Early Decision

If you are considering applying Early Decision we encourage you to find out as much about Grinnell as possible before making a commitment to the College. Students are attracted to Grinnell for a range of reasons, including the College's top academic programs, unique location, long-standing commitment to social issues and civic engagement, global outlook, and the culture of student responsibility on campus.

A visit to campus, meeting with an admission officer at a high school or at a college fair, and connecting with a Grinnell graduate are all good ways to get a feel for Grinnell and to help determine if the College is what you're looking for. In the end, getting a good "gut" feeling about being at an institution is just as important as are all the well-reasoned and statistical rationales typically considered in making a good decision.

When students conclude early in their search that a Grinnell education is right for them, and that Grinnell is their first choice, an Early Decision application can make sense.

Early Decision: Is it right for you?

Each year, starting in November, Grinnell begins building the entering first-year class with a review of Early Decision applicants.

Although November may seem early in the admission process, many students are beginning to sense the increasing pressures involved with deciding about and applying to competitive colleges and universities. An Early Decision application offers an option that bypasses much of that increasing angst for you and for the College.

Here are several perspectives to help you decide if applying Early Decision is right for you:

  • Early Decision is not exclusive to any special type of student. In fact, the admission staff actively looks for a wide range of students from different backgrounds and with different talents and interests in the Early Decision pool.
  • The smaller size of the Early Decision applicant pool gives the admission staff time to focus on understanding a student's actual "fit" with Grinnell. In contrast, during Regular Decision, the process tends to focus more on a student's relative competitiveness with other applicants to the College.
  • Applying Early Decision demonstrates that students believe they are academically qualified for admission and that they see a potentially strong match between their educational goals and expectations and the distinctive environment of Grinnell College. A student's confidence in that match is recognized, and if we agree on the strength of the match, then that student is admitted. Really!
  • Grinnell's Early Decision program is binding. If you apply and are accepted under Early Decision, you agree to enroll at Grinnell and withdraw all active applications submitted to other colleges and universities. You should only consider Early Decision if you are prepared to make such a commitment to Grinnell.

Financial aid under Early Decision

There is a misconception that if a student needs financial aid then the student should not apply under an Early Decision plan. While the binding nature of Early Decision means you will not be able to compare financial aid offers among colleges, at Grinnell, the aid package received under Early Decision is the same you would receive if admitted under the Regular Decision plan. So there is no reason to hold off if Grinnell is your clear first-choice school.

Important dates for applying Early Decision

Grinnell offers two Early Decision application options. You can choose from the following:

  • ED 1: Apply by November 15th, notification of decision mailed by mid-December.
  • ED 2: Apply by January 1st, notification of decision mailed by early February.

To discuss the benefits of applying Early Decision, or to ask additional questions, please visit our Meet Us page and contact your regional admission officer.