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Reed College Ranked #1 in Best Classroom Experience

The 2014 edition of Princeton Review’s The Best 378 Colleges reveals a Reed that is both familiar to Reedies and one that exists somewhere on a plane between Reedlore and reality.

Reed was #1 in the category of “Best Classroom Experience,” #2 in “Professors with the Highest Marks,” #4 in “Students Who Study the Most,” and #19 in the categories of “Great Financial Aid” and “Most Accessible Professors.”

Kim Durkin ’13 commented on the outmoded stereotype where Reed landed at #4 in the category, “Birkenstock-Wearing, Tree-Hugging, Clove-Smoking Vegetarians.” “Is this 1980? There are plenty of vegetarians, and we do love our trees (the college has a website dedicated to them), but that’s not the picture I get when I think of Reed.”

Not surprisingly, for an institution that shuns intercollegiate sports, the college was rated #9 in “There’s a Game?” and #7 in “Nobody Plays Intramural Sports.”

Reed also ranked #14 in “Most Liberal Students” and #1 in “Least Religious Students” (which is not to say Reedies are without spirit and religious tolerance).

Reed has not suddenly gone soft on its rankings stance. The college continues to shun the U.S. News beauty competition, but the Princeton Review’s recognition of Reed professors’ excellence is based on feedback from the students who experience it.

Every year the Princeton Review, an educational services company, produces its flagship guide that profiles nearly 15 percent of the nation’s 2,500 four-year colleges. The book scores each of the 178 colleges in eight categories and then ranks the top 20 schools in 53 categories. Rankings are based on Princeton Review surveys of 126,000 students (roughly 333 per campus on average) attending the colleges.

“We take into account input we get from our staff, our 35-member National College Counselor Advisory Board, our personal visits to schools, and the wide range of feedback we get from our surveys of students attending these schools,” says Robert Franek, Princeton Reviews senior vice president and publisher and the author of The Best 378 Colleges.

In the “Students Say” portion of the book’s profile on Reed, undergrads are characterized as “eager to lap up conversations with their ‘brilliant professors’ who ‘love teaching’ and ‘will not allow you to settle for mediocrity.’” The college “breeds free thought, pushes students to their intellectual limits and strengthens each student’s character all in the context of the liberal, free-spirited and welcoming environment that is the Reed campus and the surrounding city of Portland, Oregon.”

Students also laud the Reed experience for an atmosphere where everyone is passionate about something, which fosters “engaged discussions about everything.”

Offering “the inside word” for prospective students, the Princeton Review opines, “Reed College is definitely on the lookout for students who maintain a thirst for knowledge and take their academics seriously. A rigorous curriculum is a must, so if possible load up on honors and advanced placement classes. Candidates who demonstrate social consciousness, a desire to join an intellectual community and who appear to be independent thinkers might have a leg up.”

And for a college where most students don’t know their grades, and certainly don’t boast about them, Reed is also proud to report that Forbes magazine assigned the college an A+ for its financial health and that Moody's Investors Service recently reaffirmed the college's Aa2 bond rating.

Tags: Princeton Review

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