The Center for Life Beyond Reed

Division of Student Services

Why You Need to Apply Early and to Several Programs

(these are actual cases)

  • One student was rejected because her portfolio was "accidentally placed on the wrong pile." The graduate school discovered its mistake later in the season, but had already sent the student a rejection letter. Rather than admit what had happened, they let the decision stand.

  • A student applying for a Ph.D. in philosophy received a letter from a major university rejecting his application for a Ph.D. in Germanic languages.

  • A student was rejected by an internationally acclaimed architecture program after his portfolio was reviewed by Prof. X. When he called to inquire about the status of his application, Prof. Y picked up his portfolio, glanced through it while the student was on hold, and reversed the decision of Prof X. Thus was he admitted.

  • One professor forgot to mail a wonderful letter of recommendation he had written for his favorite advisee, and she was rejected.

  • Another professor was not granted tenure, and stopped performing all duties whatsoever that were not contractually required. This included writing letters of recommendation that he had already agreed to write. At least one of his advisees was not admitted to a graduate program because of this. The student never knew what happened.

  • A student failed to send original transcripts from a community college she attended while in high school. The transfer grades from the community college appeared on her regular college transcript but, through a bizarre chain of events, an overzealous student employee and a 50 cent library fine from six years prior conspired to keep her out of graduate school.

  • A student had a wonderful exchange of letters with a department chair, some of which included such statements as "We're so delighted that you will be joining us next year." Nevertheless, she was rejected by the graduate school office, which had more authority than the department.

Adapted from Graduate Admissions Essays by Donald Asher, 1-800-841-BOOK or

Read our blog!

works and days logo

Contact The Center for
Life Beyond Reed
Phone: 503/777-7550
Office: Greywood

Ron Albertson


Julie Kern Smith

Associate Director of Career Development
Request an Appointment

Brooke Hunter

Assistant Director for Strategic Partnerships
Request an Appointment

Meredith Dickinson
SEEDS Coordinator
Request an Appointment

Michelle Johnson

Fellowships Adviser
Request an Appointment

Bonnie Ingersoll

Administrative Coordinator

Follow Us

Hours and Location

We are located in Greywood, south of the library.

Office Hours

8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.


12 p.m.–1 p.m.
5 p.m.–7 p.m.