The Quest | The Free Press of Reed College

The Class of 2016 Rises

“Four of you have worked as professional ballet dancers (three women and one man). One of you has acted in movies with Jessica Lange, John Malkovich, and Chloë Sevigny…You gave tours of a historic home in full Victorian costume…We also have an entering Reedie with the first name Reed, and for mythological completeness, freshmen named both Zeus and Thor,” said Dean of Admission Keith Todd in his Convocation speech welcoming the incoming class of 2016.

Though it may seem as if the campus has been filled with freshmen these past few weeks, the entering class of 2016 is actually significantly smaller than recent entering classes. While smaller, the class of 2016 continues several other trends, including an increasingly competitive acceptance rate and an increase in ethnic diversity among the student body.

The decreased class size was a deliberate decision made by Reed’s enrollment management committee after two years of larger than expected class sizes. Both the class of 2014 and the class of 2015 entered with just over 370 members. “Looking at that and Reed’s increasing student retention and graduation rates, the enrollment management committee decided last fall to bring in a smaller freshman class this year. We admitted 94 fewer freshman applicants than we did last year,” said Todd. With 1,125 applicants admitted, and a yield of 33%, the class of 2016 begins its Reed career with 320 members.

This decision to create a smaller class by admitting fewer applicants combined with an increased applicant pool to create a more selective admission rate. Two years ago, when the class of 2014 was admitted, the admission rate was 43%. The class of 2015 was admitted with a rate of 40%, and the class of 2016 continued the trend with a 36% admission rate.

The trend toward increased selectivity also encompassed transfer students. The enrollment management committee also decided to lower the number of admitted transfer students. “We wanted to keep the transfer numbers in the 20s this year, while in some recent years we have had as many as 40,” said Todd. Out of 248 transfer applicants, 54 were admitted- making an acceptance rate of 22%- and 24 enrolled.

Also joining Reed’s student body are 11 national and international exchange students and two non-degree seeking students.

As admissions selectivity rises, so does ethnic diversity among the student body. According to the Office of Institutional Research, in the school year of 1992-1993, only 18% of the student body identified as an ethnicity other than Caucasian. In the 2000-2001 school year, 33% of students identified outside of Caucasian, and in 2010-2011 43% of students did. In the class of 2016, 29% of students identify as students of color, including 4% international students of color.

As Reed College approaches the new school year and begins to accept the changes that come with it, remember to welcome the new kids, as a class and as individuals.

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