2014 in Reed College
i'm a sophomore right now, and my grades as a freshman weren't so good. i didn't study. or do much homework at all. so, this summer, i started looking at schools, hoping that maybe if i set a goal i'd be more motivated to actually try. i found reed and completely fell in love with it (and the motivation thing worked!).

i have a weighted GPA of 4.9, but our scale is weird (weighted, the most you can get is a 5.6). i have no idea how to convert that or anything because i'm not sure whether we're on a 5-point scale or what. obviously i'm new to this whole college-stats thing. basically i took all the A-level classes i could, getting mostly B's in them.

i'm taking the PSAT in october... so hopefully that'll go well, if i study like crazy for junior year maybe i can try for national merit. i guess. i don't know how my scores will look.

i'm taking alg2/trig, bio, AP us history, photo studio, spanish 3, etc. everything is A-level except for math. i should do well on the AP test.

i'm in student council (running for some sort of leadership position next year), key club (volunteer organization, maybe running for exec. board next year), amnesty international, youth in gov., and track & field (JV).

phew. i really want to improve my chances at this school- so besides getting good SAT/ACT scores and improving my gpa, what can i do? also, random question: how does one become a member of nhs?

thanks for reading all of this, help would be much appreciated. (:
Post edited by katydids on

Replies to: what can i do to get into reed?

  • ImmanuelKantImmanuelKant Registered User Posts: 239 Junior Member
    chill out. you're a sophomore.
  • katydidskatydids Registered User Posts: 3 New Member
    bleh. you're right...
    nice name, btw.
  • PrairiePrairie Registered User Posts: 159 Junior Member
    Think about what aspects/qualities of Reed were so appealing to you. Investigate other colleges to compare them to Reed, and to develop a larger list of characteristics for what you want in a college. Plan to apply to at least six and perhaps nine schools that you would actually want to attend. The best way to get into the school that is best for you is not to approach it from a position of need; that is, what the school can do for you. Being a supplicant affects your application for admission. It makes you appear less than complete without the school at issue. Admissions committees can sense this, and they often respond with distance. My advice: in high school, focus and work very hard in your coursework and extracurricular activities on doing things that make you feel alive, engaged, intelligent, and happy. Do you love any of the courses you're taking? When you're running track, do you feel like you could take on the world and win? Knowledge is power, and running makes you strong. These ways of approaching learning and challenges are very attractive to admissions committees. Schools want promising, motivated kids; kids who come in capable and make the most of what the schools offer, and who will do well after they graduate. It is good that you are beginning this process now. Consider, too, that Reed is very interested in the essay you will write on the subject of why you want to go there. Always tell the truth. If you were writing the essay now, it might be something like you have loved the school since you were a sophomore and have been killing yourself with schoolwork and extracurriculars since then to make yourself a successful candidate. The committee might well ask where your soul is, and whether you are ok spending your life doing things you don't seem to want, intrinsically, in order to get someplace that you have decided will make you happy. To maximize your chances of getting into Reed or most other liberal arts colleges, work now on doing what you want and laying the foundation for an essay that will convey your interests, abilities, and drive; and that will allow the committee to form an opinion about who you are as an individual. As you continue in the process of learning about different colleges, you will probably find that each one has its own personality, and will appeal to you, or not, for specific reasons. Admissions committees are very aware of what their schools are like, and they want to admit students who will fit in. If you craft your high school career only in order to fulfill some general idea of what a great student is, they will perceive this. You might end up at some school which focuses only on grades (The University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana is such a school, I think--no value judgment here; this is one equitable way, among many others, to admit students.) The most important variable in choosing a college, in my opinion, is the fit between your personality and the personality of the college. Maybe this fit exists between you and Reed. Find out by becoming yourself--Reed is a college full of individuals.
  • katydidskatydids Registered User Posts: 3 New Member
    This is really helpful- thank you!
  • PrairiePrairie Registered User Posts: 159 Junior Member
    You're welcome.
  • sanxiesanxie Registered User Posts: 118 Junior Member
    I can tell you what NOT to do, and that is hallucinogens.
  • californiabritcaliforniabrit Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    Prairie thanks for posting the link - ‘Feel Free. Be Yourself. It’s the Only Marketing Device That Can Work.’ - The Choice Blog - NYTimes.com best bit of advice I've read through this horrendous process. I hope teens rebel some day and apply in hordes to Canadian and European colleges where they give not a whit about your essay and EC's
  • SHolmiesSHolmies Registered User Posts: 60 Junior Member
    edited January 2014
    How to become a NMS: http://www.studypoint.com/ed/national-merit-scholarship-qualifications/

    How to get into Reed:
    Focus on the things which Reed lists as being the 5 main criteria for evaluating an application:
    -Courses taken in high school, based on rigor of classes and curriculum;
    -Grades, class rank, and standardized tests, including the SAT and ACT;
    -Personal character and intellect, based on interviews and recommendations;
    -Essays and application essays (esp Why Reed essay);
    -Involvement, such as extracurriculars and community service.

    Two other things worth mentioning:
    Reed is a unique school seeks unique students. So like Prarie said above, develop and pursue your own unique passions and interests, things that make you stand out as an individual, rather than trying to fit into a mold of a generic 'well-rounded student'.
    Also being totally in love with Reed and knowing early on that it is your number one choice is not a liability. The admissions committe wants students who want to be there and are a good fit, not those who apply as sloppy seconds to the Ivies. Reedies are historically self-selecting and really really want to go to Reed, not just 'some good school'. I agree that desperation can be off-putting, and it's generally a good idea to apply to more than one college to hedge your bets, but your enthusiasm and self-assuredness can work in your favor.

    I just realized this was a very old post that somehow got resurrected. Hopefully this advice will be helpful to future applicants.
    It would be interesting to learn whether the OP did end up applying to and/or attending Reed.
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