Outreach Programs


Young Scholars

Throughout its history, Reed College has been dedicated to providing a challenging education for academically gifted and motivated students. The Young Scholars program, developed in 1980, extends this opportunity to selected high-school students who are ready for part-time, rigorous college study. This highly selective scholarship program allows seniors to take one college class at Reed for the full academic year while concurrently enrolled in high school. It is open to students from the metropolitan area who demonstrate outstanding academic achievement and a commitment to serious study in a particular field of interest.

Who Qualifies?

Students must be recommended to the college by their high schools and must successfully complete the admission process described below. The following qualifications are required:

  • An applicant must be a high-school senior. (If spaces are available after all qualified seniors have been accommodated, junior applicants occasionally may be accepted to the program.)
  • An applicant must have exhausted high-school curricula options in the subject he or she wishes to take at Reed, or have demonstrated a serious and sustained interest in a subject not offered at the high school.
  • An applicant should present excellent academic and personal records.
  • An applicant must be enrolled concurrently in high school.
  • If accepted, matriculants must commit to taking a class for the full academic year.

Course options

If accepted, the Young Scholar will meet with a faculty adviser or the director of special programs regarding course selection and placement. Most typically, students enroll in first- and second-year classes in mathematics, the sciences (biology, chemistry, and physics), foreign languages (Chinese, French, German, Russian, and Spanish, plus Latin and ancient Greek), the arts (theatre, music, dance, and art) and the social sciences (economics and psychology). Occasionally students also may be able to take classes in political science, philosophy, history and religion. It is important to understand, however, that Reed gives priority in enrollment to the undergraduate degree students, and therefore space limitations may restrict Young Scholar access to certain classes. While applicants may apply to more than one qualifying subject (example: physics and mathematics), Young Scholars may take only one course per semester, for which Reed College credit will be granted. Continued participation in the program for the second semester, however, is contingent upon satisfactory completion of the first, and the recommendation of the professor.

The courses taken by Young Scholars are regular Reed College classes, taught by members of the Reed faculty for undergraduate degree students. The Reed catalog provides a description of all college courses. Most Reed classes are offered as small seminars that involve a good deal of interaction, as well as extensive reading, writing, and preparation. Introductory science classes will involve large lectures, but small labs and conferences. The courses at Reed are significantly more challenging and time-consuming than high-school classes. As such, Young Scholars are advised to plan their senior year curriculum and extracurricular activities accordingly.

Please note: The Reed courses may not be used to meet high-school graduation requirements. We therefore recommend that they not be listed on the student's high-school transcript.

What does it cost?

The Young Scholars program was initially funded through the generous contributions of Jean and Howard Vollum and the Charles A. Frueauff Foundation; all current funding is through Reed. The individual student is expected to contribute $100 per semester. (Some school districts may cover part or all of the student contribution. Students should consult with their school counselors about their district's policy.) Students also are responsible for the purchase of books and class materials, and for arranging transportation to and from Reed.

For Further information:

Further information on the program is available from the director of special programs, 503/777-7259. We also encourage potential applicants to visit the campus and sit in on a class in their area of interest; weekday campus tours and class visits may be arranged through the admission office, 503/777-7511.

Notice of Nondiscrimination

Reed does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, marital status, veteran status, genetic information, physical or mental disability, family relationship, or on the basis of any other category protected by law. Reed does not consider any of the above attributes in administration of its employment policies, educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan program, and athletic and other school-administered programs. In its policies and actions, Reed will comply with its obligations under state and federal law including Title VI and Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), Oregon Revised Statutes, and any other applicable law. Inquiries on the application of Title VI, Title IX, the ADA, and Section 504, may be made to Lorraine J. Arvin, Vice President and Treasurer, Reed College, or to the Office for Civil Rights.


Office of Special Programs


Participating in the Young Scholars program was the best decision and action of my high school career. My Reed courses were far more involved and engaging than I even hoped. I puzzled over problems and concepts in a completely new way. Knowledge acquisition and questioning were valued as more than a means to an end. Class projects fostered a sense of camaraderie between older students and me—they welcomed me, asked about my college plans, and offered to form study groups with me.
—Uma Ilavarasan '15
YS in economics

The greatest challenge, at first, was the amazing amount of freedom to study as much as I wanted to. It made me have to do all the work my high school chemistry teacher usually did in terms of organization and learning plans. My professors were always available to me. I had meetings with them to discuss my performance, and could always come to them with questions. Chemistry conference was particularly beneficial in that regard.
—Zesean Ali '16 (Reed '20)
YS in chemistry

I really appreciated the independence in my Reed course. There was not a lot of hand holding; I was responsible for my own schedule and relationships with fellow students. However, the Young Scholars community was readily available if I had questions or needed support. The style of dance and the format of my class allowed for participation from dancers of all levels. For example, the choreography rarely required exact repetition, giving us the opportunity to create our own movements and interpretations. At the same time, there were required essays and out of class choreography assignments.
—Jenna Richards, '16
YS in dance

I can’t imagine my senior year without the Young Scholars program. I got to continue studying my favorite subject in college-level literature and culture classes. Discussing literature in a college seminar of 10 was incredible. I learned so much because of the attention I got from professors and the open discussion of my classes. Getting a college experience before applying to and choosing a school was also immensely helpful to me; I learned what mattered most to me in a college. There’s a point during your senior year when you realize you’re desperately ready for the next level of learning, and Reed lets you have that experience!
—Jackie Salzinger '14
YS in Spanish