Reed College (Portland, OR)

Outside the Bay Area, CA

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I'll second the recommendation for Reed. My son is headed into his final year there and loves it. Creative thinking is encouraged and expected. Lots of different types of kids. It's in Portland, which is a great city for young people. The school is known for looking beyond just gpa and test scores in the admissions process. It is a hard school, work wise, but the kids aren't competitive with each other. They push themselves to do better. My son really grew into himself there  

Check out Reed, but (as much I loved going there) I'm not sure I would recommend it for a student who "gets good grades by works for them."  That's not meant as a put-down -- just that Reed is a very intense place and can be difficult even for kids who coasted through high school with excellent grades.  It's also expensive and does not have the endowment (ability to award generous financial aid) of some other schools.  Mills is an excellent recommendation.  I know many California kids (a fair number gay) who have been delighted with Macalester.  Bowdoin would be another place to consider but it may not be metropolitan enough. 

The first school that popped into my head upon reading your description of your daughter is Reed, just outside of Portland OR.  They apparently have fairly good need based aid, if that would be an issue.  Another thought is to post this same question (or research previous replies) in the forums on College Confidential.  I have found that site to be a wealth of good advice about colleges, for the most part, written by people who know what they are talking about and will have many useful suggestions.  Good luck!