The Center for Life Beyond Reed

President's Summer Fellowship FAQ

Important update: 

Due to the current health crisis around COVID-19, Reed College has suspended all college-funded travel, both domestic and international. Additionally, Reed College has decided not to sponsor student travel to foreign countries to which the CDC has attached a Level 3 Travel Health Notice (avoid nonessential travel) due to COVID-19 until further notice. The Department of State has also issued a level 4 global health advisory to reconsider all international travel.

What is the President’s Summer Fellowship?

The PSF is a Reed grant for an original and meaningful summer project that involves at least one of the following elements:

  • intellectual adventure
  • creative project
  • service to the community
  • personal, transformative growth

The project must be completed within a ten-week window over the summer.

How many fellowships are awarded each year?

Up to 10.

How big is the grant?

Up to $5,000, or up to $7,000 if you receive financial aid from Reed and need to make a contribution of summer earnings toward your next year's expenses. 

Is it taxable?


Who can apply?

The President’s Summer Fellowship is open to currently enrolled first, second, and third year Reed students as well as Spring-Fall Senior. You may not apply if you are not currently enrolled. You must be in good academic standing.

Can a friend and I jointly apply for a PSF?


What will be expected of me if I receive the PSF award?

As a PSF recipient, you will be expected to fulfill your proposed project goals to the best of your ability. This does not mean you cannot adapt your project as you go. The unexpected is expected, and nothing can ever be perfectly planned for. If you discover you need to change directions as you get your project in motion, go for it!

You will be accountable for working passionately and intentionally.

You will be required to submit blog posts with photographs that reflect upon your experiences. You will also be expected to participate in a post-program reflection and experience sharing activity.

How do I apply?

You can find the application in IRIS.


The deadline for applications is early March. Finalists will be chosen near the end of March by the PSF committee.

Finalist interviews will take place mid to late-March, with final decisions made within 48 hours.

What makes a good PSF project?

The projects are intended to foster creativity, and contribute to the growth of the individual and to include some element of bringing back your newfound awareness to your community.

A strong proposal will clearly convey an idea, its connection to you and to how it will manifest your growth. The proposal should demonstrate a stretch for you, as well as demonstrate your passion for the project you propose. In the proposal you also need to lay the groundwork to prove your ability to complete a large-scale, independent project.

The project should be well thought out, with details in place to ensure feasibility (travel plans, visas, accommodations, permissions, realistic costs). In addition, it needs to be apparent that you have thought out some contingency options in case not everything goes according to plan. Know specifics, and have made all the arrangements you can before you submit your application.

What kinds of things can the PSF support?

  • travel in pursuit of a particular goal
  • building on a previous experience, but making it more ambitious, robust, and meaningful.

What kinds of things will the PSF probably not support?

  • unpaid internship at a for-profit business
  • paying your tuition at another school/college
  • playing a small role in someone else’s project
  • doing something you’ve done before

What is the best way to prepare?

Get an early start in your planning. Spend time thinking about what is important to you. What excites you? What do you wish you had the time and the opportunity to explore or create? What is something unique to you that will develop in you, or provide to others? When you have a few answers, go from there. Talk with people who are currently involved in what you want to do, and ask questions to learn what your best options are.

Call, email, and connect with people who will be able to guide you. Do your research, and figure out what the obstacles and challenges are going to be to your success, and think about how you will overcome them. Be sure you know why this project is important to you, and why it should be for others.

Over time, the committee has observed that students who nurture their idea over a period of time have a better chance of winning funding. While we do not discourage someone who gets a brainstorm and scrambles to apply at the last minute, we do encourage you to give yourself a lengthy runway to mull and plan, and seek counsel.

It is strongly recommended that you speak with an advisor at the Center for Life Beyond Reed about your plans before submitting an application.