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Class of ’19: Accomplished, Diverse, and 426 Strong

By Randall S. Barton on August 26, 2015 03:12 PM

Reed students

THE GANG'S ALL HERE. With 426 members, the class of ’19 is among the strongest and most diverse in Reed's history. Photo by Leah Nash

The competition to join Reed College—often described as one of the most intellectual colleges in the country—is getting stronger than ever.

Reed welcomed 426 new students to campus at its convocation ceremony on Wednesday, painstakingly selected from a record 5,392 applicants. The number of applicants is up 86 percent over two years, and 36 percent over last year. With the increase in applications, Reed’s acceptance rate fell from 39 percent last year to 35 percent, making it the most selective college in the Pacific Northwest.

The incoming class had an average combined total SAT score of 2070 and an average high school GPA of 3.95, with 88 percent ranked in the top 25 percent of their high school class. Twenty-two incoming students were either valedictorians or salutatorians.

With 34 percent of students coming from U.S. multicultural families, the class is also the most diverse in Reed’s history.

Reed continues to draw students from all corners of the U.S. and from around the world. Nearly a quarter of the class traveled from California, followed by Oregon (8%), Washington (6%), and New York (6%). Rounding out the list of most represented states are Texas, Illinois, Massachusetts, Colorado, and New Jersey. The percentage of international students remained on par with the past few years at 6.1 percent. The People’s Republic of China, with five students, was the majority country of origin.

Azrah Ahmed, a top student at the Oregon Islamic Academy High School in Portland chose to stay local. She plans to continue to be as active and engaged as she was in high school—Ahmed served as student body president, was a member of the youth ambassadors club, and was active in community service projects. At Reed the first generation Kashmiri-American hopes to work toward eliminating stereotypes about her faith, while opening discussions about other worldviews and “thus building bridges between different cultures and convictions.”

Amy Lazarte of Corpus Christi, Texas, came to Reed from Choate Rosemary Hall Prep in Wallingford, Connecticut, where she was one of only 10 students selected nationally to attend on a full scholarship for underserved students. At Choate, she tutored Spanish, was active in theatre, and volunteered for the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program and the sexual minorities and straight supporters group. She spent her summer as a teaching assistant at the Smithsonian Summer Camp. Lazarte’s college counselor described her as an “uncommonly authentic young intellectual.”

Reed’s need-based financial aid was instrumental in enrolling this strong and diverse class. At least 55 percent of the freshman class will receive financial aid, another Reed record. Reed was able to increase aid to students from middle-income families without diminishing the number of students on Pell Grants.