International Applicants

Apply as an international student only if you are not a U.S. citizen and do not hold U.S. permanent residency (a green card). If you are a U.S. citizen or hold permanent residency (green card), apply as a domestic student, regardless of where you physically reside.  

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

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.

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

  • Grinnell College uses The Common Application exclusively.  The required forms are available for electronic submission.
  • Secondary School Transcript: An official copy of your transcript with an original stamp, signature, or seal is required. 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 requesting SAT score reports is 6252.  For the ACT it is 1318. 
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL): Because of the high academic demands placed on our students in terms of reading and writing, Grinnell only admit applicants who can demonstrate a very strong command of the English language.  TOEFL is required for all international applicants (with the potential to waive this requirement in limited cases).  For test scheduling see: www.ets.org. *Grinnell’s institution code for requesting TOEFL score reports is 6252. We will accept the IELTS in lieu of the TOEFL; we require a minimum IELTS score of 6.5.
  • International Student Financial Aid: 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 in the application stage.
  • We encourage international students to apply early - by mid-late December if possible.
What We Look For

Academics

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.

SAT or ACT Score Report

You must take either the ACT or the SAT and have the testing organization submit your scores to Grinnell. We do not have minimum SAT or ACT score requirements.

ACT:

SAT:

Teacher Evaluations (2)

Have two teachers of your choice complete letters of recommendation for you.

We prefer you use the Common Application teacher recommendation forms.

School Counselor/Headmaster Recommendation Letter

Grinnell requires one letter of general recommendation from your secondary school counselor, headmaster, or principal. It should accompany your secondary school transcript.

Secondary School Transcript

An official copy of your transcript with an original stamp, signature, or seal is required. The transcript should be in the language of instruction, with a certified English translation if appropriate.

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

TOEFL is required for all international applicants (with the potential to waive this requirement in limited cases).  

For test scheduling see Educational Testing Service.

Grinnell institution code: 6252

We will accept a minimum IELTS test score of 6.5 in lieu of the TOEFL.

International Student Financial Forms

Please submit the CSS Profile. Our school code is 6252. For more information, please see Financial Aid for International Students.

Requesting a waiver for the CSS Profile fee

We offer a very limited number of waivers and we cannot approve every request. If the items below have not been completed prior to submission of this request form, the fee waiver request will be automatically denied. Only students who have already submitted the following materials will be considered:

  • Common Application
  • Official SAT I or ACT Score Report
  • Official TOEFL Score Report (unless you have already been granted a waiver of the TOEFL requirement)

If the above items have not been completed prior to submission of this request form, your request for a fee waiver will be automatically denied. 

Fee Waiver Request Deadlines:

Early Decision I - November 1
Early Decision II - December 15
 Regular Decision - January 1
Transfers - no fee waivers granted

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!