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3 Strong Reed College Essay Examples

Reed College is a liberal arts college in Portland that heavily emphasizes independent inquiry, independent art, and independent political activism: essentially, an “indie” Mecca. Since the 1960s, Reed has gained a reputation as a crucible for counterculture movements and alternative lifestyles. 

That said, Reed’s programs definitely stress the “thinker” portion of “free-thinker.” Reed values academic rigor, even if it de-emphasizes traditionalist measures like grades and rank. Notably, its expansive core curriculum and mandatory senior thesis showcase how far Reed pushes its student intellectuals. A high number of Reed graduates end up pursuing careers in academia, theory, and scholarship. 

This push-and-pull of creativity and discipline, fun and grind, tradition and iconoclasm is the soul of Reed. Call it the Reed Balance . And this concept will be the most important thing to keep in mind while writing your Reed essay. 

In this post, we’ll share three essays real students have submitted to Reed and explain what each essay did well and where each could improve. The hope is that looking at these examples will give you inspiration to help you craft your Reed response.

Please note: Looking at examples of real essays students have submitted to colleges can be very beneficial to get inspiration for your essays. You should never copy or plagiarize from these examples when writing your own essays. Colleges can tell when an essay isn’t genuine and will not view students favorably if they plagiarized. 

Essay Example #1

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? (200-500 words)

“No! Make it stop! Get me out!” My 5-year-old self waved my arms frantically in front of my face in the darkened movie theater. Swarms of beetles scurried across the screen, their tiny forms flying straight at me. Their stark coloration patterns and blown-up eyes dominated my field of vision, their antennae whiskering toward my vulnerable being. To the understanding of my fellow movie-watchers frustrated at this outburst, this was my first 4-D movie experience, a memory ingrained into my being so potently that I still flinch at the sight of a harmless roach scuttling along my family’s patio floor outside. And don’t get me started on the time I woke up to a cricket sleeping on my arm. Oh man, those shrieks are still buried in the back of my mind. 

We are familiar with meat and vegetables as sources of our nutrition, but it seems that such a concept does not apply to the class of animals that make up 80% of the world’s total animal population. But with the rise of greater concern for where our food comes from, many sustainability enthusiasts have turned to these pests as a nutrition source. Not only are they high in protein, but they’re everywhere . It’s time for me to face my fears and the inevitable truth: bug farming is on the horizon. 

For my Paideia “It’s a Bug’s Life,” these little critters take center stage in an integrated lecture/hands-on seminar style focused on growing awareness for food sustainability and learning to cook savory bug-riddled meals. Recipes from Chef Hugo Ortega’s Mescal Worm Tacos (Houston, Texas) to Chef Cesar Moreno’s Grasshopper Almond Flour Cake (New York City, New York) will be dissected and recreated in an attempt to understand the insect harvesting process and proper (and sanitary!) methods of preparation. I hope that this class ultimately aids in breaking the Western stigma against the consumption of our fellow fuzzy creatures (which is already practiced in more than half of the world by population), as well as provide a platform for exploring sustainable food sourcing and consumption practices. 

Gone are the days where I flinch at the flutter of an insect’s wings. Bon appetit ! Your cuisine des petites bêtes (see: dish of little beasts) has been served. 

What the Essay Did Well

This essay checks off many boxes: there is a unique topic that reflects a broader social issue, the student’s enthusiasm comes across, and it is a fun and entertaining read!

The point of a Paideia is so teach about something you love, but to demonstrate to the Reed admissions officers that you academically inclined and socially conscious, you need to bring some weight to your course to show the impact it would have. This student does that beautifully by connecting a fun fascination with eating bugs to the global issues of sustainable farming and food insecurity. Citing statistics and referencing Western bias and nutrition concerns demonstrate this student’s level of knowledge about a larger issue that they hope to address with their class.

Another positive is the level of enthusiasm this student conveys for the topic through their narrative and emotions. In fact, their  enthusiasm for bug food (“ savory !” “ Bon appetit! ”) comes across as more rewarding because they begin with the contrasting emotions of fear (“ swarms ,” “ shrieks ”). Including the anecdote at the beginning allows the reader to see the student’s emotional maturity grow over time, making their interest in eating bugs all the more commendable.

From the first line to the last, this student injects plenty of their personality, giving the reader an amusing essay. They didn’t have to include an anecdote about their history with bugs, but by including the fears and actions of a young child, the student comes to life. The fun continues with a callback to nostalgia by naming their course “It’s a Bug’s Life.” Additionally, all of the student’s interjections and use of French bring a light-hearted, casual energy to the essay, making it much more enjoyable to read.

What Could Be Improved

Yes, this essay did a good job, but no essay is perfect! There are a couple of ways this essay could be honed in more.

Most importantly, we’d recommend you include more academic materials than this example essay. Imagine how much more intellectual the course would be with a documentary on the nutritive benefits of insects, a study of Western stigmas against eating insects, and maybe some articles on the need for more global protein sources. This would also show admissions readers that the applicant is capable of doing sound research. 

We also recommend more structure: Paideia, after all, is a weeklong learning festival, so a proper syllabus should lay out plans for each day. Theming readings and assigning them to certain days/themes would show a lot of forethought and powers of organization. 

Essay Example #2

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. 

Wow! This essay starts with a captivating description of what playing Skyrim is like, setting us up for the journey the rest of the essay takes us on. The introductory paragraph is a fabulous example of what we mean when we say show don’t tell. The reader becomes so swept up in the action of the game that when the essay breaks its momentum with the interjection of “ Dinner! ” we feel the same sense of disappointment and interruption as the student.

We see this student’s passion for this video game very clearly in this essay. From the way they speak about the quests their character goes on as personal missions (“ 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 “) to their description of the intricacies of their thought-process consuming their mind during dinner, the reader appreciates just how meaningful this topic is. 

Although this student is choosing a video game for their Paideia, a topic which could easily be considered trivial by admissions officers, they avoid that by explaining real skills they have acquired through playing. This sentence is a nice admission from the student that shows their critical thinking and ability to understand the importance in things considered puerile: “ A lthough 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. ” If you can demonstrate your appreciation for things beyond your Paideia topic, you can pretty much pick whatever you want.

The biggest issue with this essay is the imbalance between setting up Skyrim and the student’s passion and the content of the course. There was only one paragraph that focused on the student’s Paideia, and even then, it wasn’t as detailed as it could have been.

These are just a few ways this student could have elaborated on their course in greater detail:

  • They say “ historical developments could be utilized for other history and social science courses” so they could describe two or three historical references in the game and connect them to real courses at Reed
  • They describe a “ history-course-like style of the class ” so they could map out the different time periods they will cover
  • They reference “ o nline materials ranging from the Elder Scrolls Wiki to Gamepedia and, of course, Reddit ” but it would have been nice to include real books that address the topics covered in the game to show a deeper understanding of the real-world implications rather than fan material
  • They mention having “ assignments ” but it would be better if they included sample essay prompts, class activities, or a final project

Essay Example #3

What’s Up With Those Socks?: A Nalbinding Primer

The ancient textile technique nalbinding goes by many names: naelbinding, nålbinding, cross-knit looping, and knotless netting. All of these terms refer to what is essentially the same practice. In many cases, it seems there are more names for the technique than there are useful tutorials available online. Representation of the technique is just as sparse in academia. Often, studies of the craft are more concerned with preserving and analyzing ancient textile samples rather than preserving and analyzing the technique as it is practiced today. As a result, nalbinding has faded into obscurity in the past eight or so centuries and is now considered an endangered craft. If it is not passed on, the craft could die out within a few generations. 

In this course, students will start with an abridged history of nalbinding around the world, from its origins with bast fibers to its present dwindling popularity. Then, students will begin practical work with a small pouch made using the York stitch. Once students have worked with York stitch for a while, they will be introduced to the slightly more complex Oslo stitch as well as basic shaping techniques, through a pair of simple wristwarmers. In the remaining time, students are free to explore other projects and applications. Potential topics for this time include mathematic applications, creating flat textiles, working on traditional mittens, or colorwork. 

Learning to nalbind will afford Reedies all the benefits of learning a craft. Its simplicity makes it a convenient, and productive, fidget for when you can’t keep your hands still. The repetition, much like knitting and crochet, can take on an almost meditative quality as muscle memory takes over from step-by-step planning. Nalbinding can also provide an inroad for Reedies to explore global indigenous and prehistoric cultures through their crafts, as well as track the histories of knitting and crochet. The technique also provides a creative outlet on the cheap, as all that’s needed is a darning needle and cotton yarn.

Sample lectures and practical sessions:

Vikings, Egyptians, and the Nazca: A Global Overview of Nalbinding and Related Techniques

A Humble Tube: Starting with the York Stitch

Colors, Shapes, and Stitches, Oh My!: Adding Flair to a Project

Required reading/viewing: 

“Nålbinding: A Short History of an Ancient Craft” by Penelope Hemingway

“Nalbinding Socks from Late Roman Egypt (3rd-7th CE)” video from the Royal Ontario Museum

“The Complexities of Cross Looping” by Elena Phipps

Optional reference material: Stitch tutorials on en.neulakintaat.fi

This essay draws its strength from how thought-out the Paideia course is. From describing the history of nalbinding, to the types of stitches, to the connections with other classes, this student treated their passion with the seriousness and respect a Reed professor gives to their courses. Simultaneously, this student flexes the depth of knowledge they have on this unique craft and teaches the reader the basics of nalbinding—living up to the name of the course (“ A Nalbinding Primer “).

Especially when you are focusing on a niche topic, it is important to include as many practical details as you can to help the admissions officers reading your essay grasp concepts they are possibly only just learning about. Telling us the different names (“ naelbinding, nålbinding, cross-knit looping, and knotless netting”) and types of stitches (“ York ” and “ Oslo “) helps to familiarize the reader with nalbinding.

The student also does a good job of showing us why we should care about this obscure topic. They dedicate an entire paragraph to the “so what?”; providing multiple benefits for students from the “ meditative quality ” to the ability to “ explore global indigenous and prehistoric cultures ” to a “ creative outlet on the cheap “!

Perhaps the best way this student demonstrates the knowledge and care they will bring to their Paideia is through the carefully curated list of lectures and readings. This is an excellent tactic for this essay! Including the names of lesson plans is a quick way to demonstrate your creativity and the key aspects of your topic, while listing readings shows the level of research you have conducted. If you are going to the lengths of drafting lectures, assignments, or activities for your class, it signals just how excited you are at the prospect of sharing your passion with others.

While this essay is good, there are a couple of tweaks and additions that could be beneficial. The first would be to clean up the lectures and readings at the end. Just adding bullet points and italics for the titles of the readings would give the end of the essay a more aesthetic look. Creating variation for the eye helps the reader quickly pick up on changes, so having indented bullets to group together the lessons and readings would be an easy change that would have a large impact.

The other thing we would like to see this essay include is an explanation about why this student cares about nalbinding. They do a very nice job explaining its significance to society and the Reed community, but they never share what got them into nalbinding in the first place or why they are choosing this topic over any of their other passions. You aren’t explicitly asked to demonstrate the importance of your course subject to you, but great essay will do so. Don’t forget this is still a college essay: take every opportunity you get to share information about yourself with admissions officers! 

Where to Get Your Reed College Essays Edited

Do you want feedback on your Reed College essays? After rereading your essays countless times, it can be difficult to evaluate your writing objectively. That’s why we created our free Peer Essay Review tool , where you can get a free review of your essay from another student. You can also improve your own writing skills by reviewing other students’ essays. 

If you want a college admissions expert to review your essay, advisors on CollegeVine have helped students refine their writing and submit successful applications to top schools. Find the right advisor for you to improve your chances of getting into your dream school!

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supplemental essay reed college

Reed College

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We take every aspect of your personal profile into consideration when calculating your admissions chances.

Reed College’s 2023-24 Essay Prompts

Diversity essay.

How might aspects of your identity positively influence the living and learning community at Reed?

Create a Class Short Response

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?

Common App Personal Essay

The essay demonstrates your ability to write clearly and concisely on a selected topic and helps you distinguish yourself in your own voice. What do you want the readers of your application to know about you apart from courses, grades, and test scores? Choose the option that best helps you answer that question and write an essay of no more than 650 words, using the prompt to inspire and structure your response. Remember: 650 words is your limit, not your goal. Use the full range if you need it, but don‘t feel obligated to do so.

Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?

Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?

Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you?

Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.

Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?

Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you‘ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.

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How to Respond to the 2023-2024 Reed College Supplemental Essay Prompts

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Cait Williams is a Content Writer at Scholarships360. Cait recently graduated from Ohio University with a degree in Journalism and Strategic Communications. During her time at OU, was active in the outdoor recreation community.

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Bill Jack has over a decade of experience in college admissions and financial aid. Since 2008, he has worked at Colby College, Wesleyan University, University of Maine at Farmington, and Bates College.

supplemental essay reed college

Maria Geiger is Director of Content at Scholarships360. She is a former online educational technology instructor and adjunct writing instructor. In addition to education reform, Maria’s interests include viewpoint diversity, blended/flipped learning, digital communication, and integrating media/web tools into the curriculum to better facilitate student engagement. Maria earned both a B.A. and an M.A. in English Literature from Monmouth University, an M. Ed. in Education from Monmouth University, and a Virtual Online Teaching Certificate (VOLT) from the University of Pennsylvania.

How to Respond to the 2023-2024 Reed College Supplemental Essay Prompts

If you want to know how to best respond to the Reed College supplemental essay prompts, look no further–you’re in the right place! While there is only one essay prompt, you’ll need to share your interests as you connect to Reed’s mission and vision. So, before we jump in, let’s take a look at what defines Reed College and you!

An introduction to Reed College 

Reed College is a small liberal arts and sciences college located in Southeast Portland, Oregon. Since opening in 1908, Reed has become known as one of the top intellectual universities in the United States. They focus on offering their students small conference style meetings where students engage with each other and their professors. 

One thing Reed offers prospective students is the opportunity to hear from its alumni. On Reed’s website, they have several testimonies from graduates. These stories are a great way to see if you might fit in as a “Reedie.” Take a look at their website to read about their academic standards, personal testimonies and their commitment to diversity and inclusion. 

Also see: How to write about yourself

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? (500 Words)

First off, what a fun essay prompt and a really cool thing to hear that their college does? There is so much room in this question to share who you are, what you love and how you will add to the Reed Community. 

Let’s start with the first question. What would you teach? While this question is giving you a lot of creative freedom, you’ll still want to keep a few parameters in mind when you answer this. They want to hear about a topic that will contribute to their community. So, while learning about the extremely detailed world of Harry Potter might be really interesting to you and others, there needs to be a way in which that can be learned from that contributes to the community around you. Can we learn about xenophobia and racism through specific lessons from Harry Potter?

The above example is just one idea to show you the connection that they want you to make between your topic and the bigger picture of improving the world around you. There are some questions below to read through that might help get the ideas flowing in your head.

Questions to consider

  • What topics do you love, academic or otherwise?
  • How have you grown through your interests?
  • What topic do you think more people should know about? Why?

Hopefully, if you take a few minutes to think through those questions, you’ll come up with some ideas. Maybe you love sports and want to teach a class about how sports can build our mental tenacity. Perhaps you volunteer a lot at home, and you want people to know more about how easy it is to find organizations to donate your time to. Or perhaps you’ve always loved cooking and you know a lot of college students haven’t ever had a chance to learn about cooking. 

There are no wrong answers to this question! Once you’ve come up with your topic and how it will improve the community, start to think about how your class would actually be structured. You do not have to come up with a whole syllabus and schedule, but there should be more to your essay than just that you think this topic is cool and it’ll teach people stuff. 

Come up with one required reading and a few lecture topic examples. Think about if there would be homework and what that would look like. When you begin to type your response, make sure you write it as an essay. You should mention your lecture ideas, homework assignments, and readings, but do so in an essay format.

Your paragraphs should be organized with a clear introduction of what you’re talking about, a good body and a clear conclusion as to why this class would improve the campus community. 

Additional resources

Reed College only has one essay question, meaning there is only one chance for you to show through writing what you will add to their college. While this article should give you a good idea about how to write your essay, your journey doesn’t end there. Once you’ve finished your Reed College supplemental essay, check out some of the articles below!

  • 10 Tips for successful college applications
  • How to end a scholarship essay in five steps
  • How to answer the Common App essay prompts

Start your scholarship search

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Other colleges to consider

  • Wellesley College (Wellesley, MA)
  • Macalester College (Saint Paul, MN)
  • Vassar College (Poughkeepsie, NY)

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The Ultimate Guide to the Reed College Essay

Reed College

In this article, we’ll be covering everything you need to know to write the Reed College essay.

Don’t let the school’s unconventional culture and laid-back environment fool you. Reed is a rather selective school. If you want to get accepted into Reed, you will need a strong high school profile. You’ll also need to know how to write the Reed College essay well, so as to stand out amongst the other students.

Reed boasts an average acceptance rate of 39%. For the class of 2024, the average high school GPA was 4.0. 68% of Reed students were in the top fifth of their high school class rank, and 43% were in the top tenth. 6% of students at Reed were Valedictorians at their high school.

You can find more info on their freshman profile here .

With that said, let’s cover a bit of the Reed College Essay Prompt and how to write it.

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Note: both the Reed College transfer application and regular admissions application have the same 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? (200 words minimum, 500 words maximum) * Reed College Application Essay Question –Common Application

Tips on How to Write the Reed College Essay

Find a unique topic, reed takes on a stance against tradition, so act like it., make sure your topic says something about you or your values, reference how your class would contribute to the community.

In a university as competitive as Reed College, this is critical. If you do not have a unique topic in your Reed essay, it’ll be hard to stand out from the rest. For a school with so many competitive students, standing out is vital to getting accepted.

So, what about a topic like Environmental Justice?

Normally, this sounds like a good topic. Besides, Reed leans rather liberally on the political spectrum. This makes Environmental Justice a good topic, right. Well, sadly no. There will be more than enough applicants covering this topic, so standing out will be next to impossible.

Here’s a good rule of thumb: If it’s trending on social media, then it’s probably not a good topic.

Let’s say you really, really want to cover Environmental Justice. Perhaps you’ve done a lot of projects and non-profit charity work around the field, or you have a great passion for it. You can still cover the topic if you get hyper-specific.

Here’s an example of a topic that works: Startups in Environmental Justice.

This topic, despite the fact that it covers something already covered by others, is still good. That’s because we focused in on the business and startup aspect of Environmental Justice. By doing this, you’re effectively zeroing in on a subcategory instead of a large cliché.

Traditional classes: you get a syllabus, participation points, homework assignments, one lab, one midterm, and a final.

Reed prides itself on its defiance of tradition. Say goodbye to all the dead old white people stuff –unless you’re an English major. If you want the class you’re teaching in Paideia to be interesting and fresh, and more importantly attractive to the admissions officers, you’d want something that parallels Reed’s unconventional culture.

Let’s take the “Startups in Environmental Science” course. Instead of having courses that assign True or False assignments, you may take away the assignments completely! Instead, you’ll have students work in groups of 4-5 throughout the whole time and have them simulate what it’s like to create their own startup. Guiding individual groups of students through the business creation process would be much more fun and exciting than just learning about them on paper.

Okay. This one is going to be important. When writing the Reed College essay, it’s critical that your topic demonstrates something about your character.

If you’re going to talk about gender studies as a whole, one may determine that you have a fairly strong sense of justice in the world of gender identity. However, this is going to be rather common and it makes it difficult to stand out at all.

Let’s look back to “Startups in Environmental Science”. A person with an interest in Environmental science and startup culture may be seen as both empathetic and practical. They use the productivity of startups to build something that will solve a solution –environmental catastrophe. They also have the empathy and compassion to focus their efforts into something that will save the planet.

We feel that this is a part of the essay that can get easily looked over and forgotten. However, it is part of the prompt and therefore important.

In the Reed College essay, you need to show how the class you teach will benefit the Reed community. This first implies that you need to understand the Reed community to begin with. Think about the times you may have visited the campus. What was the culture like? What were the people like? More importantly, what did they need that they were lacking?

So, let’s take our favorite example again. If you were writing about Startups in Environmental Science, you may be tapping into an itch that the Reed Community needs. They not only needs passionate students who have the right moral compass about the environment. They also need people who can take actionable steps to achieving the goals of Environmental Justice.

Startup work fits perfectly with this. The class would help people learn how to start their own companies and innovate new ways to better the community –a nice break from protesting and ‘raising awareness’. This class would help Reed’s thirst for actionable steps to achieving climate justice.

Think about your own topic. What would you write about? How would the topic you’re teaching provide value to Reed? How does it scratch an itch that the school and community cant quite scratch themselves?

Have any more questions about how to write the Reed College essay? Still wondering what your chances are of getting accepted into Reed College? Our admissions experts and advisors can help! We’ve helped students get accepted into some of the most prestigious universities in the nation.

Contact us for a free consultation. We will provide you with free advice on how to write your Reed College essay and get accepted.

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Crafting an Impressive Reed Supplemental Essay

Crafting an Impressive Reed Supplemental Essay

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Introduction

The Reed supplemental essay is an essential component of your college application to Reed College. This essay gives you the opportunity to showcase your unique qualities and demonstrate why you are a good fit for Reed's academic community. In this blog post, we will provide you with valuable insights and tips on how to write an impressive Reed supplemental essay that will captivate the admissions committee.

Writing a compelling supplemental essay requires careful thought and planning. It is not just about answering a set of questions; rather, it is an opportunity for you to share your personal story and highlight what makes you stand out from other applicants. The admissions committee wants to get to know you beyond your grades and test scores, so it is important to use this essay as a platform to express who you are as an individual.

To craft a powerful personal narrative , start by reflecting on your experiences, values, and passions. Consider significant moments in your life that have shaped your character or influenced your goals. Think about challenges you have overcome or achievements that have made you proud. By sharing these personal anecdotes, you can paint a vivid picture of who you are and what motivates you.

Moreover, it is crucial to showcase how well-aligned you are with Reed College's values and community. Research the college thoroughly and familiarize yourself with its mission statement, core values, and academic programs. Showcasing your knowledge of Reed's unique approach to education will demonstrate your genuine interest in becoming part of their community.

In addition to content, the structure and editing of your essay play a vital role in making it impactful. A well-structured essay should have a clear introduction that grabs the reader's attention, body paragraphs that support your main ideas with evidence or examples, and a concise conclusion that summarizes your key points. Remember to revise and edit your essay multiple times for clarity, coherence, grammar, and spelling errors.

By following these guidelines and putting in the effort to craft an impressive Reed supplemental essay, you will increase your chances of standing out among other applicants and securing a spot at Reed College. In the following sections, we will delve deeper into each aspect of the essay-writing process to provide you with valuable insights and tips. So let's get started on creating an essay that will leave a lasting impression on the admissions committee!

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Understanding the Reed Supplemental Essay

The Reed supplemental essay holds great significance in the college application process, as it provides applicants with an opportunity to showcase their unique qualities and demonstrate their fit with the institution. The purpose of this essay is to give Reed College admissions officers a deeper understanding of who you are beyond your grades and test scores. It allows you to share your personal story, passions, and aspirations in a way that cannot be captured by other parts of your application.

Reed College is known for its commitment to intellectual inquiry, critical thinking, and interdisciplinary learning. Through the supplemental essay, the college aims to assess whether you align with these values and if you would thrive in their rigorous academic environment. This essay also helps the admissions committee evaluate your potential contributions to the Reed community and how you can benefit from what the college has to offer.

When writing your Reed supplemental essay, it is essential to approach it with thoughtfulness and authenticity. Admissions officers are looking for genuine reflections of your character and experiences. They want to see how you have grown intellectually and personally, as well as how you can contribute positively to the campus community. By understanding the purpose behind this essay, you can tailor your content effectively and make a compelling case for why Reed College is the right fit for you.

In the next sections of this blog post, we will delve into specific strategies for crafting a personal narrative that resonates with readers, showcasing your fit with Reed College's values and community, as well as structuring and editing your essay effectively. These tips will help you create an impressive Reed supplemental essay that stands out amidst a sea of applications. So let's dive in!

Crafting a Personal Narrative

A compelling personal narrative is crucial when crafting your Reed supplemental essay. This is your opportunity to share your unique experiences, perspectives, and aspirations with the admissions committee. To create a captivating personal narrative, start by reflecting on significant moments or challenges that have shaped you as an individual.

Consider discussing a transformative experience that has had a profound impact on your life. This could be an event, a relationship, or even a personal realization. By sharing this story, you can provide insight into your character and demonstrate how you have grown and developed over time.

Moreover, it is important to convey your passion and enthusiasm in your writing. Showcasing genuine excitement about your interests and goals will make your essay more engaging and memorable. Whether it's through vivid descriptions or heartfelt anecdotes, let your personality shine through.

In addition, don't shy away from vulnerability in your writing. Admissions officers appreciate authenticity and honesty. Sharing personal struggles or setbacks can demonstrate resilience and determination. However, it's essential to strike a balance between vulnerability and positivity – focus on how these experiences have shaped you positively rather than dwelling solely on the negative aspects.

Remember to connect your personal narrative back to why Reed College is the ideal fit for you. Highlight specific aspects of the college's academic programs or campus culture that resonate with your own values and goals. This will show the admissions committee that you have thoroughly researched Reed College and are genuinely interested in becoming part of its community.

Showcasing Fit with Reed College

Reed College is known for its unique values and tight-knit community, making it essential to showcase how you align with these aspects in your supplemental essay. One of the core values at Reed is intellectual curiosity and academic rigor . As an applicant, it is important to emphasize your passion for learning and your willingness to explore diverse subjects.

When showcasing fit with Reed College's values, it is crucial to highlight your commitment to intellectual inquiry. Discuss specific instances where you have demonstrated a love for knowledge and a desire to delve deeper into topics that intrigue you. Whether it was through independent research projects or participating in thought-provoking discussions, provide examples that demonstrate your intellectual curiosity.

Additionally, Reed College places a strong emphasis on interdisciplinary studies and encourages students to make connections across various disciplines. Showcase your ability to think critically and creatively by highlighting experiences where you have integrated different areas of study or tackled complex problems from multiple angles.

Another aspect of Reed's community is its collaborative nature. The college fosters an environment where students actively engage in discussions, debates, and group projects. Highlight instances where you have worked effectively as part of a team or contributed meaningfully to group endeavors. Emphasize your communication skills, adaptability, and willingness to listen and learn from others.

Lastly, Reed College values diversity and seeks students who will contribute positively to their inclusive community. Share experiences that demonstrate your respect for different perspectives and cultures. Discuss how you have actively sought out opportunities to engage with individuals from diverse backgrounds and how this has shaped your worldview.

By showcasing fit with Reed College's values and community through examples that highlight intellectual curiosity, interdisciplinary thinking, collaboration, and appreciation for diversity, you will strengthen your supplemental essay and increase your chances of being admitted to this prestigious institution.

Structuring and Editing the Essay

Crafting an impressive Reed supplemental essay goes beyond just having great content; it also requires a well-structured and polished piece of writing. To ensure your essay stands out, you need to pay attention to both the structure and the editing process.

Structuring the Essay Effectively

When structuring your Reed supplemental essay, it's important to have a clear and logical flow that engages the reader from start to finish. Begin with a captivating introduction that hooks the reader's attention and introduces the main theme or idea of your essay. This could be an anecdote, a thought-provoking question, or a compelling statement.

Next, develop your ideas in a coherent manner by organizing them into paragraphs. Each paragraph should focus on one main point or aspect related to your personal narrative or fit with Reed College. Use topic sentences at the beginning of each paragraph to clearly indicate what each section will discuss.

To maintain clarity and coherence throughout your essay, make sure there is a smooth transition between paragraphs. Use transitional words and phrases such as "furthermore," "however," or "in addition" to connect ideas and create a seamless flow.

Finally, end your essay with a strong conclusion that summarizes your main points and leaves a lasting impression on the reader. This can be done by restating your thesis statement or main argument and providing some final thoughts or reflections.

Editing the Essay Effectively

Editing is an essential step in creating an impressive Reed supplemental essay. Start by reviewing your essay for grammar, spelling, punctuation, and sentence structure errors. Use proofreading tools or ask someone else to read through your essay for feedback.

In addition to checking for technical errors, pay attention to the overall clarity and coherence of your writing. Ensure that each sentence contributes meaningfully to the overall message of your essay. Remove any unnecessary repetition or tangents that might distract from the main ideas.

Consider revising your essay for conciseness and clarity. Trim any wordy or convoluted sentences to make your writing more concise and impactful. Use precise language and avoid excessive jargon or complex vocabulary that may hinder understanding.

Finally, read your essay aloud to check its flow and rhythm. This can help identify any awkward phrasing or inconsistencies in tone. Make sure the essay sounds natural and authentic, reflecting your unique voice as a writer.

By structuring and editing your Reed supplemental essay effectively, you can ensure that it is well-organized, coherent, and engaging. This attention to detail will demonstrate your commitment to excellence and enhance the overall impact of your essay on the admissions committee at Reed College.

In conclusion, crafting an impressive Reed supplemental essay requires careful thought and attention to detail. By understanding the purpose of the essay, you can effectively convey your personal narrative and showcase your fit with Reed College's values and community. Remember to structure and edit your essay in a way that is clear, concise, and engaging. The Reed supplemental essay provides an opportunity for prospective applicants to demonstrate their passion, intellect, and potential contributions to the college community. It is a chance to stand out among other applicants and leave a lasting impression on the admissions committee. With these tips in mind, you are well-equipped to write an exceptional Reed supplemental essay that will help you secure a spot at this esteemed institution. Good luck with your application process, and we hope to see you on campus soon!

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Love Reed: Writing the Reed College “Paideia” Essay Supplement

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Written by Ian Brook Fisher on November 2nd, 2018

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Reed Adds New Identity-Based Essay Question to Writing Supplement for First-Year Applicants

By Declan Bradley

In early August, Quest reporters discovered from Reed’s Common App listing that the college had added a new essay prompt to the writing supplement section of its application. The new prompt — which reads, “How might aspects of your identity positively influence the living and learning community at Reed?” — marks the first significant change to the college’s writing supplement since 2015. While it will not replace the current Paideia question — which asks students to describe a class they would teach during Reed’s annual flipped classroom festival of learning — it will serve as the first question on the writing supplement, and the first thing students see during the writing process.

The new prompt is being formally announced by the college for the first time today, in a letter to the editors of the Quest from Dean of Admission Milyon Trulove, and, as of Wednesday night, still has not been acknowledged on the college’s website ( reed.edu/apply/guide-to-applying/first-year ), which continues to discuss the writing supplement exclusively in terms of the Paideia question. 

As a result, the Quest was only able to learn of the existence of this new prompt by viewing the college’s current Common Application listing. When contacted for comment on this story, Dean Trulove expressed his preference to also write a full letter to the editor, stressing the importance of, “consider[ing] the legal implications of what we say and express[ing] our values on diversity,” in breaking the news of the new prompt.

The move comes at a time when colleges across the country are working to adapt to the Supreme Court’s June decision in Students for Fair Admissions v. Presidents and Fellows of Harvard College, which effectively outlawed affirmative action in the United States. Recent reporting by the New York Times called 2023, “the year of the identity-driven essay,” and found that more than a dozen highly selective colleges have either introduced or increased their focus on essays related to “identity” or “life experience” since 2022. 

However, colleges across the country that have chosen to introduce identity-based essays this year have done so in the midst of untested legal waters. While it is true that, in the majority opinion of the court, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that, “Nothing in this opinion should be construed as prohibiting universities from considering an applicant’s discussion of how race affected his or her life, be it through discrimination, inspiration, or otherwise,” he also wrote that, “universities may not simply establish through application essays or other means the regime we hold unlawful today.”

Allowing students to discuss the ways in which race and racism have affected their lives as individuals thus remains clearly permissible, but disaffected applicants could attempt to sue on the grounds that such essays simply reestablish affirmative action.

As the court wrote, “A benefit to a student who overcame racial discrimination, for example, must be tied to that student’s courage and determination. Or a benefit to a student whose heritage or culture motivated him or her to assume a leadership role or attain a particular goal must be tied to that student’s unique ability to contribute to the university. In other words, the student must be treated based on his or her experiences as an individual—not on the basis of race.”

When reached for comment by the Quest , Dean Trulove stated, “Our newest optional essay continues to serve as an entryway for students to share their lived experiences,” and reassured applicants that, “Students who don’t complete it won’t be penalized; it’s an opportunity to share more about their experiences.”

While the new prompt is optional — unlike the Paideia essay, which remains the only required part of Reed’s writing supplement — it will likely still have a significant effect on the consideration of applicants for the fall 2023 admissions cycle. In Reed’s most recent Common Data Set, which provides data on admissions considerations for the class of 2026, the college reported that it considered only three aspects of a student’s application “very important”: rigor of secondary school record, academic GPA, and the application essay. All other aspects of an application, including an interview, letters of recommendation, and others, were given less weight than those three components — although the Quest was not able to confirm if this will remain true for the class of ‘28 in time for publication.

This is a developing story and the Quest will continue to follow it in the coming weeks.

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Declan Bradley

Editor at The Reed College Quest

Programmer, writer, and aspiring data journalist, Declan is entering his second semester as an editor of the Quest excited to pursue new stories and new approaches to journalism. His experience includes four years at his high school paper and a summer mentorship with Julia Wolfe, Americas Graphics Editor at Reuters. His writing has appeared in Nightingale Magazine and been nationally recognized by the Associated Collegiate Press.

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Reed's supplemental essay for this year

Hey everyone,

Just out of curiosity I was wondering what everyone who’s applying to Reed this year wrote about in Reed’s supplemental essay about what you would teach during the week of Paideia.

I took the unconventional rout and wrote about how I would make an entertaining presentation on my visual impairment with blind jokes and everything. It was really fun to write. What did you guys write about?

Look forward to reading your comments.

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How To Get Into Reed College: Acceptance Rate + Tips

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Reviewed by:

Rohan Jotwani

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.

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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. 

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:

  • Either TOEFL, IELTS, SAT, ACT, or documentation that you attended an English school
  • An interview
  • College Scholarship Service Profile for those interested in applying for financial aid.
  • Permanent Resident Card

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:

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 [email protected]. Here is the Reed College essay prompt: 

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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How to Write a Supplemental Essay for College Applications

Discover tips for tackling writing supplements, and read a sample essay from a current student.

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A supplemental essay gives you an opportunity to tell the admissions committee about something you weren't able to cover in your main essay.

Prospective students are usually aware that they must write an essay as part of the college application process . But they may not know that some schools will ask for additional writing samples such as a supplemental essay.

Avoid These College Application Mistakes

Courtney Rubin and Cole Claybourn July 26, 2023

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These writing supplements are usually shorter than the main college essay , but they're no less important, experts say.

"Every word counts in getting your story across," says Deborah Davis, president and founder of Davis Education & Career Consultants LLC, based in Ridgefield, Connecticut.

Some colleges ask for just one supplemental essay while others may require several.

For example, Wake Forest University in North Carolina had six additional questions for prospective students to respond to on its 2020 undergraduate admissions application. However, a couple of the questions asked applicants to write lists – for instance, a personal top 10 list – rather than a full paragraph or two.

Supplemental essay prompts come in all shapes and sizes. In some cases, schools let applicants choose from several options. For instance, the University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill 's fall 2019-20 application included four prompts – such as "What do you hope will change about the place where you live?" – from which prospective students had to select two.

Davis says two of the most common prompts she's seen are "What do you want to major in?" and "Tell us about a favorite activity."

While word counts for supplemental essays vary, they tend to be limited.

Wake Forest has a 150-word limit for each of its supplements, says Tamara Blocker, the university's senior associate dean of admissions. UNC caps applicants' short answer responses at 250 words each, according to the school's website.

In contrast, The Common Application , a platform that allows students to apply to multiple colleges at once, has a suggested 650-word limit for the main essay and 250 words for others.

These types of written responses are more like vignettes or snapshots, rather than full-blown essays, says Stephen Farmer, vice provost for enrollment and undergraduate admissions at UNC.

"I think – I hope, anyway – that students feel the opportunity maybe in the shorter responses to worry less about form and just be a little more open with us," he says.

To help prospective students familiarize themselves with supplemental essays, U.S. News obtained an example from Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. Ryan Sheehan from Wallingford, Pennsylvania, wrote the short piece and is a computer science major in the class of 2021.

As part of his application, Sheehan responded to the following prompt: "There is a Quaker saying: 'Let your life speak.' Describe the environment in which you were raised – your family, home, neighborhood, or community – and how it influenced the person you are today."

"As the son of two journalists, I have grown up under a lifelong inquisition: How is your room such a mess? Can you please stop chasing the cat? Will you come down from the tree already? Granted, those are all from this past year, but the point still stands. Like any good journalists, my parents have also always had a propensity for uncovering the truth. On the third night that I had my license, I decided to go to the library to study. Before 15 minutes had passed, I noticed the librarian peering at me through the shelves before quickly averting her eyes and whispering, "He's here," into her phone. Even so, regardless of how many spies they've hired over the years, I have always looked up to my parents immensely. However, I have found my inherited inquisitiveness to be a trait most useful in a place far from the realm of reporting: the robotics lab. After four years of spending almost more time in the lab than at home, I have learned that nothing is more important than asking the right questions. As a programmer, I need to be able to communicate with my builders. Come press time, if I don't interview them properly, our robot will invariably end up as a hunk of unresponsive aluminum. To make a machine, the team must work as one. So although I may be writing source code instead of a breaking story, I am glad I had such nosy parents after all."

Karen Richardson, former dean of undergraduate admissions and enrollment management at Tufts who is now dean of admission at Princeton University in New Jersey, explained why she liked this response: "This is a great essay because, in just 250 words, it shows rather than tells the reader who Ryan is and the things that matter to him. It gives us a sense of his family life and academic interests, and it even shows us he has a sense of humor. As an admissions committee, we learned a lot about Ryan in just one paragraph."

Here are five additional tips from admissions officers to help prospective college students craft strong supplemental essays.

Answer the Question

This may seem obvious, but applicants should carefully read a supplemental essay prompt and make sure they understand what it is asking before answering it, Richardson says.

Prospective students may want to reuse an essay they wrote for another college, but that doesn't always work because supplemental questions tend to be more tailored to an individual institution, she says.

Start With an Outline

Applicants may have their own writing process, but Davis encourages those she works with to create outlines. She says prospective students should brainstorm the personal qualities, skills or experiences they would like to convey in their supplemental essays.

Don't Repeat Yourself

Supplemental essays are a chance for applicants to give more information to an admissions committee to further show why they are a good fit for a school, Davis says. So prospective students should make sure they aren't repeating something that's already been covered in their main essay.

Narrow Your Focus

Probably the biggest mistake applicants make in supplemental essays is choosing a topic that's too big, Farmer says. For example, he says prospective students may attempt to settle a complex political issue in just one paragraph.

"I think it's better to do something small and do it well than to do something big and skate over the surface," he says.

Maintain Your Voice

It's a good idea for applicants to ask another person for editing help, but too much input can be detrimental to an essay, experts say. If lots of people – teachers, parents, peers – read and weigh in on an essay, they can weaken how clearly a student's voice comes through in the writing.

"It's great to read something that sounds like it was written by an 18-year-old and not by a machine," Farmer says, "or by someone who's trying to be prematurely middle-aged."

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Reed supplement: Graded essay?

<p>Well... I was glancing through the Common App supplements for the schools I want to apply to (glad I did, Reed and Wake Forest both seem to have fun ones!) and saw that Reed requires you to turn in one graded essay/research paper/piece of creative writing from your high school career... I think this is a great idea, as it doesn't allow you to edit it, and it shows how you apply yourself in school. Anyway, I have a somewhat zany (and short) essay I originally wrote for APUSH in which Lewis and Clark have an affair, but one of them (Lewis, I think) turns out to be bigfoot, and Sacajawea sees bigfoot about to give clark head, and freaks out... The historical part of it is actually accurate (it got a 100, as well as the teacher comment "You are a disturbed young man! But also gifted. This could be a novel for old women.") and it's pretty well-written... It's homoerotic and hilarious, so I'm assuming I shouldn't send this, but part of me really wants to, as it shows what kind of person I am... I'm never really serious as far as attitude... I'm very laid back and amusing, but I still manage to get things done, though in my own way. When I get an assignment, I like to make it mine, not going "out of bounds" but still putting my own flair on it, while accomplishing what I'm expected to. </p>

<p>So... Good idea to send it, or bad idea? It's definitely the most unusual essay I've ever written, but it probably shows who I am better than any other one. Plus, I think whoever gets to read it in the admissions office would enjoy a break from research papers and narratives that will surely be popular... And I can always furthet demonstrate my writing abilities in my Common App and Why Reed essays... So, send the strange, homoerotic essay, or find something more mundane and conventional? </p>

<p>Not a troll post! Thanks in advance!</p>

<p>Bumpity bump bump bumpity bump bump look at bumpy go!=P</p>

<p>The point of the essay as I understand it is not to show who you are, that’s the point of the common app. essay and Why Reed essay, but to show your writing skills since Reed is extremely writing rigorous. They want to know if you can express your thoughts in a formal class setting. I feel like if the essay is well written, gramatically correct, and shows your writing ability then it is fine. Don’t use the essay simply because it is entertaining. That’s just my take though. My essay was weak and I believe that was one of the main reasons I was waitlisted even though I was well qualified in other parts of my application (35 ACT, 4.23 GPA etc.) and was accepted to other more selective schools. Reed is amazing though, and I never visited (another black spot on my app.) but I heard the school is gorgeous.</p>

<p>I slightly disagree with PAG. After visiting Reed last summer and getting to meet tons of quirky, zany people, I think your essay sounds perfect. Reed isn’t just looking for someone who is smart- they’re looking for a person who would be the right fit for their tight-knit community. From your description of the essay, it sounds like it would really show a personality that Reedies exemplify, and I think it would give you that extra boost on your app. That’s just my opinion :)</p>

<p>On the other hand though, I don’t know what purpose the graded essay is supposed to serve. I’m not applying (mom is afraid I’ll turn into a pot-smoking hippie…), but I feel like the fact that they leave it up to you to choose the type of essay means it’s simply to get greater insight into who you are. If anything, that essay will make you stand out!</p>

<p>Make sure the essay is your best writing is what I meant. From online about Reed Admissions “Reed, like other rigorous liberal arts colleges, has a writing-intensive curriculum. Reed students are far more likely to get assigned analytical papers, lab reports, take-home essay exams, and, of course, a senior thesis than they are to be given multiple choice tests or graded essays administered under severe time constraints.”</p>

<p>I think I found out answer. We are both right, the essays and graded writing sample are to show your personality and your writing ability is on-par for Reed. “The application essays we ask applicants to write and the graded high school writing assignment we ask applicants to submit more accurately reflect the kind of writing students do in Reed courses. From those samples of writing, the Reed admission committee gauges the applicant’s facility with written expression and draws conclusions about the applicant’s ability to navigate a writing-intensive curriculum successfully. The required essays and graded writing sample also provide the admission committee with a glimpse into the personalities and passions of our applicants. At a college that prizes independent thought, inculcates analytical acumen, and cultivates intellectual rigor, what the applicant selects to write about, what the applicant chooses to send, and how well those essays are written helps convey readiness for Reed far better than the score achieved on a time-limited writing exam.”</p>

<p>I find it funny that Reed asks for your graded essay to see your personality. My only graded essays from school were boring (IMO) english essays discussing themes that had narrow prompts. Especially since I did not have a good English 4 AP essay since we hadn’t done any long essays for that class before applications were due. My common app. essay was good but Reed should go the way of UChicago and inspire its applicants to write creatively by issuing prompts or allowing a student to make their own prompt.</p>

<p>I agree completely. I don’t think any of my graded essays would be interesting or showcase my personality in any way.</p>

<p>Agreed with the above statement… However, I also like the graded paper idea because it checks to see if you’re applying yourself in school. </p>

<p>Thanks for all the information guys! Still feeling conflicted about sending it, but we’ll see!</p>

<p>I had sorta a change of heart, I think you should send it! If it shows your humorous side, your creative abilities, and writing competency it is perfect! Don’t worry about it being vulgar, Reed is very liberal, and at least it will cause an admissions counselor to have a reaction, good or bad. It will stand out, that’s for sure. Good luck!</p>

<p>This shouldn’t even be a debate. “Homoerotic and hilarious” practically defines Reed. Use it!</p>

<p>The thing about applying to Reed is that your essays can never be too weird or crazy, as long as they’re not hurtful or offensive.</p>

<p>Pagrok, IMO, Reed doesn’t ask for a graded paper to show your personality. They ask for a graded paper to have another source of information about your academic preparedness, and the level of instruction in your school. A paper with detailed teacher comments will fill that purpose, your essay perhaps not. What are you supposed to get out of a comment like " this could be a novel for old women"?</p>

<p>Well Reed says “The required essays and graded writing sample also provide the admission committee with a glimpse into the personalities and passions of our applicants.” So you are completely wrong in your opinion. The essay shows the humor, creativity, and quirkiness of the OP, they should send the essay as long as it is well written according as a academic English essay. Also the essay can be simply graded or have comments.</p>

Where do they say that? Not in the application packet.

<p>If you think writing about an attempted sex act for a high school class is appropriate and illustrates your writing ability, quality of character & commitment to learning in the best light, have at it. ;)</p>

<p>I don’t think anyone at Reed would be bowled over by the inappropriateness of it… In fact, my own essays touched on even less appropriate subjects and here I am.</p>

<p>I didn’t say they would be shocked, I’m sure they realize that high school students are trying to prove how worldy and " quirky" they are.</p>

<p>Sex is hardly quirky, though. It’s actually the most conventional thing.</p>

<p>Emeraldkitty: [Reed</a> College | Admission | Reed College Admission Office](<a href=“ http://www.reed.edu/apply/news_and_articles/sat_opinion.html]Reed ”> http://www.reed.edu/apply/news_and_articles/sat_opinion.html ). </p>

<p>Please read all of this, it will help you understand Reed’s admission process. My quoted passage is from the 6th paragraph. Would you like to backup your own quote? Why would you try to contradict my quote if I state comes from Reed? I wouldn’t quote a false source.</p>

<p>Paul wrote that at least six years ago & is no longer at Reed, he left shortly after he recieved his MALs if I remember correctly.</p>

<p>This quote is more important than the bit you chose anyway.</p>

<p>My quote is from the current application form, top of the second page. <a href=“ http://www.reed.edu/apply/applying_to_reed/applications/Reed_2011_App_Instruct.pdf[/url] ”> http://www.reed.edu/apply/applying_to_reed/applications/Reed_2011_App_Instruct.pdf&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt ;

<p>* Sex is hardly quirky, though. It’s actually the most conventional thing.*</p>

<p>Not if you’re doing it right. ;)</p>

<p>The OP will do as they choose fit. And we were specifically addressing the use of the graded essay so that is why I used the quote specifically speaking of the graded essay. Your quotes are on the general guidelines to Reed’s admission process and so do not help determine the purpose of the graded essay.</p>

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Highly-selective colleges and universities often require supplemental application materials. These materials help further personalize the admissions process so that each college’s admissions committee has the information it needs to select a vibrant and diverse incoming class. 

In this article, we will look at 10 supplemental essay prompts from top colleges and universities for the 2022-23 admissions cycle. Once you get a better sense of what to expect from a supplemental essay prompt, we will outline key strategies for answering these prompts, as well as provide practical writing tips to help you get started.

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What are supplemental essays and are they important?

Each college has its own sets of values and criteria that it looks for in applicants. This is why determining college fit is so important. By carefully researching each school on your college list and having several clear and compelling reasons for wanting to attend, you will increase your overall chances of admission.    

One way that colleges gauge whether or not a student would be a good fit for their university is by posing unique supplemental essay prompts. This is why knowing how to write a supplemental essay is so important. Most colleges with supplemental essays will have applicants write the “why this college” essay . 

Many selective colleges will require additional supplemental essays as well. In some cases, you will need to prepare an additional five essays per school, so give yourself plenty of time to complete each essay thoughtfully, write multiple drafts, seek out feedback, and proofread. The college application process can feel overwhelming at times, so make sure you brainstorm ways to stay organized during the college application process . 

Although the style and content of the actual prompts can vary greatly, at the core these prompts have one thing in common: They are designed to get to know who you are as a person, what your values are, and whether you demonstrate compatibility with the university’s overall mission. 

How to write supplemental essays

If you’re looking for supplemental essay tips, you’ve come to the right place! In this section, we will discuss how to write a good supplemental essay, by providing several key application essay tips. 

To start, it’s important to remember that the process of writing supplemental essays is similar to the process of writing a successful personal statement . Review components of a strong personal statement to give yourself a fresh perspective before beginning your supplemental essays.

Tips for writing supplemental essays

Supplemental essays are typically pretty brief. This is why it’s important to learn how to write concisely and powerfully. Having very few words to respond does not mean that you should prepare your responses casually or that your responses shouldn’t include lots of details. Rather, approach each word limit creatively. Whether you have 50 words, 200 words, or 500 words, try to use each sentence and detail to your advantage. One of the best ways to do this is to begin by freewriting. Write down everything that comes to mind. Take time to fully flush out your ideas. Then review what you’ve written and see what feels most important. These are the details you will want to highlight in your response.

Some colleges will require three to five additional essays. Maybe even more! This is why it’s important to be prepared and plan ahead. Supplemental essays are an important part of your college application and they require a lot of time and effort. While some supplemental essay prompts may be similar between schools, in general, you want to avoid recycling your college essays. Admissions officers can tell when a student is tweaking an existing essay to fit a prompt.

While some essay prompts are required, others are optional. In general, try to answer each prompt thoughtfully and creatively. After all, it’s no secret that college admissions are highly competitive so it’s great to give your application “an edge” whenever possible. That said, there are times when you should pass on writing an optional essay. If you’re not sure whether or not you should submit an essay for an optional prompt, begin by drafting a response. Then ask yourself if the essay feels forced or genuine. Does the essay convey something new about you that isn’t included in the rest of your application? If the question doesn’t seem to apply to you and you are genuinely unsure what to contribute, you should probably skip that particular essay. After all, no one wants to read an uninspired essay that doesn’t contribute to your overall application.

2022-23 supplemental essay prompts

As mentioned, supplemental essay prompts can vary significantly. Some prompts ask you to respond in 50 words while other prompts ask you to respond in 500 words. Some prompts focus on academics while others ask you to reflect carefully on your cultural upbringing or life philosophies. Still, other prompts will ask you to introduce who you are as a person or discuss something that you enjoy.

Just as supplemental essay prompts vary in style, your responses will also vary. Some prompts will require you to be thoughtful and serious, while other prompts may encourage you to be humorous or creative. It all depends.

Brown University supplemental essay prompt

As a part of the 2022-23 college applications, Brown University requires three supplemental essays. One of the supplemental essay prompts is as follows:

Brown’s culture fosters a community in which students challenge the ideas of others and have their ideas challenged in return, promoting a deeper and clearer understanding of the complex issues confronting society. This active engagement in dialogue is as present outside the classroom as it is in academic spaces. Tell us about a time you were challenged by a perspective that differed from your own. How did you respond? (200-250 words)

Columbia University supplemental essay prompt

As a part of the 2022-23 college applications, Columbia University requires the following supplemental materials: 1 list of 75 words, 1 list of 125 words, 3 essays of 200 words each, and 1 short answer of 35 words. One of their supplemental essay prompts is as follows:

For the following questions, we ask that you list each individual response using commas or semicolons; the items do not have to be numbered or in any specific order. No explanatory text or formatting is needed. (For example, it is not necessary to italicize or underline titles of books or other publications. No author names, subtitles or explanatory remarks are needed.)  

List the titles of the books, essays, poetry, short stories or plays you read outside of academic courses that you enjoyed most during secondary/high school. (75 words or fewer)

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Dartmouth college supplemental essay prompt.

As a part of the 2022-23 college applications, Dartmouth College requires three supplemental essays. One of the supplemental essay prompts is as follows:

“Be yourself,” Oscar Wilde advised. “Everyone else is taken.” Introduce yourself in 200-250 words. 

Duke University supplemental essay prompt

As a part of the 2022-23 college applications, Duke University requires at least one supplemental essay, with the option to submit an additional two supplemental essays. One of the optional supplemental essay prompts is as follows:

What has been your best academic experience in the last two years, and what made it so good?

Emory University supplemental essay prompt

As a part of the 2022-23 college applications, Emory University requires two supplemental essays. One of the supplemental essay prompts is as follows:

Emory If you could witness a historic event (past, present or future) first-hand, what would it be, and why?

Harvard University supplemental essay prompt

As a part of the 2022-23 college applications, Harvard University requires three supplemental essays. One of the supplemental essay prompts is as follows:

Please briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences. (50-150 words)

MIT supplemental essay prompt

As a part of the 2022-23 college applications, MIT requires five supplemental essays. One of the supplemental essay prompts is as follows:

We know you lead a busy life, full of activities, many of which are required of you. Tell us about something you do simply for the pleasure of it.

Princeton University supplemental essay prompt

As a part of the 2022-23 college applications, Princeton University requires three supplemental essays and three short responses. One of the short-answer prompts is as follows:

Please respond to each question in 75 words or fewer. There are no right or wrong answers. Be yourself!

What is a new skill you would like to learn in college?

What brings you joy? 

What song represents the soundtrack of your life at this moment?

Stanford University supplemental essay prompt

As a part of the 2022-23 college applications, Stanford University requires three supplemental essays and five short answer responses. One of the short-answer prompts is as follows:

How did you spend your last two summers? (50-word limit)

UPenn supplemental essay prompt

As a part of the 2022-23 college applications, UPenn requires three supplemental essays. One of the supplemental essay prompts is as follows: 

Write a short thank-you note to someone you have not yet thanked and would like to acknowledge. (We encourage you to share this note with that person, if possible, and reflect on the experience!) (150-200 words)

Yale University supplemental essay prompt

As a part of the 2022-23 college applications, Yale University requires the following supplemental materials: 1 list; 6 short answer questions; 1 additional short essay of 400 words. One of the short answer prompts is as follows:

Yale’s residential colleges regularly host conversations with guests representing a wide range of experiences and accomplishments. What person, past or present, would you invite to speak? What would you ask them to discuss? (200 characters or fewer)

Supplemental essay examples

One of the best ways to prepare your supplemental essay responses is to look at successful past examples. In this section, we will look at three examples and explain why each response is successful. 

This first example was submitted as a part of Harvard’s college application. This essay is in response to the prompt: Please briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences. (50-150 words).

Feet moving, eyes up, every shot back, chants the silent mantra in my head. The ball becomes a beacon of neon green as I dart forward and backward, shuffling from corner to far corner of the court, determined not to let a single point escape me. With bated breath, I swing my racquet upwards and outwards and it catches the ball just in time to propel it, spinning, over the net. My heart soars as my grinning teammates cheer from the sidelines. While I greatly value the endurance, tenacity, and persistence that I have developed while playing tennis throughout the last four years, I will always most cherish the bonds that I have created and maintained each year with my team.

This essay uses rich, descriptive language to evoke a clear sense of movement and place. The first paragraph shows a creative and expert control of language, whereas the second paragraph uses straightforward language to highlight key characteristics. Overall, this response is creative, well-balanced, and uses each word to its advantage. 

Source: https://www.collegeadvisor.com/essay-guides/harvard-university-essay-examples-and-why-they-worked/  

This essay was submitted as a part of an MIT college application. The supplemental essay prompt that it addresses is: Describe the world you come from; for example, your family, clubs, school, community, city, or town. How has that world shaped your dreams and aspirations?

We were moving away from my home of thirteen years to go miles and miles away, from my whole life. Worst of all: away from New York City – the only place in the world worth knowing – or so I thought. The town might as well have been called “Miniscule Ville”. I resented every second of it. The real shocking thing to me was almost that anything existed outside of New York City. NYC is a world of its own, with its own pulses and lifeblood. I still think it’s a great place, and I’ll likely at least visit it someday, but right now, I want to visit everywhere. My move humbled me. I began to love nature walks, the friendly camaraderie of the small town, and saw a world I never imagined. I thought I knew it all just because I lived in New York. Here was a great place, hidden from view. I loved experiencing that new world, learning local history, and most of all, learning the life stories of my new neighbors, each one of whom had a fascinating life. My greatest dream is to be a journalist, covering other countries, and learning about new worlds and neighbors. My old perspective feels so limited. If I can share global stories, I can open up my perspective, and I can share those stories with a thousand homes so readers can learn about other perspectives as well. The world is full of different lives. Everywhere is somebody’s home.

This essay covers a lot of material; most impressively, it shows a shift in perspective and its effect on the student’s lived experience. It also clearly explains the student’s academic and professional goals. The tone of this essay is both confident and humble. It demonstrates who this student is as a person, what their goals are, and what they value.  

Source: https://bemoacademicconsulting.com/blog/mit-supplemental-essay-examples  

This essay was submitted as a part of a Duke college application. The essay addresses the prompt: What has been your best academic experience in the last two years, and what made it so good?

Most teachers who taught me talked a big game about wanting students to engage in debate, or “dialectic” as they called it, and to challenge their ideas. In my experience, most of this was a fabrication. The best essay grades and participation marks were found through parroting what was dictated from on high. Did the teacher think such-and-such is the “correct” interpretation of a novel? You did, too, or you lost points. None of that was true for Ms. Jackie Winters. The first essay I sent her came back with the note, “This doesn’t sound like you; it sounds like me.” I asked her about the note, and this initiated a marvelous learning environment, in which I grew faster than I ever have in any other class. Discussions were lively, and the more I presented my authentic views, the more I was respected. My grades were dependent on being backed up by rhetoric, sources, and logic, not by compliance. Due to this engagement, this was the most enjoyable English literature class I had, and I feel like my viewpoints were challenged. I learned to question my ideas and dig into a text for the best results. Best of all, I was putting in more and more effort to find good, quality sources to back up my arguments. I was held to a high standard and shown respect, and I believe that those qualities made for the best learning environment possible

This essay clearly shows a shift in perspective and the effects it had on this student’s ability to think, speak, and write critically. Structurally, this essay uses an anecdote to introduce and contextualize a topic, but the essay itself isn’t overly narrative. Rather, the student explains, in detail, how this teacher’s encouragement and guidance have influenced their willingness and ability to engage with the source material and academic discourse.

Source: https://bemoacademicconsulting.com/blog/duke-supplemental-essay-examples  

Key takeaways and moving forward

Supplemental essays are an important part of your college applications. In fact, they are a key factor in what college admissions officers look for in an applicant . Highly-selective colleges and universities use supplemental essays to further personalize the college admissions process. After all, thousands of qualified students apply to Ivy League institutions each year and only a small fraction are admitted. Supplemental essays allow you to share more about who you are as a person and as a student. Use each prompt as an opportunity to add something new to your college application. If you feel like you could benefit from professional guidance throughout this process, reach out to learn more about our services .

Frequently asked questions and answers

Still have questions about supplemental essays and the effects they have on college applications? Review the following frequently asked questions and answers for further insight on supplemental essays. 

How important are supplemental essays?

Supplemental essays are an incredibly important part of your college applications and should be properly prioritized. If a college didn’t care about your response, they wouldn’t ask you in the first place. Put plenty of time and care into your responses. Write several drafts, seek out feedback, and always proofread.

How long should supplemental essays be?

Always follow directions. Colleges will specify how long each supplemental essay should be, usually right after the prompt itself. Depending on the college, and the prompt, a supplemental essay’s word count may range anywhere from 50 to 500 words.

Do supplemental essays change every year?

It all depends on the college. Colleges often reuse past prompts, but there are no guarantees. This is why it’s important to plan ahead and make a list of supplemental essay prompts early on in the college application process.

Are supplemental essays required?

Sometimes colleges will have both required and optional supplemental essays. That said, the essay prompts are clearly labeled. In short, each college will specify whether supplemental essays are required. 

Do all colleges have supplemental essays?

No, not all colleges have supplemental essays. Highly-selective colleges, however, often require at least one additional essay.

  • December 14, 2022

Supplemental Essay Guide for 2022-23 Prompts

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Supplemental Essay Guide 2023-24

What do the 2023-24 supplemental essay prompts really mean, and how should you approach them? CEA's experts are here to break them all down.

Acceptance Rate

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Agnes Scott College 2023-24 Supplemental Essay Prompt Guide

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Alvernia University 2023-24 Supplemental Essay Prompt Guide  

American university 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, amherst college 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, babson college 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, bard college 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide  , barnard college 2023-24 supplemental essay guide, baylor university 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide  , bennington college 2023-24 supplemental essay guide, bentley university 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, berry college 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, bethany college 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, bishop’s university 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, boston college (bc) 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, boston university (bu) 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, bowdoin college 2023-24 supplemental essay guide, brandeis university 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide , brown university 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, bryn mawr college 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, bucknell university 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, butler university 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, california institute of technology (caltech) 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, california lutheran university 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, capitol technology university 2023-24 supplemental essay guide, carleton college 2023-24 supplemental essay guide, carnegie mellon university 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide , catawba college 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, centre college 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, chapman university 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, claremont mckenna college 2023-24 supplemental essay guide  , clark university 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, college of mount saint vincent 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, college of william & mary 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, college of wooster 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, colorado college 2023-24 supplemental essay guide, colorado school of mines 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, columbia university 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, cornell university 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, culver-stockton college 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, d’youville university 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, dartmouth college 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, davidson college 2023-24 supplemental essay guide, drexel university 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, duke university 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, earlham college 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, elon university 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, emerson college 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, emory university 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, flagler college 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, fordham university 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, george mason university 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, georgetown university 2023-24 essay prompt guide, georgia state university 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide  , georgia tech 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, gonzaga university 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, harvard university 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, harvey mudd college 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, haverford college 2023-24 supplemental essay guide, hillsdale college 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide  , hofstra university 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, illinois institute of technology 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, illinois wesleyan university 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, indiana university bloomington 2023-24 supplemental essay guide, ithaca college 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, johns hopkins university 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, kalamazoo college 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, lafayette college 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, lehigh university 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, lewis and clark college 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, linfield university 2023-24 supplemental essay guide, loyola marymount university (lmu) 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide , lynn university 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, macalester college 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, malone university 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, manchester university 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, marist college 2023-24 supplemental essay guide, mary baldwin university 2023-24 supplemental essay guide, massachusetts institute of technology (mit) 2023-24 essay prompt guide, meredith college 2023-24 supplemental essay guide, monmouth college 2023-24 supplemental essay guide, moravian university 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, morehouse college 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, mount holyoke college 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, new york university (nyu) 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, north park university 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, northwestern university 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, occidental college 2023-24 supplemental essay guide, oklahoma city university 2023-24 supplemental essay guide, olin college of engineering 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, pepperdine university 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, pitzer college 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, pomona college 2023-24 supplemental essay guide, princeton university 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, providence college 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, purdue university 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, rensselaer polytechnic institute 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, rice university 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, saint elizabeth university 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, santa clara university 2023-24 supplemental essay guide, sarah lawrence college 2023-24 supplemental essay guide, scripps college 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, seattle pacific university 2023-24 supplemental essay guide, smith college 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, soka university of america 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, southern methodist university 2023-24 supplemental essay guide, st. john’s college 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, stanford university 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, stonehill college 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide  , swarthmore college 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, syracuse university 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, texas a&m university 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, texas christian university 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, the college of idaho 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide  , the george washington university 2023-24 supplemental essay guide, the new school 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, trinity college 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, tufts university 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, tulane university 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, university of california 2023-24 essay prompt guide, university of central florida 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, university of chicago 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, university of cincinnati 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, university of colorado boulder 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, university of florida 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, university of georgia 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, university of illinois urbana-champaign 2023-24 supplemental essay guide, university of maryland 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, university of massachusetts amherst 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, university of miami 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide  , university of michigan 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, university of minnesota twin cities 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide , university of north carolina (unc) 2023-24 supplemental essay prompt guide, university of north carolina at 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IMAGES

  1. How to Write the Reed College Supplemental Essay: Examples + Guide 2023

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  2. College Supplemental Essay Examples for a Successful Paper

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  3. The Ultimate Guide to the Reed College Essay

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  4. Write Esse: Reed college supplemental essay

    supplemental essay reed college

  5. How to Write Great Supplemental Essays for College

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  6. Admission essay: Reed college writing supplement

    supplemental essay reed college

VIDEO

  1. Supplemental Essays 2023

  2. Young Americans DRAFTED soon without AID Reed warns

  3. The Secrets to Writing and Editing Compelling Supplemental and "Why Us" Essays

  4. 6 Tips on Writing Great College Essays with Reed College

  5. A Critical Examination of Gender Identity: The Null HypotheCis

COMMENTS

  1. How to Write the Reed College Supplemental Essay: Examples + Guide 2023

    Reed Supplemental Essay Prompt #1. 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.

  2. 3 Strong Reed College Essay Examples

    Essay Example #3. 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.

  3. First-year Applicants

    The deadlines for RD applications is January 15, with offers of admission sent out by April 1. First-year applicants for whom Reed is their first-choice college may apply under our binding Early Decision (ED) plan. Students may submit an ED application to only one institution, although they may submit Early Action or Regular Decision ...

  4. Reed College's 2023-24 Essay Prompts

    Choose the option that best helps you answer that question and write an essay of no more than 650 words, using the prompt to inspire and structure your response. Remember: 650 words is your limit, not your goal. Use the full range if you need it, but don't feel obligated to do so.

  5. How to Respond to the 2023-2024 Reed College Supplemental Essay Prompts

    An introduction to Reed College Reed College is a small liberal arts and sciences college located in Southeast Portland, Oregon. Since opening in 1908, Reed has become known as one of the top intellectual universities in the United States. They focus on offering their students small conference style meetings where students engage with each ...

  6. The Ultimate Guide to the Reed College Essay

    You'll also need to know how to write the Reed College essay well, so as to stand out amongst the other students. Reed boasts an average acceptance rate of 39%. For the class of 2024, the average high school GPA was 4.0. 68% of Reed students were in the top fifth of their high school class rank, and 43% were in the top tenth. 6% of students ...

  7. Crafting an Impressive Reed Supplemental Essay

    In conclusion, crafting an impressive Reed supplemental essay requires careful thought and attention to detail. By understanding the purpose of the essay, you can effectively convey your personal narrative and showcase your fit with Reed College's values and community. Remember to structure and edit your essay in a way that is clear, concise ...

  8. Love Reed: Writing the Reed College "Paideia" Essay Supplement

    The essay supplement to the Reed application is an attempt on the part of the Reed College admission office to help you to understand some of its uniqueness, by introducing you to the tradition of Paideia. Let's have a look: For one week at the end of January, Reed students upend the traditional classroom hierarchy and teach classes about any ...

  9. Reed Adds New Identity-Based Essay Question to Writing Supplement for

    By Declan Bradley. In early August, Quest reporters discovered from Reed's Common App listing that the college had added a new essay prompt to the writing supplement section of its application. The new prompt — which reads, "How might aspects of your identity positively influence the living and learning community at Reed?" — marks the first significant change to the college's ...

  10. Learn How to Write Great Supplemental College Essays

    This is a must read for anybody writing the Stanford roommate essay: included is an example essay, a detailed breakdown, helpful tips along the way, and a section on how to revise your essay too. Write supplemental essays for hundreds of the most competitive colleges. Follow our step-by-step guides and read our supplemental essay examples that ...

  11. Reed's supplemental essay for this year

    reed-college. Raku January 8, 2018, 9:36pm 1. Hey everyone, Just out of curiosity I was wondering what everyone who's applying to Reed this year wrote about in Reed's supplemental essay about what you would teach during the week of Paideia. I took the unconventional rout and wrote about how I would make an entertaining presentation on my ...

  12. How To Get Into Reed College: Acceptance Rate + Tips

    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 [email protected]. Here is the Reed College essay prompt:

  13. How to Write a Supplemental Essay for College Applications

    However, a couple of the questions asked applicants to write lists - for instance, a personal top 10 list - rather than a full paragraph or two. Supplemental essay prompts come in all shapes ...

  14. Reed supplement: Graded essay?

    I was glancing through the Common App supplements for the schools I want to apply to (glad I did, Reed and Wake Forest both seem to have fun ones!) and saw that Reed requires you to turn in one graded essay/research paper/piece of creative writing from your high school career...

  15. Reed Magazine: My Essay

    Miss America: This essay—"I think world peace is the most important issue facing us today…"—offers simpleminded solutions for complex problems that you don't really know the first thing about from personal experience. "Writing," said E. B. White, "is an act of faith, not a trick of grammar.". It's not any kind of trick,

  16. How to Write a Supplemental Essay: Steps and Prompt Examples

    How a Supplemental Essay Differs from the Common App Essay. A supplemental essay is targeted to one college, while the Common App personal statement essay accompanies your Common Application, which can go to multiple colleges of your choice. As a result, supplemental essays are usually more specific and designed to showcase your fit with the ...

  17. Reed Supplemental Essay : r/reedcollege

    The Extremely Unofficial Reed College Subreddit. The Reading Will Continue Until Morale Improves. Members Online • Ronak010 . Reed Supplemental Essay . Do we have a different subreddit to post essays and give recommendations for Reed's supplemental essay or I can post it just here? ...

  18. Supplemental Essay Guide for 2022-23 Prompts

    As a part of the 2022-23 college applications, Columbia University requires the following supplemental materials: 1 list of 75 words, 1 list of 125 words, 3 essays of 200 words each, and 1 short answer of 35 words. One of their supplemental essay prompts is as follows: For the following questions, we ask that you list each individual response ...

  19. Supplemental Essay Guide 2023-24

    Yale University 2023-24 Supplemental Essay Prompt Guide. What do the 2023-24 supplemental essay prompts really mean, and how should you approach them? CEA's experts are here to break them all down.

  20. PDF Russia: National Theatre Institute of Moscow

    Reed theater students have the unique opportunity to study in the heart of Moscow at the world-famous Moscow Art Theatre School, the home of Stanislavsky and Anton Chekhov. Russian language is not required. A full semester of courses in acting, Russian theatre history, movement and voice, design, and Russian language are included in the program.

  21. PDF Russia Math in Moscow

    Translates to Reed units: 4 Hrs/Wk = 1 Reed Unit Grading system: A+, A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, D- Translates to Reed grades*: Same as Reed *Grades from study abroad programs are displayed on the transcript, but are not calculated in the Reed GPA Special considerations: ! Coursework documented on Math in Moscow transcript. BB 06-2014

  22. PDF President Ronald Reagan s Address to the Students of Moscow State

    1 President Ronald Reagan's Address to the Students of Moscow State University May, 1988 I want to take a little time to talk to you much as I would to any group of university students in the United States.

  23. Digital History ID 1234

    Ronald Reagan, Speech at Moscow State University. Digital History ID 1234. Author: Ronald W. Reagan. Date:1988. Annotation: During a visit to the Soviet Union in 1988, President Ronald Reagan, a lifelong anti-communist, met with students at Moscow State University and delivered a stirring plea for democracy and individual rights.