With almost 3,000 public and private four-year colleges and universities in the United States, there is a bewildering number of higher education options. One school that you probably have never heard of is Reed College, located in Portland, Oregon. Reed is a terrific liberal arts college, and like most small liberal arts colleges it doesn’t have sports teams that you hear about on SportsCenter, or read about in the papers. It’s a school that is often eclipsed by the large state universities in the Pacific Northwest, especially the University of Oregon and the University of Washington. However, this is a wonderful school well worth checking out – for a particular kind student.
Reed creates students who often go on to get PhD’s. It’s a place for people who truly love to study, and love to study oftentimes arcane and esoteric materials. Their motto is “Communism, Atheism, and Free Love” (note: I am not making this up). I often describe Reed those who haven’t been there as a place where thinkers love to think with other creative minds. Most first-time visitors to Reed are shocked by the way the students dress and the interests that students have. This is a student body that comes to master seemingly exotic interests, ranging from Byzantine history to Romanesque architecture to minutiae about Nietzsche. This is absolute not a place to go for students that want to experience a student body that represents the kind of atmosphere that they experienced in high school.
But for students looking to continue their studies after Reed to become PhD’s, and who love being iconoclasts, this is a terrific option. Its academics are top-notch across-the-board, Portland is of course one the most beautiful cities in the United States, and there is something very positive to be said about being surrounded by students who have a deep and abiding love for learning for learning’s sake. If you’re ever in Portland, be sure to contact Reed and visit the school. It’s clearly not a place for everyone but for those who fit into this atmosphere it can be a four-year adventure unlike any other in the United States.