I’ve been looking at going to college at Reed, but after a lot of research, I think it’s a little bit too academically focused and the culture is a little bit farther on the weird spectrum for me. I want to go to a college like Reed, just maybe a little less extreme. When I first saw it, I loved how academically rigorous and different it was from other schools, but it maybe just a bit too much for me. I really like the focus on education for the love of learning, but I also want to have a little more of a typical college experience than the one Reed has to offer (but only just a little bit, I still would like it to be unique). I would also like it to be a little bit larger. In my research, I found Bates to be a good alternative, but its acceptance rate is much lower than Reed’s and I have good grades and test scores, but not Ivy League worthy. (I have an unweighted GPA of 3.66 and an SAT score of 1380). Any suggestions for colleges with a similar atmosphere to Reed would be greatly appreciated.
Skidmore? Dickinson? Goucher? SUNY New Paltz?
Sarah Lawrence? College of Wooster? University of Puget Sound? Whitman?
What do you mean by “like Reed”?
There are LOTS of good small schools. Very few of them are proudly and rigidly focused on a classical education like Reed is.
What is it that you like about it?
Take a look at Connecticut College, Macalester, and St. Olaf. If you are a woman, try Mount Holyoke College, Scripps, and Bryn Mawr. William and Mary would be a reach but might check a lot of boxes for you, so it could be worth a shot. You might also look at honors colleges at public universities, which could offer a smaller and more intimate and academically rigorous environment with the resources of a bigger institution.
Reed placed first for classroom experience in a Princeton Review survey-based ranking. You may want to research the other colleges that appear to see whether any might be suitable for you:
Check out Bard. It’s a bit quirky and intellectual, beautiful setting, but perhaps a little less “extreme” than Reed.
You might like Dickinson and Connecticut College and Wooster as alternatives to Bates. All have a nice mix of kids and excellent academics.
Washington College in Maryland.
Check out Oberlin, Rhodes College, Macalester, Lafayette and Davidson.
For a larger enrollment (4K-12K) and trying to stick mostly with schools with accept rates above Reed’s 30%, check out Emory (11%), the Honors Program at St Louis University (not Wash U in St Louis), George Washington U (50%), the honors program at Santa Clara U, and the honors program at Creighton.
The larger size introduces more factors into the campus you’ll have to consider. Neither a necessary bad or good thing in itself … just something to consider. I included Emory at 11% acceptance because its Oxford campus has a more promising acceptance rate and provides a path to the main campus.
An added bonus is some of the schools in the larger enrollment list provide generous scholarships if you are a National Merit Scholar.
You might find this list of PhD feeders, particularly the per capita list, interesting:
Reed is very high on the list (#6), and maybe some others on the list will give you that close but not quite as much thing you are looking for. Of course many are very selective, but some names that stand out include Whitman, Wheaton, and St Olaf.
If there are particular subject areas that interest you, you might get a few more names that way. Like, on the Bio list you will also see Allegheny College, Kalamazoo College, and Ohio Wesleyan (I note there are others, I am just picking out ones I know enough about to think they might match your stated goals).
The first school that came to mind for me was College of Wooster, but others have given some really great ideas. Oberlin and Bard seem to be especially good possibilities.
You should look at College that Change Lives. College Profiles – Colleges That Change Lives
You sound like my daughter back in 2015 when she was thinking about which colleges to apply to. She didn’t truly consider Reed for the reasons you mentioned.
She ended up applying to Bates, Whitman, Oberlin, Kenyon, Clark University (small enough to be an LAC), Dickinson, Carleton, Brown, Tufts, and U Rochester. Bates was where she ended up, mainly due to the combination of rigor, friendliness, and collaborative environment.
The schools mentioned here are a mix of high reach to good bet. They aren’t all the same, but she felt they were what she was primarily looking for.
I think that many of the Midwestern LAC’s will work. Unlike some of the NE LAC’s nobody goes to them with the intention of it being a feeder to Wall Street or Management Consulting. Many are already listed, but I would add Lawrence U and Beloit.
I like the gorgeous campus, the focus on learning for the sake of learning, as well as the unique culture. I just would prefer a slightly more tame version.
Sarah Lawrence, Wittenberg, Bard as previously mentioned…
Because of the nature of Reed in relation to the rest of the college landscape, schools roughly academically comparable to it (e.g., Vassar, Williams, Hamilton) tend to be more selective than Reed. However, for comparable schools equivalent to — or only slightly more selective than — Reed in selectivity, look into Oberlin and Kenyon.
Carleton and St. Olaf’s. They are in the same town, so if you are looking at one you might as well look at the other.
This reminded me of something I wanted to mention, which is that I think the OP’s stated numbers are on the low side for that selectivity-level of LACs, such that in our HS we would classify those as reaches. Not that they shouldn’t apply to some such colleges as reaches, but personally I think the OP might benefit from looking for LACs with a family resemblance to those sorts of LACs but which would classify as targets and likelies given those numbers.
This does not meet many of the parameters you have set out but for an unusual safety for you check out Warren Wilson College. It’s smaller than Reed, not super difficult academically, but a beautiful campus, super eco friendly, and a very cool school. Also super LGBTQ friendly.