group on Rosenfield Caucus Tour

Requirements and Deadlines

So you are interested in applying to Grinnell.

As a Common Application and Questbridge School with no fee to apply and no required supplement, the application process for Grinnell is incredibly streamlined. We do have some required materials, as well as optional ones, too.

Required Materials

In addition to the Common Application or Questbridge Application (both of which include your essay and your list of extracurricular activities), you’ll need to submit:

  • 2 teacher evaluations (we prefer the Common Application Teacher Recommendation forms)
  • Secondary/high school counselor recommendation (we prefer the Common Application Counselor Recommendation form). Home-school applicants may have a parent complete this form.
  • Common Application Secondary School Report. Home-school applicants may have a parent complete this form.
  • Official copy of your secondary/high school transcript with original stamp, signature, or seal
    • All students enrolling are required to have a high school diploma, the recognized equivalent of a high school diploma, or be beyond the aid of compulsory school attendance in the State of Iowa.

Optional Materials

Preliminary Application

Want to get a jump start on your application? Start your application today by submitting the Preliminary Application. The Preliminary Application is an optional part of the application process and allows you to receive more information about timelines, scholarships, events in your area, and the college search process.

Submit your Preliminary Application

Official SAT or ACT Scores

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, students applying for first-year admission for fall 2022 are not required to submit an SAT and/or ACT test score. International students whose native languages do not include English and/or whose primary language of high school instruction has not been English, will still be required to submit an approved English proficiency exam.

Show Us Your Interest

We understand that you have a lot of factors to weigh as you research which college might be the right fit for you. We encourage you to learn all that you can about Grinnell by visiting campus, attending one of our many virtual offerings, and/or attending a Grinnell event in your area. Not only will this allow you to be more informed about Grinnell’s offerings, but it will have the added bonus of strengthening your application. While we understand there are multiple factors that may influence your ability to take part in these activities, it is important for the admission committee to see that you are indeed interested in Grinnell.

Portfolios for Art and Music

Grinnell does not require auditions or portfolio reviews for students planning to pursue a degree in the arts. However, you are welcome to submit your work for review by the admission staff.

If you wish to submit supplemental materials, including writing samples, you may do so only after you have submitted your Common Application. To submit supplemental materials, please use the “Edit Portfolio” link on your applicant status page.


Application Deadlines 2021–22
  Early Decision I Early Decision II Regular Decision
Application Deadline

Nov. 15

Jan. 1

Jan. 15
Admission Notification Deadline mid-late December early February late March/early April
Deposit Due Jan. 7 Feb. 15 May 1

All first year domestic students are considered for merit scholarships between $10,000 and $25,000. Awards for first year international students are primarily given out through grants, which meet 100% of their demonstrated financial need; international students are also considered for merit scholarships ranging from $5,000–$15,000, though this process is extremely competitive. There is no separate application for merit scholarships, but priority consideration is given to students who submit their application for admission by December 1.

International Students

For international students, a complete application to Grinnell College requires all of the standard application requirements listed at the top of this page as well as:

  • International applicants are also required to demonstrate their English proficiency. An official TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo score report is required for all international applicants whose native languages are not English and/or whose primary languages of high school instruction have not been English. The mid-50% range for TOEFL (iBT) scores for international students admitted in the fall of 2019 is 104–111, and the preferred IELTS minimum score is 6.5. Grinnell’s institution code for ordering TOEFL score reports is 6252.
  • Your application for admission will not be considered complete until the appropriate financial forms have been submitted.
  • Please see our International Students FAQs for further details on test submissions, waivers, required financial aid documents, and more.

Standardized Testing

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, students applying for first year admission for fall 2022 are not required to submit an SAT and/or ACT test score. Applicants for fall 2022 must inform us whether or not they will submit a test score by their respective application deadline. We will revisit this policy in spring 2022 to determine if it will remain in place for future applicant cycles.

International applicants are required to demonstrate their English proficiency. An official TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo score report is required for all international applicants whose native languages are not English and/or whose primary languages of high school instruction have not been English.

Grinnell does not require the SAT II (subject test) or AP exam scores of any applicant, but students may still choose to self-report these scores (if available) on their application. It is not necessary to send in official score reports for either of these exams. While these scores may provide the admission counselor reviewing the application file with additional information about a student’s academic talents, please note that neither exam is taken into consideration when making the final admission decision.

For information about Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate credit, please review our current policy in the 2020–21 course catalog.

If You Choose to Submit a Standardized Test Score

You may submit either the ACT (institution code 1318) or SAT (institution code 6252). We will consider your best superscored ACT composite scores and your best superscored SAT math and evidence-based reading and writing (ERW) scores. The essay component of both the ACT and the SAT is optional. We do not have minimum score requirements for admission. We will count as official testing submitted in any of the following ways:

  • An official score report sent directly from the College Board (SAT) and/or the ACT
  • A verified SAT and/or ACT test score that appears on your official high school transcript
  • A verified SAT and/or ACT score report sent via email from your high school counselor

Should you submit a standardized test score?

Grinnell practices holistic admission, which means we take a variety of factors into consideration for admission. Whether or not you submit a test score, we will take into serious consideration your high school transcript, including your grades and rigor of courses, personal essay, recommendation letters and engagement outside of the classroom. If you’re wondering whether or not you should submit a standardized test score, we encourage you to consider the following:

  • If you think your scores are an accurate representation of your ability, then you should feel free to submit them. If you feel they are not, then don’t submit them.
  • If you get the score you hoped for, and especially if it’s above average for Grinnell, submitting the score may help you in the admission process.
  • Keep in mind that we consider your test score in context. Even if your score is not above average for Grinnell, but it is for your high school or neighborhood, your score may help you in the admission process.
  • A high SAT or ACT score can offset a low GPA. If you don’t submit a score, we have less information about your academic performance. If you have a low GPA but do well on the SAT or ACT, your test score can be an important indicator of your potential to succeed in college-level classes.

Home-Schooled Applicants

If you were home-schooled, you will have the same application requirements as all other first-year applicants. We welcome additional materials if you feel they will help us to better understand your academic preparation. These materials may include SAT Subject Tests, reading lists, a copy of your home-school curriculum, or additional letters of recommendation.

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