Student Life Office

Academic Options and Interventions

The transition to college, coupled with the demands of the Reed curriculum, is challenging for most students. When a student experiences a hardship that makes it difficult for them to complete the semester as planned, there are a number of supportive resources and options that may help. When possible, students are encouraged to explore alternatives to a leave of absence so that they may remain registered and make progress toward their degree.

Academic Challenges

Students can speak with their faculty adviser and schedule a meeting with a dean in Student Life about any of the options offered below.

Drop a Class

A student can drop a class up until Week 10 of the semester. Students may add or drop academic courses to their schedules by submitting a drop/add request to the registrar’s office. This requires the signatures of the instructor and the student’s faculty adviser. Visit Add/Drop in the Reed Guidebook.


An underload is defined as taking fewer than 3.0 units in a semester. As it is the general expectation that students will attend full time, approval is required to underload, and meeting with a dean in Student Life is also required. Dropping below 3.0 units may have implications for a student’s financial aid package; students are encouraged to consult with Financial Aid as part of their request. Visit Course Load in the Reed Guidebook.


A petition is a formal request for an exception to an established academic policy. Petitions are reviewed by the Administration Committee or the student’s division as appropriate. Examples of academic policies a student may petition through the Administration Committee or their division:

  • late add/drop
  • underload with reduced tuition
  • thesis year variation
  • exceptions to the restrictions for probation
  • delay the declaration of major

Waivers of academic regulation are made only in unusual circumstances; there is no guarantee that a petition will be approved. For this reason, students are encouraged to stay engaged in all their classes while they wait for a petition decision.

In some cases, it is useful to attach supporting materials to the petition (for example, a physician’s statement if the requested exception is due to medical factors). The Health & Counseling Center and/or Disability and Accessibility Resources (DAR) may be able to assist with documentation.

The petition form and instructions are available online on the Registrar’s Office website. It is often helpful for students to consult with their adviser, the associate registrar, and/or a dean in Student Life prior to completing the petition form.

Emergency Absence

An emergency absence is appropriate for a brief absence (no longer than two weeks) from the College. Students must be approved to take an emergency absence. Students intending to take an emergency absence are not excused from any responsibilities for missed classes and coursework and should meet with their faculty as soon as possible to discuss the implications of taking an emergency absence in each class.

Students intending to take an emergency absence must meet with a dean in Student Life before and upon return from their absence to discuss resources available to support the student. Students also have the option to instead meet with a confidential resource in our SHARE Program or a counselor in the HCC ( to discuss a request for an emergency absence. Visit Emergency Absence for more information.

Take a Class for Credit/No Credit

Juniors and seniors may take a course for credit/no credit (CR/NC). In a course graded CR/NC, a student must complete work at the level of C or better to earn credit. Work at C- or worse will result in a grade of no credit. The form requires the signatures of the course instructor and student’s adviser.

The deadline for changing to or from the credit/no credit option is Week 10 of the semester (which is also the final day to withdraw from a course). Students cannot use a course graded CR/NC to meet distribution, division, or major requirements, and the course cannot be in the student’s major. Only two units of CR/NC work can be applied to the degree. Visit Credit/No Credit Grading in the Reed Guidebook.


Students who experience an emergency or extenuating hardship near the end of the semester may request an incomplete (INC) from their instructor(s). An Incomplete allows a student time after the semester to complete any missed work.

Students may request an Incomplete only if they are in good standing in the course at the time of their request. The decision to grant (or not grant) an Incomplete is entirely up to the instructor; Student Life approval for an Incomplete is NOT required.

A faculty member may choose to request more information about the circumstances surrounding a request for an Incomplete, although it is not required. Deans in Student Life can work with students and faculty to help navigate such requests. 

For more information, read Student Life's FAQ for Requesting Incompletes.

Academic Support and Resources

It may be that none of the administrative alternatives listed above apply for a student’s situation and/or that pursuing these options is not sufficient to address a student’s academic challenges. In that case, students are encouraged to connect with Academic Support and/or Disability and Accessibility Resources for coaching and skill-building resources.

Academic Support offers one-on-one coaching, workshops, and tutoring services for Reed students. Staff members meet individually with students to discuss study skills, quantitative skills, learning styles, time management, test anxiety, procrastination, and academic stress.

Disability and Accessibility Resources works with students and faculty to determine appropriate academic adjustments and services for students with documented disabilities. Students who would like to request accommodations, or anyone with questions about disability support services for students, are welcome to contact DAR to request information or schedule an appointment.

Health Concerns

Reed offers a number of support resources and services to help address and resolve personal, financial and interpersonal challenges that may be disruptive to a student’s academic progress.

Health and Counseling Center (HCC)

Health and Counseling services are available to evaluate, maintain, and promote general student health so that students may make the most of their education. The Health and Counseling Center offers a variety of primary medical care services including diagnosis and treatment of acute illness, injury and chronic conditions, preventative counseling and education, and referrals to area specialists as needed.

The HCC also provides counseling services and the evaluation, prescription, and management of psychiatric medications. Clinicians at the HCC are particularly suited to dealing with issues affecting college students and the unique student body at Reed.

Financial Concerns

Students experiencing financial hardship should first contact the Financial Aid Office. Your counselor will work with you to understand more about your situation and determine the best available resource to meet your needs. If the nature of your financial challenge falls outside the scope of what financial aid is permitted to cover, you may be referred to emergency funding assistance

Housing Concerns

Students who are experiencing difficulties with their on-campus housing should meet with their Area Coordinator to discuss possible solutions. An Area Coordinator can help mediate a roommate issue, resolve facilities concerns, or discuss the possibility of moving to a different room or residence hall on-campus.

Students who are experiencing housing difficulties off-campus are encouraged to visit the Student Life Office in Eliot 218 to connect to relevant resources to help them address their housing concerns. If a student living off-campus would like to move into an on-campus residence hall, they should contact Residence Life directly to inquire about available space.

Interpersonal and Campus Life Concerns

It is normal for students to encounter challenges or obstacles adjusting to campus life that they didn’t anticipate. The transition to college can be demanding and can lead to varying emotions including sadness, loneliness and worry. Students who are having a difficult time finding their place at Reed are encouraged to seek out the support resources below for help connecting to peers and campus engagement opportunities.

Student Engagement

Student Engagement coordinates and supports campus events, student governance and over 100 student groups for the Reed community. The staff and interns in the Student Engagement office seek to connect students to cocurricular opportunities to meet peers, de-stress, learn leadership skills and ease the transition into Reed.

Office for Institutional Diversity

The Office for Institutional Diversityoffers campus programming, facilitated constructive dialogues, community engagement opportunities, and support for students as they explore the intersection of their identities. The OIC also coordinates the Peer Mentor Program to assist first year and transfer students by pairing them with a peer mentor who provides guidance and support throughout the first year.

Residence Life

Each residence hall community is assigned a House Adviser (HA), a current student who lives in the residence hall and helps build community, mediate conflicts and assist students in navigating campus resources. HAs routinely plan community events and activities to help students meet their floormates and peers with similar interests. Students who would like to discuss situations related to their housing are encouraged to contact their HA or Area Coordinator.  

Center for Life Beyond Reed

The Center for Life Beyond Reed provides specialized personal and career development support for students who want to better understand their interests, values, and purpose. By using the resources and services of the CLBR, students can develop clarity to choose a major, determine professional strengths and aptitudes, and find meaningful internships and employment.

Campus or Personal Safety Concerns

Reed College is committed to the safety of its students, faculty, staff and visitors. Reed has a number of resources dedicated to enhancing personal safety and the safety of the campus community.

Community Safety

Community members, students, faculty, staff, and visitors are encouraged to accurately and promptly report all crimes and public safety-related incidents to Community Safety. Community Safety staff are trained to receive and investigate reports of sexual assault and other crimes, and/or refer reports to both internal and external resources. Community Safety staff can help students address personal safety concerns through safety planning, crime reporting and escort services.

Sexual Assault & Response

Reed does not tolerate any form of sexual or relationship violence. Students can report sexual harassment and discrimination anonymously or to the Title IX Coordinator, Program Director for SHARE (Sexual Health, Advocacy & Relationship Education) or Community Safety staff. The College’s first priority in responding to a report of an assault is to provide prompt, effective sensitive assistance and to protect other members of the community from harm.

SHARE Advocates are Reed students who provide a wide range of confidential crisis advocacy services, including emotional support, information about options, referrals to internal and external resources, and reporting assistance.

More information on reporting options and support resources for students can be found on the Sexual Assault Prevention & Response website.

Multiple or Concurrent Concerns

Students who are experiencing multiple or complex issues or challenges are invited to meet with a dean in Student Life for coordinated assistance. A dean can help a student triage concerns and offer solutions including multiple of the resources and options outlined above.