Recent Alumnus 2013-04-25T15:38:15Z
Every major at Reed is intense and would be an honors major elsewhere. All students take a qualifying exam in their major in the junior year and write a thesis in the senior year.
Recent Alumnus 2013-04-25T15:21:47Z
There is a one and a half year PE requirement at Reed, but not all PE is athletics per se - like dance, yoga, and martial arts. There are skills classes in sports like tennis and squash and training/conditioning classes. Some PE classes like rowing, sailing, hiking and skiing travel off-campus. Sports Center facilities are good. Outside of PE, IM teams and club sports are not well organized.
Recent Alumnus 2013-04-23T20:50:03Z
Oregon drizzle is conducive of study. Better winters here than in New England or Midwest, but they can get boring. I managed to run outside a few days a week while at Reed, and the wet weather didn't get in the way. Senior year there was an unusual "drought" in February and March: 55-60 degrees and sunny. Better bring rain wear as it probably will never happen again.
Recent Alumnus 2013-04-23T20:27:19Z
This is a big topic of debate. In the past, there have been those who misused the unusual freedoms of Reed to their own detriment.
Recent Alumnus 2013-04-23T20:23:38Z
Health & Safety:
Community Safety Officers and new head of safety keep things safe.
Recent Alumnus 2013-04-23T20:22:14Z
Nice mix of trees, lawns and forested canyon. The three Tudor gothic buildings are the nicest ones on campus. A new performing arts center opens fall 2013.
Recent Alumnus 2013-03-10T11:51:05Z
Reed is a strange place and, in my experience, was insular and depressing. I graduated from there in the mid-1990s. It's not a place that produces many professionals or thought leaders. Academics, yes, maybe. Also, maybe folks who go into alternative medicine, or beer-making, or computer programming, or organic food restaurants, or stacking books in libraries. But not a lot of people who go on and interact with the world and start or run businesses or invent things or go into politics or lead organizations or stand out socially in other ways. There are some of these, of course, but surprisingly few based on the quality and cost of the education (do something with this elite opportunity - don't just value how "intellectual" it all was!). Reviewing the Reed alumni directory and reading the Reed alumni notes brings this observation to life. The most famous "Reedie" was Steve Jobs but he wasn't really a Reedie -- he dropped out. Ask a Reedie to name another famous Reedie, I promise the person will be hard-pressed to say. (There was a physics professor at one point, also a Reed grad, who invented an important smoke detector circuit and made some money, but I honestly can't think of other Reedies like this -- I'm sure there are, but it sure ain't Harvard or MIT).
It's a place that promotes rigorous thinking, sure, and has a very traditional curriculum, but is also overly self-conscious about how iconoclastic it thinks itself to be (yet, when I was there, I frequently heard the phrase, "Reed is a place where you can learn how to learn" -- a notion invoked without irony or awareness of how cliched this is). While the school does not routinely disseminate report cards at the end of semester, the students ARE graded. I received a "B" in every class I took (and worked my ass off). Not an occasional B- or B+ or A or C+, even though these gradations did exist. I received a "B" only -- seems I was pegged early on as a "B" student and every professor just entered a grade consistent with my prior grades. There's something fishy about this (statistically-speaking, it's possible but not very likely that these consistent "B"s were accurate).
There were definitely too many drugs, and lots of talk about drugs as well (there was a drug called Bromo for awhile, really strong and scary stuff -- I never tried). The "bubble-like" nature of the place means there was not much talk about or engagement with the wider community. The place is green and pretty but is (and was) a bit run down. I walked through campus a couple years ago and saw broken basement windows, lots of cobwebs, stray litter blowing in the wind. There have been times in Reed's history when there have been an unusual number of student suicides. I don't know whether these have been proportionately greater in number than at other small, expensive liberal-arts colleges, but it's hard not to believe that without relevance are the near-constant drizzle, the prolonged winter darkness, the drugs, the pressure to study all the time, the isolated nature of the place, and the number of socially awkward kids the place attracts.
Yet, despite all this, Reed IS an excellent school. I got a good education, but would have been happier, I suspect, and received an equally good education at a more conventional school. Bottom line is that there are quite a large number of better schools from both an academic and balanced-life perspective (any Ivy League; most of the highly-ranked US News and World Report liberal arts colleges; and even lots of big state schools, many of which have liberal arts programs that try to create the feel of small college life if this is what you want). Obviously, some of this is just reflective of my individual experience -- maybe there were things I was dealing with during my college adolescent years. Of course there were happy times and friends, but somehow these just don't figure prominently in my memory. Other people clearly love the place. My life has been happy, fulfilling and successful, but the major reflection of my feeling about Reed is that I would never encourage any of my own children to go there.
College Junior 2013-01-08T06:39:01Z
Parking is fabulous! There are four main parking-lots on campus. Two are close to dorms, and the other is very close to the library and main educational facilities (the Bio building, the Chem building, Psych building, and the Educational Technology Center), and finally one closer to the cafeteria and gym. I've had a car on campus since I was a Freshman, and there's always a ton of parking availability.
College Junior 2012-12-28T04:23:01Z
We have no sports except for Ultimate Frisbee and Rugby. Anything else is unofficial. The Sports Center is quite nice I believe... I've only been inside a handful of times but the facilities seem up to date and clean and not too crowded and all that.
Recent Alumnus 2012-09-27T19:45:51Z
There is a lot going in Portland for sure, mostly white hipster/hippie/yuppie stuff though, so if you you aren't in one of those demographics, you might have issues. There is a rapper here, and also a great jazz club. The city is mostly white, which is unnerving.
College Sophomore 2012-09-24T06:46:16Z
Health & Safety:
I've never felt unsafe. Like any other college, we have the periodic emergency-flashing-blue-light-things, which seem, quite unnecessarily, to densely populate the campus. I've heard a rape happened at one point, but since then, the administration and student body alike have been cracking down on assault. Students make fun of the "consent is Reed" motto, but I've seen even the most reckless drunken freshmen ask for consent before so much as holding a girl's hand. Lock your bike. Lock your room when moving in. I lock my computer, even though it feels useless. Common sense, dudes.
College Sophomore 2012-09-24T06:36:11Z
Freshmen are assigned housing and roommates based on a summer survey, so dorm assignments are pretty much random and very easy. I ended up in an early 2000's dorm, which is clean, functional, and cozy. ODB (old dorm block) makes up for its aged facilities in its booming social atmosphere and 1 minute proximity to everything. Freshmen usually get divided doubles and sometimes singles. Upperclassmen often go off-campus, but the ones who stay usually get singles. The most recent (still under construction!) dorms are pristine: the famed Grove. If you're a sci-fi fantasy die-hard, science-math guy, outdoorsy type, or even circus performer, there are theme dorms.
College Sophomore 2012-09-24T06:27:43Z
Our CSOs (Community Safety Officers) are super cool. They are lenient to the extent that you are not destroying property, harming yourself or others, or blatantly waving a bottle in their faces. One time, a CSO told my friends (who were drinking) to get off the roof so they wouldn't fall off and hurt themselves. They complied happily. I've seen students give hugs to CSOs. Respect earns respect. I've never received an AOD (alcohol and other drugs) violation, but the first strike is just a meeting with an administrator, I think.
College Junior 2012-08-15T21:18:33Z
I Love Portland. Portland is a great city, probably the most liberal city in the U.S. It does have its drawbacks, like historical racial issues (unequal public school funding, gentrification, etc.), but overall, it's way better than most of the U.S., in my opinion. Way more vegan culture and delicious eats here. Way more respect for the environment. Way more small, local business, that don't channel money into megacorporations. There's a great underground music scene, winter and summer. Reed doesn't have the best reputation in the wealthier, more conservation neighborhood south of the College. Sometimes Portlanders regard Reedies as privileged white rich hipster kids that like to party and do drugs and quote great classic literature (and to some degree they can be this way, haha). But overall Portland is pretty much all hipsters anyway, and Reed's overall reputation is good. It's definitely known for it's intense academics, intellectualism, and it seen as somewhat elite. A friend of mine described it as an "intellectual wonderland".
College Junior 2012-08-15T21:02:57Z
A Very Autonomous Environment – The Honor Principle is the prevailing rule here at Reed; it holds that, in any given situation, a person should do whatever is most honorable. This can obviously be interpreted in many ways, and this is part of the collaborative and dynamic nature of the Honor Principle. It's part of what makes Reed such a great and unusual place. People come here because they respect the philosophy of the Honor Principle and want to live by it themselves, and be in a community in which others do as well. It's common for people who've lost things like phones, jewelry, etc., to have it returned quickly. A friend of mine lost a laptop; it was turned in to Community Safety within an hour or two. It's a pretty great system that gives each member of a community a lot of freedom, and, along with it, responsibility. I love it.
College Junior 2012-08-15T20:53:00Z
Many Opportunities, Good Access – The academic programs are well-structured and all culminate in a thesis that students work on throughout senior year, and some start the summer before. Professors and students often are close and even work together sometimes, and it's not uncommon for a professor to host a casual get-together in his/her home for his/her class. The professors care about the students and their academics, but they themselves are also active in academia. There is a great sports center with classes from yoga to fencing to weights to ballet. A new performing arts center is under construction. There's Prexy, the music building, with around 10 pianos, plus other instruments. There's a small nuclear reactor. A greenhouse for biology students. A sound-proof room for psychology testing. A wide array of materials in the chemistry stockroom. A library with maps hundreds of years old. There's quite a bit of opportunity here. Campus life is very much a tight-knit bubble, but it's still very lively and active. Social life can be great here if you want it to be, and if you want to just focus completely on academics, you can do that too.
College Junior 2012-08-15T20:40:40Z
You Can Definitely Live Off-Campus If You Want – You have to put in the effort to look for a place and secure it yourself, but it's definitely doable, and it's pretty common for students to rent out houses together. If you're on financial aid you can also get some or all off-campus housing cost covered, which is awesome. There are some great houses in the area to rent rooms in. Apartments are way less common.
College Junior 2012-08-15T20:35:33Z
Single Dorms for (Almost) All! Pretty much the only people who get roommates are freshman--and they almost always have divided doubles, which are two separate rooms connected by one door, with one room having the door to the hallway. Almost everyone else gets their own room, which is awesome. All of the rooms are pretty spacious and comfortable as well.
College Junior 2012-08-15T20:29:28Z
Variety of Parties, Both on an Off-Campus – Most weekends there's something pretty good going on, even though it's a small school. If you like to party hard, you can definitely do that. The school is not cliquey, but there are people who like to party more than others and who tend to hang out together. The school has little events fairly frequently that are pretty much completely organized by students, and there are house parties and shows too.
College Junior 2012-08-15T20:25:29Z
Good Restaurants, Fairly Close – A 15 min walk away is Woodstock Blvd., which has a couple Thai restaurants and a nice selection of cafes and such. About 15 min away by bus (take the 75 to St. Johns) is Hawthorne Blvd., which has an abundant selection of restaurants and cafes. Both are good areas to grab a bite.
College Junior 2012-08-15T20:21:06Z
Most students here aren't actually from Portland, and so don't have a car. There is, however, free student parking. I've never heard of a student needing but not finding parking. The only time there might be an issue would be if there were a large event going on.
Recent Alumnus 2012-08-12T21:07:18Z
In Woodstock and the area surrounding Reed, there are 3 food carts as well as a decent amount of other restaurants. Eastmoreland Kitchen is great for sandwiches, Tom Yum Thai and Nudi are good for Thai and Asian fusion, Toast and Delta are pretty good for brunch and dinner. There are two coffeeshops, neither of which are open late enough (and of course Reed's own Paradox cafes). There's a Lebanese place and a few other options further down Woodstock. Most places are reasonably priced.
Sellwood (which is about 1.5 miles away) has a lot more restaurants and food carts and thus a wider selection, and then Portland in general is foodie-central. Chains are nearly non-existent here. Local restaurants serving delicious and innovative dishes, local breweries, and local coffee roasters abound.
Recent Alumnus 2012-08-12T20:59:49Z
Cheap and Plentiful – Off-campus housing is not expensive nor hard to find. It's pretty easy to find a huge, sweet house to share with 3-4 people that is very close to campus for $300-450/person. There are also dedicated "Reed" houses in the nearby neighborhoods that have held generations of Reedies. Many upperclassmen live off campus with their friends and walk/bike to school.
Recent Alumnus 2012-08-12T20:55:20Z
Pretty decent for college food – "Commons," as the dining hall is called, has a decent variety and tends to be better than most college cafeterias IMO. They have the basics (sandwiches, burgers, pizza, salad bar) as well as some healthier options and try to source local and organic ingredients. Prices are kinda high but you can still get something for under $2.50 (soup, salad, PBJ, or rice and beans). Of course if you eat at the same place every day for 1+ years, the food and selection gets kind of old.
Recent Alumnus 2012-08-12T20:49:53Z
Professors- A+ The professors are a huge asset to Reed. Ridiculously smart and well-versed in their field, approachable, want to help you succeed. You can get to know them very well and work closely with them if you want. It is not uncommon for them to host students for dinner at their house.
Curriculum- If you like liberal arts, A+. Reed is one of the most quintessentially liberal arts schools around with a very traditional humanities-based core curriculum and broad distribution requirements.
Classes- A. Challenging, discussion-based, small. Smart students who usually have interesting things to contribute, smart professors who are usually gifted at facilitating discussions. It is expected that you did the work and have something to contribute, even if you don't speak up much. In class, I almost never felt like my time was being wasted.
Registration- A. Easy online process, you can usually get into the classes you want before they fill up (except a few very popular PE classes). It's unheard of for someone to not graduate because they were unable to register for a certain class. (However, it does happen that people won't graduate because they never bothered to take PE or science classes in time).
Offerings- B+. Reed is a small college. Most departments don't have more than 10 professors. Therefore, the amount of class offerings can be smaller than at other schools. However, the variety is pretty good, and I feel like they cover the basics for most disciplines.
Workload- rigorous. Reed is a lot of work. Students spend the majority of their time in class or studying. The 3 hours outside of class studying per 1 hour inside of class is true. While students are still able to participate in extracurriculars and have a social life, they usually have to prioritize the important things because there isn't enough time to do it all. Successful students learn good time management and good study skills, and how to sustain work-life balance and set boundaries (which might mean that you don't do every last page of the reading and that is okay). Some students are academic masochists and love brutal workloads, others keep a good balance of more and less intense classes per semester and maintain a life outside of school. During the spring semesters of junior year (qual) and senior year (thesis), all bets are off.
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