Admission

First-year Applicants

photo of students enjoying food together in the front lawn

First-Year Application Platforms

Reed College accepts applications from two platforms: the Coalition for Access, Affordability and Success, and the Common Application. Applicants may only submit one application per year and may select from one of these platforms. None of these applications is favored in the admission decision process. Finally, Reed will neither require nor use testing results from the SAT or ACT in our admission review for the fall 2022 cycle.

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. If applying via the Common Application, students will be required to submit the Common Application, a personal essay, and a Reed writing supplement, which can also be emailed to admission@reed.edu.

Start a COMMON APPLICATIONCoalition Application

The Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success is a new application platform developed by over 150 institutions that share the vision that the college application process should be accessible to all students. The Coalition Application allows students to amass materials over their high school years in their “locker” that can be shared with their support network and the schools they are applying to should those schools request them. If applying via the Coalition Application, students will be required to submit the Coalition Application, a Reed writing supplement, and an item chosen from the student’s locker; this item can be an essay, another piece of writing, or other original works.

Reed College is a founding member of the Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success, a collaboration of over 90 public and private institutions that share the mission of making the college search and application process more accessible.

To forward its vision, the Coalition offers:

  1. a free platform of online tools to search for colleges and collaborate with your supporters;
  2. an online locker to store essays, video, audio, and images that you’re proud of; and
  3. an application that draws on the first two offerings.

Start a Coalition APPLICATION

Why Reed is a Coalition school

  • Reed has a long history of bringing together students with unique life experiences. One requirement of the Reed College Coalition Application is an audio, video, image, or document submission. As a Coalition applicant, you’re able to share a personal passion in the media that feels authentic to you.
  • Reed is committed to providing access to all admitted students. Reed meets 100% of your demonstrated financial need. We believe attending the most intellectual college in the country should be affordable for every person. Affordability in higher education is a value shared with our Coalition partners.
  • Reed is an active member of the Portland community. This fall, we will collaborate with non-profit organizations to illustrate how the Coalition toolkit can be used to collect personal artifacts that tell your academic story. Coalition tools allow us to connect preparation with success in the college admission process in an intentional way. 

First-Year Application Requirements

Coalition Application and Common Application Requirements

Coalition Application Common Application
Coalition Application Common Application
An item from the locker and an explanation of why that item was chosen  Personal Essay
Reed Writing Supplement Reed Writing Supplement
Self-reported SAT or ACT scores if available (neither will be used in our evaluation) Self-reported SAT or ACT scores if available (neither will be used in our evaluation)
School Report (completed by your counselor; this form is available through the Coalition Application) School Report (completed by your counselor; this form is available through the Common Application)
Counselor recommendation Counselor recommendation
Official high school transcripts Official high school transcripts
Official college transcripts (for any college you have attended, whether or not you want credit for those courses at Reed) Official college transcripts (for any college you have attended, whether or not you want credit for those courses at Reed)
Two Teacher Evaluations (from two different academic disciplines; must be different from the counselor recommendation, as well) Two Teacher Evaluations (from two different academic disciplines; must be different from the counselor recommendation, as well)

Early Decision Agreement

(ED I and ED II applicants only, must be signed by the applicant, parent/guardian, and high school counselor)

Early Decision Agreement

(ED I and ED II applicants only, must be signed by the applicant, parent/guardian, and high school counselor)

Additional information for
international applicants

Testing requirements

Reed will not require nor use testing results from the SAT or ACT in our admission review for the fall 2022 cycle. Results of additional tests, such as Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) may be submitted for Reed credits upon enrollment.

Taking either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL,) the International English Language Testing Service assessment (IELTS,) or Duolingo is strongly encouraged for international students who do not speak English at home or attend a school where the language of instruction is not English. The average internet-based TOEFL score for international students entering Reed is 110.

Reed College test code
TOEFL 4654

Early Decision, Early Action, and Regular Decision

Most students apply to college through Early Action (EA) or Regular Decision (RD). Students can apply Regular Decision to as many schools as they would like, and in most cases can do the same with Early Action unless they are applying to a school with a Restrictive Early Action policy. The deadline for EA applications is November 15, with offers of admission sent out in early February. The deadlines for RD application typically fall in early January, with offers of admission sent out April 1.

First-year applicants for whom Reed is their first-choice college may apply under our binding Early Decision (ED) plan. Students may submit an ED application to only one institution, although they may submit Early Action or Regular Decision applications to other institutions. If admitted to Reed under the ED plan, students are expected to withdraw all EA and RD applications to other colleges and to initiate no new applications.

Reed offers two timelines for ED; the only differences between applying ED I and ED II are the application deadline and notification dates. Traditionally, about 30 percent of Reed’s incoming class will enter through Early Decision. Students who want to choose between multiple offers of admission and financial aid should apply through the Early Action or Regular Decision plan.

  • International applicants may apply under the EA, ED I or ED II plans
  • If you are denied as an EA, ED I, or ED II candidate you may not submit another application (RD) for the same year.

Application Deadlines

  Early Decision I Early Decision II Early Action Regular Decision
Applications Due November 15 December 20 November 15 January 15
Decisions Mailed December February February April 1
Reply Date  Within 2 weeks of admission or 10 days of receipt of financial aid, whichever is later Within 2 weeks of admission or 10 days of receipt of financial aid, whichever is later May 1 May 1
Suggested Interview Deadline December 1 December 31 December 10 February 1

Why Early Decision? 

What is Early Decision?

  • Early Decision (ED) is an application round that allows you to share your excitement about Reed by telling us that, if admitted, you commit to enrolling in the fall.
  • You can apply for Early Decision by choosing an ED round in the Common, Coalition, or Reed Application and submitting an ED agreement signed by trusted advisors - a parent or guardian and your school counselor.

“For me, applying Early Decision to Reed was a no-brainer; when I looked at the student body, I saw a group of people that I could learn from, people who would help me grow both academically and socially. Turning in my application early and displaying that commitment to Reed was a testament to my willingness to be a part of this engaged community of students.”—Caitlin, Class of 2023

Why apply ED?

  • Your ED application is the strongest way to indicate your interest and passion for Reed. Your enthusiasm is important to Admission professionals, and an ED application shows us you are serious about Reed. 
    • Early Decision students embody what a past student body president said about her experience at Reed: “I found a community that embraced me. I wanted to embrace it back.”
  • Complete the college application process by November 15th (ED I) or December 20th (ED II) and enjoy the remainder of your senior year with less stress.
  • If you are admitted to Reed, your ED application guarantees that you will get your first or second choice of residence halls. 
  • The admission rate of ED applicants is higher than other application rounds.
    • Why? It comes down to mutual enthusiasm. We want to bring students to Reed Reed who are excited about being part of this community. Those students tend to be highly involved on campus, furthering the vitality and culture of our community. 

“It was a relief to be able to get my college application out early and get a response to my college admission decision by December. It meant I got to relax for the rest of my senior year and not have the added stress of applying to colleges in the spring semester.”—Gabri, Class of 2021

Facts about Early Decision at Reed

  • Early Decision candidates are twice as likely to gain admission. 
  • Students admitted in the Early Decision round have the same academic preparation and qualifications as admitted students in other decision rounds. We look for the same qualities in an ED student as we would in a non-ED student when evaluating an application.
  • You are welcome to submit applications to other colleges (though you may not apply Early Decision to more than one school). If you are admitted to Reed, you are expected to withdraw your other college applications. 
  • Every year, almost 95% of admitted Early Decision students affirm their agreements and enroll at Reed. 

What about Financial Aid for ED applicants?

  • The financial aid process, from the evaluation of need to awarding of aid, is the same for Early Decision, Early Action, and Regular Decision.
  • Reed meets 100% of the demonstrated need for all admitted students and families. Our financial aid is robust and generous.
  • Our financial aid office will work with you to make sure the information you provide is complete and accurate.
  • If you apply for financial aid and the offer is not feasible for your family, the first step is to talk to the financial aid office to ensure that the information you entered was accurate and discuss your options. You will be released from the ED agreement if the financial aid package doesn’t meet your family’s expectations. 
  • The net price calculator can give you a rough estimate of what your expected family contribution might be before you apply. 

I’m on the fence about making this decision. What are a few ways I can get more information about Reed?

  • Think about what information you need to make this critical decision.  It usually falls into three categories - academic program, community, and shared values.
  • You can learn more about academics at Reed by exploring recorded roundtable discussions with faculty, view faculty profiles to get to know the guides on your intellectual quest at Reed, or read about students’ senior theses and dream up your own thesis ideas. You can even get a head start on Humanities 110 with our recorded lectures from this spring!
  • Reed’s vibrant student life is student-built and student-governed. With an active student group scene, events and outings, traditions like Paideia, and our setting in Portland, your college experience will be shaped by the campus and the local community. 
  • Honor. Inclusivity. Intellectual inquiry. Our shared values bring Reedies together and make Reed what it is. Learn what makes a Reedie, and imagine how four years at Reed might transform you. 

What are my next steps?

  • Select Early Decision I or II as your application round in the Common, Coalition, or Reed application.
  • Submit your application by November 15th (ED I) or December 20th (ED II)
  • Early Decision I applicants will receive their decision by mid-December; Early Decision II applicants in late January.
  • Discuss your intention to apply Early Decision with your family and school counselor.
  • Submit the Early Decision Agreement through the Common or Coalition Application. Your parent or guardian and school counselor will also sign the agreement form.
  • If you intend to apply for financial aid, submit your FAFSA and CSS Profile by the Early Decision deadline.

How can I get more guidance on whether Early Decision is right for me?

  • Your admission counselor would be happy to talk with you, your family, and your counselor about applying for Early Decision. You can email admission@reed.edu to be connected with your admission counselor. You can also set up a meeting with your counselor using our virtual meeting scheduler.
  • Also connect with your family and college counselor: people who know you very well and can help you think about whether Reed and ED are a good match for what you’re looking for in college and how you want to apply.
  • If you’d like to speak with Reedies who applied to Reed Early Decision, we’ll put you in touch.  Current students can talk with you about their application and decision-making process and help you think through yours. To connect with current students about their choice to apply Early Decision (or anything else!), you can email writeareedie@reed.edu or schedule a virtual meeting with a current student.

“I had wanted to live in Portland ever since I was a child, and Reed was the only college I found in Portland that resonated with me. I was fond of how all of the students and professors were unapologetically themselves.”—Lex, Class of 2024

AP, IB, and College Credit

If you have taken Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, or college courses during secondary school, we view this as significant evidence of your academic preparation. In some cases, incoming students may receive credit toward graduation for work completed before enrollment at Reed.

Students graduating from dual enrollment high school programs are considered first-year applicants to Reed, not transfer applicants.

First-Year Student College Credit Guide

Incoming students may receive credit toward graduation for work completed before enrollment at Reed.

Most transfer credit is granted through

Credit at Reed is based on a unit system. One Reed unit is the equivalent of four semester hours or six quarter hours from another institution.

Students who have attended college full time should consult the admission office's transfer guide for a more detailed description of transferring to Reed.

Dual Enrollment: Courses Completed at Other Institutions

The registrar's office evaluates all college-level courses taken at other institutions in terms of their applicability toward a liberal arts degree at Reed College. In general, students may receive credit for college courses they have completed that meet all of the following conditions:

  • The course was not designed for high school students.
  • The course was taken on a college campus. Transfer credit is not granted for college courses taken on high school campuses, even if the instructor is a college professor, and even if the course qualifies for transfer credit at other colleges or universities.
  • The course covered work at a level equal to or greater than introductory-level courses at Reed. For instance, math courses below the calculus level do not transfer, nor do English composition courses.
  • The course was not vocational, technical, or experiential in nature.
  • A grade of C- or better was received in the course.

Advanced Placement Credit: College Board AP Exams

  • Approval of AP credit varies from department to department; however, all those granting credit require scores of 4 or 5.
  • Credit for AP tests will apply toward the 30 units of academic credit needed for graduation, but cannot be used to meet any other Reed College requirement.
  • Students are generally awarded one unit of credit for each AP exam.
  • No student may receive more than a total credit of eight units by means of AP or other exams.

Departmental Policies - AP Exams

Art, History For scores of 4 and 5, one unit of credit is granted. Students are considered individually for admission to advanced classes.

Art, Studio/Portfolio For scores of 4 and 5, one unit of credit is granted. Students are considered individually for admission to advanced classes.

Biology/Environmental Science One unit of credit is granted for scores of 4 and 5 on the biology and environmental science exams. There is no advanced placement, however, because the department believes that all biology students should be exposed to the instructors, concepts, and methods in Reed's first-year, team-taught course.

Chemistry Chemistry 101 and 102 are required for the Chemistry major at Reed, regardless of any AP or IB experience in high school. While AP preparation is a valuable previous exposure to Chemistry, our Chemistry 101 and 102 College Chemistry sequence is quite distinct and subsequent courses build on this foundation.
Students who have earned a score of 4 or 5 on the AP Chemistry exam will receive one unit of college credit.
As outlined above, students planning to continue their education in Chemistry at Reed will complete both Chemistry 101 and 102. At this point, the AP credit will be rescinded.

Chinese, Language and Culture One unit of credit is granted for scores of 4 or 5. Course placement is based on the exam administered by the department before registration in the fall.

Computer Science One unit of credit is granted for scores of 4 or 5 on either the Computer Science A or AB exam. A student may not receive credit for both the AP test and Computer Science 121.

Economics, Micro/Macro One-half unit of credit is granted for scores of 4 and 5 for either or both of the economics exams. Advanced placement, however, is not granted on the basis of the AP exam, but is determined instead by a placement exam administered by the department before registration in the fall semester.

English, Language/Literature One unit of credit is granted for scores of 4 or 5 on the literature exam. No credit is granted for the language exam. Generally, first-year students are not eligible to take a 200-level English course, and 300-level courses are closed to first-year students, regardless of AP credit.

French, Language/Literature One unit of credit is granted for scores of 4 or 5 on either or both French exams. Course placement is based on an exam administered by the department before registration in the fall.

German, Language One unit of credit is granted for scores of 4 or 5. Placement is determined in consultation with faculty members and through an exam administered by the department before registration in the fall.

Government & Politics, United States/Comparative For each exam on which a student earns a score of 4 or 5, one unit of credit will be granted. This credit may not be used for group, divisional, or departmental requirements but may serve to satisfy prerequisites. Petitions must be received by the department by the end of the sophomore year. Read more information on prerequisites.

History, United States/European/World One unit of credit is granted for scores of 4 or 5 on any of the history exams. Advanced placement is not relevant, as the history program is not sequentially arranged and the department does not offer courses on the AP model. First-year students may enroll in upper-division (300-level) history courses only by the consent of the instructor. A student may not receive more than two units of AP history credit.

Human Geography One unit of credit is granted for scores of 4 or 5 on the Human Geography exam.

Japanese, Language and Culture One unit of credit is granted for scores of 4 or 5.

Latin One unit of credit is granted for scores of 4 or 5. A student may not receive credit both for the AP test and for the corresponding course at Reed. Placement is determined by an exam administered by the department before registration in the fall semester.

Mathematics, Calculus AB/BC One unit of credit is granted for the score of 5 on the AB exam, or scores of 4 or 5 on the BC exam. Credit will not be granted for both of the calculus exams. A student may not receive credit for both the AP test and Math 111. Placement is determined in consultation with faculty members. Reed does not grant credit for the Calculus AB Subgrade. 

Music, Theory One unit of credit is granted for scores of 4 or 5. Placement in Theory I or II is determined by an exam administered by the department before registration in the fall.

Physics, B, 1, 2 (non-calculus)/C (calculus) Credit is not granted for the Physics 1, 2, or B exams. For scores of 4 or 5 on the Physics C exam (Mechanics or Electricity and Magnetism), one unit of credit is granted for either or both. Students who wish to pursue physics at Reed are expected to enroll in Physics 101/102 or seek advanced placement by taking the placement exam.

Psychology One unit of credit is granted for scores of 4 or 5. There is no advanced placement, however, as previous work in psychology may not be substituted for the introductory or core courses at Reed.

Spanish, Language/Literature One unit of credit is granted for scores of 4 or 5 on either or both Spanish tests. Placement is determined by an exam administered by the department before registration in the fall; results of the AP and achievement tests, when available, are also considered.

Statistics No credit is granted for the statistics exam.

International Baccalaureate

  • Credit for IB tests will be granted for Higher Level (HL) exams. With very few exceptions, no credit is granted for Standard Level (SL) work.
  • Approval of IB credit varies from department to department; however most of those granting credit require a grade of 5 or higher.
  • Credit for IB exams will apply toward the 30 units of academic credit needed for graduation, but cannot be used to meet any other Reed College requirement.

Departmental Policies - IB Exams

Anthropology

World Cultures: For scores of 5 or higher on the HL exam, two units of credit will be granted. No advanced placement is offered.

Social and Cultural Anthropology: For scores of 5 or higher on the HL exam, two units of credit will be granted. No advanced placement is offered.

Arts

Design Technology:  There is no credit or advanced placement granted because this is a design course, not an art course.

Visual Arts: For scores of 5 or higher on the HL exam, two units of credit will be granted. No advanced placement is offered.

Biology

Biology: For grades of 5 or higher on HL exam, 2 units of credit are granted. There is no advanced placement because all biology students should be exposed to the instructors, concepts, and methods in Reed's first-year, team-taught course.

Chemistry

Chemistry: For grades of 6 or 7 on the HL exam, 1 unit of credit is granted. Students in this category may obtain placement out of Chem 102 lecture if they receive an A or A- in Chem 101. For grades of 6 or 7 on the SL exam, 1 unit of credit is granted. However no advanced placement opportunity exists for students in this category. Students can only receive two units of credit for some combination of Chem 101, 102, and AP/IB credit.

Dance

Dance: For grades of 5 or higher on the HL exam, 2 units of credit are granted. Placement into studio dance classes will be assessed based on prior experience.

Economics

Business Management: No credit is awarded for this exam.

Economics: For grades of 5 or higher on the HL exam, 2 units of credit are granted. If a student receiving these credits takes Econ 201, 1 of these credits is rescinded. Advanced placement is not granted on the basis of the IB exam, but is determined instead by a placement exam administered by the department before registration in the fall semester.

Information Technology in a Global Society: No credit is awarded for this exam.

Environmental Studies

Environmental Systems and Societies: No credit is awarded for this exam.

Geography

Geography: No credit is awarded for this exam.

Government and Politics

Global Politics: For grades of 5 or higher on the HL exam, 2 units of credit are granted.

Greek, Latin, and Ancient Mediterranean Studies

Classical Languages: For grades of 5 or higher on the HL exam, 2 units of credit are granted. Students who took the IB Latin program will need to take the corresponding placement exam before registration in the fall semester.

History

History: For grades of 5 or higher on the HL exam, 2 units of credit are granted. Advanced placement is not relevant, as the history program is not sequentially arranged. First-year students may enroll in upper-division (300-level) history courses only by the consent of the instructor.

Literature and Languages

Language and Literature: For scores of 5 or higher on the HL exam, two units of credit will be granted.

Lang B Acquisition: For scores of 5 or higher on the HL exam, two units of credit will be granted.

Students are expected to take placement exams to determine appropriate course level at Reed.

Lang A Literature: For scores of 5 or higher on the HL exam, two units of credit will be granted.

Film: For grades of 5 or higher on the HL exam, 2 units of credit are granted.

Literature and Performance

Literature and Performance: For scores of 5 or higher on the HL exam, 2 units of credit are awarded. No advanced placement is offered.

Mathematics

Mathematical Studies (SL): No credit is awarded.

Mathematics (HL): For scores of 5 or higher on the HL exam, 2 units of credit are awarded. A student may not receive credit for both the IB exam and Math 111. Placement is determined in consultation with faculty members.

Further Mathematics (HL): For scores of 5 or higher on this HL exam, up to 2 units of credit are awarded towards Math 111 and Math 112; a student who takes Math 111 receives no credit for the IB exam, and the student who skips Math 111 and takes Math 112 receives one credit for this HL exam. Placement is determined in consultation with faculty members.

Music

Music: For scores of 5 or higher on the HL exam, 2 units of credit are awarded. However, if a student takes Music 111, one credit will be rescinded. Students can consult faculty for appropriate placement.

Philosophy

Philosophy: For scores of 5 or higher on the HL exam, 2 units of credit are awarded. No advanced placement is offered.

Physics

Physics: For scores of 5 or higher on the HL exam, 2 units of credit are awarded. The physics department has a placement examination, and does not allow students to use AP or IB courses to place out of the introductory physics sequence.  Anyone is welcome to take the placement examination, but we do not particularly encourage students to bypass Physics 101 and 102

Psychology

Psychology: For scores of 5 or higher on the HL exam, 2 units of credit are awarded. No advanced placement is offered.

Religion 

Islamic History: For scores of 5 or higher on the HL exam, 2 units of credit are awarded. Students may fulfill the 100-level Islam course perquisites and may take 300­level Islam courses with instructor consent.

World Religions: No credit is awarded.

Theatre

Theatre: For scores of 5 or higher on the HL exam, 2 units of credit are awarded. No advanced placement is offered. These units may not be used towards departmental requirements or production work.

Abitur and GCE A-levels

Students who have successfully completed internationally recognized programs that typically surpass the standard American high school curriculum (such as the Abitur and the GCE A-levels) may be eligible for Reed College credit.

Given the variety of curricula and quality of work completed within these programs, a student's academic standing will be determined individually.

The student applies to Reed as a regular first-year student. Upon matriculation, the student provides full curriculum information to the registrar's office for reference in academic advising. A final credit evaluation is made by the end of the student's first semester at Reed. Depending upon the student's progress at Reed and the extent of work completed beyond the high school curriculum, the college may grant up to one full year's credit.

College Level Examination Program

Reed does not grant credit on the basis of the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) or other programs of credit by exam where the exam does not reflect completion of specific course work.

The college does not grant academic credit for experiential learning programs.

Reed College Placement Examinations

At the beginning of each academic year, some departments (including music, economics, and languages) administer placement exams. These exams assist the departments in placing students at the most appropriate level based on proficiency in the subject.

Students do not receive academic units for placing out of a course.


STATEMENT OF NONDISCRIMINATION: Reed College prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, marital or familial status, military status, veteran status, genetic information, physical or mental disability, pregnancy, status as a parent, family relationship, or any other category protected by law. The college’s Title IX policy and procedures may be found on our Title IX web page. Inquiries may be directed to the college's Title IX Coordinator by email at title-ix@reed.edu, by phone at 503-517-4842, or on campus in Eliot 108A. Inquiries may also be directed to the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office for Civil Rights, US Department of Education.

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