Orientation 2019

Pre-Orientation Programs

Each year, Reed offers several unique pre-orientation opportunities to first-year students. You can go on an outdoor adventure, engage in the Portland community, learn about Reed and Portland, and build lasting relationships with your classmates.

Pre-orientation programs are optional (with the exception of International Student Orientation, which is required for international students), but we recommend them. Students arrive to campus early and join their classmates in small groups to participate in one of these programs—the experience aims to help ease your transition to college life and enrich the orientation experience by providing opportunities for both personal growth and leadership development.

All pre-orientation programs and trips require pre-registration and they fill up fast. Note: International Student Orientation is required for all international students and registration on IRIS is currently open. Outdoor, Peer Mentor Program, and SEEDS Community Engagement registration opens on IRIS on May 1.

What are pre-orientation programs?

There are two pre-orientation programs designed for specific groups of students: International Student Orientation and the Peer Mentor Program. Both programs begin on August 20 and continue through August 23. Students participating in these programs will be able to move into their residence halls on Tuesday, August 20, beginning at 9 a.m.

International Student Orientation and Peer Mentor Program participants are encouraged to also sign up for either an Outdoor or SEEDS Experience. These begin on Friday, August 23, and return to campus on Monday, August 26, in time for the kick-off of general Orientation.

International Student Orientation (ISO) is for international students and participation is required for all F-1 and J-1 visa holders. International Student Orientation is an essential part of the international student experience and is carefully designed to help launch you into a successful semester at Reed College. The program orients international students to the U.S. and Reed and also connects each student with an InterConnect peer mentor who will guide students through their first semester. ISO includes a tour of Portland, shopping trip, welcome meal with faculty and staff, an event with host families, and important sessions focused on international student needs and identities. There is no registration fee for the International Student Orientation; all activities and meals are free of cost for participants.

The Peer Mentor Program (PMP) is a yearlong program that begins with a pre-orientation program. The Peer Mentor Program supports students who identify as being the first in their family to attend college, students of color, students from low socioeconomic backgrounds, or students from any background who simply have a desire to engage in conversation about the range of intersections around identity, diversity, and privilege. Each participant will be matched with a current student who will be their PMP mentor for the year. After Orientation, PMP offers monthly social gatherings, transportation to events happening in Portland, and academic support sessions. There is no registration fee for the Peer Mentor Program; all activities and meals are free of cost for participants.

What are the Outdoor and SEEDS Experiences?

Experiences take place after the International Student Services and Peer Mentor programs and before general Orientation begins. There are two types of Experiences: Outdoor Experiences and SEEDS Community Engagement Experiences. 

The Outdoor Experiences provide incoming students with the opportunity to go backpacking, climbing, surfing, hiking, rafting, kayaking, or biking for a few days before the general Orientation program begins. These trips are an excellent way to get to know fellow first year students, experience the beauty of the Pacific Northwest, and get a taste of Reed culture and lore.

The SEEDS Community Engagement Experiences are volunteer opportunities in the greater Portland community for incoming students. Each small group of 10 to 12 students, led by two returning students, pursues a different program of community engagement activities. Participants share all meals and sleep on campus in their assigned residence hall room. These trips help students get to know each other, gain a deeper understanding of Portland’s historical and political contexts, and discover opportunities for volunteering, community engagement, and social movement organizing off campus.

Frequently asked questions

Why should I participate in a Pre-Orientation Experience?

The Outdoor and SEEDS Experiences provide incredible opportunities for engagement in your new city and with your new classmates. You will have new experiences, learn a lot, and have fun! Outdoor Experiences take students off campus to explore the beautiful Pacific Northwest—by foot, kayak, raft, surfboard, or climbing. The focus is on creating social bonds and building community with your fellow Reedies while sharing recreational experiences that are physical and mentally engaging. The SEEDS Experiences combine community engagement, reflection, learning, and fun to help students get to know each other, gain a deeper understanding of Portland’s historical and political contexts, and discover opportunities for volunteering, community engagement, and social movement organizing off-campus.

What if I am an international student or PMP participant and I choose not to participate in an Experience following my pre-orientation program?

If you decide not to participate in an Experience, there will be social activities during the weekend, including exploring Portland and the surrounding area, and events in the evenings with peer mentors.

What are the financial costs and assistance for SEEDS and Outdoor Experiences?

The Outdoor and SEEDS Experiences both have a registration cost. The Outdoor Experiences range from $300 to $500, depending on the type of trip. The SEEDS Experience registration fee is $150. Limited financial assistance is available for those who request it and are identified as Reed financial aid recipients.

Substance Free

In order to make these programs as safe and enjoyable as possible, drugs and alcohol are not permitted. Due to high-risk fire conditions in the fall, smoking is not allowed at all during the Outdoor Experiences.


If you are a student in need of accommodations due to disability, physical or otherwise, please let the program coordinator know in advance so we can be as accommodating and inclusive as possible in our programming. You may also contact Theresa Lowrie in the Disability Support Services office to discuss your needs and other possible accommodations for your time at Reed.

Contact us

Student engagement office