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Grinnell College
Educating young men and women in the liberal arts, Grinnell encourages free inquiry and...

Grinnell College

Grinnell, Iowa

At Grinnell, faculty and students love to learn. They value thoughtfulness, and they have fun. Students design their own academic program with a faculty adviser, and Grinnell’s residential community encourages students to thrive.

Student Profile

Fall 2015 Enrollment
1,705 undergraduate students
98% of undergrad students are full time
45% male — 55% female
74% of students are from out of state

Faculty Profile

2015-2016 Academic Year
211 full-time faculty
55 part-time faculty
9 to 1 student/faculty ratio

Residence Life

88% of students living on campus.

School Location

Grinnell College is located in the small town of Grinnell, Iowa, halfway between Des Moines and Cedar Rapids. Despite its somewhat remote location, this “Little School on the Prairie” has a lot to offer from outdoor activities to clubs and organizations.

Retention Fall 2015

94% of students began in Fall 2014 and returned in Fall 2015 (full-time, first-time freshmen)

6-Year Graduation Rate 2015

86% of students graduated in 6 years


Nonresident aliens 15%
Hispanic/Latino 7%
Black or African American 6%
White 56%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0%
Asian 7%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 5%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown 3%


NCAA Division III. 12 Varsity sports for both men and women, including football, soccer, golf and volleyball.  Mascot: Fox Squirrel Colors: Scarlet, Black

Academic Programs

Art, Chinese, Japanese, Classics, English, French and Arabic, German, Music, Philosophy, Religious Studies, Russian, Spanish, Theatre and Dance, Gender and Women’s Studies, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Math and Statistics, Physics, Psychology, Anthropology, Economics, History, Physical Education, Political Science, Sociology

First-Year Tutorial

First-Year Tutorials (FYT) are introductory seminar courses that explore a variety of topics. In the FYT, students are taught foundational skills like critical thinking, writing, reading, and class discussion. Tutorials also have the unique component of an entertainment budget, which allows students and professors to experience events and culture outside the classroom. Aside from class material, professors also act as advisers, guiding students until they declare their majors.

Off-Campus Study

Off-campus study allows students the opportunity to extend their educational experience beyond Grinnell. There are incredible benefits to participation, and nearly 60% of students choose to engage in some form of study. Interested students are encouraged to meet with faculty advisers and OCS staff in order to find a program that best suits their needs and interests. Students can search for programs based on geography or theme. Below are the themes available:

  1. Arts, Media, Music
  2. Gender, Women’s Studies, and Sexuality Studies
  3. Global Economics & Regional Development
  4. Global Health
  5. Human Ecology, Sustainability, and Environment
  6. Migration & Diaspora
  7. Peace & Conflict, Human Rights, and Social Justice
  8. Politics & International Relations
  9. University Programs in English


Grinnell-in-London: Grinnell-in-London is a semester-long program that explores topics like theatre, politics, and history. Students enrolled in the program have a truly unique schedule that mixes academics with internship and field work. On Mondays and Wednesdays, participants take part in class discussions with Grinnell faculty. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, students engage in some form of internship work or study at a local university. Finally, the week concludes with a field trip.

Grinnell-in-Washington: Grinnell-in-Washington is an incredible opportunity to learn about topics of policy, finance, and science in the nation’s capital. The program lasts one semester and involves a mixture of academics and internship work. Each student engages in study/discussion with a Grinnell faculty member, networking with alumni and industry leaders, and a four-day-a-week internship.  

Individually-Advised Curriculum

Grinnell students have the unique opportunity to design their own course of study. Aside from requirements within one’s major, the only other required course at Grinnell is the First-Year Tutorial. This opens up a lot of doors for students to creatively design an educational experience that suits their needs and interests. Advisers work closely with students in order to help identify each individual’s specific talents and weaknesses. Ultimately, advisers help students choose a major that aligns with their goals and abilities.

Mentored Advanced Projects (MAP)

If an undergraduate student chooses to pursue research, it is considered a Mentored Advanced Project. MAPs are student-driven, faculty mentored initiatives that range from papers to portfolios. All MAPs are monitored by faculty, and in some cases, projects are an extension of a professor’s existing work. Students can choose to tackle a subject within their area of study or pursue an unrelated topic. In all cases, proposals must be approved before a student can start their project.

Directed Research

Directed research is a little different than a MAP. In a MAP situation, the student takes a leadership role while a faculty member oversees their work. In directed research, students work on a project that has been designed and structured by a faculty member. In this type of working relationship, the student acts as an assistant or an apprentice to professor. Grinnell offers directed research opportunities at the 200 and 300 level.

Service Learning and Civic Engagement Program

Service learning is considered a transformational experience. Not only do students address the needs of the community, but they apply their knowledge to enact a positive change. Grinnell has a longstanding commitment to the service of others, and therefore provides students and faculty with several ways to get involved.

Curricular: Curricular opportunities are available as service learning courses. In a service learning class, students spend a portion of their time engaging in course material, class discussion, and reflection. The other portion of time is dedicated to actual, hand-on service in the community. Typically, the service performed is directly related to course material. This is to help students bridge the gap between theory and real-world application.

Co-Curricular: Students involved in co-curricular efforts have the chance to receive compensation for their service. In a co-curricular situation, a student works with a local non-profit to help maintain their daily routine and build their image. In many cases, students work on projects that align with the organization’s beliefs and philosophies. The overarching goal is for students to assume roles of responsibility and leadership, while raising awareness on campus.


Grinnell’s internship programs allow undergraduates to gain hands-on experience in conjunction with their coursework. Students can choose from the academic year program or the summer session. Both are eligible for credit. In the academic year program, students work 14 hours a week, while still attending school. In the summer session, students can choose any location, domestic or international, and can pick between part-time and full-time work.

Center for Careers, Life, and Service

Students are encouraged to stop by the Center for Careers, Life, and Service to take full advantage of the great resources available. CLS staff can help with anything from career advice to finding service opportunities. In addition to one-on-one counseling, CLS also hosts a series of workshops and recruiting events. 


Admissions Fall 2015

6,414 Total Applicants 
1,598 Total Admissions 
442 Total Freshman Enrollment

24.91% of applicants admitted

Freshman Profile Fall 2015

  25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Critical Reading 640 740
SAT Math 660 770
SAT Writing    
ACT Composite 30 33
ACT Math 27 33
ACT English 30 34
ACT Writing    




Tuition $46,574
Fees $416
Total $46,990
Room and Board (on campus) $11,408
Room Only $5,388
Board Only $6,020
Estimated Total On Campus $58,398


Financial Aid Breakdown 2014-2015

92% of full-time, first-time undergraduates awarded any financial aid
55% of full-time, first-time undergraduates awarded student loan aid

$30,448 Average amount of federal, state, local, or institutional grant aid awarded
$4,538 Average amount of student loan aid awarded to full-time, first-time undergraduates