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Apply to Grinnell

You’re ready to take the next step in becoming a Grinnellian.

We’re here to tell you what you need to know, connect you to resources, and answer any questions you have.

Admission to Grinnell is highly selective, which simply means we get more applicants than we have room for in our classes. We have room to enroll only a limited number of new students each year. With that said, you can stand out from the rest by taking a challenging, balanced high school curriculum, and applying Early Decision can certainly increase your chances.

We’re committed to building a diverse and inclusive community of scholars from a variety of backgrounds and with different worldviews. We believe that interacting with others of differing viewpoints can introduce you to new perspectives and expand your thinking — plus, it makes life more interesting

If that sounds like you, we encourage you to learn more about Grinnell by requesting information. If you want to start your admission application today, submit the Preliminary Application, which is an optional part of the application process that demonstrates interest to Grinnell, as well as allowing you to receive more information about timelines, scholarships, events in your area, and the college search process. Consider doing an admission interview and applying Early Decision (or as we say, ED), especially if Grinnell is your first choice. Lastly, to complete your application, you’ll need to submit the Common Application and a few other things that will help us get to know you.

Request more information (1 minute)

Submit your Preliminary Application to Grinnell (2 minutes)

Submit a Common Application (available Aug. 1)

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After Applying

What happens to my college application after I submit it?

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First-Year Applicants

We’re here to help you with the application process and answer any questions you might have.

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    Application Requirements

    There’s no minimum GPA or test score to get into Grinnell. We look at the full scope of your application to determine if we’re the best fit for you.

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    Early Decision Applicants

    If we’re your first choice, you should consider applying Early Decision. Not only is the acceptance rate higher than with Regular Decision, but you’ll receive your admission decision months earlier. That’s true whether you apply Early Decision I or Early Decision II.

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    International Applicants

    One in four Grinnell students come from outside of the United States, representing almost 50 countries and speaking more than 60 languages. We invite you to begin your application process today.

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    Undocumented Students (including DACA-Designated Students)


    Grinnell welcomes applications from all students, regardless of citizenship or visa status. If you are an undocumented student (including DACA status), you should submit the same first-year or transfer application as any other student. Similar to all other applicants, Grinnell will review your application holistically, taking into account all pieces of your application file.

    Financial Aid

    We meet 100% of demonstrated financial need for all students — including undocumented students — without loans. To apply for need-based aid as an undocumented student, you will need to submit the CSS Profile and submit a signed copy of your parent federal tax form (if required to file) and W-2s, as applicable. If you cannot work and do not have DACA status, you may receive an optional Grinnell College Loan in place of the student employment, which is typically $3,000 for new students and $3,150 for returning students.

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    First-Generation College Students

    If neither of your parents has completed a four-year degree, then Grinnell College considers you a first-generation college student. Even if that isn’t exactly your situation, all of the resources described in this section are available to you.

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    We’re proud to partner with QuestBridge, a national nonprofit organization that connects high-achieving, underserved high school students with educational opportunities at some of the best colleges and universities in the United States. Every year, QuestBridge provides these opportunities to low-income high school students across the country through its College Prep Scholarship and National College Match programs. We're also honored to participate in Questbridge's national college admissions conferences every year.

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    An interview isn’t required for admission (and you may only interview once), but it’s a great chance for our staff to get to know you more and find out if Grinnell is a good fit for you. We offer interviews on campus, off campus, and online. 

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    Recommendations and Portfolios

    What do others have to say about your work ethic and leadership qualities? We'll find out in the letters of recommendation that are required with your application. Additionally, auditions and portfolio reviews are not requirements for admission, but students interested in the arts are welcome to submit their work for us to review.

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Transfer Applicants

We’re here to work with you and make sure you have the resources and guidance to complete the application process.

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    DMACC Preview Program

    We’ve partnered with Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) in an agreement to encourage qualified DMACC students to consider transferring to Grinnell College.

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Advanced Scholars Program

This program gives outstanding high school students the opportunity to take classes at Grinnell College.

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