Reed vs Grinnell, which one has better academic reputation? [computer science and linguistics]

Hello, I am trying to decide which of these two schools has the better reputation academically, as I plan on going into a PhD program in computational linguistics after I graduate. I plan on studying computer science and linguistics.

I have been accepted into both these schools and the money is about the same. Any help is greatly appreciated!

Both colleges have excellent reputations and you would have no trouble getting into a PhD program from either.

What will be the most important factor in determining your acceptance into a PhD program will be your undergraduate grades and recommendations. You’re most likely to do your best work at the school where you feel most comfortable living and learning for the next 4 years. The two schools reportedly have very different personalities, so I’d focus on which one that you feel is the best fit. If possible, visit. Contact admissions and ask if they can set up tele-meetings for you with current students and faculty.


For some comments on Reed, see this topic: Thoughts on Reed College? - #2 by merc81.

Reed’s CS program is very small. I’d suggest checking their course offerings in CS, linguistics, NLP etc.

Check the course offerings at Grinnell too. CS is the largest major there.

Just to put numbers on the 2 departments for comparison, based the graduation rates in Computer Science on the most recent common data sets, estimated department size should be approximately:

185 - Grinnell
45 — Reed

Check with each college’s admissions office for more accurate numbers because they can fluctuate from year to year. This is especially true at Reed where the program is only in its 4th year and Covid disruptions may have interfered with its growth.

With Reed’s department only begun in 2019, Grinnell certainly has the more established program.

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Thanks for the advice! I will certainly take a look.

I would also like to add that at Reed I would try to pursue an interdisciplinary major in computer science and linguistics, whereas at Grinnell I would pursue a computer science major with a linguistics concentration or a custom independent major combining the two fields.

By any chance does anyone have any knowledge about the linguistics departments at these schools?

Reed’s linguistics program seems excellent, especially if you desire an interdisciplinary approach to the field.

From an employer’s perspective, I don’t think it’s going to matter whether your diploma says Reed or Grinnell. At least for CS, neither has the kind of reputation that will jump out when an employer reading resumes sees the school name. There was a period where I was very interested in natural language processing, and took a few evening classes in linguistics at a local university. Having taken those, it’s hard for me to imagine there’s going to be much difference in how linguistics is taught at the undergrad level between schools, but again, I’m no expert in linguistics.

I’d look at the various courses offered at each school, and then seriously consider the one that seems to offer the most interesting combination of CS and linguistics.

Did you take NACLO test today?

I’d say that if a prospective employer knows anything about Grinnell’s CS program, they should be very receptive to one of its graduates.

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No, I haven’t done NACLO, I heard about it recently and wish I had found it sooner.

I think that Reed and Grinnell are, broadly, academic peers. But neither is really known for CS, so make sure they offer enough courses to suit your interests.

I would compare them primarily based on fit in the areas of academics (courses – try to map out a four-year path), location/setting, and, obviously, cost.

1900 kids took the 2023 NACLO open round. 190 took the invitational round yesterday. Here is a photo of 10 of those at the 4-hour test proctored at Stanford.

In the cloisters, parents wait outside Margaret Jacks Hall for the Stanford Linguistics department to open at 8:30, huddled against the cold and conversing expectantly in Mandarin. To the left, Hoover Tower. In the distance, SBF awaits sentencing, and in the further distance, a padlocked branch of SVB…

I have already visited Reed and plan to visit Grinnell soon, and I think it may ultimately come down to which campus I prefer. I’d imagine that I would prefer Reed’s campus due to its location but I found myself pleasantly surprised from Williams, the only rural campus I visisted, so I do think I definitely need to check out Grinnell’s campus first.

I think Grinnell is probably stronger in CS whereas Reed is probably stronger in linguistics, but I do not know if it is entirely possible to determine which is the better choice for studying both fields. I also like that Reed has the thesis requirement however I believe that even without one I would still be able to conduct undergraduate research (hopefully get published) at Grinnell.

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With respect to research opportunities, this U.S. News site may be worth a view:

I’m not sure I would use this as a marker since Reed doesn’t have anything to do with rankings?

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I believe that U.S. News ranking should be open to criticism. However, Reed’s administrators did not need to approve of or participate in the survey-based ranking in order for Reed to appear in it — and Reed is, in fact, included in the site. In any case, I posted the information mainly to balance the stated perception that Grinnell might not offer as many opportunities as Reed for faculty-mentored research. As an opinion, I’d consider Grinnell and Reed to be equivalent in this area.

If you would like to see a survey-based ranking in which Reed places first among all colleges in the nation, this Princeton Review site may be of interest:

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Can you give me your thoughts on your visit to Reed? We haven’t been able to visit yet- waiting on decisions next week to get a trip in place. I’d like to hear the good/bad…everything:)

Reed for linguistics. I have a PhD in linguistics and there were several people in my program from Reed - super smart, already had a leg up in the program bc they’d had such a great undergraduate education. The drug culture at Reed is real.

Grinnell and Reed are similarly small, very liberal. Reed is closer to a big city if that matters (not much going on in Grinnell). Are you closer to one or the other?


Can you explain the drug culture? What sort of drugs? My impression was that it has a very academically focused environment which actually I wasn’t sure would be the best fit for D. But from what I’ve read they send a lot of kids to graduate school.