Transfer Applicants

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You are considered a transfer applicant if you have graduated from high school* (or the equivalent) and have done any of the following:

  • Enrolled as a full-time or part-time student at an accredited institution of higher education (even if the term was not completed)
  • 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 education

*High school students graduating from dual-enrollment programs are not considered transfer applicants and should apply as first-year students.

Common Application

The Common Application is a consortium of more than 600 colleges and universities. Each year, over 3.5 million applications are submitted via the Common Application. When applying via the Common Application, students will be required to submit the Common Application, which includes a personal essay and a Reed writing supplement.

Transfer Application Requirements

Common Application Requirements

Common Application
Reed Writing Supplement
College Report from the most recent college attended (this form can be found at the Common Application or can be downloaded here)
Official high school transcripts
Official college transcripts from all colleges attended
Two letters of recommendation—one must be an academic letter of recommendation (teachers' assistants and graduate assistants may write letters); if you cannot supply a second academic recommendation, Reed will accept a letter from someone who has supervised or mentored you in a formal capacity—e.g., in employment or volunteer positions


If you have questions about fulfilling any of these requirements contact Associate Dean of Admission, Grant Sewell.

Important Dates for Transfer Applicants


Spring Transfer 2024

Fall Transfer 2024

When to Apply November 15

Priority deadline: March 1*

Regular deadline: May 1

Rolling deadline: after May 1

Notification from Reed  December

Priority deadline: mid-May

Regular deadline: mid-June

Rolling deadline: four weeks after submission of all application materials

When to File CSS Profile November 15

Priority deadline: March 1

Regular deadline: May 1

When to File FAFSA November 15

Priority deadline: March 1

Regular deadline: May 1

When to File Student and Parent Federal Tax Forms, W-2s, and Verification Worksheet with IDOC** November 22

Priority deadline: March 1

Regular deadline: May 1

*Applications submitted after March 1 will be considered on a space-available basis.

**Reed College expects you and your parents to assume the primary responsibility for your educational expenses; therefore, unless you are 26 years old or older, a ward of the court or both of your parents are deceased, you will be required to complete the parental income and asset portions of the CSS PROFILE to be considered for institutional financial aid.

Reed College Curriculum and Graduation Requirements

Fifteen of the 30 units required to graduate must be completed at Reed;
Students without transfer credit equivalent to Reed’s Humanities 110 class may be required to take Humanities 110 or a combination of Reed’s humanities classes;
Physical education credits (PE) may be transferred to fulfill Reed’s PE requirement.

Transfer Credit and Class Standing

Transfer credit is given a preliminary analysis upon admission. Transfer credit will not be given for

  • Courses that cover work at a level below Reed’s introductory courses;
  • Courses that are vocational, technical, or experiential in nature;
  • Courses, or portions of courses, that teach general writing;
  • Courses for which a grade below C- was earned.

The number of units approved for transfer credit determines class standing. In general, class standing can be estimated as

1–6 Reed units: first year
7–12 Reed units: second year
15+ Reed units: junior year***

***Junior class standing at Reed is granted only with the approval of the intended major department. Due to the structure of the junior year at Reed and the required junior qualifying exam, it is very difficult to transfer in as a junior.

The college allows for certain decisions on transfer credit and college requirements to be made on a case-by-case basis through a petition process. Each transfer student is assigned an academic adviser with whom to consult before registration. The adviser will help arrange the student’s program of study, taking into account the student’s previous college work, educational goals, and Reed’s requirements. During this consultation, transfers can ask if petitioning their credit evaluation or remaining Reed requirements is an option.


On-campus housing requests are due by June 15. Space on campus is limited, and housing requests will be considered in the order in which they are received.


What paperwork is required to apply as a transfer student?

See above for the list of required application materials.

What if I was home-schooled?

There are a few additional requirements. See Reed's information for applicants with special circumstances.

The college I attended did not issue grades.

You can ask your professors to submit written evaluations of your work.

As an international student, can I transfer?

Yes. International students are welcome to apply to transfer to Reed. If English is not your native language, it is recommended that you submit results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Test (IELTS) score.

How do I reapply as a transfer applicant?

See above for the full list of requirements to apply as a transfer. The following items must be newly submitted for reapplication as a transfer student: 

  • Common Application for Transfers
  • Reed College Common Application Writing Supplement: “Paideia Essay” (if you are a transfer applicant not currently enrolled in college, upon completion of the “Paideia Essay” supplement you will be prompted to also submit a brief statement about what you have been doing since last enrolled in formal schooling). Both essays can also be emailed to
  • Registrar’s Report from the most recent college attended (the form and instructions are available on the Common Application website)
  • One new academic evaluation (this recommendation must come from a college instructor who did not submit a previous recommendation for you)

How will my credits transfer to Reed?

With an offer of admission to Reed College, you will receive a preliminary credit evaluation. Courses are evaluated in terms of their applicability toward a liberal
 arts degree. 

Please note that transfer credit will not be given for

  • courses that cover work at a level below introductory courses at Reed;
  • courses that are vocational, technical, or experiential in nature;
  • courses, or portions of courses, that teach general writing skills;
  • courses for which you received a grade below C-.

Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) test credit is limited to a maximum of eight Reed units and will be granted only upon receipt of an original AP score report. AP credits may not be used to fulfill college distribution requirements but will count toward the total number of units required for graduation.

We recommend that you keep your syllabi from previous courses. This will better prepare you to meet with the faculty in your chosen major to discuss which courses will count toward major requirements.

Can a compromise be reached?

Students can petition to meet distribution requirements with fewer than the minimum units or to obtain departmental approval of credit. Although such petitions are not always granted, the potential benefits of filing a petition may make the process worth your time and effort. Once enrolled at Reed, you can ask your adviser if petitioning may be an option for you.

What are the graduation requirements?

Of the 30 Reed units needed to graduate, at least 15 must be completed at Reed. The average course load at Reed is three to four units per semester. Reed graduates must fulfill general college requirements as well as major, departmental, and divisional requirements. Every standard major falls into a "division," which is a grouping of related departments. 

If admitted, the evaluation of transfer credit that you will receive in your admission packet will indicate how your previous work may be applied toward the general college requirements. To determine how the credits might be applied toward departmental and divisional requirements, you may need to speak with your faculty adviser and with the chair of your department and division.

What are the general requirements?

Humanities 110 is required of all first-year students and students who transfer with first-year standing but without transfer credit equivalent to Humanities 110. 

Students who transfer as sophomores or juniors without transfer credit equivalent to Humanities 110 may fulfill the humanities requirement by taking either Humanities 110, or, in lieu of Humanities 110, a combination of Humanities 210, 220, or 230, plus one additional unit from Group A or Group B.

Courses used to fulfill the humanities requirement may not be used to fulfill the Group A or B requirements. We do recommend taking Humanities 110, if at all possible; at Reed, it truly is the course upon which everything else builds.

Three semesters (six quarters) of physical education are required before graduation. Only one quarter of PE may be earned at a time. PE courses will transfer from other institutions.

Reed students must pass the junior qualifying exam before beginning a thesis in the senior year. The exam (known as the junior qual) is administered by each department near the end of the junior year. The objectives of the qual are to gauge students' mastery of their disciplines, to identify weaknesses in students' preparation for advanced study or thesis work in those disciplines, and to assist students in unifying their knowledge of a major field of study.

The senior thesis and oral examination are distinctive features of Reed education. The thesis is the sustained investigation of a carefully defined problem—experimental, critical, or creative—chosen from the major field. The thesis culminates with a final comprehensive two-hour oral review under the direction of the major department.

Where will my credits put me in the way of class standing?

In general, class standing can be estimated as follows:

  • 1–6 Reed units: first-year student

  • 7–12 Reed units: second-year student

  • 15+ Reed units: junior standing (with departmental approval)

Remember: 1 Reed unit equals 4 semester or 6 quarter credit hours.

Can I transfer as a junior?

If you plan to transfer to Reed as a junior (with 15 or more Reed units), it is important to understand the structure of the junior year. All juniors take a junior qualifying exam in the second semester of that year. It is very difficult to transfer in as a junior and sit for the exam after only one semester of Reed College work. Therefore, if applying as a junior, keep in mind that an additional semester or two might be needed to prepare fully for advanced work in your department. 

When a credit evaluation is completed for someone applying for junior standing, that evaluation is sent to the department chair in the intended major. The chair will then assess which courses will satisfy departmental and divisional requirements. (Remember, they are doing this by looking over course descriptions and without the benefit of talking with you about each course.) The chair will also estimate how many semesters it may take you to complete your major requirements at Reed. When you arrive on campus for orientation, you will meet with your adviser, who will be better able to assess, in-depth, your preparation in your major.

Will I be advised?

You will be assigned an adviser with whom you will meet during orientation to go over your credit evaluation and plan your course of study at Reed. Having course descriptions and syllabi from your previous institution(s) with you can prove very helpful to this meeting.

Should I visit?

We strongly encourage you to engage with our virtual and on-campus visit options.

Where do transfer students live?

On-campus housing requests are due by June 15. Space on campus is limited, and housing requests will be considered in the order in which they are received. There are also many off-campus housing options within a two-mile radius of Reed. The residence life office has information on houses, apartments, and studios available for rent.