Grinnell College’s Office of Admission is staffed with a team of road warriors — admission counselors who crisscross the nation (and the world!) in the fall. We want to meet you, whether at your high school, a college fair, or when we conduct off-campus interviews. The glamour of room service cheeseburgers, missed flights, and broken-down rental cars aside, meeting prospective students is something we love to do. A conversation is also one of the best ways for you to learn about Grinnell. If you get a chance this fall, we encourage you to come speak with us; you can find out if we’re visiting a high school or offering interviews near you. Ask us the questions you need answered; don’t settle for the responses to FAQs we post online. For those of you who aren’t able to visit, we also hope that meeting us helps put a human face to Grinnell.
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We’re sure that there are some students who love and look forward to writing the college essay, and a massive “HOORAY!” to all of you. That said, we imagine that for many of you, it’s a process that involves at least a little agony and procrastination. It’s hard. It’s hard to write a brief, concise essay that says a bit about who you are and what is important to you. We can’t make it easier to sit down and do the work, but we can tell you this:
- Be genuine. Work hard on refining the ideas and structure of your essay, but don’t work too hard to impress us. If you’re trying too hard, we can tell.
- Be simple. Not everyone has climbed Mount Everest or saved people from a burning building, and that’s OK. Thoughtful reflections on part-time jobs and on childhood memories have been the bases for some of the best essays we’ve read. It’s hard to go wrong with simple and sincere.
- Be clear. Ask someone else to read your essay when you’re done. Does that person understand what you’re trying to say?
- Be brief. College admission officers read MANY essays, and keeping it to the required word length is much appreciated.
- Be careful. Proofread your essay. Have others proofread your essay. Then check it again.