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

    By Cait Williams

    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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    Reviewed by Bill Jack

    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.

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    Edited by Maria Geiger

    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.

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    Updated: October 3rd, 2023
    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!

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