How to Get Into Reed College

Portland, Oregon
August 28, 2023
5 min read


Reviewed by:

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 5/4/22

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.

Reed College is located in southeast Portland, Oregon. The school was founded in 1908, and now boasts 40 majors. With classes that encourage debate and discussion, Reedies are sure to 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 with exceptional GPAs and educational background. If you’re wondering how you measure up and how hard it is to get into Reed College, stay tuned!

Reed College Acceptance Rate

The Reed College acceptance rate is 42%. The admissions committee is known to select students with a high degree of academic rigor. While its admissions process is considered quite selective, it has a far higher acceptance rate compared to Ivy League schools

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

Reed College Admissions Stats

Successful applicants tend to have strong academic profiles. Take a look at these admissions stats to see how you measure up. 


Maintaining a high GPA is one of the key steps students can take to getting 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 when you need it, knowing your strengths and weaknesses and developing a routine that works for you!

SAT/ACT Scores

Reed College’s most recent class scored between 1320-1520 on the SAT, and 30-34 on the ACT. However, keep in mind that 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. 

That being said, if you’re still planning on taking a standardized test, connecting with a tutor and creating a comprehensive study plan can help in getting the best score possible.

Reed College Application Requirements & Deadlines

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. These requirements include:

  • Personal Essay (if using Common App)
  • Reed Writing Supplement
  • School Report 
  • Counselor Recommendation
  • High School Transcripts
  • College Transcripts (if you’ve attended)
  • Two Teacher Evaluations
  • SAT/ACT Scores (if available)
  • Early Decision Agreement

Gathering the necessary application requirements is only half the battle; knowing when to apply is just as important. Here are the key dates and deadlines you need to know before starting your application:

Early Decision I Early Decision II Early Action Regular Decision
Applications Due November 15 December 20 November 15 January 15
Decisions Mailed December February February April 1
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 May 1 May 1
Deadline to Complete Optional Interview December 1 December 31 December 10 February 1

Source: Reed College

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 Essays

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

This is your chance to convey your authentic voice, passions and aspirations to the admissions committee. 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.

Reed College Interview

In the Reed College interview, students will be asked a series of questions that will allow the admissions committee to determine whether they’d be a good fit for Reed’s social and academic environment. Your interviewer will assess you motivations, interests, and potential contributions to their campus community. 

Therefore, it is important for applicants to approach the Reed College interview with authenticity, showcasing their genuine interests and perspectives. An engaging and confident demeanor is going to be more appealing than stumbling through a contrived answer that you think your interviewer wants to hear.

Tips for Getting Into Reed College

Getting into college is a multistep process, and some of the most critical actions to take are maintaining a high GPA and writing a compelling supplemental essay. 

Like many other colleges, Reed College no longer requires SAT or ACT scores, which gives future students more time to focus on other aspects of their application, like building their extracurriculars and community service. With the right steps and early planning, your dream of attending Reed College can become a reality!

That being said, numbers aren’t everything. More often than not, ambition, passion, and other strong traits can go a long way, especially when it comes across well in a glowing letter of recommendation. 

Building strong relationships with your teachers and putting together a great brag sheet will definitely come in handy when it comes time to ask for your recommendation letters.

FAQs: How to Get Into Reed College

If you have any more unanswered questions about how to get into 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 42%, 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 among the crowd!

3. 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 that have an aptitude for further research and discovery in the areas of life sciences, arts, and humanities have a strong opportunity waiting for them at this elite and prestigious institution.

4. 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 are full year humanities courses that encourage students to learn a broad array of topics. To further cement their learning, all students must eventually complete a senior thesis.

5. 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 encourage 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. 

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

Reed graduates may go on to work in a wide variety of 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.

Final Thoughts

Reed College can provide a one of a kind college experience to hopeful students. The small and high-achieving student body creates a unique atmosphere where students gain one-on-one time and feedback from their professors. 

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. 

Students should take time to consider what factors are most important to them for their college experience. Some individuals thrive best with a more holistic approach to education. This can serve as a springboard to be able to express their views, discuss with their peers, and arrive at newfound conclusions.

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