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Early Decision Applicants

The Benefits of Early Decision

If Grinnell is your first choice, we encourage you to apply Early Decision. Whether you decide to apply Early Decision I or Early Decision II, you will receive your admission decision months earlier than if you apply Regular Decision, which means you won’t have to wait until the end of your senior year to know where you will be attending college.

The admission rate is also higher for our Early Decision rounds than it is for Regular Decision.

Admission Rate (four-year averages)

  • Early Decision I and II (combined): 58%
  • Regular Decision: 14%
  • Overall admit rate: 16%

The Early Decision program is binding. If you are admitted under either round of Early Decision, you must withdraw your applications to other colleges. You may not apply to more than one institution as an Early Decision candidate. We reserve the right to rescind your admission if we find you are in violation of the terms of this agreement.

All Early Decision applicants must read and sign the Early Decision Agreement found in the Common Application. You must complete the Early Decision Agreement form with your secondary school guidance counselor.

Early Decision and Financial Aid

Need-Based Aid

While the binding nature of Early Decision means you will not be able to compare financial aid offers among colleges, the aid package you receive under Early Decision at Grinnell is the same as you would receive if admitted under the Regular Decision plan. Early Decision I candidates must submit their financial aid forms by Nov. 15. Early Decision II candidates must submit their financial aid forms by Jan. 1.

If you apply for financial aid and submit all of the necessary forms on time, you will receive your financial aid package at the same time as your admission notification.

All applicants, regardless of decision deadline, are also encouraged to complete the Net Price Calculator, which will provide an early indication of how much and what types of need-based aid you may qualify for as an incoming first-year student.

Learn more about applying for need-based aid at Grinnell.

A young man stands in front of a rocky canyon

After visiting Grinnell twice, I came to realize all of the wonderful opportunities that I would be able to take advantage of by becoming a student here. As a swimmer, I valued how academics was the main focus of student-athletes here. As a student, I fell in love with the community-based and collaborative nature of the classes here, as well as the opportunity to conduct research. I knew Grinnell was where I wanted to be.

— Ben Brim ’23 (Wildwood, Missouri)

Merit-Based Aid

All U.S. citizens and permanent residents admitted Early Decision are guaranteed the Grinnell Choice Scholarship. This is a $10,000 annual award, renewable for a total of eight semesters. Select students may also receive an additional Founder’s Scholarship ranging from $2,000–$15,000. Whether or not a student receives the Grinnell Choice Scholarship and/or a Founder’s Scholarship, our total merit offerings range from $12,000–$25,000.

There is no separate application for merit aid, and you will learn if you have received a merit scholarship when you receive your admission notification.

Learn more about merit scholarship offerings at Grinnell.

Early Decision Deadlines

If you decide that Grinnell is your first choice and that Early Decision makes sense for you, please note our Early Decision deadlines.

Early Decision Deadlines, 2022–23
  Early Decision 1 Early Decision 2
Application Deadline Nov. 15 Jan. 1
Admission Notification mid-December early February
Deposit Due  Jan. 8 Feb. 15
A young man on a city street

Pretty much as soon as I stepped on Grinnell's campus, I knew this place was different from all the other colleges I had already visited. Once I made the decision to apply early, it felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Sure, I still had to apply and get in, but it was such a relief knowing what my first choice was and being able to focus on that above other applications.

—Paddy Haley ’23 (Mankato, Minnesota)

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