353 freshmen embark on the ‘road less traveled’

class photo image
View the class
of 2009

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The opening of the 2005-06 academic year was especially sweet for Reed’s dean of admission, Paul Marthers, and his staff.

First there was a spate of positive publicity about Reed: U.S. News and World Report included a very favorable feature article about Reed, “The Road Less Traveled”, The Princeton Review declared Reed the nation’s “best overall academic experience for undergraduates,” and for the first time Barron’s included Reed in its Guide to the Most Competitive Colleges.

Then, there was the arrival of the Class of 2009. The admission office had attracted a record 2,646 applicants and offered admission to 1,200 in order to matriculate a promising class of 353 freshmen. Dean Marthers reports that the freshmen come from 40 states and the District of Columbia. California, as always, led with 91 — with six from one high school, Lick Wilmerding in San Francisco — followed by Washington (42), Oregon (38), Massachusetts (23), New York (17), Texas (15), Colorado (14), and Maryland (12). International students comprise 7 percent of the class and come from 17 countries — Bangladesh, Cameroon, China, Costa Rica, England, Ghana, Italy, Jamaica, Nepal, Romania, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Vietnam, Zimbabwe, and Canada — plus Puerto Rico and Guam.

The average high school grade-point average of enrolled students (3.8, reflecting grades of A-pluses in some courses), SAT (1369), and ACT (30) scores were among the highest ever for Reed. Of those who attended high schools with class rankings, 81 percent graduated within the top 20 percent. The male-female ratio roughly reflects the national average — 44 percent men, 56 percent women — while nine percent represent the first generation of the family to attend college, and 24 percent are students of color — eight percent Asian American (32), seven percent Hispanic/Latino (26), four percent African and African American (15), two percent Native American (7), and three percent other (11). That, too, is a record.

“The statistics tell just part of the story, and arguably not the most interesting part,” Marthers reported at the first faculty meeting of the new school year. “Statistics cannot measure the passion for learning exhibited in the admission applications. An overview like this cannot fully convey the intriguing stories behind each individual new Reed student — the multiple languages they speak, numerous instruments they play, lists of awards they’ve won, and any artistic or scientific epiphanies they’ve had.” Marthers thanked the Reed community — faculty, staff, alumni, trustees, and current parents — for assisting in the efforts to get these new students to Reed. “We are pleased to hand them off to the faculty to begin the adventure of a rigorous and rewarding liberal arts education.”

View further admission statistics at Institutional Research.