Students talking during NSO

Requesting a Gap Year or Gap Semester

Update on Process

We understand that due to the coronavirus pandemic, admitted students are facing a tremendous amount of uncertainty in their fall enrollment plans.

As you know, Tutorial is the first and only required course at Grinnell College outside of a major. Tutorial sections have all been arranged for Fall Term 1. Due to the unusual circumstances of the pandemic, a limited number of first-year students (e.g., international students who were unable to obtain a visa in time for Fall Term 1) were approved for a spring arrival. We intend to honor the deferrals that have already been approved and provide students enrolling for the first time (with no online classes in the fall) with Tutorial in Spring Term 1. Unfortunately, no additional space in Tutorials is available for students who have not already been approved for a deferral until Spring Term 1.

First-year students who are not already approved for a spring arrival may either enroll online in the fall and come to campus for Spring Term 1 or request a gap year until the Fall of 2021. If you would like to request a gap year, please email Sarah Fischer, Director of Admission, and provide a brief explanation for why you want to take a gap year. For full consideration, gap year requests should be submitted no later than July 31 and will not be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. If the number of gap year requests exceeds our capacity to accommodate them, we will use a lottery system to determine whose request to approve. Those who are not awarded a gap year will be required to enroll this year. The admission office will notify students as soon as possible whether or not their gap year request has been approved.

For more information, please see our Leave of Absence webpage.


Transfer Credit Policy

Please note: First-time first-year students are limited to a maximum of 24 approved pre- and post-matriculation transfer credits. This includes credits from AP, IB, A-level and/or CAPE examinations, as well as college-level classes taken at a community college or as a non-degree-seeking student at a 4-year institution. Students are permitted to take as many classes as desired at another institution as a non-degree-seeking student prior to enrollment at Grinnell; however, a maximum of 24-credits will transfer. Students that matriculate as a degree-seeking student at another institution will be considered transfer students to Grinnell.

Deferral Types and Financial Aid

Gap Year

If you are approved for a gap year and awarded need-based financial aid, you must reapply for financial assistance by submitting the required forms by their published deadlines. This includes the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the College Board’s CSS PROFILE. Students will receive more information regarding this process in January of their gap year.

If you received a merit-based scholarship, you will receive this same award amount when you re-enroll at the College. We recommend having a conversation with the Office of Admission if you have further questions about this process.

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