Campus visits are one of the best ways to decide if Grinnell is right for you. Tour campus; talk to current students, faculty, and staff; eat in the dining hall; drop in on a class; and more. Schedule your campus visit for the best experience. See Getting to Grinnell for maps and directions. If you can’t make it to campus, check to see if you can learn more from Grinnell visits in your area.
We’re looking for applicants who have sought challenge and excelled academically, done well on standardized tests, and demonstrated commitment to activities beyond the classroom. We use the Common Application with a Grinnell Supplement, and strongly encourage you to apply online — we’ll waive the application fee if you do. We encourage you to apply early, and please contact us if you have questions about the application process.
Class of 2014 Admitted Student Profile
- 1211 Admitted Students
- 259 Varsity Captains
- 114 International Students
- 167 First Generation College Students
- 328 Students of Color
- 59 School or Class Presidents
- 277 Musicians and Artists
- A beekeeper
- A snake charmer
- A licensed pilot
- A competitive bagpiper
- a hang glider pilot
- An award-winning Romanian filmmaker
- A trapeze artist
- A Rubik's Cube wiz
Grinnell College football players Ryan Boehm '10 and Marquis Bradley '11 have been named to the All-Midwest Conference Second Team for the 2009 campaign.
Boehm, a repeat All-MWC selection after earning honorable mention status in 2008, was named to the squad at a special teams spot and Bradley as a linebacker.
Boehm, who was also a key defensive back for the Pioneers, returned 18 punts this season for 125 yards, a 6.9-yard per return average. On defense, he finished fourth on the team in tackles with 70 while also breaking up six passes. Bradley finished second on the team and third in the conference with 107 tackles, including 16 for loss, and three sacks. He also forced three fumbles, recovered one and had an interception.
Honorable mention selections from Grinnell included wide receiver Robert Seer '12, offensive lineman Chris Jarmon '12 and defensive back Marc Heronemus '11.
Seer led the Pioneers in receiving this season with 47 catches for 760 yards and 12 touchdowns. He averaged 76 yards a game. Heronemus ranked seventh on the team in tackles with 52, including 2.5 for loss, while also intercepting a pass and recovering a fumble. Jarmon was a key blocker for an offense that produced more than 2,900 yards of offense during the season.
Conference champion Monmouth College swept the individual All-MWC awards, with quarterback Alex Taney repeating as Offensive Player of the Year and Steve Bell winning the Coach of the Year award again. Anthony Goranson was tabbed the Defensive Player of the Year.
2009 All-Conference Team
In a series of meetings I have had last year with the larger Grinnell family — including open office hours, lunches with faculty and administrators, and conversations with students — the single most popular question has been some variation of “What is the College doing about environmental and sustainability issues?”
There are several reasons for such a high interest: Sustainability is consistent with the College’s long history of social responsibility. Environmental responsibility saves the College money. Sustainability is increasingly a subject of our inquiry-based curriculum.
Also, the College has been emphasizing sustainability for some time now; almost all campus buildings constructed since 2003 are or will be LEED-certified as resource-efficient. We now recycle or compost more than half our campus waste. We reduced our boiler plant’s water consumption by 40 percent in 2009 by installing a water filtration system. We have worked to serve more locally grown food in our dining hall. And we have a host of courses in the sciences and social sciences that address sustainability.
There have been many people on campus doing a lot of good work on sustainability, and we have plucked most of the low-hanging fruit — the big gains in resource efficiency. Now it is time to coordinate and expand these efforts and to take on some really big initiatives.
Here is where we are headed:
I am signing the American College and University Presidents’Climate Commitment to achieve climate neutrality as soon as possible and to take immediate, specific steps toward doing so. I am very comfortable signing the presidents’ commitment because there is no question in my mind that this campus is committed to the goal — because it is good citizenship, it is consistent with our values, and because many of the activities we are committed to in this area may actually save the college money in the long run.
We are establishing a Climate Steering Committee that will coordinate the efforts of everyone involved in promoting sustainability on this campus. In my mind, this committee replaces and broadens the long-standing EcoCampus Committee of faculty, staff, and student representatives who meet to address campus environmental issues.
We have launched an environment and sustainability section on the College’s Web site to keep everyone informed of new sustainability developments and to act as a clearinghouse for links to the organizations, committees, and curricular developments related to sustainability.
We are planning to construct a three-turbine, 15.6 million kilowatt-hour wind farm north of campus that will cost about $10 million, generate 80 percent of the College’s electrical consumption, and reduce our carbon impact by half. This is the culmination of a wind-energy project begun by a student in 1996, and it will likely take another two years or more to complete. The details of property easements, financial models, and the relationship with our local utility company and the national power grid are currently being worked out, and they are complicated. But we have a vision and a plan that is well along. We are very excited about making it a reality.
The above points are only the current headlines in an ongoing sustainability effort that ultimately affects every aspect of our lives as a College family. We will be offering more courses and cocurricular learning opportunities in sustainability, creating new initiatives aimed at resource efficiency, and refining and expanding those that are already in place. I encourage you to take a look at our sustainability Web site, mentioned above, to stay current with all that we are doing, and to join me in thanking the many members of our community who have led and continue to lead us toward a sustainable future.
If you come to Grinnell, there are some classes that current students recommend strongly. If you join our ranks, you’ll write your own top 10 classes list. Here, in no particular order, are mine:
Calculus i and ii. Calculus relates to everything that happens in the natural, physical world. I loved Calculus, and you can make it painless by doing five problems every day and keeping up with homework.
Applied statistics. Same as above, plus it’s useful for a ton of different majors, such as psychology, history, biology, and political science.
Neuroscience. Foundations, Future, and Fallacies: You’ll never take your brain for granted again!
ANY senior seminar. An excellent, challenging experience, seminars delve into what is actually going on in the field. Whether you want a course that mimics graduate school or just want to explore your field, you owe it to yourself to take a seminar. Though some departments mandate them, others leave it optional — but really, don’t let the opportunity pass.
Major Russian Writers. With no prerequisites and taught in English, this class focuses on Russian writers who helped shaped the past century. Anna Karenina, War and Peace, and Crime and Punishment are books that everyone should read. This is one of the best classes at Grinnell.
Psychology of Motivation. Suppose I place a bowl of red Starbursts in front of you. You’ll eat a certain number of them. Suppose I place a bowl of red and green Starbursts in front of you. You’ll eat more than if they had been just one color. Why? To learn the answer to this question and many more amazing facts about eating behavior, take this course when you have the prerequisites.
Craft of Fiction. Write fiction and get credit for it! The class is intense, but the workshops are helpful for budding writers — you, your peers, and your professor constructively critique (or “workshop”) the class’ stories.
Economic Development. An insightful class that will broaden your perspective about parts of the world that still struggle.
Macroeconomic Analysis. This is a great extension to Economic Development — challenging, theoretical, and extremely useful in understanding the economy as a whole.
Philosophy of science. Philosophy of Science offers a great perspective on what scientists do. Most importantly, the class shows that science is not infallible. Why? Because it is created by humans. Since humans make mistakes, science does too. Amar Sakar '12 is a Psychology Major from Gurgaon, Haryana, India.
Author: Diane Meisles '12
When I applied to colleges, I did a lot of research and I concluded that a small, liberal arts college with a strong science program would be best for me.
My college counselor reviewed the list of schools that I was applying to. “Diane, why isn’t Grinnell on here?” she asked. Honestly, I did not know anything about Grinnell except that it was small, in the middle of Iowa — and that both of my parents went there. My parents were also biology majors and pre-med like me. My college counselor advised me to at least look into it.
I started looking through my college guidebooks and researching Grinnell online and finally decided that, since my parents went there, I should at least visit and give it a fair shot.
My visit to Grinnell College was amazing. Although Grinnell is a small school of 1,600 students, the large, beautiful campus really impressed me. I met several professors as I was walking around Noyce Hall (the science building), and they were all eager to talk with me about the science programs. I also met the cross country coach, who took me on a tour of the athletic facilities and soccer fields. One of the most impressive parts of my visit, however, was the students. Everyone was friendly and outgoing. It quickly became apparent that each Grinnell student has a passion about something, which is what makes Grinnell such a unique place. After my visit, I realized that Grinnell College was the right choice for me. Even though I had never previously considered going to my parent’s alma mater, it was the best decision I could have made.
Diane Meisles '12 is a Biology Major from Northfield, IL.
Author: Liting Cong '11
Social responsibility is one of the College’s core values. Hundreds of students, faculty, and staff are involved in dozens of community service programs. Here are 10 that hint at the variety of opportunities available.
Liberal Arts in Prison Program. A great combination of Grinnell’s emphasis on social justice and its innovative scholarship, the fully-accredited program enables Grinnell students to teach classes of their own design, to tutor ESL or math, even to direct a choir in one of two nearby prisons. Last semester, the program featured 18 student-taught academic courses, four tutoring programs, and one student-directed choir. Recently The Chronicle of Higher Education featured our prison program, praising Grinnell’s dedication to both the liberal arts and social responsibility.
College Buddies. This is a program within Big Brothers Big Sisters that matches Grinnell students with children, kindergarten through fourth grade, from three nearby elementary schools. Every week, College students spend an hour or more with their buddies and participate in large-group gatherings throughout the year.
Alternative Break. Through a rigorous application process, the entirely student- run program selects students to complete fully-funded service trips during the one-week fall break and two-week spring break each year. These trips to U.S. cities and international sites focus on alleviating problems related to poverty, the environment, and health.
Renew. Begun in the fall of 2006 as ReNew Orleans, a response to Hurricane Katrina, ReNew has since supported nearly 100 student and alumni volunteers as they help to rebuild New Orleans.
Stonewall Resource Center (SRC). Named to commemorate the Stonewall Riots of 1969, the center opened at Grinnell in 1986. The SRC, in the basement of Younker Residence Hall, serves as a safe space for LGBTQ students and allies. The center supports nine student groups and contains a library of more than 1,500 books and 150 movies.
Feminist Action Coalition. This student-led organization aims to raise awareness of feminist issues in both the College and town. It is open to all students, faculty, staff, and town residents who are interested in issues of gender and women’s rights.
English as a Second Language Tutoring. Grinnell students may volunteer as ESL tutors at a bilingual elementary school on Thursday afternoons and help organize group activities on Saturday mornings. It is a great opportunity for tutors and tutees to learn from one another.
Student Services Committee. Part of the Student Government Association and open to all students, this group organizes all-campus service activities and allocates funding for student service groups. Committee responsibilities include a used book sale and a poster sale for students, and a blood drive and Halloween carnival that benefits the wider community. The committee also organizes Fogfast, which distributes student-donated meals each semester to designated groups in need.
Friday Fun Night. Student volunteers work with children in a low-income neighborhood in Des Moines every Friday. The program serves 20–40 children ranging from 5 to 13 years old, providing themed activities such as science and art projects, performance opportunities, and cultural nights. Ni Ka na Meskwaki Buddy Program.
“Ni Ka Na” Means “Friend” in Meskwaki. It’s also the name of a mentoring program at the Meskwaki Settlement School in Tama, Iowa. Each student volunteer is paired with one Meskwaki student as a partner and mentor in learning. Student volunteers visit weekly to help Meskwaki students with homework and also organize activities with guest speakers, artists, musicians, and craftspeople. This program serves as a mutual learning opportunity for Grinnell and Meskwaki students.
Liting Cong '11 is a Sociology Major from Shanghai, P.R. China.
Ben Offenberg, a 6’5’’ senior biochemistry major and current president of the Student Government Association (SGA), shares a typical day.
8 a.m. After six hours of sound sleep, skip breakfast (not a recommended practice). Begin day in the SGA office in Joe Rosenfield Center. Sitting on a gigantic soccer ball chair, spend a couple hours replying to e-mails and completing office work.
10:30 a.m. Meet with Raynard S. Kington, M.D., Ph.D., the new president of the College and the former deputy director of the National Institutes of Health. Gossip about campus life.
11 a.m. Attend Intermediate Arabic, taught by Professor Mervat Youssef. The class practices Arabic by describing their dream spouses and drawing them on the blackboard. Say that dream spouse would be an Iowa girl originally from England, with red hair, and named Brooke. Royalty is optional, but preferred.
Noon Grab a pumpkin ziti out-take from The Spencer Grill and head to a noon meeting with human resources to discuss student input on staff reviews.
1 p.m. Meet with Advanced Genetics professor.
1:30 p.m. Meet with Advanced Genetics lab group in Noyce Science Center. Must grow genetically mutagenized yeast for a class.
2 p.m. Visit academic adviser to discuss course schedule for next semester and postgraduation plans.
2:30 p.m. Return to the SGA offices for scheduled office hours so that students can discuss their concerns and ideas with their SGA president.
4:30 p.m. Work on constitutional law homework about civil rights cases.
6 p.m. Off to the dining hall for dinner with the girlfriend. Nacho bar!
7 p.m. Back to the office. Gossip with Liz, administrative coordinator and officemate. Browse through some YouTube videos.
8 p.m. SGA executive meeting with the vice-presidents of academic and student affairs and the SGA advisers. Brainstorm ideas and discuss plans.
9:30 p.m. Group meeting in Stonewall Resource Center, which is run by students and is a safe space for LGBTQ students and their allies.
10:30 p.m. Back to the lab with the rest of the group to grow more yeast. Genetic mutation is the key here.
11:30 p.m. More homework, for Arabic this time. Excited about tomorrow’s class, which will feature a guest speaker from Egypt.
3 a.m. Projected time for sleeping, although others are discouraged from practicing similar habits.
Liting Cong '11 is a Policy Stuies Concentrator from Shanghai, P.R. China.
When I was awarded a spot in Seventeen Magazine’s Freshman 15 (a group 15 girls chosen from around the country to document their college experiences), I was ecstatic — but unsure how my participation would be received on campus. After all, I thought, Grinnell College students read The New York Times, The Atlantic, and Mother Earth News, not Seventeen. For Seventeen, I produce weekly written and video blogs, answer reader questions, and occasionally get featured in the magazine. When I first saw my name on the glossy pages, I figured no one would care. I was wrong. Classmates and even strangers tell me it’s “so cool!” to see me in the magazine. They are eager to hear more about my job, and they enthusiastically pose for pictures ... when I beg them to. Writing for Seventeen is hard work, but it’s never a chore because I’m never at a loss for an amazing story to tell about Grinnell.
Off the record, the Freshman 15 have a Facebook thread where we share personal stories about our lives at college. Many are having the “typical” college experience. They go to fraternity parties. They enroll in lectures they can easily skip because professors don’t know their names. They cheer for their schools in arenas packed with thousands of fans. But the truth is, they aren’t all happy. I, on the other hand, have climbed through a friendly stranger’s room to the rooftop to see the beautiful Iowa moon; I’ve discussed Frankenstein over Chinese takeout in my professor’s living room; and I’ve picnicked under the oak tree on Mac Field with my roommate, sharing my pretzels and my dreams. That’s my college experience, and I wouldn’t trade places with anyone.
Samantha Schwartz '14 is a future Psychology Major from Lawrence, KS.