International Applicants

If you do not hold U.S. Citizenship or Permanent Residency, you must apply to Grinnell College as an international student. If you hold U.S. Citizenship or Permanent Residency (green card) you must apply as a domestic student, regardless of where you physically reside. If, for some reason, you are unclear about your legal citizenship, clarify your status with your parents/legal counsel. Deliberate or unintended misrepresentation of your citizenship status may be cause for withdrawal of your application. If your permanent residency status is still "pending," you must apply as an international student. Then, once your permanent residency is approved you should notify us immediately. A photocopy of this paperwork will be required.

We use the Common Application. We encourage you to apply early, and please contact us if you have questions about the application process.

You will need the items listed below to complete your application.

After we receive your application, we will send you a user name and instructions on how to access your applicant status page.

International applicants who are interested in Early Decision must contact our office prior to submitting their applications.

Application Requirements

 A complete international admission application for Grinnell College requires the following:

  • Grinnell College uses The Common Application exclusively and Grinnell does not charge any application fee! The required forms are available for electronic submission.
  • Secondary School Transcript: Your guidance counselor should submit your transcript online through the Common Application website, or if your schools needs to send a paper copy your counselor can send an attested copy by fax (1-641-269-4800) or as an attachment to an email sent to intladmission[at]grinnell[dot]edu. The cover letter of the fax or email should clearly indicate that it is being sent by the school, and not you the student, in order for us accept the documents as “official”. The transcript should be in the language of instruction, with a certified English translation if appropriate.
  • School Counselor/Headmaster Recommendation Letter: Grinnell requires one letter of general recommendation from your secondary school counselor, headmaster, or principal. This letter should accompany the Secondary School Transcript.
  • Two Teacher Recommendation Letters: Grinnell requires two letters of recommendation from teachers of your choice in core academic subjects. The Common Application Teacher Recommendation forms are preferred.
  • SAT or ACT Score Report  Grinnell has no minimum SAT or ACT score requirements. For more information on these tests, including test locations and schedules, please visit the SAT and ACT websites. *Grinnell’s institution code for ordering SAT score reports is 6252.  For the ACT it is 1318. 
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)/International English Language Testing System (IELTS): Because of the high level of reading and writing required of the Grinnell curriculum, well-qualified applicants must demonstrate a very strong command of the English language. An official TOEFL or IELTS score report is required for all international applicants whose native language is not English and/or whose primary language of instruction has not been English. The mid-50% range for TOEFL (iBT) scores among admitted students is typically 103-109 and the preferred IELTS minimum score is 6.5.  For TOEFL test scheduling see Grinnell’s institution code for ordering TOEFL score reports is 6252. For IELTS testing information see
  • International Student Financial Aid: For Fall 2015 entry, all international applicants are required to submit the College Board’s 2015-16 Certification of Finances, regardless of whether you are applying for financial assistance.  An application file at Grinnell is NOT complete until the COF has been received.  In addition, any international student who indicates on the CommonApplication an intent to be considered for need-based financial aid must submit the CSS Profile as part of the complete application file. Grinnell's school code for the CSS Profile is 6252. Grinnell does not require IDOC information from international students.  For more information, please see Financial Aid for International Students.
  • We encourage international students to apply early - by mid-late December if possible.
What We Look For


We are looking for students who have chosen a rigorous workload and who have excelled.  We're also interested in students who have pursued a balanced academic program.

Our recommended secondary school program is as follows:

  • Four years of English
  • Four years of mathematics (at least through precalculus)
  • Three years of laboratory sciences
  • Three years of social sciences
  • Three years of a foreign language

Secondary School Grades/Test Scores/Recommendations

These documents give us insight into your academic talents.

Promise of Contribution

Grinnell’s vibrant campus life relies on students with diverse interests who share their talents widely. We’d like to know about your involvement outside the classroom. We're especially interested in students who have demonstrated commitment and achievement, as well as those who have held positions of leadership.

Additional Resources

We also encourage you to learn more about our Office of International Student Affairs as well as to contact an EducationUSA advising office near you!