The Grinnell Difference
You’re smart enough to know that most colleges offer most of the same things. So when you’re making the decision that ultimately shapes the rest of your life, look beyond the similarities — and uncover the differences.
Individually Advised Curriculum
Outside your major, you have only one required course at Grinnell — First-Year Tutorial, an eye-opening seminar — and after that, it’s up to you and your adviser to construct each semester’s focus and course load. That’s one reason why Grinnellians’ interests cross so many boundaries and why our insights illuminate the unexpected.
Grinnell is more than a small college in a small Iowa city — our campus life hums at its own idiosyncratic frequency. Students from around the world come to view the expansive, subtly beautiful prairie as their place to build academic stamina, make close connections, and engage in authentic reflection with themselves, classmates, and professors.
Dedication to Social Justice
Grinnell’s social justice ethos dates back to the 19th century. When you come here, you stand on the shoulders of change agents who have influenced policies and lives everywhere. Grinnellians soak up knowledge and explore dynamic viewpoints on campus precisely so we can wield those tools as agents of change in the wider world.
Grinnellians actively shape and govern campus culture, which means we’re accountable to each other for making our community vibrant, safe, diverse, challenging, and respectful. That’s sometimes a tall task for undergraduates, but Grinnellians are nothing if not resourceful and enterprising.
Relocating Yourself Abroad
Grinnellians aren’t tourists — we’re seekers who want to experience and influence the world. You can study for a semester at our Grinnell-in-London program, travel to Berlin for your art history class, conduct HIV research in South Africa, or do biodiversity research in China. You follow your ambitions, and you travel the world to make a difference.
Athletics and Wellness
Grinnell’s Division III teams compete — and often win — in 20 sports and do so on their own terms. That’s because of our unique systems at Grinnell. Our commitment to holistic wellness extends beyond the gym to how we balance our commitments, manage our priorities, and find fulfillment in unexpected ways.
Did you know a Grinnellian figured out the age of the Earth? We ask big questions here, and our alums keep asking them their entire lives. Grinnell doesn’t just turn out scientists, writers, business people, judges, and the like — we prepare people to interpret, navigate, and influence the world.
Grinnellian for Life
At a lot of colleges, your degree gets you to the next level. At Grinnell, these four years inform your entire life. You emerge from this intellect-sharpening environment exceptionally well prepared for both graduate school and your career, your productively skeptical nature thoroughly tested, refined, and honed into a razor-edged mind and an empathic spirit.