Admission

Applying to Reed

students during orientation

Application Timeline

The admission committee will notify applicants with completed applications of the admission decision on the dates provided below.

All required application items must be received in the admission office before the Admission Committee will begin reviewing your application. Items required to complete an application are listed in the application instructions below.

Admission application deadlines

 Applications Due
(submitted by)
Decisions Mailed
(for complete applications)
Deadline to Request Optional Interview
First-year admission:
Early Decision I November 15 December 15 October 25
Early Decision II December 20 February 1 December 1
Regular Decision January 15 late March December 1
Transfer March 1 by May 15 December 1

Financial Aid deadlines

 File the 2014-15 PROFILE and, if applicable, Noncustodial PROFILE with CSS by:File the 2014-15 FAFSA with the federal processor by:File student and parent 2013 federal tax forms, W-2s and Verification Worksheet with IDOC by:
Early Decision I November 1 February 1 April 15
Early Decision II December 1 February 1
Regular Decision February 1 February 1
Transfer March 1 March 1

General Information for All Applicants

Application Forms

Reed College is an exclusive user of the Common Application. All required forms to complete the application are available at commonapp.org.

Testing Requirements

Applicants for admission are required to submit the results of the SAT or the ACT. There is no preference for either the SAT or ACT. With the SAT, Reed will use the highest Reading, Math, and Writing subscores, if results from different testing dates are submitted. With the ACT, Reed uses the single highest composite score, if multiple test results are submitted. SAT subject tests are optional.

When scheduling tests, applicants must ensure that their scores will be available prior to the application deadline; applicants should ask the appropriate testing agency to report the test scores directly to Reed. If test scores are recorded on your official high school transcript Reed will consider those to be official scores. It is up to the applicant to determine whether your high school reports scores on the transcript as this varies by school. Ask your college counselor to plan accordingly.

Reed’s codes for the tests are: SAT 4654, ACT 3494, TOEFL 4654.

Financial Aid

Reed awards financial assistance to students according to financial need as determined by an analysis of the information submitted through the CSS PROFILE and the FAFSA (for US citizens). In order to be eligible for aid, students must submit all required forms by the appropriate deadlines established by the financial aid office. If you have questions, you may reach Reed’s financial aid office at 503/777-7223, 800/547-4750, or financial.aid@reed.edu.

Home-schooled, and other applicants who do not have a high school diploma should note that a GED or state certification is required in order to be eligible for federal financial aid.

For a more thorough account of financial aid at Reed, visit reed.edu/financialaid.

Admission Interviews

Admission interviews are a recommended part of a student’s application to Reed. Interviews are available in four ways:

  1. During a campus visit
  2. Offered in most major cities in the fall and early winter
  3. Arranged with a Reed alumnus or alumna in or near your home area
  4. By phone with admission staff

Learn more about the Reed interview.

Late Applications

Applicants should make every effort to submit the application by the published deadline. Under special circumstances, the Admission Committee will consider applications submitted after the deadlines. To discuss submitting a late application, call the admission office at 503/777-7511 or 800/547-4750.

First-Year Applicants

First-year applicants include those who apply under the Regular Decision timeline as well as Early Decision timelines and Early Admission policy. For all types, read these first-year applicant instructions. Additional details about Early Decision and Early Admission follow this text.

  • The Common Application First-Year Application Form with personal essay - Go to commonapp.org and follow instructions for applying to Reed.
  • School Report with counselor recommendation - Provide your college counselor’s contact information when completing the application form. Make sure your counselor knows that a recommendation is required. If applicable, be sure to read the Home-School guidelines.
  • High school transcript(s) - Your school(s) should submit an official copy of your high school transcript(s). If applicable, be sure to read the Home-School guidelines. If you have already completed high school, submit an official final transcript that includes your graduation date. If applicable, submit an official copy of your GED scores or state high school completion certificate.
  • College transcripts - Regardless of whether you want credit at Reed, submit official copies of transcripts from all the colleges you have attended.
  • SAT or ACT test scores - See Testing Requirements.
  • Two teacher evaluations - Provide two academic teachers’ contact information when completing the Common Application. The same person may not write both the counselor recommendation and a teacher recommendation; recommendations from teachers of two different academic disciplines preferred. If applicable, be sure to read the Home-School guidelines.
  • Writing supplement - In addition to the personal essay on the Common Application, submit the “Why Reed?” essay of fewer than 500 words using the prompt on the Writing Supplement of the Common Application.

If you are applying for financial aid, be aware that admission and financial aid applications are separate.

For additional information about Early Decision, Transfer, Reapply and Home-Schooled candidates, please see the appropriate section.

Early Decision

If Reed is your first-choice college and you are certain that you will enroll at Reed if you are admitted, you are invited to apply under our Early Decision (ED) plan. While pursuing admission under an Early Decision plan, students may apply to other institutions, but are allowed to have only one ED application pending at any time.

Early Decision is binding. Students who apply ED make a commitment that if admitted, they will withdraw applications to all other institutions and enroll at the first-choice institution.

There is no difference between applying ED I and ED II other than the application deadline and notification dates.

  • There is no ED option for Early Admission or Transfer applicants.
  • If you are not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and you plan to apply ED, you may apply only under the ED I option.

Early Decision applicants should submit the Common Application according to the application timeline.

Important: ED applicants must submit the Common Application Early Decision Agreement form, signed by the applicant, parent/guardian, and high school counselor. Initiate this form at commonapp.org for routing to your parent/guardian and then to your counselor. Your counselor must submit the completed ED Agreement to admission. This requirement is in addition to all the required first-year application forms listed above, all of which apply to ED applicants.

Decision outcomes for Early Decision include admit, postpone, or deny. Postponed applications will be reviewed again with the Regular Decision applications in the spring. In such cases, the Early Decision agreement is cancelled, and the student may apply to other colleges. If your ED application is denied, you may not submit another application for fall 2013.

Early Admission

Students who wish to enter Reed before completing high school may apply as Early Admission candidates. At Reed this is called Early Admission. Early Admission candidates may not apply Early Decision. To be a viable Early Admission (EA) candidate, you should have an outstanding high school record and have exhausted the educational opportunities available to you at your high school.

Early Admission applicants follow the application process for Regular Decision. However, as part of the counselor recommendation, your school official must express support for your plan to leave high school before graduation through Early Admission to Reed.

Transfer Applicants

You are considered a transfer candidate if you have graduated from high school (or equivalent), and by the time you would enroll at Reed you will have done any of the following:

  • Completed one or more terms (such as quarter, trimester, or semester) as a full-time student at an accredited institution of higher education
  • Earned a minimum of six Reed units of allowable transfer credit (six Reed units are equivalent to 24 semester hours or 36 quarter hours of credit)
  • Received financial aid at an accredited institution of higher learning

High school students in dual-enrollment programs see the First-Year Applicant instructions.

Transfer applicants must submit the Common Application no later than March 1.  Applications received after the deadline will only be considered as space allows.  

Transfer applicants must submit the following:

  • The Common Application Transfer Application with personal essay - Go to commonapp.org and follow instructions for applying to Reed.
  • Registrar's Report - Follow the instructions for this form at commonapp.org.
  • Final high school transcript - Have your high school send an official copy of your high school transcript showing your graduation date. If you attended more than one high school, have an official transcript sent from each school attended. If applicable, be sure to read the Home-School guidelines. Also if applicable, send an official copy of your GED scores or state high school completion certificate.
  • College transcripts - Submit official copies of transcripts from all colleges you have attended.
  • SAT or ACT test scores - see Testing Requirements.
  • Two academic recommendations- Provide two college instructors’ contact information when completing the Common Application. Recommendations from two different academic disciplines preferred. If you cannot supply two college instructor evaluations, email appcoordinator@reed.edu for additional information.
  • Writing supplement - In addition to the personal essay on the Common Application, submit the “Why Reed?” essay of fewer than 500 words using the prompt on the Writing Supplement on the Common Application. If you are not currently enrolled in college, when you complete the Writing supplement you will be instructed to submit a brief statement, limit 500 words, addressing what you have been doing since last enrolled in formal schooling.

Please see the Transfer Guide for information about the credit transfer process and other common transfer student questions.

If you are applying for financial aid, be aware that admission and financial aid applications are separate.

International Students

You are an international applicant if you are not a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident. If you are a U.S. permanent resident, follow the instructions for your specific application type (Early Decision, Regular Decision, Transfer). Also, the International Student Guide contains a wealth of information that may be helpful to you.

SAT or ACT scores are required. In addition, international citizens who have an SAT critical reading score below 600 are strongly recommended to submit TOEFL or IELTS scores.

Regardless of financial need, international citizens must submit the Certification of Finances. This document will be used to create the Student Visa document if you are admitted and choose to enroll at Reed.

International citizens who are applying for financial aid must submit the CSS PROFILE. CSS PROFILE registration materials are available online at profileonline.collegeboard.com. The Reed College code for the PROFILE is 4654.

International applicants may apply under the Early Decision I admission timeline, but are not eligible to apply Early Decision II.

Home-Schooled Candidates

Home-schooled applicants should send as much information as possible about their academic background and capabilities. Listed below are suggestions for how to customize your materials to fulfill our requirements.

In addition to First-Year Applicant requirements, the application must include the following:

  • A comprehensive list of the books and texts read over the last four years, including novels, textbooks, and other resources.
  • The School Report form with counselor recommendation. Parents and/or home school facilitator should complete the School Report with counselor recommendation. Provide the contact information for this person when you complete the Common Application.
  • At least one letter of recommendation from a tutor, evaluator, or teacher who is not a family member. A second letter of reference may come from an employer, supervisor, or any non-family member who can address important personal qualities such as responsibility, creativity, discipline, and initiative. 

In order to strengthen the application, we suggest that you:

  • Have an interview, either on campus or in the student's home area. Learn more about the Reed interview.
  • Submit the scores of three SAT Subject Tests, preferably in mathematics and two subjects of the student’s choosing.

Note: Home schooled applicants may apply for financial aid. Home-schooled students who will not have a high school diploma or a General Educational Development (GED) certificate but will have completed secondary school through home schooling (as defined by state law) should self-certify their high school completion status as “Homeschooled” on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Reapplying to Reed

Note: To ensure the best opportunity for a positive outcome, the admission committee strongly recommends that students who were not admitted under the initial application be at least in the process of completing a year of full-time coursework at another college or university before reapplying to Reed.

First-Year Reapply Applicant

Students who were admitted to Reed under a previous application may reapply under the Early Decision or Regular Decision application type unless they qualify as a transfer student. If you meet the published definition of transfer student and want to reapply, you must do so as a transfer reapply candidate.

First-year applicants who are reapplying to Reed should submit the Common Application following the timeline for your application type.

The following items are required to complete the reapplication for first-year admission:

  • The Common Application First-Year Application Form with new personal essay
  • School Report with counselor recommendation - If this was received for your previous application, it does not need to be submitted again.
  • Final high school transcript - Have your high school send an official copy of your final high school transcript showing your graduation date. If you were home schooled, refer to Home-Schooled Candidates.
  • SAT or ACT test scores - If test scores were received for your previous application, they do not need to be submitted again. See Testing Requirements.
  • One new teacher recommendation - Provide at least one new teacher’s contact information when completing the Common Application. This must be a different teacher than submitted previously.
  • Writing supplement - In addition to the personal essay on the Common Application form, submit the following new essays with your full name written on each essay:
    1. Why Reed? essay - Please refer to the prompt on the Writing Supplement to the Common Application, limit 500 words.
    2. Reapply statement - Submit a brief statement, limit 500 words, addressing what you have been doing since you last applied to Reed.

If you have questions about reapplying please e-mail appcoordinator@reed.edu.

Admission decisions will be mailed following the timeline for the specific application type.

Transfer Reapply Applicant

If you meet the published definition of transfer student, you must reapply as a transfer candidate. The following items are required to complete the reapplication for transfer admission:

  • The Common Application Transfer Application Form - Go to commonapp.org and follow instructions for applying to Reed.
  • Registrar's Report - Follow the instructions for this form at commonapp.org.
  • SAT or ACT test scores If submitted for your previous application, there is no need to resubmit these unless you have taken the test again iand want us to see the new scores
  • Final high school transcript - Have your high school send an official copy of your final high school transcript showing your graduation date. If you were home schooled, refer to Home Schooled Candidates. If you submitted your final high school transcript with your previous application, you do not need to submit it again.
  • One new academic evaluation - This recommendation must come from a different college instructor from those who submitted recommendations for your previous application. If you have questions about fulfilling this requirement, email appcoordinator@reed.edu.
  • Writing supplement - In addition to the personal essay on the Common Application form, submit the following new essays with your full name written on each essay:
    1. Why Reed? essay - Please refer to the prompt on the Writing Supplement to the Common Application, limit 500 words.
    2. Reapply statement - If you have not been continuously enrolled since you last applied, submit a brief statement, limit 500 words, addressing what you have been doing in the interim.

Non-Degree Students

Visiting Students

Visiting students are students who wish to spend a semester or a year at Reed while working toward a degree from another college or university. Application should be filed by March 1 for fall entrance or by November 15 for spring entrance. The application requirements are the same as for Transfer applicants. It is advisable to have plans approved by the student’s home institution. Visiting students are not eligible for financial aid. If you have questions about this application type, email appcoordinator@reed.edu.

Special (Non-Degree) Students

Those who wish to take one or more courses at Reed for credit but do not wish to work toward a Reed degree may apply for admission as special, non-degree students. Special students are not eligible for financial aid and pay tuition on a per-unit basis. The Special Student application deadline is June 1 for the fall semester and November 15 for the spring semester. Application requirements are:

  • Special Student Application, available from the Office of Admission or by emailing appcoordinator@reed.edu
  • Essay, limit 500 words, stating your reasons for wanting to attend Reed as a non-degree student and how the courses will help you meet your educational objectives
  • Official final high school transcript(s) and, if applicable, GED scores or state high school certification
  • Official college transcript(s) from every college or university attended

Auditors

Persons not enrolled full time at Reed may apply to audit courses, but are restricted to auditing no more than two courses in any academic year. Auditor applications are available from the Office of Admission in the week immediately prior to the semester. For further details, see Special Admission Groups in the Reed catalog or email appcoordinator@reed.edu.

Frequently Asked Questions

This information complements the instructions that preceded this section of the page. Please read all relevant instructions fully.

What kind of student are you looking for at Reed?
There is no simple answer to this common question. Reed welcomes applications from candidates who are passionate about learning, excited by ideas, oriented toward independent thought, and eager to enter an intellectual community that emphasizes student-faculty collaboration.

Admission decisions are based on many factors, but academic accomplishments are given the greatest weight in the selection process. Strong secondary school preparation, including honors and advanced courses where available, will improve a student's chance for admission. However, given the wide variation in high school programs, there are no fixed requirements for secondary school courses. There are no "cutoff points" for high school or college grades, or for test scores.

Reed recognizes that qualities of character -- in particular, motivation, intellectual curiosity, individual responsibility, and social consciousness -- are important considerations in the selection process, in addition to a demonstrated commitment to academic excellence. The college is committed to maintaining a student body distinguished by its intellectual passion, yet diverse in its range of backgrounds, interests, and talents.

What part of my application must be submitted by the deadline?
It is essential that we have the form “First-Year Application” or “Transfer Application” by the deadline. Early submission of your application form will expedite the processing of your application. Other required items can be submitted separately. Please see the next item.

Can required items be submitted before I submit my application form?
Yes, but please note that items submitted by your school through Common Application, Naviance, or Docufide will be released to us only after you have submitted your application form. The earlier you submit your application form, the faster we can process your application.

How will I know that my application has been received?
We will acknowledge receipt of your application by email and postcard within 24 hours of processing it. If you do not get a notice of receipt within two weeks of submitting your application, please email appcoordinator@reed.edu.

How will I know if my application is incomplete?
We will be communicating with you by email about your application. Set your email spam filter to accept communication from Reed—in particular, from appcoordinator@reed.edu and admission@reed.edu.

When we acknowledge your application (see item above), we will send you the information needed to check the status of your application online. The status page will list the items required to complete your application, with check-marks by items which have been received. Be sure to check your status often throughout the application process. The admission committee may require additional information and any additional requirements will be noted on the status site. Please note, it is the applicant’s responsibility to check the status page to ensure the application is complete by the deadline.

What if I am sending some materials by email or mail?
Although the entire application may be submitted electronically through Common Application, if you send materials to us by email or postal mail, do keep a few things in mind:

  • Be sure to put your full legal name on all materials that you submit.
  • Be sure that your application is legible.
  • Do not put your materials in a report cover or binder.
  • If you are applying Early Decision, be sure to note “ED” on each document you send.

If I have questions about my application, who do I ask?
You can email appcoordinator@reed.edu, and there is an email link on the status site. We attempt to answer emails within one business day. Inquiring by email is more efficient than telephoning our office.

I’m applying for financial aid. How do I get information about my financial aid application?
Your admission and financial aid applications are separate. For information about the status of your financial aid application, or if you have financial aid questions, contact the financial aid office at 800/547-4750 (option 1), 503/777-7223, or financial.aid@reed.edu.

May I send creative supplements?
Although creative supplements do not factor into the admission decision in any direct way, the admission committee is happy to see a small selection of creative samples to get a more complete picture of candidates' talents and interests. Submitted materials become part of your application file and will not be returned. If you choose to submit a creative supplement, it should be submitted no later than the relevent deadline following these directions:

We prefer that any creative samples be submitted in electronic format, shared by providing Reed admission with the web address. The applicant may provide blog address for creative writing, YouTube address for music or video, or any similar web-hosted service that suits your creative endeavor. Emailing large files is strongly discouraged, but the web address may be provided to us either in an email to admission@reed.edu or in the Additional Information section of the Common Application.

If you must send creative work in hardcopy:

  • Do not send oversized items. Items should be no larger than 8.5 x 11 inches.
  • Do not put items in a report cover or binder.
  • Slides and/or photos may be placed in slide pockets that meet the above size requirement.
  • CDs/DVDs should be submitted in protective sleeves, not jewel cases.

Should I/can I submit certificates to show my participation in activities?
Please do not; we prefer not to receive activity certificates. The listing of your extracurricular activities on the application form is sufficient.

Can submitted materials be returned to me?
Submitted materials become part of your application file and will not be returned.