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Waitlist Information

So, you've been offered a spot on our waitlist...

While there are many benefits to being a small college, one unfortunate result of our size is that we have room to enroll only a limited number of new students each year. This constraint means that we are unable to offer admission to many strong applicants. Students who are placed on our waitlist are still highly desirable candidates for admission and, if space becomes available, may be offered admission.

I am still highly interested in Grinnell. How do I show that I would like to enroll if admitted?

If we are able to admit students from the waitlist, we will only consider students who have replied “yes” on their Reply to Waitlist Offer form by April 1. This means that the first thing you should do is respond affirmatively to the Reply to Waitlist Offer form on your Applicant Status Page no later than the date listed in your waitlist letter.

How can I strengthen my chances of being admitted off the waitlist?

When we consider admitting students from the waitlist, we will take into consideration a variety of factors, including a student’s continued interest in Grinnell. After you’ve accepted your place on the waitlist, let us know that Grinnell remains one of your top choices. You can do this by emailing your assigned admission counselor. You can also inform us of any new awards or updates to your application. To do so, log in to your Applicant Status Page, look for the “Upload Materials” section, and choose “Waitlist Supplement” from the drop-down menu. Please do not request an interview or send in additional letters of recommendation, writing samples, and/or art and music portfolios.

Should I deposit at another college or university, even if Grinnell remains my first choice?

Yes! Absolutely. There is no guarantee that you will be admitted from the waitlist, so it is wise to secure your spot at another college or university. If you are admitted to Grinnell from the waitlist and decide to enroll at Grinnell, you will need to forfeit your enrollment deposit at that other institution.  

How many students are on the waitlist, and how many are typically offered admission?

The number of students on Grinnell’s waitlist fluctuates every year, depending on the size and quality of the applicant pool. We do not rank order our waitlist. When we admit students off of the waitlist, we consider a student’s continued interest in Grinnell, as well as the College’s remaining enrollment needs.

The number of students admitted from the waitlist depends on the number of admitted students who decide to submit an enrollment deposit to Grinnell by May 1. For the past several years, we have admitted students from the waitlist for admission, but this can fluctuate from year to year depending on the behavior of the admitted class.

When will Grinnell consider admitting students from the waitlist?

Because admitted students have until May 1 to notify us of their plans, we will not know if we will be admitting students from the waitlist until after May 1. This is why it is important for you to deposit elsewhere. Enrollment numbers can continue to fluctuate throughout the summer, so we typically keep students on the waitlist until mid-summer. If needed, we will admit students from the waitlist throughout that period. Once enrollment numbers are stable (typically early July), we will release the waitlist.  

Students who are admitted from the waitlist will be notified electronically. An email from Grinnell College will alert you to check your Applicant Status Page for new information.  

Am I still eligible for financial aid if I’m admitted from the waitlist?

Yes. Students admitted from the waitlist are eligible for the same need-based financial aid as all other admitted students. Grinnell is committed to meeting 100% of demonstrated financial need — without the use of loans — for all admitted students.

If I am international student and would like to notify you of a change to my expected family contribution (EFC), how do I do that?

Please email  

How do I let you know that I am no longer interested in Grinnell?

If you are not interested in securing your place on Grinnell’s waitlist, please reply “no” to the Reply to Waitlist Offer form. If you reply “yes” to the form, but would like to release your spot on the waitlist at some point throughout the spring or summer, you may email our office at


We know this process is incredibly stressful and the idea of waiting longer for your final admission decision makes it even more so. We are here to help. If you have any additional questions, please contact us. Regardless of where your plans take you next year, we thank you for your interest in Grinnell.

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