How To Get Into Reed College: Acceptance Rate + Tips

Portland, Oregon
November 24, 2023
8 min read


Reviewed by:

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 9/29/23

If you’ve ever dreamed of attending a small and quaint liberal arts college in the Northwestern US, read on to find out how to get into Reed College.

Two female students talking

Reed College is located in southeast Portland, Oregon. The school was founded in 1908 and now boasts 40 majors. With classes encouraging debate and discussion, Reedies will prosper on their academic journeys. Not surprisingly, creativity and critical thinking are at the forefront of their educational philosophy.

The 1500 students enrolled at Reed College have a history of high academic achievement, exceptional GPAs, and educational background. Stay tuned if you’re wondering how you measure up and how hard it is to get into Reed College! 

Reed College Acceptance Rate

The Reed College acceptance rate is 44%. The admissions committee is known to select students with high academic rigor. While its admissions process is quite selective, it has a far higher acceptance rate than Ivy League schools

Reed College's transfer acceptance rate is 22.75%, which is comparatively low compared to its first-year admission rate. Also, Reed College's early decision acceptance rate is 30%. 

Although getting into Reed College may be challenging, knowing their admission statistics can help determine what you need to focus on.

Here is a table that illustrates the acceptance and yield rate for the past three years at Reed College. 

Admission Year Acceptance Rate Yield Rate
2023 31% 14%
2022 42% 14%
2021 44% 16%

This table should help give you an idea of what to expect when applying to Reed College. 

Reed College Admission Requirements

To secure admission to Reed College, aim for an SAT score of 1520 or an ACT score of 34. These above-average scores, along with a 4.0 GPA, will ensure your profile aligns with the top-achieving applicants of the 2023-2024 admissions cycle.

To successfully apply to Reed College, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the various application requirements you’ll need to submit via either the Common Application or the Coalition Application

Personal Essay (If Using Common App)

If you’re applying to Reed College via the Common App, then you’ll be required to submit a personal essay plus one supplemental essay. 

Reed Writing Supplement

When learning how to get into Reed College, familiarizing yourself with how to craft a well-written supplemental essay is a great start. 

Reed’s supplemental essay asks students to answer the following question in 500 words: 

“For one week at the end of January, Reed students upend the traditional classroom hierarchy and teach classes about any topic they love, academic or otherwise. This week is known as Paideia after the Greek term signifying “education”—the complete education of mind, body and spirit. What would you teach that would contribute to the Reed community?”

This prompt encourages you to think critically, creatively, and reflectively about how you would make a meaningful contribution to the Reed community. No matter what you decide to write about, make sure it conveys your genuine interests and aspirations while highlighting your ability to engage in intellectual discussions and debates. 

School Report 

Their counselor must complete an applicant’s school report. The school report outlines a student's academic history and includes things like their transcripts and ratings, as well as their school's GPA reporting and curriculum.

Counselor Recommendation 

Reed College requires applicants to submit a counselor recommendation. A counselor recommendation is a letter of recommendation written by a high school guidance counselor on your behalf as part of your college or university application. 

This recommendation provides insight into your academic abilities, personal qualities, character, and overall suitability for higher education.

High School Transcripts 

It’s also required that applicants submit their high school transcripts. High school transcripts provide the school with a comprehensive record of your academic performance throughout high school.

Reed College GPA Requirements

Maintaining a high GPA is one of the key steps students can take to get into the college of their choice. Reed College matriculants average a 4.0 GPA in high school. While this may seem intimidating, it can be achieved by seeking help, knowing your strengths and weaknesses, and developing a routine that works for you!

Reed College Average SAT

The SAT isn’t required during the application process at Reed College. Reed College now considers themselves test-blind following the COVID-19 pandemic; even if you submit your test scores, they will not be considered for admissions. Reed College SAT scores average between 1320-1520. 

Reed College Average ACT

Like the SAT, Reed College doesn’t require the ACT as well. The average ACT score for Reed College is between 30-34. 

College Transcripts (If You’ve Attended)

If you’ve attended a college, Reed College requires that you submit your college transcripts. Sometimes, some of those college credits can be transferred and used at the college you plan on attending. 

Two Teacher Evaluations 

Applicants are also required to submit two teacher evaluations. Teacher evaluations, also known as teacher recommendations, are an important component of the college admissions process. 

These evaluations provide admissions committees with insights into your academic abilities, classroom behavior, work ethic, and personal qualities as assessed by your high school teachers. 

Building strong relationships with your teachers and putting together a great brag sheet will be useful when asking for your recommendation letters

Early Decision Agreement

If you’re applying to Early Decision, you’ll need to fill out this form. Early Decision allows applicants to apply to their preferred college or university early in the application cycle and receive an admission decision earlier than regular decision applicants. 

Early Decision is binding, meaning that if a student is accepted under an ED plan, they are committed to attending that institution and must withdraw all other college applications.

International Students Requirements

There are additional admission requirements for international students. They include:

These requirements are in addition to the other admission requirements mentioned above. 

Home-Schooled Applicants

Home-schooled applicants will also need to apply through the Common Application or the Coalition Application. THey must submit all required documents. 

Reed College Application Process & Deadlines

Here are the key Reed College decision dates and deadlines you need to know before starting your application:

Early Decision I Early Decision II Early Action Regular Decision
Applications Due Mid-November End of December Mid-November Mid-January
Decisions Mailed December February February Early April
Reply Date Within 2 weeks of admission or 10 days of financial aid receipt, whichever is later Within 2 weeks of admission or 10 days of financial aid receipt, whichever is later Early May Early May
Deadline to Complete Optional Interview Early December End of December Early December Early February

Source: Reed College

Ensure that you meet the Reed College application deadline. Whether you decide to submit your application for Early Action or Early Decision, keeping track of these dates will ensure you have a smooth and successful application process.

Reed College Supplemental Essays with Examples

As mentioned, Reed College has one required supplemental essay. The writing supplement must be up to 500 words. The writing supplement may be submitted via the Common or Coalition Application or emailed to Here is the Reed College essay prompt: 

“For one week at the end of January, Reed students upend the traditional classroom hierarchy and teach classes about any topic they love, academic or otherwise. This week is known as Paideia after the Greek term signifying “education”—the complete education of mind, body and spirit. What would you teach that would contribute to the Reed community?”

Here are some examples of well-written essays answering this prompt. 

Essay Example #1

Humans: The Apex Predators of Earth
Why are humans dominant? Why do we have the power to decide the fate of our universe? Do we actually have as much power as we think we do? What is man's place within nature? 
In my class, my students would explore the roles of humans in society. I first began to question human dominance on a service trip to Tanzania, when I experienced the Maasai tribe’s ceremonial goat slaughter. As the goat seized its last breath, I struggled to understand the precarious line between life vs. death. Prior to this experience I hadn’t contemplated our privilege as humans; I was blind towards human dominance. The goat's fate helped enlighten me to human beings’ unlicensed power. 
Why is it that we can decide the slaughtering of a goat is the circle of life, but the consumption of a dog is a sin? While I have yet to understand how and why we deserve to be the apex predator of our environment—and most likely will never know—I still enjoy raising these questions and stating my opinion. This event helped make me aware of where I focus my privilege. Through sustainability workshops, environmental science classes, and working in gardens I have begun to concentrate more on understanding how to benefit our environment, instead of destroying it with our power. 
We’re destroying our environment, which is necessary for us to live. It’s like we’re eliminating the essentials to our existence, making it harder for ourselves to continue to grow. In nature, when there is an overpopulation of predators, there’s quickly a lack of prey. What impact will we have in the future? Will we continue to allow this trend to occur, or will we make a change? 
In my open-ended and philosophical class we will assess a few major topics. First, what has led to the dominance of humans? Why have we been given sole responsibility for deep cognitive theories? Second, I would extend the narrative of Apex predatory from its reference towards animals to the environment itself. Why are we here? Are we on Earth to save the planet and solve the puzzle that is our environment, or will we destroy our pure home? 

Essay Example #2

Great American Leaders: A Historical, Sociological, and Political Perspective On How to Get Things Done
Course Description: Throughout history, many American leaders have been good, but what has made the most famous ones great? In this course, we will explore and apply the techniques of effective and highly regarded American leaders who have forever left their mark on our nation’s society. From President Lyndon Johnson’s use of “the lean” for physical intimidation to pass landmark legislation, to Martin Luther King Jr.’s use of the Old Testament to bring together Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish leaders during the Civil Rights Movement, to Eleanor Roosevelt’s ability to command respect and influence at a time when women’s voices were rarely heard, we will analyze the tactics that have led to lasting change. As we study the strategies pioneered by these great leaders, we will simultaneously work to find ways to apply them in the present day.
Sample lectures:
Connections During the Civil Rights Movement: A Sociological Look at the Unity of Leaders, Cultures, and Religions in Common Cause
Required readings: A Letter from a Birmingham Jail - Martin Luther King, Jr.
“I Speak to You as an American Jew” - Dr. Joachim Prinz, March on Washington
The 100 Days: FDR’s Spectacular Entry into the Office of the Presidency, and his Leadership of a Congress of Action
Required readings: The Defining Moment: FDR’s Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope - Jonathan Alter
Roosevelt’s First Fireside Chat- March 12, 1933
Seneca Falls: The Leaders of the Women’s Suffrage Movement and their Convention that Changed Women’s Rights Forever
Required readings: Seneca Falls and the Origins of the Women's Rights Movement - Sally G. McMillen
Elizabeth Cady Stadam: Seneca Falls Keynote Address
At a time of ineffectiveness and gridlock, it is imperative that we study what makes a great leader and attempt to find applications of their work in the modern day, for our country and our world.

Essay Example #3

Under the setting winter sun, I rode my horse across the meadow while the snow began to thicken. Upon receiving a prized, famous axe from my close friend Ulfric, he requested that I return to a metropolitan city to converse with members who agreed with us regarding the status of the political landscape within our country in order to join their movement. Suddenly, though, I was knocked off my horse by a blow from my left. I unsheathed my weapon while hearing shouts from every direction. I lept off my horse and pulled my sword back to make the first blow, but just as I…
“Dinner!” My dad swept me out of my absorption with what, unfortunately, was not an exorbitantly unique experience from real life, but rather “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim,” an open world action video game within a fictional universe. I was beginning the quest “Joining the Legion” which would solidify my role as a supporter of the Empire and ban me from joining the rebellion. 
 As I sat down to eat my beef with broccoli, the recent quest was still on my mind. Making the decision as to whether or not I ought to join the rebellion or defend the Imperial Legion felt extremely rushed, and after being brutally attacked, I wondered if I made the right one. I realized that I required a much more nuanced look at the actuality of the issue’s development to make an educated decision, both for fascinating gameplay and political context. Delving into online resources, I gradually understood the background of the war, but I also realized how complex and multifaceted the history of the game was. The 9 major cities, countless towns and settlements, 273 quests, and six historical periods ensure there is never a dull moment, but also present the ideal means through which to examine complex historical developments, movements, and periods of an entire Empire.
So, I would teach a history of Skyrim course, also known as “Nords, Daedras, Alchemy and Everything In Between”. Not only would this multifaceted understanding of the background to major questlines be indispensable to successful game play, but the skills required to understand the development and effects of diverse historical developments could be utilized for other history and social science courses. Immersing oneself directly in the material through gameplay would provide a unique perspective on the events at hand which would be supplemented by the history-course-like style of the class. With countless online materials ranging from the Elder Scrolls Wiki to Gamepedia and, of course, Reddit, there would be no shortage of resources to utilize for assignments. 
 Thus, although my experience of nearly being knocked off my horse outside the gates of Whiterun was not necessarily real, the introspection and research which this experience prompted were. I can’t wait to join Reed’s campus next year and share my experience as a member of the Imperial Legion with the diverse Nords, Redguards, and Khajit around me. 

Reed College Tuition and Fees

Reed College’s tuition for this year is $66,710 a year. If you were to live on campus in a dorm, there would be an additional cost of $8,700. There are scholarships and financial aid to meet these high costs. 

Reed College Financial Aids & Scholarship

Reed College’s merit scholarships and financial aid is available to those who need it. In the past year, over half of Reed students had received need-based aid, and the average financial aid package was $52,284. 

Applicants can apply for financial aid through Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the College Scholarship Service Profile (CSS Profile). 

Tips for Getting Into Reed College

Female admissions office on computer

Getting into college is a multi-step process. Here are a few ways to increase your chances of getting into Reed College. 

Excel Academically to Meet Reed's Standards

Excelling academically to meet Reed College's standards is not just a goal; it's a mantra for success at this prestigious school. At Reed, the pursuit of knowledge is paramount, and students are encouraged to embrace intellectual rigor and curiosity. 

As an applicant, it's important to demonstrate your commitment to these values through your academic record, essays, and recommendations. Reed seeks students who are capable of meeting its academic standards and eager to contribute to the vibrant intellectual community that thrives within its campus.

Engage in Relevant Extracurriculars

Engaging in relevant extracurricular activities can significantly bolster your application. Reed values students who bring diverse interests and experiences to its community. Showcasing your involvement in extracurriculars and community service that matches your passions. 

Whether through clubs, volunteer work, or other pursuits, Reed seeks well-rounded individuals who will thrive academically and contribute to campus life. 

Apply Early to Reed

If Reed College is a school you’re seriously considering attending, consider applying for Early Decision. Early Decision allows you to apply to Reed College earlier than the standard deadline. It’s also binding, which means you’ll need to reject any other offers you may receive if accepted. 


If you have any more unanswered questions about Reed College, check out the FAQs for the most common inquiries.

1. Is Reed a Prestigious College?

Reed College is a highly prestigious school with one of the highest rates of students who earn PhDs, especially in the life sciences, arts, and humanities

When looking for an exemplary liberal arts education, Reed College no doubt gives a comprehensive experience. Students will also have plenty of time to discuss their assignments and get feedback from distinguished faculty members.

2. What GPA Is Required for Reed College?

The average GPA for Reed College is a 4.0. Reed College students come from academically rigorous backgrounds. Typically, they keep on top of their studies and maintain high grades. 

While GPA is not the only thing when considering admission, it is one of the main metrics used, especially since SAT and ACT scores are no longer required. 

3. How Hard Is It to Get Into Reed College?

With an acceptance rate of 44%, Reed College is moderately selective. Reed students typically have high GPAs and SAT/ACT scores. Building a strong academic profile, writing a strong essay, and participating in extracurriculars and volunteer experiences can help you stand out!

4. Should I Apply to Reed College?

Yes! Although the school has high standards for applicants, Reed offers several unique qualities that can provide a lot of value to its students. If graduate studies are an area of interest, networking with professors and past alumni will prove invaluable. 

Students with an aptitude for further research and discovery in life sciences, arts, and humanities have a strong opportunity at this elite and prestigious institution.

5. What Are the Programs Like at Reed College?

Reed students can earn a bachelor of arts degree in 40 different programs. A core curriculum feature is full-year humanities courses encouraging students to learn various topics. All students must eventually complete a senior thesis to cement their learning further.

6. What’s the Social Life Like at Reed College?

Life at Reed is very open and inclusive. Once accepted, the absence of fraternities and sororities encourages all students to socialize and engage with each other. To create a more communal environment, students can spend time and get to know each other in the house groupings of the residences. 

7. What Type of Areas Do Reed Graduates Work in?

Reed graduates may go on to work in various fields and disciplines. Careers in academia are a large area of interest to students, in line with their high record of PhD-bearing alumni. What’s more, areas of public service, business, and fine arts offer natural career progressions.

8. Does Reed College Require SAT?

No, Reed College doesn’t require the SAT. Since COVID-19, Reed has gotten rid of its standardized test requirements. If you submit your SAT score, Reed will not use it in the application process. 

9. When Do Reed Decisions Come Out?

Reed College’s regular decisions come out in early April and Early Decisions in February. 

10. Is Reed College an Ivy League School?

No, Reed College is not an Ivy League school. However, it’s a great school to attend and is considered a New Ivy. It is ranked #67 in National Liberal Arts College.

Final Thoughts

This guide on how to get into Reed College has provided an in-depth analysis of the school. With diversity at the forefront of the school spirit, Reed can provide an open and intellectual pathway for individuals looking for solid post-secondary education. 

Students who like to work in a solitary environment without discussion with their professors and peers may not be best suited for Reed’s close-knit community. 

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