While visiting colleges in person has not been an option in the past year, our team has been busy with virtual conferences and webinars with college admission professionals and faculty. Here is an overview of our recent virtual visit to Grinnell College.
Despite its location in rural Iowa, Grinnell draws students from major cities across the USA and the world to its vibrant campus and charming town. It is a politically active and engaged community that leans liberal and is surrounded by more conservative towns. Twenty percent of the 1700 students are international, and all 50 states are represented. Twenty percent of the student body are students of color and fifteen percent are first-generation. The college’s two-billion-dollar endowment ensures strong, financial aid, and many experiential opportunities for all students. Grinnell also offers merit scholarships. Some of the words used to describe Grinnell students are purposeful, inquisitive, genuine, accepting, and influential.
The college offers an open curriculum and the only required class, taken first semester, is on learning how to write well and getting to know Grinnell. The rest of a student’s curriculum is individually advised. Students are very engaged in their discussion-based classes. There are a range of interesting majors and concentrations across disciplines, and notable strength in the sciences. Computer science, political science and biology are among the most popular majors. Grinnell offers a mentoring culture, with many funded opportunities for guided research and a wide range of study abroad options. Advising is strong—each student has a faculty, a career, and a community advisor, with the latter assisting with the transition to college and engagement on campus.
There is a slightly higher admission rate during early decision where they have typically admitted more than half the class, and they are in process of deciding if they will continue their test optional policy for next year.
Housing is guaranteed for four years. There is themed housing for languages, coding, food, and gaming, and themes may change each year. Some seniors live off campus nearby. The campus is an hour from both Iowa City and Des Moines. The college brings in lots of entertainment: on average more than 500 speakers and performers per year. Intramural sports, and social justice and service are popular activities. The Iowa caucuses bring presidential candidates to campus at least every four years.