Why Reed?

Reed’s application supplement is an essay that asks you to answer one simple question: Why Reed? As Reed’s admission deadlines approach, we’re launching a series of blog posts from current freshmen reflecting on their Why Reed essays, along with a photo of their new Reed dorm rooms.


Suhai Yehuza  ‘16

I was very much in love with Reed by the time I narrowed down my list of prospective colleges, but I still wasn’t sure what to write in my “Why Reed” essay. “What exactly does Reed want to elicit from me in this essay?” I asked myself. I had very little idea how to approach the prompt, besides the factors that had already influenced my wanting to come here. And so I just set out to express myself by integrating those pieces. It was particularly difficult for me to make a strong case for why I wanted to be a part of this unique institution because I had not had the chance to visit, even though I desperately wanted to.

At first I thought I should try to make my essay very different. But then I realized–I am already different enough just by being me–so writing an essay with a nice blend of sincere passion and wit could be just as good. And that was exactly what I did.

The application process can be quite exciting and stressful at the same time. And with it comes the “Why Reed” essay for Reed prospies. I believe that there is no set formula for writing it because it leaves you enough room to maneuver around what you believe are the specific traits of the school that make you genuinely eager to be a Reedie. You may decide to approach this essay from any angle or discipline as long as it converges around the reasons why you want to attend Reed. This can actually be a chance to unleash some part of you that you feel is not adequately presented in the commonapp essay. You can take the reader into your own world of fantasy/adventure (Harry Porter; Star Wars; The Hobbit; even into the world of Shakespeare or Sigmund Freud) as long as you cleverly knit it into the reasons why you want to call Reed home. You can opt for a traditional “Why – Because” essay. But the options are endless. Your reasons will be solid. And they’ll be great if they are uniquely Reed. But the most important part, in my opinion, is to clearly articulate them with genuine passion.




Excerpt from Suhai’s Why Reed essay:

Then in August, a Reed catalogue arrived in the mailbox with information that ultimately slotted in the last piece of my jig-saw puzzle. I was especially fascinated by the Humanities 110 course and the rare opportunity for undergraduate research without competition from graduate students. The undergraduate Research Reactor and the senior thesis further confirmed that I would leave Reed–that is, if admitted first–well seasoned for the challenges of society and the world of science.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.