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Writing the college essay

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Be clear. Ask someone else to read your essay when you’re done. Does that person understand what you’re trying to say?
  4. Be brief. College admission officers read MANY essays, and keeping it to the required word length is much appreciated.
  5. Be careful. Proofread your essay. Have others proofread your essay. Then check it again.

Profile

Grinnell, by the Numbers

  • About 1,600 students
  • 9:1 student/faculty ratio
  • Over 500 course offerings every semester
  • Most classes have fewer than 20 students
  • 27 majors, 11 concentrations
  • 3,000 internship opportunities in the United States and abroad
  • Burling Library contains 1 million books and documents
  • 500+ free events each year
  • 200+ student organizations
  • One-third of students engage in varsity athletics
  • 13 percent international, 22 percent U.S. students of color

Advanced Scholars Program

ASP Application Deadlines

Fall Semester: Aug. 1

Spring Semester: Jan. 1

Important! ASP applications may be due earlier at area high schools. Check with your high school for internal deadlines.

About ASP

The Advanced Scholars Program (ASP) enables outstanding secondary school students to study at Grinnell College while completing their secondary education requirements. It is designed for those who have exhausted their high school’s course offerings in certain subjects.