For Parents of Prospective Students
Reed professors are among the best and most dedicated teachers and scholars in the nation, and their dedication to teaching does not end when the class period is over. With a student to faculty ratio of ten to one (and no graduate teaching assistants), professors at Reed pride themselves on their accessibility to students. This is as true for first-year students as it is for seniors. After every paper a first-year student writes in Humanities 110, he or she will meet one on one with the professor who leads the conference to discuss the paper and how the class is going. This close contact with professors continues through to the senior year, when students meet with their thesis adviser weekly. Students can design independent study projects with professors, as well as work with professors on their scholarly research. Every faculty member has office hours each week in which students can stop by to ask a question about the reading, continue a conversation that began in conference, or just chat about life.
Students and professors get to know each other on a personal level. Reed encourages the students and faculty to interact socially by giving professors $100 each semester to spend on their students. Professors often invite their conference group for dinner to celebrate the end of a productive semester.
The academic program at Reed is rigorous, and much of a student's first semester is spent learning how to navigate assignments that require depth of analysis, creativity, and active engagement. Reed prides itself on stretching the minds of its students, and students have an accessible and responsive support network to help them succeed. All of our 353 freshmen are challenged by the new assignments they are facing. The centers for writing, math, quantitative skills, and science are open throughout the week to help students with their work. Because Reed is a place where cooperative learning is encouraged, students often work on problem sets together and read each other's papers. The first year in college is always a time of adjustment and growth, but professors, the student services staff, and the other students (in upper and lower classes) are all available and willing to help your son or daughter make a successful transition to Reed.
Transitions to life in a new community are always challenging. You will find numerous resources at Reed to help your son or daughter adjust to the social and academic community. Students who need guidance about anything-from computer troubleshooting to roommate difficulties to how to start a new group on campus-can turn to their student house advisers (HAs). HAs are sophomores, juniors and seniors who serve as "dorm moms" and "dorm dads." There are also several professional staff members living on campus who serve as resident directors (RDs)-who supervise the HAs and help build and maintain a safe living community for all students. RDs are knowledgeable, helpful, and friendly trained professionals. In addition to medical care, the health center at Reed also offers free drop-in counseling to any member of the student body.
Academically, your son or daughter will be well advised. Upon arrival at Reed every student is assigned a faculty adviser who teaches a subject in which the student has expressed interest. This professor advises students on what classes to take as well as any other academic concerns. Students can change academic advisers whenever they wish-the system is very flexible. We want Reed students to have a faculty adviser they are compatible with both personally and academically. This becomes especially important during the senior year when students are choosing a thesis adviser-a professor with whom they will meet weekly to discuss the progress of their senior thesis. Other resources available at Reed include a writing center, a math center, a science center, a quantitative skills center, free tutoring in almost any subject, and foreign language scholars.
Students at Reed earn traditional letter grades that are recorded on a traditional transcript. The difference you may have heard about is Reed's de-emphasis of grades: students do not see their grades unless they specifically request them on individual assignments or at the end of a course. Professors write extensive comments, rather than grades, on papers, exams, or lab reports. Generally, however, professors invite students to an individual consultation if the students are curious about the grade they received. The registrar's office does not routinely distribute grades to students, provided that work continues at a satisfactory (C or higher) level. Of course, students' work is closely observed and evaluated by professors, and students therefore receive frequent written and oral comments on their progress.